Jeffersonian Republicanism vs. Jacksonian Democracy

Essay by lin398432High School, 11th gradeA+, November 2008

download word file, 6 pages 1.0

Thomas Jefferson and Andrew Jackson were two influential political figures in two very different eras, ranging from 1800-1808 and 1808-1840 respectively, that established two very different political philosophies. Each formed their own system that helped shape the way people think about American government. Liberalism is a political philosophy that goes against the established status quo at the time in order for change, where as a conservative is one which adheres to principles established by that same status quo. The Jeffersonian Republicans image of the common man was one vested in the educated and independent farmer, who by no stretch of the imagine had the capabilities to serve in government. The Jacksonian Democracies image of the common man expanded from farmers to include laborers, planters, and mechanics. Jackson saw these people as the true representatives of the Government, and thus its true servers. The image of the common man for each the Jeffersonians and the Jacksonians differed in the fundamental principle of the true “chosen class,” and its real role in Government.

Although Jeffersonian Republicanism established a more liberal status quo in comparison with the old Federalist policies, Jacksonian Democracies’ conservative maintenance of Jefferson’s status quo did more to assist the common man in regards to the political, social, and economic aspects of his era.

In contrast to the Jeffersonian era, Jacksonian democracy promoted the strength of the executive branch and the Presidency at the expense of Congressional power, while also sought to broaden the public's participation in government. The belief in a weak national government was held by the Jeffersonians; they contended that government officials who used their powers too much were in fact abusing them (“Ambiguous Democracy in America, 1800-1848”). In Jefferson’s time the two highest voted candidates became the President and the Vice-President of the United States. Jeffersonians...