A March of Liberty: A Constitutional History of the United States - Vol. 1

By Melvin I. Urofsky; Paul Finkelman | Go to book overview

15

Jacksonian Democracy

A Sense of Mastery • State Constitutional Development •
Constitutional Flexibility • The Political Party and Its
Function • Family Law • Women's Rights • Children and
the Law • Early Labor Movements • Debtor Imprisonment •
Pauper Relief • The New Prison • Code Revision • Race
Relations and Antislavery • Conclusion • For Further
Reading

THE 1830S MARKED the beginning of three decades of enormous ferment in America. Throughout the period, especially in the North and West, countless groups, organizations, and individuals clamored for “reform” and improvement in society. Vast economic, social, and political changes both stimulated the calls for reform and also made them possible. The South generally rejected social reforms (temperance was an exception), in part because slavery chained Southern society to existing social relations, even as it chained African Americans in servitude.

The era we call the Age of Jackson saw rapid strides in economic development; major steps in social and political activity also transformed laws of personal status and affected the practical workings of constitutional government. And, as in all periods of change, failure accompanied success.


A Sense of Mastery

Americans in the middle of the nineteenth century seemed in constant motion. Foreign and domestic observers noted the restless energy that fueled economic development and encouraged civic and cultural enterprises, religious crusades, and movements aimed at improving the lot of paupers, ameliorating conditions in prisons and asylums, fighting the abuse of alcohol, gaining political and legal rights for women, and, most of all, ending slavery. From coastal urban centers to interior hamlets, Americans appeared to be ceaselessly working, exhorting, building, or dreaming. Amazingly, many of these dreams came true—as canals and railroads tied the nation together and public schools,

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A March of Liberty: A Constitutional History of the United States - Vol. 1
Table of contents

Table of contents

  • Title Page iii
  • For Susan and Byrgen—yet Again v
  • Contents vii
  • Preface xiii
  • 1: From the Old World to the New 1
  • 2: Law in Colonial America 17
  • 3: The Road to Independence 39
  • 4: The Revolutionary Era 61
  • 5: The Crisis of Confederation 80
  • 6: A More Perfect Union 93
  • 7: Launching the Great Experiment 120
  • 8: The Supreme Court: the First Decade 147
  • 9: The Changing Face of the Law 165
  • 10: Adams, Jefferson, and the Courts 181
  • 11: The Marshall Court and National Power 207
  • 12: The Marshall Court and Economic Development 229
  • 13: A Law Made for the Times 248
  • 14: Politics, Nationalism, and Competition 271
  • 15: Jacksonian Democracy 296
  • 16: The Taney Court: Change and Continuity 320
  • 17: The Peculiar Laws of America's Peculiar Institution 337
  • 18: A House Dividing 366
  • 19: The Union Sundered 401
  • 20: The Union Unrestored 429
  • 21: Reconstruction 451
  • 22: The Court and Civil Rights 479
  • Appendixes - The Declaration of Independence 501
  • Articles of Confederation 505
  • Constitution of the United States 511
  • Justices of the U.S. Supreme Court 528
  • Case Index 537
  • Subject Index 542
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