The standout features of the period 1815-1846 were the politics of Andrew Jackson, his Democratic Party and the oppositions’ Whig Party.
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In his time, Jackson promoted the rights of the common citizen like farmers and factory workers. He granted white adult men the right to vote, significant political powers, instead of limiting enfranchisement to the wealthy. He strengthened the powers of the presidency to the detriment of Congress. He encouraged greater participation of the citizenry in matters of the State and its governance. Politicians were allowed to bring their supporters with them in office so as not to perpetuate aristocracies and concentrate power on the elite. He proposed that judges be elected and many state constitutions were re-written to reflect new values. He approved of US territorial expansion on the basis of the Manifest Destiny. Jackson did not sign the charter of the Second Bank of the United States because the Democrats did not want the bank to cater to the wealthy as it was against equal opportunities for all. The Democrats promoted individual rights and prevented government from taking part in the social and economic business of the nation. The Democrats were considered the voice of south and its interests, particularly slavery.
The Whigs on the other hand were mostly against the policies of Jackson. They were southern cotton planers who were severely affected by Jackson’s Tariff of 1828, when the British sought other markets for their wools and southern cotton rose in price. The Abolitionists were against Jackson’s slavery expansion policies, especially because of his vested interest in slavery. He was a slave owner. Businessmen disapproved of his rejection of the Second Bank of the United States. Landowners and Factory owners were at odds with his lack of infrastructure projects like roads, bridges, turnpikes and canals to support domestic economic development. The Whigs advocated a strong federal government that will provide economic development drivers like transportation infrastructures and necessary protection taxes like tariffs on imports. They believed that the government must take the lead in keeping a high moral standard and should uphold education, abolition of slavery, observe temperance and honor religious rest days of the Sabbath.
“Whig Party.” Government and Politics, 2005. Ohio History Central at
VandeCreek, Dr. Drew E. “Politics.” Historical Themes, 2000. A. Lincoln Library at