AVG – In “Andrew Jackson and the Rise of Liberated Capitalism,” Richard Hofstadter mentions that the resemblance between Andrew Jackson’s economic policies and Franklin D. Roosevelt’s New Deal is merely “superficial” (72). Despite the differences between the two policies, however, they are similar because both applied liberal economic theory to replace the antiquated economic systems that were harming the country.

Hofstadter correctly acknowledges that FDR’s New Deal increased the authority of government in business, while Jackson tried to separate government from business interests. He then proceeds to argue that FDR challenged “traditional American capitalism” (72) but Jackson supported this capitalism. However, in Jackson’s time, “traditional capitalism” would have been an oxymoron because capitalism was a recent phenomenon, first studied by Adam Smith barely fifty years before. Unregulated capitalism was considered a liberal idea rather than a conservative one (as it is viewed today and was in Roosevelt's time). Like FDR, Jackson challenged common economic theory at the time to support Americans whose economic position was threatened by it. Jackson expanded economic opportunities by allowing competition and attacking attacked monopolies, a residual from aristocratic and monarchical governments that used the tool to aid supporters. In the Depression, exclusion from economic opportunities was not a result of monopolies but rather unemployment; thus, FDR expanded economic opportunities by providing government employment for the jobless.

Similarly, both Roosevelt and Jackson prevented corruption in banking. Jackson refused to renew the charter for the Second Bank of the United States, which had become so large that it threatened the government. Roosevelt’s legislation prevented risky financial practices in banking and restored consumer confidence by federally guaranteeing bank deposits.

Thus, Roosevelt’s New Deal differed from Jackson’s economic reform only in the sense that economic policies and problems had changed over the century between them. Fundamentally, both replaced antiquated economic policies that had benefited the corrupt business elite at the expense of the common American.


VB – Andrew Jackson’s presidency is unique for two reasons. Jackson was able to break the established pattern, becoming the first president born in the south. It was apparent that the north, led by the Virginians, had become the powerhouse of American politics. Jackson, living in Tennessee, refuted this idea. By securing the popular vote, Jackson was eventually able to rise to the Presidency. His promising career began with legislative positions within his state. These positions, first as a solicitor and eventually as a Tennessee Supreme Court Justice, allowed him to gain in popularity and support. With each promotion, Jackson came to realize how these positions could help the common man. His seriousness grew as his positions became more respectable. Serving the people, at the highest level, became his ultimate goal. His notoriety extended beyond politics and his military expertise during the war of 1812 earned him additional respect. He profited from the support he acquired both politically and militarily by being elected the seventh president of the United States. In this final position of power, he hoped to transform the economy and help the pave the way to continued prosperity for all people.

Not as well known is Jackson’s recognition that the industries were connected, giving rise to a new form of capitalism. During a period of economic down turn, he presented alternative policies that would support financial growth. Jackson’s idea was to create a stable economy that would support all citizens. As a southerner, Jackson recognized the agrarian economy, and also understood that alone, it was not sufficient. He knew that by connecting the north, south and west through the development of transportation industries, the economy of the nation would develop. This development of a new capitalism would guide America’s economy toward the future.
AJJ- In “Andrew Jackson and the Rise of Liberated Capitalism,” Richard Hofstadter attempts to prove the importance and uniqueness of Andrew Jackson’s presidency. Jackson was the first president to be born in the south in a political system previously dominated by northern residents. His position as a military leader in an American war gave him unique recognition that the United States hadn’t seen since the days of Washington’s presidency. In addition to his military exploits he became known as a president of the people which appealed in a different way to voters than previous politics. The transformation of politics that occurred in transition between Northern politician John Quincy Adams and Andrew Jackson spawned a new age in American politics.
Equally important as the way Jackson changed politics as a whole were the policies he instituted. Though his ideologies were different, the way he instituted alternative policies were similar to the way Franklin Delano Roosevelt instituted alternative policies. Jackson brought new ideas to the table in period of economic recession in America. Jackson wanted to develop the American economy in areas other than agriculture almost developing anti-Jeffersonian policies. Though being a Southerner he had knowledge of the economy of the south, he knew that growth in the North was essential to the way America would function. Jackson successfully stimulated the economy of the north by supporting the transportation industry in particular making efforts to create jobs and help American industry in the North.

