U.S. History
Material Type:
Ohio Open Ed Collaborative
  • History
  • Ohs0432
    Creative Commons Attribution Non-Commercial
    Media Formats:

    Education Standards

    Age of Jackson 1820-1840

    Age of Jackson 1820-1840


    One of the most notable political developments in the years before the Civil War was the rise of American democracy. Whereas the founders of the new nation envisioned the United States as a republic, not a democracy, and had placed safeguards such as the Electoral College in the 1787 Constitution to prevent simple majority rule, the early 1820s saw many Americans embracing majority rule and rejecting old forms of deference that were based on elite ideas of virtue, learning, and family lineage. A new breed of politicians learned to harness the power of the many by appealing to the resentments, fears, and passions of ordinary citizens to win elections. The charismatic Andrew Jackson gained a reputation as a fighter and defender of American expansion, emerging as the quintessential figure leading the rise of American democracy. Characteristics of modern American democracy, including the turbulent nature of majority rule, first appeared during the Age of Jackson.

    Learning Objectives

    • Describe the political transformation of American politics following the Monroe Administration.
    • Describe the circumstances behind the "Corrupt Bargain," and explain how they contributed to the formation of the Democratic Party.
    • Identify the factors that contributed to the increase in the American population's political participation.
    • Examine the factors influencing the formation of the Whig Party, and explain how this led to the formation of America's Second Two-Party System.
    • Identify and describe the major crises of the Jackson Administration.
    • Describe the reasons why Jackson implemented Indian Removal, and assess the impact this policy had upon Native American Tribes.

    Module Supplemental Readings/Videos

    • The 1824 Election and the "Corrupt Bargain" (U.S. History)
    • The Age of Jackson (U.S. History)
    • The Age of Jacksonian Democracy, 1828-1840 (Sage American History)     
    • Andrew Jackson's Hermitage
    • Jacksonian Democracy (History Hub)
    • Jacksonian Democracy and Modern America (U.S. History)
    • John Quincy Adams (U.S. History)
    • Trail of Tears National Historic Trail
    • Whig Party

    Multimedia Resources

    Primary Resources

    Glossary of Key Terms

    Bank War: President Andrew Jackson’s veto of the Bank Bill to renew the Second Bank of the United States’ charter, arguing that the bank favored moneyed interests at the expense of western farmers.

    corrupt bargain: Alleged deal between presidential candidates John Quincy Adams and Henry Clay to throw the election, to be decided by the House of Representatives, in Adams' favor.

    Force Bill:  Authorized the president to use the military to collect federal import duties.

    Gibbons v. Ogden:  Suit over whether New York State could grant a monopoly to a ferry operating on interstate waters. The ruling reasserted that Congress had the sole power to regulate interstate commerce.

    Indian Removal Act: Ordered the removal of Indian Tribes still residing east of the Mississippi to newly established Indian Territory west of Arkansas and Missouri.

    panic of 1837: Economic crisis triggered by bank failures, elevated grain prices, and Andrew Jackson's efforts to curb over-speculation on western lands and transportation improvements.

    pet banks: pro-Jackson state banks that received the bulk of federal deposits when Andrew Jackson moved to dismantle the Second Bank of the United States in 1833.

    spoils system: Policy of rewarding political supporters with public office,

    Tariff of Abominations: Unprecedentedly high duties on imports, which hurt Southern farmers, who did not enjoy the protection of tariffs, but were forced to pay higher prices for manufactures.

    Trail of Tears: Forced march of 15,000 Cherokee Indians from their Georgia and Alabama homes to Indian Territory. Some 4,000 Cherokee died on the journey.