Jacksonian Democracy Lesson Plans

Andrew “Old Hickory” Jackson, the seventh president of the United States, was a military veteran and a ruthless politician. He rose to power on a wave of populist appeal, and was central in shaping early America. He quashed threats of succession, forced the relocation of Native Americans, and dismantled the national bank. His presidency, like many others, is important for students to study to understand how the United States continued to be shaped and how the actions taken during Jackson's presidency still affect the country today.

Student Activities for Jacksonian Democracy

Important Questions for Jacksonian Democracy

  1. What was the nature of the Election of 1824 and the “corrupt bargain”?
  2. How did the Election of 1824 influence political parties and elections? How does it still serve as a learning tool in today’s politics?
  3. What were Jackson’s actions concerning the national bank, and how did he aim to limit its influence and power?
  4. How did Jackson aim to limit the powers of the national government, but also expand his own powers as president?
  5. What was the tariff crisis, and how did Jackson solve what was, at the time, a major concern of secession and disunity among the vastly different American states? How does this exemplify state vs. national powers?
  6. What was Jackson’s view and stance on the Native American population? What actions did Jackson take to attempt to “solve” this issue, and how does it exemplify America’s treatment of Native Americans?

Jacksonian Democracy

Andrew Jackson served the United States as the seventh president. A war hero who fought in the War of 1812, Jackson was a controversial president, but instrumental in establishing a firm stance on several issues. Jackson hailed from Tennessee, and was the first president from west of the Appalachians. He was a wealthy plantation owner and served as Senator in the 1790s. With political experience as well as a highly touted reputation for his military actions, Jackson served as an emblem of the common man of America. He became the face of the average American, but his presidency will remain shrouded in controversy.

Jackson first emerged on the presidential stage in 1824, where he lost to John Quincy Adams through an unusual political alliance, what Jackson deemed a “corrupt bargain”. With renewed vengeance, and nearly triple the voting contingent, Jackson seized the presidency in both 1828 and 1832. Catering to the people's fear of big government, Jackson went on to reduce government influence.

He battled the national bank and dealt with one of the first crises of secession and disunity among the states. Jackson turned to his closest advisers, his “kitchen cabinet”, for guidance, to the dismay and disapproval of many politicians. He also set a staunch precedent in dealing with the native population, helping establish an even more extreme response to the “Indian problem”. Overall, Andrew Jackson left a mark not only the position of the presidency, but also the nation as a whole. He remains instructive as part of life in early America.

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