For Liberty and Equality: The Life and Times of the Declaration of Independence

By Alexander Tsesis | Go to book overview

6
JACKSONIAN ERA DEMOCRACY

COMPROMISE ON THE MISSOURI TERRITORY WAS ONLY A TEMPORARY patch for the persistently strained political relations between the North and the South. Geographic, class, economic, and ethnic differences created both tensions and alliances for the control of federal, state, and local resources and public of ces. Although lacking any enforcement provision, the Declaration of Independence’s statement of natural rights continued to be invoked in a slew of policy debates. Even though the Bill of Rights explicitly protected liberties against federal encroachment, social reformers buttressed their claims by invoking the Declaration of Independence’s statement on equality. New strains of the argument became popular in the national dialogue too, with the refrain that people can more effectively exercise the Declaration’s guarantees of representative self-governance through state rather than federal lawmaking. Memory of the Revolution became a thing of an increasingly distant past, but the principles at the core of national independence remained the cornerstone of national identity.

During the Jacksonian period of American history, the Declaration of Independence was incorporated into the mission statements of various antielitist causes. The document’s statements about popular government offered interest groups a framework for demanding greater voice in politics and reduction of social distinctions. In the short run, however, it was

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For Liberty and Equality: The Life and Times of the Declaration of Independence
Table of contents

Table of contents

  • Title Page iii
  • Contents ix
  • 1 - Introduction 1
  • 2 - Becoming Independent 6
  • 3 - The Nation’s Infancy 24
  • 4 - Youthful Republic 40
  • 5 - Compromising for the Sake of Expansion 57
  • 6 - Jacksonian Era Democracy 75
  • 7 - Subordination 100
  • 8 - The Unraveling Bonds of Union 129
  • 9 - Sectional Cataclysm 148
  • 10 - Reconstruction 179
  • 11 - Racial Tensions 202
  • 12 - Advancing Women’s Causes 215
  • 13 - The Changing Face of Labor 227
  • 14 - International Impact and Domestic Advance 241
  • 15 - The Declaration in a New Deal State 264
  • 16 - Independence Principles in the Civil Rights Era 283
  • 17 - Epilogue 312
  • Acknowledgments 319
  • Appendix - The Declaration of Independence 321
  • Notes 327
  • Index 377
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