Uploaded by Brent Goodin on Feb 15, 2002
The inauguration of Andrew Jackson as the seventh president of the United States launched a new wave of democracy, which revolutionized American politics in an age of national instability. However, in order to comprehend the code of beliefs and the long lasting effects of this presidential pioneer, one must first have some insight into his earlier years. He was of a humble background; born in the west and raised by a single mother, which definitely did not place him among the social elite. Nevertheless, he fought his way to leadership and wealth in frontier society, and his triumph over poverty established a bond between him and the common people that was never broken. Jackson became renowned for his military exploits, being a crucial factor in the Battle of New Orleans and the acquisition of Florida from the Spanish; he earned the nickname “Old Hickory” for his personal toughness. Although Jackson played a fundamental role as part of the armed forces, that aspect of his career was almost entirely eclipsed by his tenures in the White House. Reminiscent with Andrew Jackson’s administration, was his forthright egalitarian principles, which still reverberate through modern American philosophy, both politically and socially.
By the time Jackson came to power, the nation had been drastically changed by the Industrial Revolution. The nation was plagued by volatility. The simple, pastoral, agricultural lifestyle was being replaced by the manufacturing world, of industrious cities and insalubrious factories. Politically, the nation was in great turmoil. The incessant debate among men in power, over what should prevail, the rights of the states or the rights of the federal government, never really faded from the political scene. If not for several personal reasons, Jackson would have been a staunch advocator of states rights. The right to vote was still a major issue; the social dichotomy between the middle class and the upper class was becoming increasingly divergent. The middle class felt their voice was being effaced in governmental decisions, whilst the upper class felt endangered by the proliferation of the middleclass involvement in political affairs. Thus, it was Jackson’s responsibility to employ radical new ideas and principles to revamp national unity. Since he himself had very modest roots, he sympathized with the middle and lower classes. The fear that an aristocracy, even though of talent, might limit the chances of the common men through monopolies and hidden measures of control added to...