A comparison of jeffersonian and jacksonian concepts about democracy
A Comparison of Jeffersonian and Jacksonian concepts about Democracy
______Jeffersonian Democracy__________________ Jacksonian Democracy_________
Feared a strong central government
Desired a strong central government
Strengthened the Congress – the
Legislative branch for the sake of the
People – the people who could vote and
Strengthened the Executive branch for the
common people – voting laws had changed by
1828 and property was not a requirement for
Jefferson believed that an educated group of
elite citizens could run the country.
Jackson believed in the universal
enfranchisement of all eligible white males
Jefferson believed that well-intentioned
planter class of farmers such as the planter
class should be the leaders of the nation.
Jackson believed this period increase of respect and
power for the common men.
Broadly speaking, Jacksonian democracy, in contrast to the Jeffersonian era,
promoted the strength of the executive branch and the Presidency at the expense of
Congressional power, while also seeking to broaden the public's participation in
government. Jacksonians believed in enfranchising all eligible white males, rather
than just the propertied class, and supported the patronage system that enabled
politicians to appoint their supporters into administrative offices (To the Victor Go
the Spoils), arguing that it would lead to increased public participation in politics.
They opposed appointive judges. They rewrote many state constitutions to reflect
the new values. In national terms the Jacksonians favored geographical expansion;
sometimes justifying it in terms of Manifest Destiny.
There was usually a consensus among both Jacksonians and Whigs that political
battles over slavery should be avoided. The Jacksonian Era lasted roughly from
Jackson's election until the slavery issue became dominant after 1850 and the
American Civil War dramatically reshaped American politics.