Q 4.docx - Q 4-1 Historians and contemporaries have both...

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Q 4-1 Historians and contemporaries have both used the word "democracy" to describe the political system in America as it emerged in the 1820's. What did they mean by the word "democratic"? What aspects made the system democratic by that definition? Was the system democratic by modern standards? What are its defects by modern standards? In the 1820's, there was a dramatic increase in political participation within American political life, a development associated with Andrew Jackson and his followers. This was tied to a general conceptualization of the American political system as “Democratic” rather than “Republican.” Many of the relevant institutional changes took place under state law, and varied from state to state in timing and detail. The immediate motive for reform in many cases was the effort of Jackson's supporters, after the election of 1824, to change the system to heighten Jackson's chances in the election of 1828. However, deeper changes in society were relevant as well. The United States in this period was the first large society in history to accord such a large part of its population the opportunity for an active role in political life. This phenomena attracted tremendous interest in Europe among observers who wondered whether this might be a model for their own future. A Frenchman, Alexis de Toqueville, sent to America by his government to study American prison systems, wrote a report in complete of his assigned task, but also published a book, Democracy in America [1831], Toqueville considered the existence of slavery and the treatment of the Indians as blots on American democracy which made it far from blameless. Moreover, Toqueville worried that Americans often fell prey to the “tyranny of the majority.” Americans, as individuals, were reluctant to dissent or criticize, because they were reluctant to go against the majority, since defying the majority might be construed as “anti-democratic.” The great danger to American freedom, Toqueville believed, came not from oppressive government, but from the conformity of the people themselves. Voter turnout among adult White males increased sharply between 1824 and 1828, rising from 25% to 40%. The increase in turnout continued, and reached 80% in 1840. end of property qualification for voting increased in voting places - The Jacksonian reform was that it became the responsibility of the County Clerk to bring the ballot box to the people. the patronage system - The patronage system, sometimes called the “spoils system” was a major element of Jacksonian Democracy. Closely tied to the patronage system was the lack of the secret ballot in this period. Treaty of Indian Springs [1825]: Governor George Troup of Georgia signed a treaty with a Creek Indian chief named William McIntosh to purchase Creek lands in
Georgia.

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