Age Of Jackson Essay

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The Age of Jackson, written by Arthur M. Schlesinger, focuses on the long lasting effects of Andrew Jackson on democracy and American politics. The novel starts off with Jackson’s life story, a lowerclass boy from the west, raised by a single mother. After finding financial success on his own, he became well known for his military exploits, being a crucial factor in the Battle of New Orleans, and the acquisition of Florida from the Spanish. After the brief account of Jackson’s life, the author moves on to his administration, and stays with that topic for most of the book.

By the time Jackson came to power, the nation had been drastically changed by the Industrial Revolution. The simple, pastoral, agricultural lifestyle was being replaced
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Jackson, uneducated as he was, was a very shrewd man. Using the spoils system, he all but totally replaced the cabinet from the previous administration. By rewarding the men who had helped him reach his current state, he made it clear that the middleclass could improve their condition. The cabinet was no longer filled with wealthy men of status, but instead of more every day people.

Nicholas Biddle proved great opposition to President Jackson. He wanted to re-charter the National Bank; however, many people were against Biddle’s decision. This was particularly true of people in the west. They were still wary of a national bank, after the Panic of 1819, which involved mishaps in land speculation. Jackson shared the predominately western opinion that several small banks would be a better service to the nation than one, large bank would. A major problem with a national bank would lie in it’s willingness only to make loans to the wealthy. This would be of no use to the middleclass. Jackson would not allow Biddle to gain any more power than he already had.

Jackson did not have the characteristics of a great president. First of all, he was notorious for being to rash and impetuous. As a military leader, he often disobeyed direct orders (Florida campaign), and acted on instinct rather than reason. He also had many enemies among colleagues, including John Calhoun, John Quincy Adams,
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