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Jacksonian Democracy and Manifest Destiny

Difference from Predecessors

The history of the United States is riddled with ambiguous and often controversial events, people, and ideas. Even though all of these ideas are built to fit the profile of a democratic concept as a part of the philosophy created by the Founding Fathers, some of the historical characters seem strange as political innovators, to say the least. Andrew Jackson is one of such people. Even though his portrayal often falls into one of the two extremes, i.e., either an aspiring innovator or an advocate of slavery and the strangler of people’s freedoms, one must give credit to where it belongs. Specifically, one must admit that Jackson was a flawed human being with the ideas that may not hold the candle to those of his descendants, but he definitely contributed to the western settlement because of his passionate nature and the rushed decision-making that set him apart from his predecessors. Combining the qualities that might seem incompatible, Jackson became a powerful leader that could promote change in the political and economic environment of the time (Miller et al. 00:22:07).

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Therefore, it was both firmness and impulsiveness that set Johnson aside from the rest of the presidents, including both predecessors and the successors. Andrew Jackson had a very rigid stance on the course which America was taking in the identified time slot. As a result, he was able to make the decisions that determined the further development of the state, including the acceptance of the Manifest Destiny and expansion into the West.

Personality and Appeal

The harsh nature of Johnson’s personality was an admittedly massive flaw that was inexcusable for a politician. Furthermore, his inability to speak in public and deliver an inspiring speech was not the quality that one would seek in a public person and a president at that. Nevertheless, as a closer look at his personality shows, the identified problems in his character came from the place of passion and caring for his people, land, and ideas. Nonetheless, the latter definitely had problems even at the time, which made a case for reconsidering Jackson’s role in American history as evidently controversial.

While what has been said above about Jackson’s lack of concern for the rights of women, as well as ethnic and racial minorities, is true, he should not be portrayed as the epitome of evil that America had to suffer at the time. Falling into the other extreme and calling him the saving grace of the American people, however, would not be right, either. It seems that Jackson’s primary flaw was that he was a human first, and only then the president.

Indeed, according to the author of the podcast, passion did take him too far at certain points of his career: “He was a democratic autocrat, an urbane savage, an atrocious saint” (“Andrew Jackson – Good Evil & the Presidency – PBS Documentary” 00:95:47-00:05:55). While one may not condone his actions and choices, one can definitely understand them. It is extremely easy to get involved personally with the political, economic, cultural, social, and other domains of politics that a president must coordinate. Jackson had many flaws, and, from the standpoint of modern morals, one would not call him a progressive person, especially given his idea of race relationships and gender issues; however, one must give Jackson credit for making the steps that would lead to a drop in the levels of social tension.

Works Cited

“Andrew Jackson – Good Evil & the Presidency – PBS Documentary.” YouTube, uploaded by Trurher TV, 2012, Web.

Miller, Donald L., et al. “Program 6: Westward Expansion/The Empire of Liberty.” Annenberg Learner, 2016, Web.

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