5 To pay their foreign loans and commercial debts Americans had to withdraw

5 to pay their foreign loans and commercial debts

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5. To pay their foreign loans and commercial debts, Americans had to withdraw specie from domestic banks. Lacking adequate specie and a national bank on which to rely, domestic banks suspended all payments in specie. 6. By 1839, the American economy fell into deep depression: canal construction fell by 90 percent, prices dropped nearly 50 percent, and unemployment rose to 20 percent in some areas. 7. The depression devastated the labor movement by depleting the membership of unions and destroying their bargaining power. Some state courts also issued injunctions, orders that prohibited workers from picketing or striking. By 1843, most unions had disappeared. D. “Tippecanoe and Tyler Too!” 1. The Whigs blamed Jackson’s policies for the Panic of 1837, and, as Van Buren had just entered office, the public turned its anger on him because he did nothing to stop the downturn. 2. Van Buren’s Independent Treasury Act of 1840 actually delayed recovery because it took specie out of state banks and put it in government vaults. 3. The Log Cabin Campaign a. In 1840, the Whigs nominated William Henry Harrison, victor of the Battle of Tippecanoe, for president and John Tyler for vice president. b. Harrison had little political experience, but the Whigs wanted someone who would rubber-stamp their programs for protective tariffs and a national bank. c. The contest—the great “log cabin campaign”—was the first time two well-organized parties competed for the loyalties of a mass electorate, using organized public events to draw in voters. The Whigs used the log cabin as an icon of their candidate’s (largely fictional) egalitarian tastes and common background. d. The Whigs boosted their political hopes and their populist image by welcoming women to their festivities. e. Harrison was voted into the White House, and the Whigs had a majority in Congress, but a month later Harrison died of pneumonia, so Tyler became president. 4. Tyler Subverts the Whig Agenda a. Tyler—who was more like a Democrat when it came to economic issues—was hostile toward the Second Bank and the American System and vetoed many Whig bills. b. The split between Tyler and the Whigs allowed the Democrats to regroup and recruit more supporters; the Democrats remained the majority party in most parts of the nation by drawing on ethnocultural politics, the practice of voting along ethnic and religious lines. c. Unlike most of the contemporary world, the United States now had a highly organized system of representative government that was responsive to ordinary citizens.
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