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Jacksonian Democracy

            In the 1820s and 1830s a change in American democracy took place. Andrew Jackson had served two terms as president during these times. Jackson and his followers believed in what we now call Jacksonian Democracy. In this, government was pulled closer to the common person. Jacksonian democrats viewed themselves as the guardians of the United States Constitution, political democracy, individual liberty, and equality of economic opportunity.
             However, an argument can be made that the Jacksonian democrats viewed themselves as inhibitors of liberties for ethnic minorities. During the early years of America the Indians were gradually forced westward by settlers, or assimilated into the American culture. In 1830, under Jackson as president, the Indian Removal Act was passed. The Cherokees, Creeks, Choctaws, Chickasaws, Seminoles, and other tribes that were east of the Mississippi River were forced west. All these Indians lost their lands. More than 100,000 Indians were forced on the trail to new lands (Bailey 279-281). As depicted in Document G, there are many Indians of all ages. Some were able to ride horses, but most were carrying their belongings on their backs. They conditions are not good and many look weak from the travelling to new land. In 1835, under Jackson's presidency, slavery was fought for by the executive branch. Jackson was supported in all slave states, where many Jacksonian Democrats lived (Bailey). In Document F, Acts and Resolutions of South Carolina are presented. It is requested that governments will suppress the associations that print, publish, or distribute writings or pictures that will excite slaves to revolt. It is also asked that such things be kept from being sent through the Post Office Department of the United States. Jacksonian Democrats saw themselves as people who would keep other ethnic groups from gaining rights. The Indians were forced off of their lands and slavery was supported.

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