John Quincy Adams and Andrew Jackson

Should Andrew Jackson be considered a champion of democracy?

The era of good feeling continued into the mid 1800’s. In the
election of 1824 Monroe gave way to John Quincy Adams who had run
against Andrew Jackson. In actuality Jackson received a majority of
the popular votes AND more electoral votes than Adams but since there
was a third candidate, Henry Clay, Jackson did not have a majority of
the electoral votes. The 12th amendment calls for the House of
Representatives to decide by majority vote between the two candidates
when there is no majority of the electoral votes. In a deal between
Clay and Adams Clay’s supporters backed Adams and Clay became
Secretary of State and Adams won the Presidency. Jackson and his
supporters were outraged and in the next election they defeated Adams
by a large margin.


I. The presidency of John Quincy Adams

A. How did the two party system lead to the election
of John Quincy Adams in 1824?

1. Monroe’s heir apparent was John Quincy Adams. In
order to become President he had to defeat three rivals:

  • William Crawford who claimed to be the true heir of Thomas

  • Henry Clay, the War Hawk, who had built a political power base
    as Speaker of the House of Representatives.

  • Andrew Jackson an overnight hero a the battle of New Orleans
    who had kept himself in the public eye of his exploits in Florida.

2. Popularity and sectional interests rather than national issues
dominated the campaign.

3. Jackson received the largest number of popular votes and the
largest number of electoral college votes.

4. No one had an electoral majority and the election went into the
house of Representatives.

4. Clay was thrown out, Crawford suffered a stroke.

5. The contest came down to a struggle between Jackson’s
supporters and those who favored Adams.

6. Adams agreed to support Clay’s policy ideas.

7. Adams was elected President by a majority of the states
represented in the house. Jackson’s supporters led by Martin Van
Buren were outraged and claimed that the election had been rigged by
Henry Clay. When Adams began his term then the Jacksonians started
campaigning to put their man in the White House at the next election.

B. How did people react to the presidency of John Quincy Adams?

1. Adams, not the kind of man who attracted public
sympathy proceeded to prepare a program that was political suicide.

2. He tried to continue the strong national program the
Republicans had taken over from the Federalists but most voters
wanted less power in the Federal government and less influence by the
East in national policy.

3. Adams reminded Congress the Constitution: gave it the power to
provide for the common defense and to promote the general welfare. He
felt the the national government should:

a) establish a national university

b) finance scientific expeditions

c) reform the patent system

d) promote literature and arts.

4. People said it was foolish to spend public money on subjects
such as art and literature.

5. Adams’ programs were eventually adopted years later.

6. More and more people began to believe the propaganda that Adams
had “stolen” the election from Jackson.

7. Adams irritated the Southern states when he tried to protect
the rights of the Creek Indians.

8. Adams threatened to send in Federal troops to stop a survey
being taken in the south in regard to his presidency.

F. When was the the Democratic party born?

1. The presidential campaign of 1828 marked a
fundamental change in the National attitude toward political parties.
More and more people were coming to believe that a two party system
helped the nation. It enabled people of differing views to band
together and express their beliefs and provided means by which
citizens could challenge the way their governments
was functioning. It enabled political power to pass from one
group to another in a systematic manner without bloodshed.

2. Adams called himself a National Republican Jackson called
himself a Democratic Republican Jackson’s party became known as the
Democratic Party. The Democratic party was organized in a large part
by a short, charming, extremely discreet, extremely ambitious
politician named Martin Van Buren.

3. Van Buren and his fellow politicians also developed a campaign
style. They incorporated songs and slogans into campaigns,
inaugurated parades, barbecues, tree plantings, dinners, and rallies.
They used buttons and clothes, cartoons, songs, and funny stories

4. Martin Van Buren led the campaign to have Andrew Jackson
elected. Jackson was nicknamed Old Hickory.

II. The Age Of Jackson

A. What made Jackson different?

1. Jackson first Presidential candidate from West of
the Appalachians and the first to come from a poor family. People
felt he was one of them and they elected him.

2. It was obvious to everyone that the American Presidency now
belonged to the masses. Yet others said King Mob now ruled the
nation. This was a derogatory reference to his ties to the common

3. Jackson thought of himself as a man of the common people.

4. In reality. at the time of his election at the age of 61,
Jackson was hardly one of the common people. He was a very, very
rich man.

B. What was Jackson like?

1. Jackson had a suspicious nature, he disliked
special interests groups and men whose power came from privilege

2. He seemed to symbolize the virtues of the new America- a common

man who climbed the ladder of success, ready to destroy aristocratic
privileges wherever he found them.

