One area where Jefferson and Jackson can be compared similarly is in politics. Jefferson believed that eligibility for people of office should be among egalitarian citizens, or people who are not of high social status (property owners). Rather, a person who is charismatic, talented, and honest should be considered for office as a leader. Similarly, Jackson, “a man of the people”, shared this belief with Jefferson that the egalitarian point of view among citizens of the United States helped empower a democracy.
Instead of being a hard-edged, uncompassionate leader who lacks regard for the opinions of the American people, a governing leader should be personable, and more importantly accepting of the views of the American people. This in turn would strengthen democracy. In other words, Jefferson and Jackson were mainly about the people and wholeheartedly believed in pushing for equality. Jefferson and Jackson also viewed the election process with a similar take. They were elected president in different ways.
In Jefferson’s era, the majority of votes determined the appointment of the president, and the vice president was determined based on the next most votes. This is different from Jackson’s era, where he experienced an Electoral College mishap, so he was not elected president even after earning a majority of the popular votes in 1824. However, Jackson would eventually be elected in 1828, the next election, but he still called for the abolishment of the Electoral College. Though their paths to presidency were quite different, Jackson and Jefferson shared similar views on the process.
Jefferson and Jackson also had differing views on education. Jefferson believed that an educated nation could govern itself, which is evident in his passing of “The Bill of Education”, which would help the less wealthy people receive an education. He felt that elementary school was the most important part of an education. On the other hand, Jackson felt that public education made religious freedom inferior. He felt that it took away from individual freedom that interferes with parental guidance and instruction.
Both Jackson and Jefferson make very valid points, but their views are clearly juxtaposing. While there are many notable differences between Jefferson and Jackson, there is one major similarity: their opinions relating to economics. They both firmly opposed a United States Bank that stood in opposition of state banks. Jackson was in favor of state banks and had won a bank war that enabled him to draw out money from the federal standpoint and place these funds into state banks.
Jefferson had the same view, as he encouraged state banks. In other words, both Jackson and Jefferson opposed a national bank, and encouraged state banks. Probably the most glaring difference between Jackson and Jefferson was their opinions on Native Americans. As a young man, Jackson spent a lot a time fighting Indians. The Indians were the natural enemy of the white settlers, as surprise attacks were often conducted, where houses were burned and whole families were murdered.
Having experienced this, it is safe to say that Jackson did not think highly of the Indians. On the other end of the spectrum, Jefferson grew up as a student of Indian life of the frontier. In the book, Jefferson refutes the ignorant opinions of Buffon, a Frenchmen who declared that Indians, compared to Europeans, are “less strong in body; he is also less sensitive, and yet more timid and cowardly; he has no vivacity, no activity of mind. ” Jefferson, having personally known Indians, refuted Buffon’s opinions wholeheartedly.
He respected them as people, and praised their numerous good qualities. Jefferson and Jackson both helped contribute to the foundation of United States Democracy. They shared similar political and economic views, while having contrasting views on education and Indians. Both men would eventually go down as two of the most prolific leaders in our nations history. Their significance cannot be understated, and their similarities and differences help contribute to who they were as great American leaders.