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Jacksonian Democracy?

Primary Source Set

Andrew Jackson’s two terms as President (1829-1837) included many tests of the American Democratic system. Jackson vetoed twelve pieces of legislation, including the Maysville Road Bill and the rechartering of the Second Bank of the United States. Jackson also oversaw Indian Removal and weathered South Carolina’s nullification crisis over what the Carolinians called the Tariff of Abominations. Jackson’s presidency has been known as the “era of the common man,” a time when voting rights were extended to all white men in almost every state. This era also saw the rise of American Democratic Party. However, recent scholarship argues that the 1830s was a time of staunch nationalism as the Southern cottonocracy spread its plantation system further west. The purpose of this primary source set is to weigh both sides of the argument and decide whether Jackson’s presidency was a time of democracy, a time of rising nationalism or a combination of the two.

Additional resources for research

  1. Letters written by Andrew Jackson, National Archives and Records Administration via Digital Public Library of America.

  2. King Andrew and the Bank, Humanities: The Magazine of the National Endowment for the Humanities.

  3. Andrew Jackson, The White House.

  4. Andrew Jackson: Tough as Old Hickory, The Hermitage.

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