The Evolution Of American Democracy Essay

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The Evolution of the American Democracy
"United States can be seen as the first liberal democracy. The United States Constitution, adopted in 1788, provided for an elected government and protected civil rights and liberties. On the American frontier, democracy became a way of life, with widespread social, economic and political equality. The system gradually evolved, from Jeffersonian Democracy or the First Party System to Jacksonian Democracy or the Second Party System and later to the Third Party System. In Reconstruction after the Civil War (late 1860s) the newly freed slaves became citizens, and they were given the vote as well." (Web, 1)
"After 1815 Americans transformed the republic of the Founding Fathers into a democracy. State
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Petitioning, parading, and mobbing (each of which included Americans who were not white males) had all been crucial to the American Revolutionary movement, and they had continued to play important roles in Jeffersonian America. By the 1830s and 1840s, spontaneous parades and mob actions played smaller roles in political life, and more-respectable citizens viewed such activities as disorderly and criminal. Popular participation in politics was more and more limited to voting.
Furthermore, voting was organized not by the voice of the citizenry, but by a national two–party system staffed by disciplined professionals. These professionals included candidates, appointed office holders, newspaper editors, and local leaders who organized voters, wrote party platforms, and developed party ideologies in ways that only partially and indirectly reflected popular wishes. Thus political participation was democratized by the 1830s. But democracy included only white men, and even they were transformed from citizens to spectators.
Neither the Jeffersonians nor their Federalist opponents admitted to being a political party. To them the term party meant the same as faction. It also meant the victory of selfishness and contention over the selfless unanimity they felt a republic needed.
However, two events caused important politicians to reconsider the value of parties. First, the…