Anti-Masonic Party (1826)
What: They were formed as a result of William Morgan’s death, supposedly caused by the Masons because of the book
he wrote revealing Masonic secrets. It was a third party in the presidential campaign of 1832, nominating William Wirt
in 1831, who ended up stealing some of Henry Clay’s votes. Since Jackson was himself a Mason, the party was
essentially an anti-Jackson party as well.
Sig.: It assisted in forming the Whig party, though the party itself only lasted for eight years.
Source: AP271, 272
AGE OF JACKSON, 1828-48
-Expansion of suffrage (1828-1848)
What: States began dropping several of their property qualifications during the Jacksonian Era, giving more and more
white males the vote.
Sig.: This contributed to the era of the “Common Man” which Jackson began, supporting that “Every man is as good as
his neighbor,” therefore allowing the common man to have more of a say in his government, flexing his political
Source: AP256-257, 262-263
-Spoils System (1828 to Pendleton Act of 1883)
What: Jackson’s Spoil System rewarded political supporters with public office. Jackson supported the system, which
already had a firm hold in New York and Pennsylvania, claiming it was about finding new blood and cleaning the house,
though it truly was more about rewarding old cronies. Through this system, incompetents, illiterates, and plain crooks
were given positions of public trust. Samuel Swartwout, awarded post of collector of the customs of the port of New
York, ended up being the first person to steal a million dollars from the Washington government.
Sig.: Though it was an important element of the emerging two-party order, the Spoils System troubled newly elected
politicians, and was irrevocably stained by the assassination of Garfield in 1881 by an office-seeker, leading to its
eventual reform. This reform included the Pendleton Act of 1883 (which instituted the civil service system of “it’s what
you know, not who you know,” that is important in getting a public job).
Source: AP262-63, 515
-Jacksonian Democrats (formed around 1823)
What: The Democrats basic doctrines were based on states’ rights and federal restraint in social and economic affairs.
They were against the forces of corruption and privilege in government. Though the Jacksonian Democrats were
unfairly beaten by John Quincy Adams, in 1824, because of a “corrupt bargain,” Jackson was elected in the following
election in 1828. Jackson’s election as a president began the era of the ‘common man,” allowing frontier-like men to