Democracy In The 19th Century Essay

1388 words - 6 pages

Democracy in the United States became prominent in the early to mid 19th century. Andrew Jackson, the 7th president of the United States, was inaugurated in 1829 and was best known as the person who mainstreamed democracy in America. Because he came from a humble background, he was the “genuine common man.” (Foner, pg. 303) He claimed he recognized the needs of the people and spoke on behalf of the majority [farmers, laborers]. However, critics of Jackson and democracy called him “King Andrew I” because of his apparent abuse of presidential power [vetoing]. These critics believed he favored the majority so much that it violated the U.S. constitution, and they stated he was straying too ...view middle of the document...

They insisted that in order achieve a greater amount of freedom, a national government was needed to avoid the civil unrest during the system under the Articles of Confederation. Claiming that the new national government would be a “perfect balance between liberty and power,” it would avoid the disruption that liberty [civil unrest] and power [king’s abuse of power in England] caused. The “lackluster leadership” of the critics of the new constitution claimed that a large land area such as America could not work for such a diverse nation. One claim they offered was one in which the government would favor the higher classes [merchants, etc] instead of the majority of the people [farmers]. However, to be set apart from a colony under tyrannical rule to a whole new nation in America with the fruits of liberty, a government must be needed regardless to uphold the individual rights that were achieved after the American Revolution. The new system would, and did under ratification, set forth a bright future for the newly created United States of America.
George Washington, the first president under the newly created United States, promoted the general welfare of the people to create a society based on individual freedom. Being a nationalist, he was in pursuit of individual freedoms more so than the critics of the new government gave credit for. He candidly made visits to each of the states under the government. This simple act “maintained political harmony.” (Foner, pg. 242) The leading of troops to stop the Whiskey Rebellion in Pennsylvania promoted the individual freedoms for all. Stopping the protest made it possible for the large number of individuals uninvolved in the acts of rebellion to attain the individual freedoms they were granted. Superficially, it may have been deemed an act of censorship to the Constitution’s critics; however, the tax on whiskey initially implemented helped create a better America by reducing the national debt to concentrate money into the securing of the nation’s individual liberties. A new, national militia helped secure the individual’s liberty, preventing other countries from controlling the United States, especially under the proclaimed tyrannical rule of Britain. The so-called censorship of the Whiskey Rebellion helped other individuals claim their liberty after the civil unrest caused by the uprising.
In a different path than Washington, Thomas Jefferson, the third president of the United States, promoted the general welfare of the people and helped them and future generation prosper. “As a man faithful to a more democratic self-government,” he provided a nation a chance to prosper with the help of the new, more powerful government. (Foner, pg. 248) His purchase of the Louisiana Territory provided the people a place to live, greatly increasing the land area of the United States. With a national government, he was able to achieve this purchase with less bickering than if the individual...

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