Did Andrew Jackson really create a Democratic government or was he more for himself than for the people? Andrew Jackson was born to a poor family between North and South Carolina in 1767. In 1828, Andrew Jackson was elected the seventh president of the United States. Before he was president, Andrew Jackson was an army general and was known well for coming victorious from a battle against the Creek Indians.
However, it was not until the Battle of New Orleans that he won the love of America. Another way Jackson rallied the nation to his side was through the Election of 1824, in which he fell into the trap of the ‘corrupt bargain’. By campaigned his idea about serving the people and strengthening democracy, he was made president in 1828. Although he claimed to strive for an ideal democracy, was Jackson really a democratic president? Andrew Jackson did not center the structure and focus of the United States government around the people, and so he was not democratic as many believed. He only supported the poor because as we know, he was born into a not so powerful family. He also never included the Native Americans as his people and was selfish by not listening to other ideas and making himself look above all others.
However, Jackson could be argued democratic because he helped bring out the voices of the poor into the government and even adopted a Native American child, whom he treated as his own. But while he may have adopted this boy, Andrew Jackson completely excluded the rest of Native Americans from his government and isn’t the democracy about all the people? As stated in Document 9, the Cherokee begged Congress to permit them to stay on the land of their fathers. They think that they would be alone in their new territory, and that they would be more comfortable where they are. But, their request was dismissed. Document 10 further proves how the Natives suffered under the rule of Jackson. They traveled for miles and a vast majority of them lost their lives on the Trail of Tears. Also seen in Document 8, Jackson states that the Native Americans could choose to leave their land.
However, Jackson also says that if they refuse to do, they would have to follow the United States’s laws, given them no choice but to leave of they wanted their own civilization. Despite his rudeness to the Native Americans, Document 11 states Jackson did adopt a Native American child as his own. But what is saving one life while throwing hundreds away? While Jackson may be trying to help his nation in building their lives, he believes the Native Americans are useless and makes them leave their own land. This shows his lack of democracy because the Native Americans were not animals, they were people, too. While he lacked interest in the Native Americans, he didn’t stop there. Jackson didn’t just only support the American people, but specifically honored only the poor, while giving no time to concern to the rich higher classes.
In Document 4, Jackson sent a letter to Congress to veto the bank. He did this because he believed that it only helped the rich and other foreigners. By saying this, he shows that he was only concerned about helping the poor and bringing down the rich. As a response to Jackson’s veto message, Daniel Webster sent his own reply to his message in Document 5. Webster said that Jackson was attempting to separate the social classes in order to make them fight against each other. Regardless of his uneven attention to the separate social classes, Document 1 shows that after the Election of 1828, more votes were by the people. Document 2 also mentions how Jackson was very well liked by the people, too. But still, Andrew Jackson held no respect for the upper class and these undemocratic things showed his lack of interest in helping the upperclassmen, even though they were his people, too. F
inally, the main piece of evidence for being undemocratic is his ego. Jackson proved to be very self-centered, while a democracy should be for the people. In Document 3, Jackson is depicted as a king trampling the Constitution with a scepter in hand. This image makes it seem that he is above others and is the commander of the nation. However, shouldn’t the government belong to the people? Also in Document 7, Andrew Jackson was given advice by Secretary of State Van Buren. Van Buren said that the man who Jackson was planning to appoint into a government office had a reputation of stealing. Jackson ignored this advice and claimed that the man was one of his earliest supporters. When he was assigned, the man ran off with $1,222,705.09. Nevertheless, Jackson did say that he submits to the people in Document 6 and that he will honor their advice.
However, Jackson’s egocentric habits cost him so much and were not following the ideas of democracy. Andrew Jackson proved to be undemocratic by being self-centered and being untrustful of the government. A democratic leader should not tower over his people and should be open to everyone’s opinion. Although Andrew Jackson was an undemocratic president, he did few things that were also for the people. For example, Document 1 shows how the voices of the people in the government grew after the period of Andrew Jackson. Fewer legislature had a say in the government and so democracy spread. Also, Document 2 shows that Andrew Jackson was a popular president and was well liked by the people.
The Background Essay mentions that Jackson was voted for 15 years after he died! He also calls himself a man of the people in Document 6. This shows that he supposedly put himself for the people. While he gave little attention to the Native Americans, Document 11 shows that he adopted a Native American child as his own. After the boy died, he was buried in Jackson’s family cemetery. This shows some kindness to the Natives. However, despite these things, Andrew Jackson gave did not create the democracy he said he would. Instead, Jackson separated the classes from each other and separated the Natives from their home and the United States. Therefore, Andrew Jackson is not as democratic as he claimed because his ‘help’ gave very little benefit to the people of the United States.
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