The United States has experienced growth and changes in its democratic system from the time of President Jefferson to President Jackson. Both President Jefferson and Andrew were great State men during their time and they had a great influence on the American democratic system. The two presidents shared some similarities but they also had their difference regarding economic social and political views. During their time, both of the presidents had their mistakes and achievements.
Both Jefferson and Andrew agreed on the need for the common to have a bigger influence in the government compared to the wealthy aristocrats. The two presidents shared the idea about the government being of the people and for the people. The also shared the views that the State rights should be upheld and that the Federal government should not interfere with the States (Ackerman, 2007). The ideals were founded by the need to see a stronger United State with a decentralized power to make sure the wealth of the nation it properly distributed. The two presidents believed all the States cannot share the same beliefs, opinions, and values and therefore people were given an opportunity to custom made some laws according to the culture of their States to avoid confrontation with the Federal government. The democratic systems of the two presidents were also opposed to big governments. President Jefferson and Andrew both shared the belief that big governments and corporations had the potential of being misused by a few people (Ackerman, 2007). They also shared a strong belief in the need to uphold human rights. The bill of rights which would protect the freedom of expression, protection against standing army and restrict monopolies were strongly advocated by the two presidents.
President Jackson showed the need for the American people to have a common man rule them when they elected him. He did not come from the wealthy elite family. However, people elected him as the president because of his principles and the need to see the government power going into the hands of the people. Unfortunately, their presidential period was marked by slavery and oppression of the women. The bill of rights that was proclaimed by the two presidents did not extend to women, native Americans or African Americans. Both the president democratic system was rooted in a male-dominated society where women were not allowed to vote or take part in the running of the government affairs (Dalacourad, 2005). The democratic gains of the American people were also shaped by the two presidents in the current form that it is today. President Jefferson and Andrew ensure the church was separated from the State affairs. The laws that were being implemented were carefully drafted not to incorporate the beliefs of religious people but to be neutral and free from the church influence. The farmers were however given a special consideration by both the presidents because of their key roles in feeding the population. Since both the president were not in favor of big governments, they disliked the idea of having a strong bank such as the bank of America because they feared it will be monopolistic and erode the American democratic values.
Both the presidential periods also shared other similarities especially in the way they decided who was eligible to hold public office. In the 21st century, men, women, African-Americans and any other person in the United States is eligible to hold a public office (Crandall, 2006). The bill of rights extends to anyone who is an American no matter their skin color, gender or sexual orientation. However, during Jefferson and Andrew presidency, the democratic system of the time a person who was eligible to hold public office was often a male (white). The other people were not considered eligible because of the views held about them during that time.
Jefferson believed that the US has the duty to spread the Empire of Liberty (Crandall, 2006). The Empire of Liberty was a belief that the US should spread democracy and freedom across the globe. The president saw the US as an example of the way a country should be governed. He believed that the US has a moral duty to intervene in other countries affairs if it aims at ensuring the freedom of those people. The foreign policy advocated by president Jefferson played a key role in motivating the US to engage in the Spanish American war. The policy has also contributed to the war II, the cold war and the current war on terror.
Jefferson believed in the need for American expansion as a way of securing its food need. He was also a great proponent of agriculture and not manufacturing. According to Jefferson, the growth of manufacturing industry would lead to an increase in the number of people who relied on wages. Such a group of people would no longer be independent voters. I a situation that the majority of people rely on wages, the voters are vulnerable to economic manipulation and political subjugation. The democratic principle of Jefferson and Andrew also agreed that international trade is bad for America. The way candidates were chosen between Jackson and Jefferson democracy was different. During Jefferson's time, two highest voted candidates became the president and the vice president. However, during Jackson's time, a candidate was chosen to run for the presidential and vice president seat separately. The changes in the way the democratic system was influenced by the principles of these two presidents, the rise of civil movement groups and the changes in people's perspective. The changes were significant because they influenced the current political climate.
Ackerman, B. (2007). The failure of the founding fathers: Jefferson, Marshall, and the rise of presidential democracy. Cambridge, MA: Belknap.
Crandall, R. (2006). Gunboat democracy: U.S. interventions in the Dominican Republic, Grenada, and Panama. Lanham [Md.: Rowman & Littlefield Publishers.
DALACOURA, K. (2005). US democracy promotion in the Arab Middle East since 11 September 2001: a critique. International Affairs, 81(5), 963-979. doi:10.1111/j.1468-2346.2005.00497.x
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