The "Era of the Common Man", through the 1820's and 1830's is also known as the "Age of Jackson". The Jacksonian Democrats thought of themselves as saviors of the common people, the constitution, political democracy, and economic opportunity. To the extent that they attempted to support equal economic opportunity and some aspects of political democracy, I agree with their view of themselves. I cannot agree however, with the notion that Jacksonian Democrats were champions of individual liberties or the constitution. Overall, the Jacksonian Democrats high regard of themselves was clearly distorted.
To a degree, Jacksonian Democrats did uphold equal economic opportunity. For example, in the Supreme Court case, Charles River Bridge v. Warren Bridge, they encouraged economic competition. The Supreme Court ruled in favor of the common man's interests over private, wealthy individuals' interests to monopolize, under the Jacksonian Democrats. (Doc. H) It can also be said that they championed equal economic opportunity with the veto of the Bank of the U.S.,
run by aristocrats and foreigners, even in light of the fact that the veto disregarded the Supreme Court decision upholding the Bank as constitutional. (Doc. B) To their credit, the Jacksonian Democrats upheld certain aspects of political democracy. They appealed to the common man (Doc A) and in the spirit of Jacksonianism, the right to vote was expanded, national nominating conventions replaced the secret caucus, and even the British were impressed with the democracy of American society. (Doc. D) Their accomplishments however, do not make up for their lack of loyalty to individual liberties and the constitution.
Jacksonian Democrats were in no way champions of the Constitution. Though at times they may have manipulated its meaning to suit their purpose, more often than not, they flouted it completely. For example, they completely failed to uphold the...