During the 1828 election when Jackson ran for office the second time he succeeded, as he did previously, but this time nothing stood in his way of becoming president. The Jacksonian Democracy that Jackson had brought into the government when he was elected was a true democratic movement that was dedicated to it’s egalitarian views. Although, in this time period the equal rights ideas were still mainly for the white men, disregarding women, African Americans, and the Native Americans.
The Jacksonian Democracy was a large force in the individual rights for the working class, as interpreted in Document A; “The Working Men’s Declaration of Independence”, by George Henry Evans, as he says, “‘But when a long train of abuses and usurpations’ take place, all invariably tending to the oppression and degradation of one class of society, and to the unnatural and iniquitous exaltation of another by political leaders, ‘it is their right, it is their duty:’ to use every constitutional means to reform the abuses of such government, and to provide new guards for their future security.” In his writing he quotes parts of the declaration to make a point that what the forefathers had said could be used to represent the working class, and to make a point that it was the government’s duty to protect such men from the lack of opportunities that the government failed to give them and the rights that they failed to protect in the previous year with various government leaders.
When Jackson was re-elected in 1832, the renewal of the National bank was vetoed by Jackson, and some think that it’s simply because he had a strong dislike for the men that were for the bank. In his veto message, Document B, Andrew Jackson stated that, “It appears that more than a fourth part of the stock is held by foreigners,” and Jackson had had a strong dislike for foreigner’s, chiefly the British, since he was a young boy, “and the residue is held by a few hundred of our own citizens, chiefly of the richest class.” It could be interpreted through this that Jackson, along with his dislike for Clay, wanted to keep the American government and economy ruled solely by the Americans, not an outside force like the French and British.
Andrew Jackson was a strong believer of Nationalist values, and his values contributed to the way he saw individual rights. Jackson viewed the nation as a whole, and just being American – granted, if you were a white male, not of Irish descent – than you it was your right to have the same liberties as everyone else. You could vote, own land, run for office, and have the same opportunities as someone from the upper class if you were among the poorest in the country.
Among the many equal rights opportunities, many reform movements began to take place that brought a new light to the Jacksonian government. Public education became something that every child could receive until they reached the age of a secondary school student, and having every child receive education was a large part of his equal rights value. The two other reforms were for the criminally insane/mentally insane, the Asylum movement, led by Dorothea Dix, and the Woman’s rights movement. Although Jackson didn’t believe in the same rights of man and woman, the movement went along with the equal rights and opportunities of his government. With the three new reforms taking place in the United States, they benefitted from the others. Women were able to secure jobs as nurse and school teachers, but with many rules, the insane were able to escape from the criminal and terrible conditions they were residing in, and children, whether they be male or female, could receive a proper education.
One of the largest movements of the day was the Second Great Awakening – a religious movement. Many people were given more freedom when it came to their religion, some converting, others not. Those who converted to the newly introduced religions were able to express their religious beliefs, while one hundred years prior they could not as openly. Although some religions were seen as improper, they weren’t as harsh to those of other religions as they may have been in the past.
As a result of the changes in the American lifestyle, members of the Jacksonian Democracy believed that it was their duty to preserve the nation in the way that they had seen it, and in their eyes they viewed themselves as “the guardians of the United States, political democracy, individual liberty, and equality of economic opportunity”.
Courtney from Study Moose
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