Unit 4: Pre-Jackson & Jacksonian Era

General Timeline
General Maps

Map # 1: The United States

Course Content

Pre-Jackson Era:


Westward Expansion

Migration to the West

  • Growing pressure in the East caused migration to the west

    • More immigration from Europe to East created a population pressure

    • The soil (in farms) was exhausted of its nutrients

    • To accommodate more slaves, more land was needed​

  • Natives were the main hindrance to westward migration, but they were easier to control

    • War of 1812 largely eliminated them

    • US built forts in the region to protect the whites from the natives

    • US initiated "factor system," where US officials give resources to natives at a low cost

      • Allowed US officials to control natives

  • Many migrated on newly-built steamboats/flatboats

  • To scout western land, US War Dept. dispatched Stephen Long

    • Led 19 soldiers, tried to find source of Red River (but failed to do so)

    • Backed Zebulon Pike's claim that the West is like a desert


Economy in the West

  • In the Southern region, cotton was really common

    • Arkansas / Mississippi Region was known as "black belt" due to its dark nutritious soil

      • Perfect for growing cotton

    • Known as "Cotton Kingdom"

    • Many wealthy landowners migrated to the west, sometimes took their slaves with them​

  • In the West, fur-trapping was really common

    • When Mexico won independence from Spain in 1821, it opened up trade w/ US​

    • Before, Indians would trap fur & trade w/ whites, but now, Whites trapped fur themselves

    • Many companies trapped fur in the west region

    • John Jacob Astor founded Astor's American Fur Company in Oregon

      • Sold it to the British

      • Moved to the Rockies to trap fur there

    • Andrew Henry & William Ashley founded Rocky Mtn Fur Company (1822)

      • Hired many employees to trap fur, these ppl depended on wages (like factory system)

    • Most fur-trappers lived harmoniously w/ Mexicans and Indians

    • Jedediah Smith entered CA by land & started fur-trapping there, but he was killed by Mexicans


"Era of Good Feelings"

Start of the "Era of Good Feelings"

  • The Period from ~1815-1825

    • After War of 1812, increased American nationalism

      • Henry Clay's American System

      • More transportation, national identity, etc.

    • Sometimes described as reign of James Monroe

  • When James Monroe was elected in 1816, he led a goodwill tour throughout the country

    • His victory caused Federalists to largely disappear

    • Believed his presidency was "era of good feelings"

  • Also known as end of the First Party System

    • Federalists ceased to exist

    • Republicans also lost some unity

    • Monroe was last president of Virginia Dynasty

      • Jefferson, Madison, Monroe were all from VA


The American System

  • After War of 1812, more feelings of nationalism spread among Americans

  • In 1815, James Madison (president) promoted the idea of the "American System"​

    • Wanted a national bank​

    • Tariffs on imports to protect domestic industry

    • Wanted roads & canals to make transportation easier throughout US

  • Congress made charter for 2nd National Bank in 1816

    • Set to expire in 1836

    • Previously, 1st National Bank expired in 1811, creating many regional banks

      • These issued paper money, which wasn't backed by gold/silver, causing fluctuation in prices

    • New National Bank had more money & was backed by gold/silver bullion

  • Congress raised tariffs on imports to protect domestic industry

    • American textile industry grew due to factories, but British tried to sell their own textiles in US

    • The tariff reduced the amount of British goods sold here

  • Many roads & canals were also built throughout east coast to ease transportation

    • PA State gov sponsored a road from Philadelphia to Pittsburgh

    • Many steamboats traveled down Ohio & Mississippi Rivers

    • Still, roads were bad and caused slow travel

      • Difficult for goods to arrive in time, causing price fluctuation throughout US

      • Western roads were poorly built

  • American System was largely supported by Speaker of the House Henry Clay


Annexation of Florida

  • John Quincy Adams was Monroe's Secretary of State

  • Adams sought to annex Florida

    • Had conquered Western FL during War of 1812, but that claim was disputed​

    • Wanted actual claim to the entire FL

  • During Seminole War (1816-1858), Seminole Indians launched raids across the FL border into US territory

    • John Calhoun (Secretary of War) encouraged Andrew Jackson (military general) to launch raids into Florida

