Financial History of the United States: Fiscal, Monetary, Banking, and Tariff, Including Financial Administration and State and Local Finance

By Paul Studenski; Herman E. Krooss | Go to book overview

CHAPTER 9: FINANCES OF AN EMERGING DEMOCRACY, 1828 TO 1836

Economically, the nine years covered in this chapter were featured by a great speculative boom. Politically, the most important development was a continued extension of the suffrage to Western farmers and Eastern working classes. These new voters wrested power from the declining aristocracy in state and local governments, and they formed the backbone of a new national political party, which, under Andrew Jackson's leadership, claimed to be the champion of the "common man." By its victory in 1828, it gained the opportunity to provide its own answers to the problems of tariff protection, internal improvements, debt management, currency, and banking which were carried over from the impasses and gropings of the early 1820's.

In making its decisions on these issues, Jacksonian Democracy was not distinguished for consistency, for it was a coalition of widely divergent interests thrown together by a common antagonism toward the Hamiltonian tradition as represented by the Adams-Clay National Republicans. The Jacksonian party was democratic, antimonopolistic, and laissez-faire, but within its ranks it harbored at one time or another the remnants of the Jeffersonian hard-money, anti-Bank school; agrarians from the new West, who believed in easy money; state rightists, who supported low tariffs; nationalists, who looked toward the West and not toward Europe; city laborers, who opposed paper money; and budding entrepreneurs, who sought a political and economic milieu conducive to the development of industrialism.

The Tariff of Abominations of 1828 . Jacksonian Democracy rose quickly and sensationally, but its more impatient adherents saw in the tariff issue a means of obtaining even broader victories. Therefore, while in its long-run aspects the Tariff of 1828 was the culmination of the protective movement begun in 1816, in its immediate origin it was concerned, as John Randolph aptly put it, with "manufacturers of no sort or kind but the manufacture of a President of the United States." In the original bill, Jackson's supporters included high rates on raw wool. Since these were distasteful to New England's woolen manufacturers, it was expected that President Adams would oppose the measure, causing him to lose the support of the raw-materials producers of the West. However, the plan

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