Chapter 10 The Age of Jackson Lesson 1

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Chapter 10

The Age of Jackson

Lesson 1

Jacksonian Democracy

The Elections of 1824 and 1828

  • In the elections of 1824 Henry Clay, Andrew Jackson, and John Quincy Adams ran for president.

  • They were known as favorite sons, meaning their home states supported them rather than the national party.

  • Jackson won the most popular votes, but no one won the majority of the electoral votes.

  • Jackson won 99 electoral votes, giving him a plurality, or the largest single share.

  • In this situation, the House of Representatives selects the president.

  • Henry Clay used his influence as Speaker of the House to defeat Jackson, so Adams was elected.

  • In return, Adams named Clay secretary of state.

  • Jackson’s followers accused Clay and Adams of making a “corrupt bargain.”

  • This issue cast a shadow over Adams’s presidency, and Congress turned down many of his proposals.

  • By the 1828 election there were two political parties: the Democrats, who supported Jackson, and the national Republicans, who supported Adams.

  • Democrats favored states’ rights; the National Republicans wanted a strong central government.

  • During the election, both parties resorted to mudslinging, attempts to ruin their opponents’ reputation with insults.

  • John C. Calhoun switched parties to run with Jackson in the election.

  • Jackson won by a landslide - an overwhelming victory.

Jackson as President

  • Jackson was a popular president.

  • Many Americans admired him, and he had gained fame with his defeat of the Creek Nation and the British during the War of 1812.

  • During Jackson’s first term, a spirit of equality spread through American politics.

  • Suffrage, or the right to vote, changed during the early 1800s.

  • In 1815 many states relaxed the property requirements for voting.

  • In the 1820s, people who had not been allowed to vote, such as white male sharecroppers, voted for the first time.

  • By 1828, 22 of the 24 states changed their constitutions to allow the people, rather than the state legislatures, to choose presidential electors.

  • Democrats wanted to shake up the federal bureaucracy, a system in which nonelected officials carry out laws.

  • The Democrats argued that ordinary citizens could handle any government job.

  • Jackson replaced many federal workers with his supporters.

  • This practice became known as the spoils system.

  • Jackson’s supporters abandoned the caucus system, in which political candidates were chosen by committees made up of members of Congress.

  • The caucuses were replaced by nominating conventions, in which delegates from the states selected the party’s presidential candidate.

  • Democrats held their first national party convention in 1832.

  • The delegates decided to nominate the candidate who received two-thirds of the vote, and Jackson won the nomination.

The Tariff Debate

  • In 1828, Americans disagreed about the tariff - a fee paid by merchants who imported goods.

  • The Northeast wanted the tariff, because it made their manufactured goods less expensive than imported goods.

  • Southerners did not like the tariff since there were fewer manufacturers in the South that would benefit.

  • Vice President John C. Calhoun argued that a group of states had the right to nullify, or cancel, a federal law it considered against state interests.

  • Some Southerners wanted the Southern states to secede, or break away, from the United States.

  • John C. Calhoun argued that the states had the power to decide whether federal laws were constitutional.

  • If states could not do this, then the Supreme Court or Congress would be left to interpret the Constitution.

  • Daniel Webster, a senator from Massachusetts, argued against nullification, challenging a speech defending nullification by Robert Hayne, a senator from South Carolina.

  • Jackson declared in 1830 that the federal union should be preserved, though Calhoun felt that liberty should take priority over the Union’s fate.

  • Calhoun resigned the vice presidency after winning a seat in the Senate in 1832.

  • Congress passed a lower tariff in 1832 to appease the South, but Southern leaders still protested.

  • They passed the Nullification Act, refusing to pay what they thought were illegal tariffs.

  • Jackson then supported a compromise bill to lower the tariff.

  • He had Congress pass a Force Bill, allowing military action to enforce acts of Congress.

  • South Carolina then nullified the Force Act.

Lesson 2

The Removal of Native Americans

Moving Native Americans

  • Many Native Americans still lived in the southeastern part of the United States in the 1830s.

  • These tribes, called the Five Civilized Tribes, established successful farming communities.

  • The area west of the Mississippi was dry and seemed unsuitable for farming, so few white Americans lived there.

  • Settlers wanted the federal government to relocate the Native Americans of the Southeast to this area.

  • President Andrew Jackson supported the settlers.

