Time and the American System
For a decade and a half after the War of 1812, the so-called American System of policies formed and dominated political debate. The corporate concept of freedom lay at the heart of the arguments for such policies. Keenly aware of the social nature of man and of the nation's involvement in time, they expressed special concern for some degree of self-conscious direction and control to the common life. Political defeat came in the election of 1828 as a coalition of dissident elements rallied under Andrew Jackson's banner with the call for restoring the old Jeffersonian idea of federative freedom. In the sequel, marked by the dismantling of the American System of policies, President Jackson invited the nation of freemen to move forward to a glorious destiny without essential direction from the federal government.
The testimony of many contemporaries and later historians suggests that the events of the early National Period do not fall quite so easily into such a neat ideological pattern. To them the American System was hardly American and certainly not very systematic at all. Foes of a protective tariff, internal improvements, or a more cautious disposition of the western lands professed to find in the combination of these measures a European pattern of corruption