Paper: A Discussion on the Jacksonian Era in the United States

A.P. AMERICAN HISTORY DBQ #1 Jacksonian Democrats viewed themselves as the guardians of the United States Constitution, political democracy, individual liberty, and equality of economic opportunity. President Jackson, as demonstrated in document A believed that he would be the peoples president. He believed that all men were created equal and that all people possessed certain rights. However, during ,Mr. Jacksons presidency many controversial decisions were made in order to maintain these rights. Among these controversial decisions was President Jacksons veto on the National Bank. As evidenced by document B, Jackson felt that the National Bank only benefited the rich people and excluded the poor people. Therfore, he immediately vetoed the National Bank, but without the consent and consultation of Congress. Although the veto defended his promise to fight for individual liberties and equal economic opportunities, his decision to finalize the veto without the consent of Congress created much conflict amongst the people. As stated in Daniel Websters reply to Jacksons veto message ( document C), many people believed that the veto was unconstitutional and that it placed liberty and freedom in danger. They also believed that the veto sought to inflame the poor against the rich, and that it would create an immense amount of internal conflict. However, in spite of all this, Jackson proved himself to be very hypocritical. Although he claimed to fight for individual liberties and equal economic opportunities, his decision in document G proved just the opposite. He threw the Indiand off their homeland and forced them to travel westward toward the frontier. Due to this decision, many people viewed Jackson as a tyrant and as a dictator. But the prejudice didnt end there. As stated in document F, the Irish were being discriminated againt also. This caused riots in many eastern cities during the 1830s. However, despite all the contoversy, democracy flourished during the Jacksonian era. As demonstrated in document E, a British author was amazed at the external competance and intellectual ability which existed in the United States. She was amazed at the absence of poverty, the independance of every citizen, and the fact that every man in the country was a landowner. She was astonished when she was told that the biggest question of the time was whether the people should be encouraged to govern themselves, or whether the wise should save them from themselves. In summation, | would like to say that despite all the controversial decisions that were made, and despite all the conflict which arose, the Jacksonian era was a period in which democracy flourished, peace and harmony existed, and the United States prospered. ...