Every political epoch has its unique influence on the destiny of a state. It may be either positive or completely negative but it is there to stay. The Jeffersonian and Jacksonian eras in the history of the USA significantly differed due to the political and socio-economic issues facing the nation at that time. These political outlooks significantly affected the lives of American citizens. The two systems had some similarities but the views of Jeffersonians and Jacksonians on the use of executive power still varied. The Jacksonian democracy outgrew from the Jeffersonian one that emerged during the Second Party System. The current paper seeks to examine the similarities and differences of Jeffersonian and Jacksonian eras, the key figures, their lasting legacies, the specifics of foreign policy, and the way the political support was gained and maintained by both sides.
The Jeffersonians and the Jacksonians both favored the establishment of the federal government with limited power. The either of the two systems did not openly support granting the voting right to American Indians and slaves. The Jeffersonians as well as the Jacksonians disapproved the inaccurate interpretation of the Elastic Clause.
The Jeffersonian politicians considered that property tested the man’s character. They also believed that only educated and high-status individuals could rule the country. The political and economic elite, most frequently represented by the same people, also feared the consequences of industrialization and favored monopoly in business. The representatives of the Jeffersonian era regarded slavery as an evil, and, therefore, sought to eradicate it, contradictory to, as mentioned earlier, not allowing the slaves to vote. The attempts to eliminate this inhumane practice later helped the officials gain public support. Despite this, and once again the words did not coincide with actions, they also did not consider women, men, and American Indians to be equal.
Education and ambitions were stipulated and announced as the crucial factors for reaching success. These principles were followed both in domestic and foreign affairs during this time. However, the system of public education failed to achieve its main goal. What is more, during the Jeffersonian era, many states eliminated the churches that were established after the revolution. Many of these could well serve educational purposes.
The key figures of the period were Thomas Jefferson, Henry Clay, John C. Calhoun, John Adams, Oliver Hazard Perry, and William Henry Harrison. The lasting legacy left by the Jeffersonians’ is reflected in their largely unsuccessful attempts to provide poor people with education, thus enabling them to hold public office and participate in the establishment of democracy. During Jefferson’s presidency, the American armed forces were first committed to the foreign war. Barbary pirates often requested tribute payments from the captured U.S. merchant ships. The president sought to eliminate this illegal practice. The greatest foreign policy achievement under Jefferson’s tenure, however, was the purchase of Louisiana.
The Jacksonians’, following the Jeffersonian rule, made a couple of sensible moves and eliminated the property requirements for voting. They favored the rotation and believed that all people could hold office. In order to gain and maintain political support, Jackson included laborers and planters in the chosen class and devoted energy to the foreign affairs. He also considered the industry to be crucial for the national economy. Unlike the Jeffersonians, the Jacksonians favored owning slaves and did not seek to abolish this practice. Since the major part of the white population had a negative attitude to future Afro-Americans, the approach met almost no critique. They also negatively treated Native Americans and compared to Jeffersonians paid minor attention to the education considering it unimportant. They continued the abolishment of the religious organizations in the country and Massachusetts was the last state that ended the religious practice (Bates 501). The key figures of the era were Andrew Jackson, John Quincy Adams, John C. Calhoun, Martin Van Buren, Samuel Worcester, John Marshall, and Peggy Eaton.
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In the Jacksonian Democracy, the affluent members of society were given the opportunity to affect the government policy. Jackson’s most outstanding lasting legacy is the provision of the voting status to the average person. Therefore, no one could ignore their opinions. Jackson would safeguard the nation against encroachments upon the state sovereignty and legitimate sphere. The resolution of the French crisis, restoration of prestige, expansion of commerce, and the enlargement of territory were the greatest diplomatic accomplishments during Jackson’s era. Americans reached the diplomatic agreement with France and reopened trade with foreign countries.
To conclude, the Jacksonian period reflected the ideas and course chosen by the Jeffersonians. Unlike Jackson, Jefferson did not favor the extension of voting rights. More specific landholding requirements were required. Nevertheless, they were seeking the ways to abolish slavery Jeffersonians wanted to provide farmers with greater opportunities and this was continued by the Jacksonians’ course. Yet, the main difference was that Jackson and Jefferson had different views on the government’s role and public participation in the state affairs. Unlike the Jeffersonians, the Jacksonians sought to establish the powerful executive branch and presidency involving not only the affluent class but also the average populace into the decision-making process.