The Jeffersonian Party dominated the "Era of Good Feelings". At the end of this Era there was a big battle between the Jacksonian Democrats and the Whigs. The Democrats won a majority of the elections between 1826 and 1853. Although they won, both parties went through many struggles.
The Whigs favored a large provisional federal government and a loose construction of the Constitution. The Whigs were also known as the National Republicans. They believed the best idea was to have a loose construction of the Constitution. The framers wrote Article 2 very vague and indecisive because that is the way they wanted it. The Democrats favored a small, weak federal government that the common people ran. An example of this is the presidential nomination of 1828. This hurt the Republicans because the people were not involved and therefore they did not approve of the policies. The people approved of the Democrats because they had say in what went on so they voted for the Democrats in the elections.
In the 1828 election the state legislatures changed the way that the candidates received the electoral votes The Republicans favored a central banking system, uniform currency, and protective tariffs while the Democrats were against all of these policies. The Democrats were once again successful while the Republicans failed. The protective tariffs would have been a success if it had not been for the South being hurt by the tariffs. The President passed these tariffs because it pleased the northern and western states. President Jackson later nullified the Tariff Act of 1828 because he thought that the South would vote him out of office in the next election. The South was very important to him being President because without the South he would not have won the election in the first place.
The Republicans failed again because the Democrats opposed internal improvements at the expense of the nation. The Republicans could not win in the eyes of the common people. The only way for the federal government to have money for internal improvements meant that they would have to charge tariffs on many more things. The people did not like this idea so it did not work. Even the Democrats opposed the idea, and they funded the Cumberland Road that started in Cumberland, Maryland and continued west into Ohio.
The Louisiana Purchase was thought to give Americans an opportunity to expand westward. It also gave them the chance to prosper in another area. The Democrats took the peoples ideas and it also lead to failure for the Republicans.
These are not the only factors that lead to the downfall of the National Republicans and the rise of the Jacksonian Democrats. In 1828 the Democrats chose to get everyone to vote for their two presidential nominees so that they could stop Henry Clay from forcing the election into the House of Representatives. If it had gone to the House, Clay would have been a lock for the presidency. By getting people to vote against Clay, he finished fourth, one spot from where he needed to finish to force the election into the House of Representatives.
The Whigs also failed by choosing to nominate a true Whig President with a Whig that supported Democratic ideas. In the election of 1840 the Whigs chose to run William Henry Harrison for President and John Tyler for Vice President. Harrison won and was elected President and on inauguration day he stood outside without a coat and caught a cold and died thirty days later. With the death of Taylor and the success of Fillmore, the Whig party almost died.
The Second party system was nearly dominated by the Democrats. Their beliefs, presidential choices, and how they got them the presidency dominated the Whigs. The Whigs had a few tastes of success, but soon faded fast, as did the nominees of the party.