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Jacksonian Democracy

In the 1820s, America was undergoing a rapid change. For many years, the United States had only one political party during what was known as the “Era of Good Feelings.” However, in the 1820s, the parties began to split and a coalition, built around the common man, coalesced under Andrew Jackson. Jacksonian democracy, as it developed, led to the emergence of the modern two-party system in America.

Jacksonian Democracy

Andrew Jackson, a military hero from the War of 1812, first ran for President in 1824, but was defeated by John Quincy Adams, despite winning the popular vote. Four years later, Jackson won the White House, and transformed national politics. Jackson introduced the spoils system, and attempted to govern for the “common man,” leading to such actions as his destruction of the Second Bank of the United States.

Jacksonian democracy was built upon several broad principles, including the expansion of suffrage (the right to vote) to all white males without the need to own property. Jacksonian democracy also had a strong expansionist policy, which later became known as Manifest Destiny, the idea that the natural boundary of the United States should stretch from the Atlantic to the Pacific.

Andrew Jackson also introduced the spoils system, which saw lucrative government jobs going to party loyalists. Jackson was also instrumental in introducing much of the US policy towards Native Americans that saw their removal and ultimate destruction.

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