      • Jackson took over 2 Spanish forts

  • Spanish realized they couldn't defend FL from the US

    • Realized that US had the right to launch raids into FL to prevent threats like the Seminoles

    • Spanish foreign minister Luis de Onis signed Adams-Onis Treaty of 1819 w/ John Q Adams

      • US gained Florida, US would give up its claims to Texas


Panic of 1819

During & After War of 1812, industry boomed, farmers sold at higher prices due to more wartime demand. Speculators bought land in the west

In 1819, economic increase slowed, speculators lost some money, national bank tightened its loans to speculators

Speculators couldn't pay the loans, and farmers lost a lot of money, causing financial panic from 1819 to mid 1820s

The Missouri Compromise

  • Missouri applied for statehood in 1819

    • Already had slavery well-established there​

    • There were 11 free & 11 slave states, so Missouri's admission would threaten the balance

    • NY Congress rep James Tallmadge Jr. believed MO should gradually emancipate its slaves

      • Provoked lots of controversy

  • Maine also applied for statehood as a free state

  • Henry Clay (speaker of the House) believed ME should me admitted as free, MO as slave state

    • Both states would be admitted at the same time, maintaining free/slave balance

    • Known as Missouri Compromise

    • Prevented the US from having conflict between north & south

  • Senator Jesse B Thomas proposed Thomas Amendment

    • All lands north of southern MO boundary in Louisiana Territory should be free

    • Congress soon adopted this

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John Marshall's Court Decisions

Fletcher v Peck

Land grants cannot be repealed. First time he ruled a state law unconstitutional. 

Dartmouth College v Woodward

Dartmouth's land grant cannot be repealed. 

Cohens v Virginia

Supreme Court has the power to review all state court decisions. 

McCulloch v Maryland

Supreme Court has the power to establish & regulate a national bank. States cannot tax the banks. 

Gibbons v Ogden

Supreme Court has the power to regulate interstate commerce. 

Their Effects

Overall promoted more power of the national government over the individual states. 

Johnson v McIntosh

Only national gov can buy Indian lands. Indians cannot sell their land to individuals. 

Worcester v Georgia

Only national gov can regulate access to Indian territories. States cannot do that. 

Their Effects to the Indians

Established Indians as subordinate to national gov but unregulated by states. Meant to protect them from Westward Expansion. 

Monroe Doctrine

  • From 1810-1822, all Spanish Colonies in Central & South America got independence

    • Spain was distracted from Napoleonic Wars​

    • These colonies claimed independence, drafted their own constitutions

  • James Monroe was the first to recognize their independence

  • John Q Adams (Secretary of State) drafted Monroe Doctrine (1823)

    • One of most important documents in US foreign policy​

    • Established US as a dominant power in Western Hemisphere

    • 3 parts to the doctrine are listed below

US would not interfere with European internal wars or with existing European colonies in the Americas

European powers cannot recolonize any nations in the Americas

European powers cannot interfere with the affairs of newly-independent American nations

Rise of Opposition to the Republicans

Election of 1824

  • There were 4 Republican candidates

    • John Quincy Adams (less popular, most support from Northeast)

    • Andrew Jackson (popular war hero, support from all over the nation)

    • William Crawford (Secretary of Treasury, most support from South

    • Henry Clay (Speaker of the House, support from the West)

  • In the end, Jackson had most electoral votes, Adams in 2nd, Crawford in 3rd, Clay in 4th

    • No one had the majority, though​

    • Clay rivaled Jackson and supported Adams b/c Adams supported the "American System"

  • B/c no one received the majority of electoral votes, the House decided the election

    • According to 12th amendment, House chooses among top 3 candidates

      • Clay (4th place) was eliminated

    • As Speaker of the House, Clay supported Adams as Adams also believed in "American System"

      • With this, majority of house supported Adams, and Adams became president

  • Jackson hated this result, believed it to be a "corrupt bargain"


Presidency of John Quincy Adams

  • John Q Adams believed in promoting US economic & diplomatic power, wanted US nationalism

    • Negotiated annexation of Florida in 1819

    • Wrote Monroe Doctrine (while he was secretary of state) to establish US diplomatic dominance

    • Believed he could annex Cuba, Canada, parts of Mexico

  • Made many internal improvements​​

    • Supported Clay's "American System"​

    • Financed many roads, canals, etc.

