Jacksonian DBQ

Essay by EssaySwap ContributorHigh School, 11th grade February 2008

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Thomas Jefferson was consistently inconsistent by switching from a strict constructionist view to a broad interpretation on the constitution to support his political views. Similarly, Jacksonian democrats occasionally altered their belief of being guardians of the political democracy, individual liberty, economic opportunity, and the Constitution to suit their purposes.

President Jackson ensured political democracy through campaign innovations thus he is regarded as a guardian of it. The spoils system allowed Jackson to rid his opponents of government jobs and award them to his supporters. Jackson lost the presidential election of 1824 due to a corrupt bargain between Henry Clay and Adams. Although Jackson disliked having the spoils system used against him he still enforced it during his office. Another example of political democracy is rotation in office. Rotation in office is what Jackson utilized to incorporate the "common man" or average citizen into a government role. Jackson believed that any man was capable of doing any job.

However, the dilemma that arises from Jackson's notion on political democracy is that incompetents obtained positions of public trust. The result of this was Samuel Swartwout, the collector customs at the port of New York, was the first man to steal a million dollars from the government.

Individual liberty was advocated by the Jacksonians. Jackson was against privilege and it is for this reason he promoted rotation in office. Rotation in office had previously been available to the aristocratic elite who were deemed capable of managing the job. Jackson advocated the rights of the common man through his land policy. His land policy would allow more people to own land which meant a higher electorate. However, the negative effect of Jackson's land policy was over speculation that contributed to the Panic of 1837. Jackson's belief of rotation in office allowed average men to...