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Vincent Prior
AP American
Quiz 7

    " The coincidence between Andrew Jackson's leadership of the United States and the emergence of America's democratic culture through the Age of Reform had more to do with Jackson's background than his political record." This statement truly captures the essence of Jackson's rise to power. His policies were weak and indecisive, so was his leadership. However, with his background as "the common man" and his rise to greatness he brought himself to political power via his past.
    Through the age of reform came the creation of a democratic culture, one that brought to the forefront Andrew Jackson. Jackson was born in the country of North Carolina to a dirt poor family. Through these humble beginnings he brought himself up to become  a general in the ranks of the United States Army and then, a politician. During the war of 1812,  he was revered as a great Indian fighter and through this fame came even more prosperity. Jackson became rich and acquired the Hermitage, one of the largest plantations in the United States. His mercurial rise to power represented the dream of all Americans that the common man could rise to a position of wealth and power. Thus, he gained much support. Andrew Jackson gained much popularity by supporting such measures as eliminating property qualifications to vote and by supporting more common interest in the election of the electoral college. These things allowed the mass of men to make, for themselves, a greater part within the American democracy. This led to those masses electing "the people's candidate" for President.
    Unfortunately, the candidate of the masses was less than perfect. His lack of the understanding of policy reared its ugly head when he assumed office. This is exemplified by such things as the spoils system, increased sectionalism, the ignoring of Supreme Court decisions with regard to Indians (Indian Removal Act of 1830 and 1835), the bank war, the nullification crisis and the issuing of the Specie Circular in 1836. Another failure is his extreme views on foreign affairs and his rash and often belligerent decisions.  All of these things did nothing to help the growth of America, rather they hindered it.
    It was Jackson's background, as the common man, and not his political record which would bring him to office. He was a hero within a society of mediocrity and the common man, for he was both; exemplified in the office of the President of the United States of America.