Jacksonian Democracy: Myth or Reality?

By James L. Bugg Jr. | Go to book overview

THE ANALYSTS CLASH:
Andrew Jackson

Clever Opportunist

"Democracy was good talk with which to win the favor of the people and thereby accomplish ulterior objectives. Jackson never really championed the cause of the people; he only invited them to champion his."

Thomas P. Abernethy, From Frontier to Plantation in Tennessee ( Memphis, 1955).

"In four short years Jackson had led his party from bitter opposition to the 'consolidating' tendencies of John Quincy Adams to a form of authoritarianism that outdid even the Alien and Sedition Acts of Adams' father. The individualistic democracy of the frontier lost ground to the cult of power so dear to wealth and property."

Charles M. Wiltse, John C. Calhoun Nullifier, 1829-1839 ( New York, 1949).


or Courageous Democrat

"At last these Western forces of aggressive nationalism and democracy took possession of the government in the person of the man who best embodied them, Andrew Jackson."

Frederick J. Turner, The Frontier in American History ( New York, 1920; 1962).

"Yet, in a third field came his greatest service--his Homeric battles for the preservation of our democratic institutions and the subordination of money to men in the determination of national policies."

Claude G. Bowers, Making Democracy a Reality: Jefferson, Jackson, and Polk ( Memphis, 1954).


Jacksonian Democracy

Myth

"The subsequent history of the United States offers no evidence that the influence of wealth was lessened by Jackson's reforms. The sole result of his effort was the elimination of the one bank that had public responsibility for the general welfare and sufficient capital and strength to protect and sustain the national economy. . . . Only the speculators and those so rich that they could not be hurt profited as the nation

-6-

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