  • Wanted American economic dominance

    • Wanted tariffs on imports to protect domestic industry

    • Passed "tariff of abominations," a tax on some imported from Britain

      • Merchants in Northeast previously complained about cheap price of imported English wool

      • Merchants in the west & south complained about other cheap imported products

        • Adams had to impose tariffs on other products as well


Election of 1828

  • This election had 2 candidates

    • John Quincy Adams (incumbent)

      • His followers were National Republicans​

      • Believed in strong economic nationalism

      • Appealed to many remaining Federalists

    • Andrew Jackson

      • His followers were Democratic Republicans

        • Basically the Modern Democratic Party

      • Believed in widening of opportunity

        • Sought to alleviate the wealth gap​

      • Appealed to lower classes & those who hated the "economic aristocracy"​​

      • Was viewed as a "common man"

  • Popular participation was really high in this election

    • Lots of people were exposed to campaigns

    • 57% of eligible voters voted (2x from last election)

  • In the end, Jackson easily won

    • Adams had support from Northeast region

    • Jackson had support from South & West


Jacksonian Era:

Spread of Democracy in America

Jackson's Presidency & Expanding Democracy

  • Jackson believed in giving all white males privileges

    • Wanted to subjugate blacks & Indians

    • Wanted all white males (whether or not they own property) to have right to vote

    • There was more popular participation in voting as electors were more often chosen by the people

  • Known as the president of the "common man"

    • He was a commoner himself

  • Believed in giving more power to the people

    • Fired some officeholders for corruption​

    • Didn't want people in office for too long

    • Initiated the Spoils System

      • The political party in power gives government positions to its supporters

  • There were still restrictions, though, to universal white male suffrage

    • Blacks & women could never vote

    • In casting their vote, people had to speak out loud to a moderator

      • Made voting prone to intimidation


Dorr Rebellion

Thomas W Dorr wanted RI to lift property requirement for voting. Dorr organized the "People's Party" in 1840, passed its own constitution w/ universal white male suffrage

Existing Rhode Island gov passed its own constitution. Thus, there were 2 govs in 1842. Real gov believed Dorrites to be rebels

Dorrites tried to capture the state arsenal, but they failed and surrendered

Tocqueville and Democracy in America

  • Alex de Tocqueville was sent by France to study prisons in US​

  • Instead, Tocqueville noticed the spread of democracy and popular participation in the US

    • Observed that both rich & poor can participate in government

      • Unlike France where aristocrats dominate

    • Noticed that there are limits to democracy in US

      • Women & blacks had limited rights

    • Wrote Democracy in America with his observations

      • Became the basis for democracy in Europe


Martin Van Buren & Rise of Political Parties

  • Martin Van Buren believed in having opposing political parties

    • Believed people should be attached to one political party

    • Believed having opposing parties would make sure the ruler responds to the will of the people

  • This idea first came to him when Van Buren led a dissent faction against NY Governor DeWitt Clinton

    • Led a group of dissenters known as "Bucktails"

    • Believed Clinton served for personal pleasure & ignored popular interests

  • There were now 2 political parties in America

    • Jacksonians were Democrats

    • Anti-Jacksonians were Whigs


Threats to National Unity

Peggy-Eaton Affair & Martin Van Buren's Ascendance

  • Martin Van Buren was NY Governor from 1828-1829, then became Jackson's Secretary of State in 1829

    • Became good friends with Jackson

  • Jackson had a group of unofficial political allies known as the "kitchen cabinet"

    • Van Buren was the head of this group

  • Due to Peggy-Eaton Affair, John Calhoun's influence declined

    • Peggy O'Neale was a tavern keeper in DC, and Jackson & John H Eaton would sometimes stay with her when they were Senators​

    • Eaton was unmarried & had an affair w/ O'Neale

    • When O'Neale's husband died, she married Eaton

    • Jackson made Eaton Secretary of War, so Peggy O'Neale (now called Mrs. Eaton) became a cabinet wife

