As the Jeffersonian era began to decline, a new era began to form. The Jacksonian Democracy brought in a surge of energy to people across the United States. Energy driven by both the quest for westward expansion and the excitement of a young and developing nation. The previous one-party system dominated by the Democratic-Republicans had been snuffed out and Andrew Jackson and his crowd of supporters rose from the ashes. Andrew Jackson redefined Presidency by founding the still-existing Democratic party, by going against the Supreme Court’s decision in the case of Worcester v. Georgia, and by his effective campaign strategies.
Andrew Jackson redefined Presidency in a huge way by creating the Democratic Party. Before this, all politics were based off of the one-party system that consisted of the Democratic-Republicans. By creating the Democratic party, Jackson redefined the current political era by bringing in a new two party system, which was mainly dominated by the Democrats and they’re rivals the Whig party. In the Presidential election of 1828, Jackson with his new multitude of supporters won the popular vote and the electoral college by a landslide. This new political party lead by Jackson really changed everything about Presidency because his party is still largely in use today, even the current President is a member of it. Creating a fully-functional and long lasting political party is nothing less than a historical feat, and Andrew Jackson was the catalyst of it all. Creating the Democratic party was the first of many actions that Andrew Jackson did to redefine Presidency. (Meyers,” Andrew Jackson and the Democratic Party, 1825 to 1828.”)
Another way that Jackson redefined Presidency was arguably the most controversial aspect of his term in office. President Jackson went against a decision that was made by the Supreme Court and acted on his own accord, based on his support of Indian Removal from the United States. In the supreme court case, Worcester v. Georgia, Cherokee Indians presented their case to the Supreme Court that Georgia had no right to claim their land and to try and force the Indians out of their homes, based off of previous treaties that were signed between the Cherokee and the United States. The Supreme Court, led by Chief Justice John Marshall ruled in favor of the Cherokee Indians, concurring with the Cherokee that Georgia had no right to ignore the treaties and continue expansion, forcing the Cherokee from their home.
President Jackson was for Indian Removal from the United States, is known for saying this, “John Marshall has made his decision: now let him enforce it!” (Elam “Jackson, Andrew”) This was a direct blow to John Marshall and the rest of the Supreme Court, as the power to enforce the law set in place by the Supreme Court resided with Andrew Jackson himself. So by ignoring the Supreme Court’s decision, Jackson watched as Georgia expanded through the lands of the Indians and forcibly removed them from the land, which led to skirmishes between the Indians and the U.S. soldiers and to the “Trail of Tears” In which over 4,000 of Cherokee Indian’s died during their forced removal from the territory. By defying the Supreme Court and forcing the removal of the Indians, Andrew Jackson showed his power to be the one in control and gained a negative reputation among historians, thus redefining Presidency. (Wikipedia, “Indian Removal”)
Andrew Jackson redefined Presidency through his impressive campaign strategies. Andrew Jackson presented himself as the supporter for the “common man”, a term used to describe the average American citizen. By claiming to represent the Common Man, Jackson was able to rally enough supporters to form the Democratic party and to win the Presidential election of 1828. His supporters were just normal people looking for their beliefs to be heard and not disregarded. Andrew Jackson continued to reshape Presidency and show his support for the common man when he became the first President ever to invite the public to attend his inauguration party held at the White House.
So many people showed up that dishes were broken in the White House as a mob of people filled up the house, with poor citizens standing on antique chairs with muddy boots in order to catch a glimpse of their beloved President. (Wikipedia, “First Inauguration of Andrew Jackson”) This event made Jackson all the more popular with the people, and he later rewarded them more by introducing the spoils system, in which he gave jobs in the government to people who supported him during his campaigning and shared his political views. Jackson claimed that this system would prevent corruption and allow for more harmonious political interactions. (Digital History, “The Presidency of Andrew Jackson”)
Andrew Jackson was an extremely controversial President to say the least. Between his overzealous claims to represent the common man, his arrogant attitude towards the Supreme Court, and his malicious dealings with the Indians, it is difficult to judge his character and to assess how he initially had such a large pull of supporters. Regardless of morals, Andrew Jackson did redefine Presidency. He brought to life the two-party system with the creation of the Democratic party and the indirect creation of the opposing Whig party. Jackson demonstrated his power over the Supreme Court by defying their decision in the Worcester v. Georgia case, and he showed that by showing interest in the common American citizen you can get a large source of support politically. Jackson’s actions effect America today as President Barrack Obama claims the Democratic party as his own. These actions brought about by Jackson redefined Presidency forever, and America as a whole.
Courtney from Study Moose
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