Jacksonian Democracy: was Andrew Jackson Really Democratic?

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Andrew Jackson was a Lawyer and a landowner. He was the first person from the west to be elected as a member of the Senate and later the president of the United States. As many individuals know he became a national war hero after defeating the British in the battle of New Orleans during the war of 1812, which is what gained him his following. The question has risen if whether Andrew Jackson was really ""democratic"", I believe the answer to this question is no, President Andrew Jackson was not really democratic.

There are a few reasons why Jackson was not truly democratic, one being he violated the constitution by overriding the Supreme Court's decision not to throw out the Cherokee Indians from Georgia. Some believe he deliberately abused his veto power as well as he overstepping the constitutional boundaries of his office. Jackson claimed to have interest in peoples rights however his actions spoke louder than words. His actions of throwing out all the Cherokee tribes from Georgia and stating they are not really a nation, they are savages was not in any way having concern for people's rights. Even though he did allow all to vote, the Natives themselves were not given the same right as the rest. As we've all learned the meaning of a democracy is a system of government by the whole population or all the eligible members of a state, typically through elected representatives. Andrew Jackson failed to maintain his democracy due to the fact that he failed to represent power to all people. Another undemocratic scenario he partook in was the removal of the one thousand Creek, Cherokee, Chickasaw, Choctaw, and Seminole Indians forced out of their property near the Mississippi River.

Another thing Andrew Jackson was known for was creating the ""spoil system"". He created the spoils system with the intentions of firing and hiring federal workers. When Jackson was in office he fired an estimated 20% of the working officials in office. He chose to put the individuals who helped him in office as his officials due to loyalty, and he believed that by rearranging the system it would cause less corruption.

The second national bank is another example of Jackson being undemocratic. He became involved with the second national bank of the united states, a hypothetically private organization that served as government finance. He vetoed the bank because he believed it had too much power. He thought individuals such as Henry Clay (Secretary of State) would be unethical and turbulent. In 1833, Jackson was eager to put an end to the bank by vetoing its constitution. As a result of his actions, he destroyed the national bank for his own personal reasoning. This is another example of Jackson overstepping his boundaries and breaking a constitutional law in his own personal gain and at the panic of the American people. Some sources state that President Thomas Jefferson ( the author of the declaration of independence) declared He is an unfit man to be the president. He also declared the following;

I am much alarmed at the prospect of seeing General Jackson become President. He is one of the most unfit men I know of for such a place. He has very little respect for laws or Constitutions. When I was President of the Senate he was a Senator; he could never speak on account of the rashness of his feelings. I have seen him attempt it repeatedly, and as often choke with rage. His passions are no doubt cooler nowbut he is a dangerous man. ”Thomas Jefferson

If a wise soul like president Thomas Jefferson believed that Andrew Jackson was unfit to be a democratic president due to him having little to no respect for laws and constitutions, then why should we believe different? It was so bad that he wasn't even allowed to speak on the board because of the rashness of his feelings.

In the biography of Andrew Jackson, he went against all reason. He showed a major lack of good judgment when he appointed one of his 'Homies' (a notorious thief) a spot in office. This in itself ended up hurting our country economically. Yet another selfish and foolish act.

One thing to take into consideration is how democracy has evolved over time. Nowadays it is not as forgiving as it was then. The way we view and run a democracy is very different than how it used to be, but even considering this I still firmly believe that Andrew Jackson was not a democrat. Yes we were still developing the definition of a Democracy at that time, but his actions still did not fit the criteria of a true, devoted,and honest democrat.

Andrew Jackson was a man who abused his right as president to veto laws on more than one occasion, a man who disregarded Congress, and a man who did not want to let the national bank form due to his own personal reasons. Though Jackson's intentions were pure towards the citizens of the United States, he still failed to pay attention to the details in his actions. He always did what he felt was right instead of what the people felt was right. Even if he did do what the people felt was right it still wouldnt be a true democracy due to the fact that the natives themselves were not permitted the same rights as the people.He never seemed to realize that his actions did indeed have consequences. These consequences may not have affected him or that time period directly, but they did take effect in the future. President Jackson did have pros and cons just like every other president but, there were very minimal pros in his presidency, and many would agree that the cons outweigh the pros by a long hall. All in all I do not believe Andrew Jackson was a valid democrat during his years as the president of the United States.

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Jacksonian Democracy: Was Andrew Jackson Really Democratic?. (2019, Jul 09). Retrieved April 13, 2024 , from

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