Even the illusion of national consensus of the so-called Era of Good Feelings wasshattered by the panic of 1819 and the Missouri Compromise of 1820. Vigorous politicalopposition, once feared, came to be celebrated as necessary for the health of democracy.New political parties formed and new styles of campaigning took hold. New forms ofpoliticking emerged in this era, as candidates used banners, badges, parades, barbecues,and baby kissing to “get out the vote.”
From 1824 voter turnout rose dramatically. Only about ¼ of eligible voters cast a ballotin 1824, but that proportion doubled in 1828, and in 1840 it reached 78%. Everywherethe people flexed their political muscles, as this election day crowd in Philadelphiaillustrates.
THE “CORRUPT BARGAIN” of 1824 The candidates in the election of 1824 were A. Jackson (TN), H. Clay (KY), W. Crawford (GA), and J. Adams (MA). Jackson, the war hero, had the strongest appeal, especially in the West. He polled almost as many popular votes as his next two rivals combined, but he failed to win a majority of the electoral vote. The election moved to the House, where it would choose among the top 3 candidates. Clay was out of the race, but as House Speaker, he could influence the outcome.
JACKSONIAN “REVOLUTION of 1828”Why is this election referred to as the “Revolution of 1828?” What was Adams’fate? Describe Jackson’s personal profile and his first inauguration. Despite his large popularity, what did some others think of him? Is it safe to say that Jackson was a polarizing figure?
THE TRICKY “TARIFF of ABOMINATIONS”The touchy tariff issue had been one of John Adam’s biggest headaches. Tariffs protected Americanindustry against European competition, but they drove up prices and invited retaliatory tariffs onAmerican goods. In 1824 Congress had raised the general tariff from 23% to 37%.Ardent Jacksonites played politics with the tariff as the election of 1828 approached. Theysupported a higher tariff (up to 45%) that they expected to be defeated, which would give a black eyeto Pres. Adams. To their surprise, the tariff passed in 1828, the vote being along sectional lines.Now, Jackson would inherit the tariff political hot potato as president.
Southerners, as heavy consumers of manufactured goods, were shocked by what theyregarded as the outrageous rates of the Tariff of 1828. Hotheads promptly branded itthe “Black Tariff” or the “Tariff of Abominations.”Why did the South, especially SouthCarolina, react so angrily against thetariff?
Southerners believed, not illogically, that the “Yankee tariff” discriminated against them, but it enriched wealthy New England. South Carolina took the lead in protesting against the “Tariff of Abominations.” Their legislature published a pamphlet in 1828 known as “The South CarolinaExposition,” secretly penned by John Calhoun. Summarize his key points.Describe the personal and political dilemma that put Calhoun in an awkward position. Did othersouthern states join South Carolina’s protests? What were southern expectations regardingJackson?
THE BANK WARPresident Jackson did not hate all banks and all businesses, but he distrustedmonopolistic banking and over-big businesses, as did his followers. What was Jackson’sperception of the BUS? And explain “Gallant Harry’s” bank scheme in 1832 – did itwork?
“OLD HICKORY” WALLOPS CLAY in 1832Clay and Jackson were the chief gladiators in the 1832 election and the campaign wasraucous. What features distinguished this election? Was the election a big win forJackson?
Explain the economic impact of Jackson “killing” the BUS. Thus, the BUSperformed important economic functions.
THE BIRTH of the WHIGSNew political parties were gelling as the 1830’s lengthened. Jackson’s opponents, fumingat his ironfisted exercise of presidential power, condemned him as “King Andrew I” andcreated the WhigParty – a name symbolic to Revolutionary American opposition to themonarchy. Who were the two key leaders? And what was the party strategy for victory in 1836? Who were the two primary candidates in 1836? And who was the winner?
DEPRESSION DOLDRUMS and the INDEPENDENT TREASURYThe panic of 1837 was a symptom of the financial times. Identify the causes of thisdrastic economic downturn. Hardship was acute and widespread. Factories closed and unemployed workers milled in the streets. Describe Van Buren’s controversial “Divorce Bill” to help the ailing economy. What was its official name when it finally passed Congress? What was it a precursor for?
GONE to TEXASExplain the arrangement between the govt. of Mexico and Stephen Austin in 1823. By the 1830’s, howwas the arrangement working – what were the primary areas of friction? When Austin went to Mexico City in 1833 to negotiate with the Mexicans, the dictator Santa Anna put him in jail for eight months. The explosion finally came in 1835, when Santa Anna wiped out all local rights and started to raise an army to suppress the upstart Texans.
Early in 1836 the Texans declared their independence and named Sam Houston commander in chief.Explain the course of the fighting.What was Jackson’s position on an independent Texas? What issue prevented quickunion with the U.S.? What would ultimately push America to embrace Texas?
LOG CABINS and HARD CIDER of 1840Martin Van Buren (“Martin Van Ruin”) was reluctantly re-nominated by the Democrats in1840. The Whigs, sensing victory, united behind Ohio’s William Henry Harrison. The aginghero was nominated because he was issueless and enemyless. John Tyler was selected ashis running mate. The Whigs ran a “safe” campaign, while denouncing Van Buren as an aristocrat.
POLITICS for the PEOPLEThe election of 1840 conclusively demonstrated two major changes in American politics since the Eraof Good Feelings. The first was the triumph of a populist democratic style. Politicians were nowforced to unbend and curry favor with the voting masses. The common man was on center stage.The second dramatic change was the formation of a vigorous and durable two-party system. TheJeffersonians of an earlier day were more like their Federalist opponents. By 1840, political partieshad fully come of age and were seen as an asset and not a liability. Despite differences inphilosophies, the foundations and diversity of both parties cemented the democracy.
JACKSONIAN AGE QUIZZEShttp://www.historyteacher.net/USProjects/USQuizzes/Jackson1.htmhttp://www.historyteacher.net/USProjects/USQuizzes/Jackson2.htm