    • John Calhoun's wife refused to socially accept Mrs. Eaton into the cabinet wife social circle

    • Van Buren accepted Mrs. Eaton's influence, so Van Buren became friends with Jackson

      • B/c Calhoun refused to accept Mrs. Eaton, Calhoun's influence declined

      • Jackson thus chose Van Buren to succeed him as presidential nomination instead of Calhoun

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Nullification Crisis

  • South Carolina hated the "tariff of abominations"

    • Believed it slowed domestic industry & caused SC economy to stagnate

  • John Calhoun (VP of Jackson) proposed the theory of nullification

    • States could declare any federal law null within the state if they don't like this

    • Jackson strongly opposed this & said it would threaten the unity of the nation

  • In 1832, South Carolina declared the tariffs null

  • Jackson got mad & signed a bill to allow him to use force to enforce federal laws in the states

  • Henry Clay (newly-elected Senator) proposed a compromise: The Compromise Tariff of 1833

    • The tariffs would be gradually lowered so that it'd match the level of the Tariff of 1816 by the year 1842

    • This law was passed, and South Carolina repealed its nullification

  • Calhoun got mad at Jackson & resigned in 1832


Webster-Hayne Debate

  • Debate over power of states vs national gov

  • Robert Y Hayne (Senator from SC) believed each state was sovereign & could nullify any federal law within the state

  • Daniel Webster (Senator from MA) believed national gov has more power & must preserve the Union of the states

  • Webster gave the famous speech "Second Reply to Hayne"

    • Said that the Union is inseperable


Removal of the Indians

Black Hawk War (1832)

Sauk and Fox Indians in Illinois region opposed white settlement. A rival tribe had signed a treaty, ceding land to the whites, but these tribes disapproved it. They named Black Hawk as their leader

Whites easily defeated the Indians, forced them to retreat. They captured Black Hawk, sent him to DC to meet Jackson

"Civilized" Tribes of the South

  • Unlike the north, the South actually had 5 tribes that built a stable society

    • Cherokee, Creek, Seminole, Chickasaw, Choctaw

    • Cherokee's even had their own constitution (1827)

    • Had stable agrarian economies

    • Many southerners believed they should stay

  • Congress passed Removal Act (1830), sending federal officials to negotiate treaties to move Indians west

    • Some weak tribes migrated in exchange for payments

    • Some stronger tribes resisted

  • Before the Removal Act of 1830, Georgia had already attempted to remove the Cherokees

    • Cherokees filed lawsuits, and in Cherokee Nation v Georgia (1831) and Worcester v Georgia (1832), court ruled that Cherokees must migrate

  • Federal gov negotiated a treaty with a faction of the Cherokees

    • Cherokees would get $5 million in exchange for a reservation west of Mississippi River

    • This faction didn't even represent a majority of Cherokees, so most Cherokees refused to migrate

      • Jackson sent Gen. Winfield Scott to force the Cherokees to migrate


Trail of Tears

  • About 1000 Cherokees migrated to a small reservation in NC

  • The remaining Cherokees (& other tribes) had to migrate to "Indian Territory"

    • Present-day Oklahoma

    • This migration occurred in winter of 1838 for the Cherokees during which 1000 of them died

    • Other tribes migrated earlier than that

    • This migration is called "Trail of Tears"

  • Whites believed this land to be the "Great American Desert"

    • Wanted the Indians to live in isolation

    • Believed they weren't making good use of the land & weren't civilized to be assimilated into US

    • There were forts in the reservation to keep Indians in and keep the whites out

    • The reservation was divided into small territories for each tribe

    • Indians were forced to live here, in an unfamiliar place w/ strange climate


Seminole War (1835-1842)

In Treaty of Payne's Landing (1832), Seminoles agreed to migrate westward. However, a group of Seminoles under Chieftain Osceola refused to migrate, staged uprising in 1835

Federal troops fought the Seminoles, captured & killed Osceola, killed 1500 more Seminoles

Some Seminoles managed to survive. Federal gov abandoned the war in 1842. By then, most Seminoles were killed or forced to migrate, but some still remained

