Jackson’s followers were common men who believed in the rights for the lower and working classes, strict interpretation of the constitution,and democracy instead of a republic. Many of his followers were inspired when Jackson rose from little education and social opportunity and took President, and they knew he would protect their rights and fight for the “Common man ,” instead of the elite. Supporters and followers of Andrew Jackson believed they were the guardians of the Constitution and political democracy, however they failed to establish equal opportunity for women, blacks, or native Americans, and they overlooked key issues such as the national bank because they felt it threatened the democratic society. Jackson’s followers wanted to protect the constitution and the ideas it represented. They agreed with Jackson that the bank was a monopoly created to take their money, so naturally they opposed it.
They thought it limited them and gave the elites power, and was too full of foreign investment. (Doc B) &(Doc C) The believed in a strict interpretation of the constitution, which would only allow for what was necessary, which the bank didn’t seem to be from their opinions. Jackson used his veto power to destroy the bank. The veto of the bank would later on be detrimental and cause the depression of 1830, once Jackson is out of office. Jackson tried to suppress non slave states from publishing abolishment articles, which he thought was constitutional.
(Doc F) Also when the debate over the Constitutionality of the movement of the Native Americans ensued, Jackson refused to listen to the federal court ruling in Worcester vs. Georgia. In a way this was going against the constitution, because in the Constitution it is clear that is the President’s duty to carry out the federal court’s decisions and instead he disobeyed it and forced the Indians to move west. (Doc G) This is one way Jackson’s followers bent their interpretation of the Constitution to fit their political needs.
When it came to political democracy, Jackson’s followers were determined to end the political corruption and make it so the government was run by the common man. The domination of politics by the elites was an issue for them, and they thought as average people, they knew what America needed best. (Doc A) The spoils system, which allowed common men to serve with a president as his cabinet, was put in place by Jackson to stop corruption, although many aspects of the spoils system caused more problems. Harriet Martineau, a British author thought it odd that the uneducated should be in office, questioning the knowledge of the common man. ( Doc D) Jackson also established the nomination convention which made it easier for common people to be more involved in the picking of candidates.
Jackson and his followers believed in the ideas of individual liberty, especially when it came to the development of unions to protect the working class. They were adamant on protecting the rights of the male working class, and were key contributors to the male suffrage movement of the 20’s and 30’s. They believed your started social position shouldn’t limit the economic success you experience,(Doc A) and Jackson was their inspiration to climb the social ladder without education. Martineau described the equal opportunity she saw in the U.S ranging from independent citizens in the towns and landowners in the country, but no poverty, ignorance, servility, or insolence. ( Doc D)
Unfortunately, these rights did not expand to all men, in fact Jackson was known for being racist against blacks and native Americans. He supported the removal to the Indians, and didn’t believe equal opportunity extended to them. ( Doc G) He never supported the abolishment of slavery, and suppressed blacks in general which can be seen in the image of blacks rebelling against him. (Doc E) Jackson also didn’t believe women were equal to men, and didn’t support any female suffrage movements. It would be unrealistic to say that Jackson supported equal opportunity, when so many people were suppressed during his terms.
Equal opportunities for the common man were most prominent in the Equality of Economic opportunities. The Jacksonians supported freedom for charters, which gave anyone the opportunity to open a business. They also supported opportunities for farmers and agricultural workers. One example is the Charles River Bridge v. Warren Bridge case (Doc H) which created new jobs for the common man, and idea that Jackson cherished greatly. The Jacksonians believed in the creation of industry would stimulate the economy and help the work force. One last economic opportunity that Jackson supported was the Pet banks, which were small banks that would give more rights to the people instead of the federal bank, which favored the elites.
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