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Researching of Early 19th Social Rights


The introduction of democracy into American politics was marred with controversy and rapid changes that set a precedent for the future of the nation. Democracy was fostered in the belief that all men were equal after the revolution and would contribute equally to decision-making in the country. These assertions were not achieved with ease during the early 19th century due to various restrictions. One notable feature of early 18th-century politics was the expansion of social rights for white men and the infringement of the same for women and non-white people. This essay is an analysis of how and why the rights of one group were expanded while those of others were decreased.

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Discriminatory Change in Social Rights

Jacksonian Democracy

The Jacksonian democracy saw the expansion of social rights for white men during the early 19th century and a decrease for women and non-whites. The notion mainly informed the restrictions in voting for other races of white supremacy that characterized American politics during this period. White people were seen as a superior race and women were seen as lesser than men. During the initial elections following the adoption of democracy, wealthy women and some non-whites were allowed to vote and make democratic choices. These rights were gradually eroded as the nation continued to grow and subsequent elections were carried out.

The Jacksonian period was characterized by radical democratic changes that advocated for Americans to elect their leaders and move leadership from the wealthy elites (Lynn & Watson, 2019). This was the basis of the Democratic Party, which was founded by small business owners who did not consist of the mainstream wealthy Americans. The belief in democracy for the white people was advanced through popular forums, including demonstrations, where they expressed their views.

White Participation

White men turned up for elections in huge numbers to make their democratic views heard and this led to the expansion of their democracy. The racist slave owners still controlled major sections of the country. These people were entitled to leadership, and past presidents and leadership had emanated from these families. They believed that leadership was their right and that promoting democracy would make the nation worse.

They advanced their agenda through their political party, the Whigs, which competed against Jackson’s Democratic Party (Benson, 2016). The people behind the Whigs were major players in the banking sector, composed of merchants and people with moneyed interests in the economy. In the 1824 elections, John Quincy Adams, who represented the interests of the faction that later formed the Whigs, was chosen to be president. This was in a hotly contested election where the House of Representatives elected him.

Infringement of Rights of Women and Non-white People

The period since this election was characterized by changes that infringed on the nation’s social rights of women and non-white people. In the early 1800s, the northern states that had permitted free black citizens to vote stripped them of this privilege.

This meant their contribution to democracy was unwarranted and social rights infringed upon (Hunter, 2021). Adding property requirements was another way to ensure that black people did not participate in the democratic process. The white policymakers required people who would vote to own certain proportions of wealth that were unattainable for the free black men. Since the revolution, wealthy unmarried women were allowed to vote, but they were later stripped of this right, allowing white men alone to participate in democratic processes.

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The attachment of property ownership requirements stemmed from the belief amongst white people that decision-makers were supposed to be citizens who had a stake in the nation. They believed that they owned assets in the nation and by extension, owned the right to decide the outcome of democratic processes in the nation. The influence these wealthy white men had in democratic processes previously that allowed only them to vote was still part of their belief system. Some white men detested democracy due to the lack of belief in the system. (Du Bois & Mack, 2017) The belief in their rights to own the nation informed them to manage democracy for their benefit. These people believed that democracy allowed all people to vote and that this was a mistake. They asserted that this jeopardized the fate of the country as all people could not be trusted to make the right decision. They believed that given their elite status in society, they had the best interests of the republic at heart.


In conclusion, democracy in the United States was the hallmark of the 19th century. The early 19th-century expansion of social rights for white men was informed by racist beliefs in the supremacy of the white race over others. The decrease in the same rights was due to restrictions imposed on the other races by these white men. They believed unmarried women could not be trusted with the welfare of the nation and imposed wealth ownership requirements on free black people.

Jacksonian politics were a major feature during this period and charted the path for American politics. Part of the reason this discrimination was witnessed was due to the control white racist supremacists had over strategic sectors in the country. These include the banking sector which was crucial to the government of the day. These supremacists also consisted of rulers that existed before the revolution who believed leadership was their birthright.


Benson, L. (2016). The concept of Jacksonian democracy: New York as a Test Case. Princeton University Press. Web.

Du Bois, W. E. B., & Mack, H. J. (2017). Black reconstruction in America (W. E. B. Du Bois, Ed.). Routledge. Web.

Hunter, N. (2021). In search of equality for women: From suffrage to civil rights. Duq. L. Rev, 59, 125.

Lynn, J. A., & Watson, H. L. (2019). Introduction: Race, politics, and culture in the age of Jacksonian “democracy.” Journal of the Early Republic, 39(1), 81–87. Web.

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