Jeffersonian & Jacksonian Democracy

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Jeffersonian & Jacksonian Democracy

Jeffersonian and Jacksonian Democracy are the same in just about every regard. Their views
and goals as presidents are the same. Both are in favor of the common man and feel that it
is the common people who should have the biggest influence on government, not the wealthy
aristocrats. They also support states rights and feel that the federal government should
not get involved with the states affairs. Both men’s actions clearly show that the common
man does not include minorities. Both Jackson’s and Jefferson’s actions and words are very
similar and support the same beliefs.

Thomas Jefferson was a strong supporter and spokesman for the common man and
self-government. He strongly believed that the purpose of American government is to look
after and support the common interests of the people. He was against anything that he felt
would hurt the common man such as the Bank of the U.S. and big government. Jefferson
believed the Bank was hurting the common man and became a damaging monopoly. “It would
swallow up all the delegated powers [of the states], and reduce the whole to one
power...”-Jefferson referring to the Bank. He was strongly against big government and felt
it would oppress the common man. “I am not a friend of a very energetic
places the governors indeed more at their ease, at the expense of the people.” Jefferson
was also a strong supporter of the Bill of Rights, which protected the rights of the
people. “A bill of rights is what the people are entitled to...” He felt the Bill of
Rights would clearly state and protect people‘s rights, “freedom of religion, freedom of
the press, protection against standing armies, restriction of monopolies, the eternal and
unremitting force of the habeas corpus laws, and trial by jury....” It was based on
Jefferson's suggestions that Madison proposed a Bill of Rights. Jefferson did everything
he could to help the common man.

Andrew Jackson was undoubtedly a man of the people. He was the first president to be
chosen by the people and his background was not that of a typical president. He was not
born into a rich family. Jackson’s favored the general public rather than the wealthy. His
election shifted the balance of power from the wealthy East Coast, to farmers and small
businesspeople in the west. Jackson vetoed more bills than all previous presidents did in
an attempt to help the common man. Jackson also created the spoils system. This basically
was a way for Jackson to get rid of the current people in government, and replace them
with people that had supported him over the years. While this may seem wrong, it actually
brought a balance in the government and served to help the common man. Jackson strongly
opposed the Bank of the U.S. He felt the bank was a “monster institution” that would do
nothing but make the wealthy wealthier at the expense of the working class. He did
everything he could to get rid of the Bank. To accomplish this, Jackson decided to take
government money from the bank to pay expenses and put in future government profits in
selected state banks. He also refused to let the bank renew their charter. The Bank of the
U.S. disappeared when its charter expired in 1836. Jackson was very similar to Jefferson,
and did everything he could to help the common man.

Thomas Jefferson felt passionately that state rights are very important and that the
federal government should only intervene with foreign affairs. Jefferson felt that states
should govern their own affairs for the most part. “If ever this vast country is brought
under a single government, it will be one of the most extensive corruption...Our country
is too large to have all it’s affairs directed by a single government.” Jefferson was very
clear with what he felt the role of the federal government was. “...States are independent
as to everything within themselves, and united as to everything respecting foreign
nations. Let the general government be reduced to foreign concerns only, and let our
affairs be disentangled from those of all other nations, except as to commerce, which the
merchants will manage the better, the more they are left free to manage themselves.” When
the Alien and Sedition Acts passed in 1798, Jefferson (Vice President at the time)
strongly opposed them and felt they violated the rights of the states. The Alien and
Sedition Acts was actually a series of 4 acts. The first 3 acts basically were focused on
foreigners (aliens) and allowed the president to arrest and deport any alien he considered
dangerous, the Sedition Act made it a criminal offense to print or publish false,
malicious, or scandalous statements directed against the U.S. government, the president,
or Congress. Jefferson felt this was violating the states First Amendment right of free
speech and press. To counteract these Act Jefferson drafted the Kentucky Resolutions,
which stated that federal powers are limited to what is stated in the constitution, and
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