Lecture 9 - Upper Iowa University

January 6, 2018 | Author: Anonymous | Category: History, US History
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Hist 110 American Civilization I Instructor: Dr. Donald R. Shaffer Upper Iowa University

Lecture 9 The Decline of Deferential Politics 

The American Revolution weakened the power of the old colonial elite, but did not eliminate it  

They continued to dominate the political system in the Early Republic Many ordinary men were land owners and could vote, but the elite controlled them through loans and “treating”



What changed the situation was the increasing expansion of suffrage by eliminating property ownership requirements in order to vote



Made possible by:  A more egalitarian version of republican ideology  Western expansion which made it possible for people to leave elitedominated areas and forced elites to treat people better to keep them

Women voting in New Jersey in the early 1800s (because of a legal fluke that was soon closed)

Lecture 9 The Rise of Political Parties  Some scholars believe the first party system (Republicans vs. Federalists) was not a real party system because the parties themselves did not accept that political parties were legitimate and did not believe in the concept of a “loyal opposition”  The new political parties of the early 19th century filled the void left by the decline of deferential politics No longer was politics dominated by a small group of wealthy notables (planters, merchants, etc.) who did not make their living through politics, but by an ambitious group of middle-class men, coming in from law, journalism, etc., who made politics a paying career  Martin Van Buren epitomized this new type of politician: a lawyer by training, he built a political machine in New York State and then used it to move into national politics 

Martin Van Buren

Lecture 9 Election of 1824  1824 saw the first national election dominated by the new democratic style of politics  Three candidates who were nominal Jeffersonian Republicans refused to accept the nomination by the party caucus of William Crawford, as its presidential candidate, and challenged him in the November election  The three candidates overwhelmed the ailing Crawford in the Electoral College    

Andrew Jackson: 99 votes John Quincy Adams: 84 votes William Crawford: 41 votes Henry Clay: 37 votes

 With no majority winner, the election was decided in the U.S. House of Representatives Henry Clay, who was powerful there, supported Adams, who prevailed  When Adams appointed Clay as Secretary of State, Jackson’s followers cried foul, calling it a “corrupt bargain” 

The Presidential Candidates of 1824: Andrew Jackson, John Quincy Adams, Henry Clay, and William H. Crawford

Lecture 9 John Quincy Adams as President  A tragic episode in Adams otherwise brilliant career 

A brilliant diplomat—father of the Monroe Doctrine

 His great talents did not include the qualities needed to succeed as president such charisma and public warmth  Policies: ardent nationalist, supported the American System, and federal money for all internal improvements  Assailed by his political enemies as an aristocrat and tyrant  Last president who tried to be the “Patriot King” 



Your textbook describes him as a “notable”--a throwback to the era of deferential politics He refused to be a party leader and vainly tried to rise above political differences

Lecture 9 Election of 1828  If 1824 was the first national election that demonstrated the potential of democratic politics, then 1828 was the election that showed how the sentiments of ordinary Americans could be deliberately harnessed behind a single candidate Martin Van Buren used his political machine to promote the candidacy of Andrew Jackson  He and other Jacksonians orchestrated an unprecedented publicity campaign  They portrayed Jackson as a man of the people, who would defend equal rights and popular rule against unfair privilege 

 Jackson overwhelmed Adams in the Electoral College, winning 178 of the 261 electoral votes 

Ordinary Americans felt one of them had finally made it to the White House

Lecture 9 Andrew Jackson as President  Andrew Jackson came into the presidency in 1828 with a definite sense of what he and his followers believed  Favored agrarian interests over manufacturing  Feared concentrated economic power  Favored limited government  Favored state and local over national authority  Generally unsympathetic to the Benevolent Empire

 Spoils System  



Jackson embraced the spoils system like no president before him He supported the wholesale removal of bureaucratic appointees from the previous administration and frequent rotation of officeholders to insure the maximum patronage yield Jackson believed any reasonably intelligent man could do just about any government job