Bank War

Discontent Toward the Bank

  • Bank of the US was a really powerful institution

    • Instituted in 1816, set to expire in 1836

    • Led by Nicholas Biddle

    • Managed all the US's banks and money supply

    • Government had 1/5 stock in the bank

  • 2 factions hated the bank

    • "Soft money" faction hated that the bank controlled supply of paper money

    • "Hard money" faction hated that the bank issued paper money w/o backing it with gold/silver

    • Jackson supported the dissenters, hated that paper money caused him to decline in Financial Panic of 1797

  • Jackson mainly hated the bank as it was too powerful & favored the wealthy

    • Believed it supported Eastern business interests

      • Jackson was a Westerner who opposed this

    • Believed it could threaten his power & threaten the power of the "common man"

  • Biddle sought to gain support for the bank

    • Daniel Webster helped him & got Henry Clay to support him

  • Biddle applied to renew the bank charter in 1832, so the future of the bank was important in 1832 election

    • 1832 election was Andrew Jackson vs Henry Clay

      • Jackson opposed the bank, Clay supported it

    • Jackson won the election, so he allowed the bank's charter to expire w/o renewing it


End of the Bank

  • Jackson won re-election in 1832, but he had to wait until 1836 for bank to expire

  • He sought to weaken the bank before 1836​​

    • Wanted to remove all government funds from the bank & put it in state banks called "pet banks"

    • Imposed Roger B Taney as Secretary of Treasury to do this

  • Bank's financial resources were strained because of the loss of government funds

    • Biddle thus had to raise interest rates on loans to compensate for the lost funds

      • Biddle knew this would cause a recession, believed recession would convince gov to renew bank's charter

    • Eventually, people protested the Bank's high interest rates, so the bank failed to get renewed

  • The Bank expired in 1836, but this caused a small recession


Jackson's Reforms in Supreme Court

  • After winning Bank War, Jackson sought to maintain loyalty in the Supreme Court

    • Hated vigorous nationalism of Chief Justice John Marshall

    • When Marshall died (1835), Jackson put Roger B Taney (Secretary of Treasury) as Chief Justice

  • Taney's court rulings promoted more widening of opportunity instead of nationalism

    • Charles River Bridge v Warren Bridge (1837)

      • Taney ruled that monopolies should be abolished and more people should get chances to conduct business in a certain area

    • Wanted widening opportunities for all instead of monopolies or aristocracies

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Post-Jackson Developments in Politics

Beliefs of Democrats

  • Supporters of Andrew Jackson

  • Believed in widening opportunity for white males

    • Opposed rapid industrial/commercial development as it hinders the widening of opportunity

      • Hated monopolies

    • Drew support for poor farmers in Northeast as well as farmers in the South & West

    • Drew support from Irish & German Catholics who wanted a peaceful society

Beliefs of Whigs

  • Whigs were opponents of Andrew Jackson

    • Name "Whig" comes from the British party that opposed the king

  • Believed in rapid industrial development

    • Wanted to slow western expansion as it could affect the stability of US

    • Wanted concentrated manufacturing power

    • Drew support from Northeast Merchants as well as wealthy Southern farmers

    • Drew support from Protestant Evangelicals due to their emphasis on human progress

  • Gained support through the Anti-Masonry Movement

    • A freemason, William Morgan, was murdered for publishing a book exposing masonry secrets​

    • It was believed that he was murdered by other Masons, which caused Anti-Mason protests

    • Many believed Jackson & Van Buren were Masons & started to oppose them, giving their support to Whigs

  • Didn't have one strong leader (like Jackson); Had 3 leaders instead

    • Henry Clay, Daniel Webster, John Calhoun formed "Great Triumvirate"

    • Each candidate was popular in some ways but had one controversial element making them unpopular

Election of 1836

  • Democratic Candidate was Martin Van Buren

  • Whigs had 3 candidates, each with a strong regional appeal

    • Hugh Lawson White had support of South

    • Daniel Webster had support of North

    • William Henry Harrison had support of West

    • They chose 3 candidates as they thought it would prevent Van Buren from receiving majority of votes

