E. Explain Jacksonian Democracy, expanding suffrage, the rise of popular political culture, and the development of American nationalism



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SSUSH7 Students will explain the process of economic growth, its regional and national impact in the first half of the 19th century, and the different responses to it.
e. Explain Jacksonian Democracy, expanding suffrage, the rise of popular political culture, and the development of American nationalism.
The development of American nationalism

After the War of 1812, the United States entered a period of introspection. America’s leaders were determined never to be dragged into another international crisis that also, through partisan political politics, nearly split the Union. The period became known as the “Era of Good Feelings” and was dominated by one political party, the Democratic Republicans. The critical feeling of the period was to promote and strengthen the United States by focusing on internal improvements.

• After the first bank charter lapsed, regional banks printed their own currency without the backing of specie. The War of 1812 exposed these weak currencies and many investors and depositors were left without recourse when local banks failed. Furthermore, local banks had refused to honor federal bank notes making it difficult for the federal government to pay the army and purchase supplies. During this period of growing nationalism, national finances were strengthened through the creation of a new national bank that served as a depository for federal funds and stable source of currency.

• A new tariff was passed in order to protect American industry from what was seen as unfair trade practices by British manufacturers who had a reputation of dumping cheaply produced goods on American markets to the detriment of American manufacturers.

• The Supreme Court strengthened the federal government’s power through a series of critical court decisions that backed the power of the new national bank to regulate finances.

• The expansion of the nation westward was eased through new federal land purchasing policies that made purchasing a homestead easier. New roads, canals, and river improvements were made so that western farmers could market products in the growing eastern cities.


The rise of popular political culture
During the “Era of Good Feelings”, campaigning was generally a tepid affair with regional candidates promoting regional issues. The inconclusive “favorite son” election of 1824 and resultant “corrupt bargain” gave rise, once again, to a two-party system—the Jacksonian Democrats and the National Republicans (led by John Quincy Adams and Henry Clay). Jackson’s presidential campaigns caused an increase in public participation in politics, and things got rough. Jackson’s side accused his opponent of flattering European royalty and of misusing public funds. The opponent accused Jackson of unfaithfulness in his marriage, of massacring Native Americans, of illegally executing convicted soldiers, and of dueling. These accusations were publicized in songs, pamphlets, posters, and lapel buttons. A voter could find all these at the first-ever campaign rallies and barbecues.
Jacksonian Democracy
President Andrew Jackson and his supporters shared a political philosophy later referred to as “Jacksonian Democracy.” It sought a stronger presidency and executive branch, and a weaker Congress. Out of respect for the common man, it also sought to broaden public participation in government, so it expanded voting rights to include all adult white males, not just landowners. Another principle of Jacksonian democracy was that politicians should be allowed to appoint their followers to government jobs (Spoils System) as a way of limiting the power of elite groups. Jacksonians also favored Manifest Destiny and greater westward expansion of the United States.


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