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American History in 1820-1860s: J.Q. Adams and A.Jackson


The interim between 1820 and 1860 in American history was marked with the formation of the inherently American political ideologies and movements as well as with significant economic growth, to great extent at the expense of slave work (Davis, p.138). The present paper has two aims: first, contrasting the views of two rivaling politicians, J.Q. Adams and A.Jackson and second, outlining the legislation and policies created in response to slavery-related challenges.

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Comparison of Adams’s and Jackson’s views on Democracy

According to Schlesinger, the Jacksonian democracy consisted in emphasizing the power of the President and the executive branch of power in general as well as the right of the common man to participate in governance and policy-making (Schlesinger, p.28). Jackson believed in the President’s power at the expense of the Congress, so the period of his presidency was marked with the “malformation” and weakness of the parliament, whose decisions were often vetoed by the President. At the same time, he also endorsed judicial elections so that judges were not appointed but chosen by the common people. The population of voters was expanded by Jackson to all-white adult males, not merely landowners as before (Schlesinger, p.49). At the same time, J.Q. Adams viewed Jackson as an embodiment of the power usurpation and monopolization and suggested that Congress be entitled to approve the most important policy decisions and appointments of the Administration and that the power of the parliament should not be limited to passing laws and should imply the right and responsibility for controlling the appropriateness and relevance of the policies developed by the President with respect to the existing legislation. Adams was also opposed to the idea of expanding the electorate, as he believed that only competent and educated Americans (in other words, wealthier, landowners, bourgeoisie and elite) had the true right to participate in elections, whereas the common people were extremely far from policy and politics in their worldview. The Republican government, as Jackson believed, should favor the laissez-faire economy and situational, not strategic management of economic issues. That Was actually a weak point of the Jacksonian democracy, as such a negligent approach to the national economy resulted in the collapse of the Bank of the United States. At the same time, Adams held that the Congress and the Administration were to cooperate in making far-sighted decisions (laws, policies and programs) that would ensure the stability of the country. The Congress, which represents the will of each state’s population should pay particular attention and initiate new regulations of economy, according to Adams (Schlesinger, p.81).

Discussion of slavery management policy in 1820-1860’s

It was quite hard to categorize the methods of slavery management in 1820-1860 as “peaceful”, however, there were several prominent laws and corresponding policies which gradually narrowed the boundaries of slavery. In particular, the 1820 Missouri Compromise, passed between the pro-slavery and anti-slavery factions, banned slavery in the Louisiana Territories except with the proposed state of Missouri. In the year 1820, Maine has proclaimed a free state. As a result of the 1831 rebellion, organized and led by Nat Turner in Virginia, the state authorities repealed the rights of the free blacks, censored abolitionist papers and adopted regulations that restricted the access of non-whites to education and religious practices.

Furthermore, the Compromise of 1850 proclaimed California a free state. At the same time, the Fugitive Slave Act was adopted, according to the law, all slaves who fled from their owners, were to be returned back with the assistance of the U.S. civilians. Furthermore, the Compromise of 1850 terminated the slave trade in the District of Columbia. The 1854 Kansas-Nebraska Act formed the territories of Kansas and Nebraska and introduced popular sovereignty in these areas, i.e. the settlers were entitled to decide whether they would allow slavery in their boundaries. In 1857, the Dred Scott case radically changed and turned back the Congress-driven efforts to manage slavery in a peaceful way, as it held that the parliament was not entitled to ban slavery in the states and that slaves were not citizens. Between 1820 and 1860, a number of abolitionist works and movements emerged: for instance, in 1846, W.L. Garrison, a famous political activist, published his “Liberator” and in 1849 Harriet Tubman, a fugitive slave, became the leader of the Underground Railroad movement.

Works cited

  1. Davis, K. Don’t Know Much About History: Everything You Need to Know About American History but Never Learned. HarperCollins, 2004.
  2. Schlesinger, A. The Age of Jackson. Boston: Little, Brown & Company, 1945.

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StudyCorgi. (2021, November 19). American History in 1820-1860s: J.Q. Adams and A.Jackson. Retrieved from


StudyCorgi. (2021, November 19). American History in 1820-1860s: J.Q. Adams and A.Jackson.

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"American History in 1820-1860s: J.Q. Adams and A.Jackson." StudyCorgi, 19 Nov. 2021,

1. StudyCorgi. "American History in 1820-1860s: J.Q. Adams and A.Jackson." November 19, 2021.


StudyCorgi. "American History in 1820-1860s: J.Q. Adams and A.Jackson." November 19, 2021.


StudyCorgi. 2021. "American History in 1820-1860s: J.Q. Adams and A.Jackson." November 19, 2021.


StudyCorgi. (2021) 'American History in 1820-1860s: J.Q. Adams and A.Jackson'. 19 November.

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