C. How did Jackson increase the power of the presidency?

1. The Kitchen Cabinet-

  • Most of his cabinet appointments went to undistinguished men.
    Several newspaper editors nicknamed it the Kitchen Cabinet. This
    enabled him to dominate the cabinet.

2. The Spoils System

  • In one of Jackson’s first moves he fired nearly 10 percent of
    Federal government employees, most of them holdovers from Adams
    administration, gave their jobs to loyal Jacksonians.

  • Jackson called this a rotation in office, he believed that the
    common people should have the right to hold office.

  • Known as the spoils system, incoming political parties threw
    out former appointees and replace them with their own friends.

3. Jacksonian Vetoes

  • Jackson’s beliefs led him to veto more legislation than had
    all previous presidents combined.

  • The famous vetoes was the proposed Maysville Road in Kentucky.
  • He continued to vetoes of internal improvements would have
    thoroughly angered the West.

  • He signed many bills to improve facilities where Democrats
    were numerous.

  • He expected loyalty to the party and to himself.

4. Jackson disregards the Supreme Court

  • Congress passed the Indian Removal Act in 1830. The Federal
    government would provide funds to negotiate treaties that would
    force the Indians to move West.

  • For Jackson, the removal policy was not only liberal, but
    generous because it would enable the Indians to maintain their way
    of life.

  • The Cherokees Indians had done what Jefferson had asked and
    had turned from hunting to farming. They established small
    manufacturing shops, built schools, and begun publishing a
    newspaper in their own language. They decided to form a separate
    state with its own constitution

  • Georgia refused to recognize the action of the Cherokees and
    opened Cherokee land to white settlers.

  • Chief justice Marshall ‘s decision held that the Cherokees
    formed a nation with clearly defined boundaries within which “the
    laws of Georgia can have no force.” Based on this ruling the
    citizens of Georgia could not enter Cherokee territory.

  • In response to Justice Marshall’s ruling Jackson said:
    The Supreme Court has made it’s decision, now let them
    enforce it
    .” In doing so he ignored the Courts order.

  • Jackson told the Cherokees that they “could not flourish in
    the midst of civilized community and that they had only on choice
    to remove to the West.”

  • The Cherokee had to make an 800 mile journey made partly by
    steamboat and railroad and partly on foot. This journey was
    called the “Trail of Tears.”

  • Government officials stole the Cherokees money, while outlaws
    made off with their livestock.

  • Cherokees buried more than a quarter of their people along the
    trial of tears.

5. Jackson uses the Force Bill.

a) In 1816 Congress passed a tariff to protect the
infant United States industries. The tariff was raised in 1824 and
again in 1828.

b) Jackson’s Vice President, John Calhoun of South Carolina,
called it a tariff of Abominations because the high tariff on
manufactured goods prevented Great Britain from selling its goods in
the United States Calhoun and others felt the North was getting rich
at the expense of the South

c) Calhoun’s argued in favor of nullification Theory – he had long
been known as a nationalist spokesman, and he had supported the
protective tariff of 1816 but South Carolina’s economy failed the
recover fully from the depression in 1819 and cotton prices remained
low because planters and their slaves were moving to more fertile
lands. Calhoun devised a nullification theory much like that
expressed in Jefferson’s Kentucky Resolution against the Alien and
Sedition Acts.

d) Calhoun’s argument was the united States Constitution was based
on a compact among the sovereign states.

e) If the Federal Government refused to permit a state to nullify
a federal law, the state had the right to secede, or withdraw from
the Union.

f) Jackson told Democratic party leaders to drop Calhoun from the
1832 national ticket and to substitute Van Buren’s as Jackson’s
running mate.

g) South Carolina threatened to secede and in 1832 congress passed
a new tariff law that lowered duties

h) Jackson was furious, he threatened to hang Calhoun and to lead
Federal troops in the field if necessary. He he issued a proclamation
declaring that South Carolina’s action threatened the existence of
the Union and violated the letter of the Constitution. This led to
the passage of the “Force Bill” and South Carolina agreed to
pay the tariff.

6. Jackson Declares War on the “Monster” Bank

a) To Jackson the national bank symbolized Eastern
wealth and power.

b) Jackson feared bank’s financial strength and influence on the
economy, he felt it was a threat to American democracy.

c) In 1831 Jackson introduced a resolution against rechartering
the bank. He assailed the bank for adding to the inequality of
fortunes. This made the rich richer and the poor poorer.

d) Jackson failed to have Congress revoke the banks charter.

e) The bank war continued after the election with results nearly
disastrous to the American Economy. Jackson ordered all government
deposits to be withdrawn from the banks branches and placed in
certain state institutions.

f) The bank war, especially the panic of 1833-1834 resulted in the
formation of a new political party called the Whigs, its core
consisted of Republicans and then some Democrats

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