  • In 1830 Congress passed the Indian Removal Act, which allowed the federal government to pay Native Americans to move west.

  • In 1834 Congress created the Indian Territory, an area in present-day Oklahoma, for the Native Americans of the Southeast.

  • After the arrival of the Europeans, the Cherokee agreed to become a separate nation within Georgia called the Cherokee Nation.

  • There they had their own schools, newspaper, and constitution.

  • A Cherokee named Sequoya, created the Cherokee alphabet.

  • The Cherokee Nation refused to give up its land in Georgia and sued the state.

  • The case went to the Supreme Court, which ruled that Georgia had no right to interfere with the Cherokee.

  • President Jackson vowed to ignore the Supreme Court and remove the Cherokee.

  • In 1835 the federal government convinced a few Cherokee to sign a treaty giving up the land, but many Cherokee refused to comply with the treaty.

  • In 1838 federal troops went to Georgia to remove the Cherokee.

  • Under threat of military action, the Cherokee began the march west.

  • Many Cherokee died on the journey.

  • This forced march is known as the Trail of Tears.

Native American Resistance

  • Black Hawk, a Sauk chieftain, led a force of Sauk and Fox people to Illinois to reclaim land, but federal troops defeated them.

  • The Seminole were the only Native Americans who successfully resisted their removal.

  • The Seminole chief Osceola refused to sign the treaties to give up their land.

  • In 1835 the Seminole joined forces with a group of African Americans who had escaped from slavery.

  • They attacked white settlements on the Florida coast using guerrilla tactics, making surprise attacks and then retreating into the forests.

  • In the Dade Massacre of 1835, the Seminole ambushed soldiers, killing most of them.

  • By 1842 more than 1,500 American soldiers had died in the Seminole wars.

  • The government gave up and allowed the Seminole to remain in Florida.

  • However, many of the Seminole had been killed or captured and forced to move west.

  • After 1842 only a few groups of Native Americans lived east of the Mississippi.

  • The Native Americans who were relocated west lived on reservations - land set aside for use by Native Americans.

  • The Five Civilized Tribes in present-day Oklahoma set up their own governments and built schools.

Lesson 3

Jackson and the Bank

War Against the Bank

  • President Andrew Jackson had criticized the Bank of the United States as being an organization of wealthy Easterners over which ordinary citizens had no control.

  • The bank’s president, Nicholas Biddle, represented everything Jackson disliked.

  • In the election of 1832, Henry Clay and Daniel Webster planned to use the bank to defeat Jackson.

  • They believed the bank had popular support and an attempt by Jackson to take away its charter would lead to his defeat.

  • Martin Van Buren, a friend of Jackson’s , was with Jackson when he received the bill to renew the bank’s charter.

  • Jackson vetoed, or rejected, the bill.

  • Although the Supreme Court ruled the bank constitutional, Jackson felt it was unconstitutional and publicly opposed the ruling.

  • Clay and Webster’s plan to defeat Jackson backfired because most people supported Jackson’s veto.

  • Jackson was elected president, and Martin Van Buren was elected vice president.

  • After the election, Jackson ordered the withdrawal of all government deposits at the bank and placed the funds in smaller state banks.

  • The Democrats chose Martin Van Buren as their candidate in the election of 1836, but he faced bitter opposition from the Whigs, a new political party.

  • Jackson’s popularity and his support of Van Buren helped Van Buren win the election.

  • Two months after the election, the United States entered a depression, a period in which business and employment fall to a very low level, that began with the Panic of 1837.

  • President Van Buren believed in the principle of laissez-faire - that the government should interfere as little as possible in the nation’s economy.

  • Van Buren persuaded Congress to establish an independent federal treasure in 1840 to guard against further bank crises.

  • This decision received criticism from the Democratic Party.

The Whigs Come to Power

  • William Henry Harrison was the Whig candidate in the election of 1840, and his running mate was John Tyler.

  • Harrison was portrayed as a common man even though he was wealthy, and he won the election.

  • Harrison died about a month after his inauguration, and John Tyler became president.

  • As president, Tyler backed states’ rights and vetoed several Whig-sponsored bills, including one to recharter the Bank of the United States.

  • This lack of party loyalty angered the Whigs, and most of Tyler’s cabinet resigned.

  • The Whigs could not agree on their party’s goals, and in four years Tyler lost the election to a Democrat and the Whigs were out of power.

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