      • In this case, House would choose President

  • In the end, Martin Van Buren won the majority


Martin Van Buren's Presidency & Panic of 1837

  • In 1836 (during Jackson's presidency), economy was at a high

    • Railroads & canals were at peak of activity

    • Money was in surplus, so banks were giving more loans & printing more money

    • People bought more land in the west

    • Government profited from land sales & tariff of abominations, so it was out of debt in 1835

  • Congress was unsure of what to do w/ Treasury surplus

    • Didn't want to lower Tariff of abominations to cause another crisis (like Nullification)

    • Congress passed Distribution Act of 1836

      • All extra money in Treasury would be given to each state

      • States didn't expect to pay these loans back

      • Would be used to fund canals, roads, internal development, causing an economic boom

  • Jackson hated the paper money received from land sales in the West, so he issued "specie circular" (1836)

    • Forced speculators to pay him in gold/silver coins

  • This "specie circular" policy produced Financial Panic in 1837

    • Occurred in first few months of Van Buren's presidency

    • Bread riots emerged, unemployment grew, railroad projects failed, crops failed, etc.

    • Europe also had a financial panic, so they withdrew their funds from US, worsening US's financial panic

  • Martin Van Buren did little to alleviate it

    • Borrowed more money to pay debts & only accepted payments in gold/silver

      • Made things worse

    • Opposed government intervention in economy

    • Had a few achievements: Established 10-hour working day

  • Van Buren proposed having an independent treasury system

    • Gov funds would be put in an "independent treasury" in DC and "subtreasuries" in other states

    • No private banks could give loans on behalf of gov

    • Proposed in 1837, finally passed in 1840


Election of 1840

  • In 1840 election, Whigs realized they needed only one candidate, not 3 (like 1836 election)

    • Chose William Henry Harrison, a popular war hero & national figure

    • John Tyler was his running mate

  • Democrats chose Martin Van Buren (incumbent)

    • They failed to choose his running mate, so they left that to the electors

  • In this election, the idea of campaigning became really popular

    • Candidates utilized the "penny press," a new way of printing newspapers, to campaign

    • Both candidates appealed to a broad audience through their campaigns

    • To appeal to a broad audience, Harrison presented himself as a normal person and lover of log cabins

      • For this reason, his campaign was known as the "log cabin campaign"

  • In the end, William Henry Harrison won


Failures of Harrison & Tyler

  • Unfortunately, William Henry Harrison died a month into his presidency due to pneumonia

    • John Tyler (VP) succeeded him

  • John Tyler had weak ties w/ the Whig party

    • Was a former Democrat who joined the Whigs as he hated Jackson's egalitarianism

    • Agreed to abolish Van Buren's "independent treasury" but didn't want to reestablish the Nat'l Bank

    • Vetoed many of Clay's internal improvements bills that other Whigs in Congress supported

  • Whigs later removed John Tyler from the party

    • All cabinet members resigned, Democrats took their place

    • John Calhoun replaced Daniel Webster as Secretary of State

      • Calhoun rejoined Democrats

    • Tyler was part of a Whig faction that supported Democrats


Diplomatic Achievements of Whigs

  • US had a conflict with Britain in 1837 known as the Caroline Affair

    • Canadian rebels attacked British colonial authorities as they wanted independence

    • The Canadians chartered the American ship Caroline to deliver them supplies

    • British seized Caroline & burned it, killing one American on board

    • Americans blamed British officer Alexander McLeod for it

      • Daniel Webster (Secretary of State) wanted state courts to try McLeod in court

      • State courts acquitted McLeod as he was solely responding to official British orders

  • US & Canada also disagreed over the Maine boundary

    • Many US lumberjacks moved into the Aroostook river region (now part of Northern Maine)

    • US & British Canada fought a brief conflict called Aroostook War (1838-1839)

    • Daniel Webster (Sec. of State) negotiated the border w/ British Lord Ashburton in 1842

      • Signed Webster-Ashburton Treaty of 1842

  • Whigs also negotiated diplomacy with China

    • Britain fought Opium Wars w/ China to get trading rights, and US wanted the same rights

    • Whigs sent Caleb Cushing as a diplomat to China

      • Negotiated Treaty of Wanghia (1844)​

    • Trade w/ China significantly increased

  • Whigs lost Presidency in 1844 & only won two more presidencies after that

Important Terms & People