Events That Changed America in the Nineteenth Century

By John E. Findling; Frank W. Thackeray | Go to book overview

4
Jacksonian Democracy,
1828-1840

INTRODUCTION

Named for Andrew Jackson, the noted War of 1812 veteran and Indian fighter from Tennessee who served as president from 1829 to 1837, Jacksonian democracy represented a new and different concept of the nature and responsibilities of the federal government. Jacksonian democracy was seen primarily in a greater sense of democratic participation in the government and in a reduction of federal responsibility, particularly with respect to the nation's economic system.

Andrew Jackson had lost the 1824 presidential election to John Quincy Adams in a close and controversial contest that was decided in the House of Representatives. Although Jackson had received a plurality of electoral votes in the general election, he had fallen short of a majority, and when third-place finisher Henry Clay shifted his support to Adams in the House of Representatives vote, it was sufficient to vault the former secretary of state into the White House. Although many at the time thought a secret deal had been made between Adams and Clay, especially since Clay became Adams's secretary of state, no hard evidence has ever been found to prove what was called a "corrupt bargain."

Jackson was not a man to forget or forgive, however, and he came back with a vengeance in the election of 1828. This campaign was the

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