Westward Extension, 1841-1850

By George Pierce Garrison | Go to book overview

CHAPTER III
ELECTION OF 1840 (1839-1840)

T HE political alignment that separated the mass of votes in the United States in 1840 into "Democrats" and "Whigs" dates from the presidency of Andrew Jackson. Under his dominating influence there developed a new system of political ideals and policies; and meanwhile there grew up an opposing system, which seemed hardly to understand itself until it had won its first great victory For twelve years Jacksonian Democracy controlled the government with vigorous self assertion, till in 1840 the Whigs were at length in a position to challenge its supremacy.

The party division of the period ( 1824-1840)were Essentially personal. The parties were no more than inchoate groups, all claiming to be of the same political household, but each looking to a different leader. While all claimed to be of Jefferson, one was of Adams, another of Clay, and another of Jackson. But to follow Jackson after he became president meant the adoption of a positive and aggressive policy and a set of principles which could

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