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U.S. History/us history period 1801-1837


What was the turning point for America to become more democratic? Where there instances of political turbulence and contention in this period? If so what were the principal ones and what caused them? Was the expansion of democracy a factor? Andrew Jackson often was perceived as the common man's president, was that good or bad for the stability of American government? Was slavery a source of political turbulence and contention?


The biggest shift was that States did away with property requirements.  This meant that all free men could vote in elections, not just those who owned property.  It led to a great democratization since elections better represented the views of all people, not just the wealthier ones.

On the surface, this seems like a relatively peaceful time, where the Democrats on 9 out of 10 Presidential election (and the 10th was a person who had served in several Democratic administrations).  But there were great fights during this time.  The US went to war in 1812 and New England seriously debated seceding from the Union.  There were great fights over tariffs and how the government could manage tax dollars through a national bank.  Indian removal was another major issue.

There was relatively little opposition to expanding the vote.  However, these new voters surely influenced the outcomes of some debates.  They were seen as the base of Andrew Jackson's political power.  It is an axiom that the more people who have a say in government, the more stable it will be.  I think that was the case here.  Since free men without property often had a different view of society than those with property, their right to vote kept them from being pushed outside the political process, which could destabilize government.

Jackson himself was seen as a danger to Democracy.  He had shown signs of being a military Dictator during the War of 1812.  As President he pushed the powers of the Presidency beyond what many considered acceptable, including ignoring Supreme Court decisions.  But the fact that he was elected as the "common man's President" contributed to the overall stability of the government as many poor working people felt they had a real voice in the government.

Slavery was a looming issue, although most of the hostile debate really got started in the 1850's.  Slavery had a big impact on the admission of new States as legislators wanted to keep balance between free States and slave States.  

I hope this helps!
- Mike

U.S. History

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Michael Troy


I can answer just about any question on early American History. My specialties are the American Revolution through the Civil War/Reconstruction. I also have greater expertise in matters relating to military, political or legal history.


I have lectured at George Washington University regarding the Civil War, as well as several elementary school Civil War demonstrations. I was also a member of a Civil War reenactment group for about 10 years.


J.D. University of Michigan B.A. George Washington University

Awards and Honors
Truman Scholar

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