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What is Jacksonian democracy?

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Jacksonian democracy is a political movement that cropped up in the United States between the 1820s and 1850s. It alludes to the democratic reforms that were symbolized by Andrew Jackson and his followers during the Second Party System. This democratic movement was dedicated to powerful and egalitarian ideals.

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This was a political era tied to the subjugation of native Americans, slavery and the celebration of white supremacy. The origin of Jacksonian democracy can be traced back to the antifederalists, the American Revolution and the Jeffersonian Democratic Republicans. It was triggered by profound economic and social changes of the early-19th century.

The Jacksonian democracy promoted the powers of the executive and the presidency at the expense of the Congress. It also sought to broaden and influence public participation in government. The Jacksonians rewrote many state constitutions and demanded elected judges, instead of appointed officials, to reflect their new values.

Jacksonian democracy was mainly limited to Americans of European descent. Voting rights were only extended to white, male adults. There was little progress for Native Americans and African-Americans. Jackson's presidency also promoted racist legislation, including the Indian Removal Act. This democracy adhered to the following general principles: manifest destiny, strict constructionism, expanded suffrage, patronage and laissez-faire economics.

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