Book Review of Liberty and Power Essay

959 Words Oct 26th, 2009 4 Pages
Harry L. Watson, Liberty and Power;
The Politics of Jacksonian America
Hill and Wang, N.Y.
Review written by Richard Foust Book Review Harry L. Watson’s book, “Liberty and Power, The Politics of Jacksonian America”, takes an analytical look at America and her politics during the Age of Jackson. Watson uses the economy and the ideological mindset of the people, to support a powerful argument about the beginning of American political parties and their importance in defining the political direction of the country. Watson argues that economic inequalities caused by the “Market Revolution” and a threat to American liberty caused Americans to organize politically in support of a
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The subsistence farmer, unable to compete, saw the Market Revolution as a threat to his liberty and acted on this threat. Watson surmises that with this threat, politically active citizens were ripe for a political party system that would protect their independence and liberty. Enter Andrew Jackson, who appealed to those voters who felt threatened by the changing economic picture. Jackson and his supporters believed that the Republican/Whig political party represented an elitist, aristocratic government that would put the ever expanding economy and their own profit above the liberty and good of the majority and it was the good of the majority that Jackson would rely on with great success. He believed that the preservation of the Republic depended on the majority and the majority was represented by independent farmers, who were profiting the least from the Market Revolution. Believing that any government based on aristocracy could become corrupt, he felt that that the best way was to treat all of the citizens alike and turn the rule of the country over to the majority. This majority, with the fiery General Andrew Jackson as their leader, would create the Democratic Party. Watson’s focus on political parties, chapter 6, is an important part of this book. Not only does it support his argument, but it also gives the reader

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