History Final Essay

1588 words - 7 pages

April 10, 2014
American History Final Essay

Throughout American history, democracy has been an ever changing system of government; however it is far from perfect. It is constantly shaped by wealth and people of higher power. This played a significant role throughout the early 1800s in limiting the power of African Americans and people of lower socioeconomic statuses. These issues began to rise between the Jeffersonian and Jacksonian democracy from the start of the American Revolution through the Civil War. During this time period, a vast number of changes were implemented into the system of democracy, many of which still remain active today.
Democracy created a variety of conflicts ...view middle of the document...

The south also suffered a lack of man power as slavery frightened many European immigrants from settling in the south as they feared competition from bound labor (370). Shortly after, the expansion into Texas and Oregon became the central issue in 1844, during the election. Many southern democrats favored this expansion and selected Governor James Polk who was a protégé of Andrew Jackson and wanted to continue opening up lands for white settlement. The Whigs however voted Henry Clay who again proposed his system of high tariffs, national banking, and internal improvements (391). After Polk’s victory, Texas quickly was made the twenty-eighth state which led to the Mexican War, as Polk had a strong desire to acquire more land (392). “Initially the war with Mexico sparked a significant amount of patriotic support but soon left the nation divided (394). As Polk attempted to expand, he split the Democrats along sectional lines regarding the power of slavery. David Wilmot, an anti-slavery democrat proposed that slavery be prohibited in any territories gained from the war. His proposal was rejected by the senate which sparked the beliefs of Thomas Morris’s charge that white southerners had a conspiracy to dominate national life through “slave power” (396).
The rejection of Wilmot’s proposal led to the Free-soilers party which marks the start of a war to end slavery (397). This party however ignored the sinfulness of slavery and saw slavery as a threat to republicanism and the Jeffersonian ideal of a freeholder society. Jacksonian Democrats on the other hand led efforts to restrict free northern blacks political and legal rights. “The Democrats appealed to the voters with racial slurs, portraying blacks as the subhuman enemies of white men’s equal rights and as allies of the crypto-aristocratic money power (couvares 218). Many of these Jacksonian Democrats saw a plantation as the only way for quarantining Africans. Some Jacksonian northerners thought that the abolitionist wanted to free the slaves and send them to the north where there presence would decrease the wages and status of white workingmen (221). Although the majority of Jacksonian leaders had racist views, a few took stands against slavery and the racism that went along with it (219). “It was the Democracy, the antislavery leader Preston King later remarked, that had “changed its members, its principles, its purposes, and its character”. Antislavery Jacksonians, by their own lights, had kept the faith (225). Many men believed this racism would never come to an end unless one race becomes extinct. On the notes of the state of Virginia a man states, “Deep rooted prejudices entertained by the whites, ten thousand recollections, by the blacks, of the injuries they have sustained; new provocations; the real distinctions which nature has made; and many other circumstances, will divide us into parties, and produce convulsions, which will probably never end but in the extermination of the one or...

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