Jacksonian Democracy part 2


– [Instructor] So we’ve been talking about the emergence of Jacksonian democracy in the first half of the 19th
century in the United States and we’ve been talking about
how in this time period, the vote was slowly extended
to all white male citizens so that by the end of
this period there were no more property requirements
in the United States and any white male citizen could vote. Now those property
requirements had allowed free people of color and
women to vote in some states and when voting became associated
with white male citizens, those little loopholes
ended up getting closed, but this expansion of voting rights to all white male
citizens really represents a shift in how the average American thought about who deserved to have a voice in the political process
of the United States. They stopped placing so much value on this sort of aristocratic
republican citizenship of the early days of the United States where someone like George Washington would never run for office. He would stand for office. You wouldn’t promote yourself,
that would be vulgar. Instead, you would have men of well-known character promote you. But by the 1820s, very few
Americans believed in the idea that there could be such a
thing as too much democracy that you would have to avoid the mob rule. Instead, they wanted the mob rule. They wanted a great expansion
of democracy and that was to them the real character
of the United States. Now I should also mention that
this expansion of democracy was part of a larger international
expansion of democracy. Similar laws that eliminated
property restrictions on voting were also being passed in England and France at this time period. So there’s kind of an international wave to broaden the franchise, but the extension of voting
in Europe is nothing like the extension of voting
in the United States. There are nearly twice
as many eligible voters in the United States in the
1830s as there are in Britain with a population that’s half the size. So while European nations
are taking small steps toward expanding the franchise, the United States is taking
huge steps in this time period. So the first election where
we start to see the influence of this new wave of voters
is in the election of 1824 and let me give us a little bit more space to talk about this. So the election of 1824 was a contest between John Quincy Adams, son of American founder John Adams, Andrew Jackson, famous war
hero from the War of 1812, the victor of the Battle of New Orleans, and Henry Clay, who will become known
as the great compromiser for having pretty much spent
his entire political career either running for president or putting together
some kind of compromise. Now, John Quincy Adams I
think kind of epitomized the older school of American democracy. He was reticent to
campaign on his own behalf. He was very interested in academics and internal improvements. He didn’t really see himself as being part of a particular political party. In fact, all three of these men were actually running as republicans ’cause in the era of good feelings there’s only the Republican Party. So you can see how confusing
this might as been as a voter to have three different
candidates from the same party and they’re supposed to be
different than each other. So in this election, Andrew
Jackson wins the popular vote and John Quincy Adams
wins the electoral vote and Henry Clay wins neither. Now in a situation like
this, who got to be president was decided by the House
of Representatives. Well guess who was speaker of the house. Henry Clay. So he’s out of the running himself, but he is in a position
to make quite an impact on who wins the presidency. Well John Quincy Adams and Henry Clay didn’t have a whole lot of common, but they sure both hated Andrew Jackson. So Clay and Adams meet and
Henry Clay says, “Yeah John Q., “I’ll see if I can get the
House to vote for you,” and that’s what happens. So the House elects John
Quincy Adams president and then just a couple days later, John Quincy Adams says that Henry Clay will get to be his Secretary of State, which was quite a plum
of a political position and Andrew Jackson and his
supporters go ballistic. They say that this was a corrupt bargain behind closed doors in which John Quincy
Adams bribed Henry Clay to give him the presidency in exchange for this political position. Now, there’s no evidence that this actual corrupt
bargain really happened, but even if it did, it was totally in line with the earlier playbook
of American democracy, a you scratch my back, I’ll
scratch yours kind of situation where the better sort of men,
the higher men of character made a deal between themselves
of who would lead this nation and the outrage over
this possible collusion between Adams and Clay
really signaled that the old days of a couple
of people making decisions about American politics were over, that this kind of deal between statesmen was now seen as undemocratic or crooked or something that was
done behind closed doors and that was against
the American character and Andrew Jackson is really going to ride his wave of popular discontent over someone winning the popular vote, but losing the electoral vote due to in his mind a corrupt bargain right into the presidency
in the election of 1828 and we’ll get to that in the next video.

Maurice Vega

2 Responses

  1. 3:40 Um, sure they weren't Democratic-Republicans? You don't need to "simplify", we can understand it when you add a word to it to make it historically acurate. Also, no, the reason the House of Representatives decided who becomes President was not because the popular vote and electoral votes were won by different people, but because John Quincy Adams didn't win an outright majority of electoral votes (131 needed to win) but just 84. Except he didn't even win most electoral votes, Jackson did with 99 electoral votes.

    I don't understand what happened here, you are usually pretty accurate as far as I know, this video is just a mess, though

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