Cartoon lampooning Jackson’s support of the spoils system

Lecture 9 Jackson’s Political Wars  Nullification Crisis The South bitterly opposed the Tariff of 1828, especially South Carolina where it was called the “Tariff of Abominations”  Insufficient tariff reductions in the new 1832 law led South Carolina to try to nullify both laws in their state  Jackson threatened military action to enforce the tariff, but it never happened because Henry Clay intervened with a compromise tariff 

 Bank War The other great political battle of Jackson’s presidency was over whether to recharter the 2nd Bank of United States  Jackson passionately opposed the recharter, especially when the Bank’s allies in Congress pushed the issue early in 1832 hoping Jackson would not oppose them in an election year  Jackson vetoed the recharter bill, claiming Congress had no authority to issue a charter and attacking the bank as a bastion of economic privilege  The public rallied to Jackson and after reelection he pulled federal deposits out of the 2nd Bank of the United States into pro-Jackson state banks—”pet banks” 

Cartoon celebrating Jackson’s attack on the Second Bank of the United States

Lecture 9 The Trials of Martin Van Buren 

Martin Van Buren became Vice President in Jackson’s second term when John C. Calhoun resigned during the Nullification Crisis 



As Vice President and Jackson’s closest political ally, he was Jackson’s logical successor and won election in 1836

Van Buren’s presidency was jinxed from the start 



The Panic of 1837 erupted just before Van Buren’s inauguration and fairly or unfairly he received the blame  Democratic monetary and fiscal policy was arguably to blame for panic and for making it worse  Independent Treasury Act: withdrew federal money from the banking system—pleasing hard money Democrats but hurting the economy While Van Buren avoided war with Mexico his continuation of Jackson’s Indian removal policy resulted in the longest and costliest Indian War in American history—the 2nd Seminole War

Cartoon contemplating a man’s ruin from the Panic of 1837

Lecture 9 The Whigs  Not all Americans agreed with the Jacksonian’s program Whigs coalesced around opponents of Andrew Jackson and his policies  They called themselves Whigs (after the anti-monarchical English party of the 18th century) to emphasize what they saw as Jackson’s aggressive pursuit of executive power  The rise of the Whigs completed the emergence of the first true party system in U.S.  Both party’s opposed each other but did see the opposition as illegitimate 

 Whig’s political positions     

Favored activist federal government Favored federal support for all internal improvements Favored a national bank Favored a protective tariff Closely associated with moral reform movements of the Benevolent Empire

Cartoon attacking Jackson’s heavy-hand political style

Lecture 9 Labor and the Panic of 1837  By the 1830s, there existed a politicallyoriented labor movement They sought to spread the prosperity of the Industrial Revolution to workers  They wanted to abolish private banks, chartered monopolies, and debtor’s prisons  They wanted a society without dependent workers, in which men worked for themselves and owned their own means of production 

 These parties could not compete with the Democratic Party (i.e., Jacksonians), as most workers saw the Democrats, with their egalitarian rhetoric, as more able to achieve some of their goals The workingmen’s parties also were undone by the courts that generally were hostile to organized labor, declaring labor unions as criminal conspiracies  The Panic of 1837 dealt them a deathblow by taking away what little bargaining power labor had, as workingmen faced mass unemployment 

Lemuel Shaw, the Massachusetts judge who gave organized labor one of its few legal victories in Commonwealth v. Hunt (1842) by declaring labor unions in the state were not criminal conspiracies

Lecture 9 Election of 1840  With the Democrats and Van Buren getting the blame for the Panic of 1837, 1840 looked to be a promising election year for the Whigs  They adopted the tactics and egalitarian rhetoric of the Democrats, nominating a popular war hero, William Henry Harrison The Whigs whipped up enthusiasm for the candidate with songfests, parades, and mass meetings  They attacked Van Buren as an aristocrat, with aristocratic tastes  The Whigs also incorrectly portrayed Harrison as a self made man happy to live in a log cabin and drink hard cider, when he was really more of an aristocrat than Van Buren having been born and grown up in a mansi0n 

 Harrison easily defeated Van Buren, but died a month after taking office and his successor, John Tyler, a former Democrat, often supported Democratic policy goals

William Henry Harrison

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