So thomas jefferson who by the way was still alive

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So, Thomas Jefferson - who, by the way, was still alive, which gives you some context for how young the nation truly was - wrote that the Missouri Compromise was, "Like a fire bell in the night that awakened and filled me with terror. I considered it at once the death knell of the Union." Eventually, almost. But in the short term, it did meant he rise of political parties. The Democrats ( 4:58 ) So, America was becoming more democratic, but if there was only one political party, that democratic spirit had nowhere to go. Fortunately, there was a tiny little magician named Martin Van Buren. They really did call him the "Little Magician," by the way, also the "Red Fox of Kinderhook." But we remember him as the worst-haired president. So, despite having been president of the United States, Van Buren is arguably more important for having invented the Democratic Party. He was first to realize that national political parties could be a good thing. So, I mentioned that Martin Van Buren was known as the "Little Magician," and I know this sounds a little bit silly, but I think it's telling. You see, Van Buren was only the second American president with a well-used nickname, and the first was his immediate predecessor, Andrew Jackson, or "Old Hickory." Why does this matter? Well, when you're actually having to campaign for office, as all presidential candidates did after the election of 1828, and you're trying to appeal to the newly enfranchised common man, what better way to seem like a regular guy than to have a nickname? I mean, if you think this is crazy, just think of the nicknames of some of our most popular presidents: "Honest Abe," "The Bull Moose," "The Gipper." Even our lesser-known presidents had nicknames: "Young Hickory," "Handsome Frank," "Old Rough 'n Ready," "Big Steve." James Buchanan, and I am not making this up, was "Old Public Functionary." "Who you gonna vote for?" "Oh, I think the Old Public Functionary. He seems competent." As it happens, he wasn't. So, by now you're probably wondering, 'Where does Andrew Jackson fit into all of this?' When we last caught up with Jackson, he was winning the Battle of New Orleans shortly after the end of the War of 1812. He continued his bellicose ways, fighting Indians in Florida, although he was not actually authorized to do so, and became so popular from all of his Indian killing that he decided to run for president in 1824.
The election of 1824 was very close and it went to the House, where John Quincy Adams was eventually declared the winner, and Jackson denounced this as a corrupt bargain. So, in 1828, Jackson ran a much more negative campaign. One of his campaign slogans was, "Vote for Andrew Jackson, who can fight, not John Quincy Adams, who can write." Adams's supporters responded by arguing that having a literate president wasn't such a bad thing, and also by accusing Jackson of being a murderer, which, given his frequent habit of dueling and massacring, he sort of was. So, as you can see, the quality of discourse in American political campaigns has come a long way.

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