Jackson’s presidency was extremely significant because not only did he institute policies that benefited America as a whole, but he set a precedent for American leaders who wanted to differ from the norm of American politics the biggest example of which being Franklin Delano Roosevelt. Without the Age of Jackson, American politics might have remained an exclusively Northern phenomenon without any real change politically or economically.
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AJN- During his presidency Jackson appealed to the struggling American. He came from the lowest social background of any president before him so he knew what it was like to struggle every day. He wanted the bank to be abolished because it concentrated the finances of the nation into a single place, the proverbial putting its eggs in one basket. Being that he was of poor roots, Jackson was a supporter of the small capitalist. So Jackson disagreed strongly with the amount of power given in one area.

Nicholas Biddle argued, “it stabilized the currency and held in check inflationary pressure from the wildcatters”. Jackson, however, saw how it was too much power for one organization and with poor landowners struggling to make it they needed something drastically. It favored northeastern states over southern and western states as well as the rich over the poor. The rich got richer at the expense of poor farmers and laborers.

Because Jackson withdrew money from the bank and invested it into other industries there was rapid inflation. So Jackson was hard pressed and determined to eliminate the national debt or at the very least reduce it as much as possible. All Jackson was attempting to do was take money from the National Bank in order to help out the little people of whom his roots come, such as cotton producers and canal constructers.

Today the Federal Reserve has the same problems as the National Bank had back then. Inflation and debts have been even worse since the dollar lost its backing in 1973. Jackson vetoed the Bank’s reinstitution by Congress and withdrew American funds in 1833. Thus he was finally succeeding in destroying the Bank. Getting rid of the National Bank has been for the better of the nation and we saw Jackson was able to fulfill the demands of his job by putting his country ahead of his personal beliefs, as was done in the past.

CCR- The power of an untapped voting populous can have enormous influence in an election. It has the ability to bring to power whomever it collectively supports, even if the candidate that they were behind had little to no political experience… In the 1820’s change was in the air, and it was a change that people could believe in. Andrew Jackson rose to international fame nearly overnight after he defeated the British at the battle of New Orleans. His combination of common man and aristocrat perceptions made him identifiable with all classes. In “Andrew Jackson and the Rise of Liberal Capitalism,” Richard Hofstadter argues that Jackson rose to the presidency by a tidal wave of popular support. Jackson had a populist political perspective. Also he was easily identifiable and relatable to the masses.
Jacksonian and Jeffersonian systems of government have had parallels drawn between them. A significant similarity lies in the area of specific public policy. Both Jefferson and Jackson have been remembered as strong Presidents thanks in a large part to their people pleasing ability. Jefferson put aside his personal viewpoints in order to do what is best for the country. Jackson rode a wave of popular support for specific policy changes such as white male suffrage. White male suffrage was specifically important for Jackson because around this time period males with out property began to get more and more involved in politics. The last ten years had taken Americans through sticky political scandals and the United States’ first depression, and Jackson was known to be against the current President, John Quincy Adams. This was a great help to his election campaign. Hofstadter points out that Jackson had a popular mandate to be different from Adams, or the public’s perception of Adams and his administration.

While Jackson thrived because of the terrible image that the Adams’ administration had garnered, he was also aided by a publicly accepted positive perception of himself. Jackson was a combination of a frontiersman and a gentleman. His dual persona allowed for mass appeal to two different groups of people. His frontiersman side aided his campaign with common folk who wanted a president to respect their needs. On the other hand, his Carolina/Tennessee gentleman qualities ensured that the more influential upper class new that Jackson was a legitimate leader. It further helped him look as though he was a good man to be chosen as Leader of the Free World that few new of his plantation in Tennessee that was home to hundreds of slaves.
Jackson did not have an exorbitant amount of political experience, but he did have the support of the people. This among other reasons allowed him to rise to power in the 1820’s.
RIL:Even though some Americans hated the United States Bank, America needed the United States Bank to sustain its economy; therefore, it was wrong of Andrew Jackson to close the bank. There are a few reasons behind Americans’ dissatisfaction with the bank as Hoftstadter points out, but most of these reasons are self serving. Farmers did not like the bank because they were interested in the value of their land more so than their agricultural output, wildcat bankers in the South and West disliked how the United States Bank limited credit inflation, state bankers were jealous of the United States Bank’s supremacy, some small business owners and laborers felt restricted by the bank and also felt the reason they were poor was because of the currency system not because they were underpaid. Jealousy and wanting to be richer are merely selfish, trivial reasons to dislike the United States Bank.
After Andrew Jackson closed the United States Bank, the American economy got worse, hence, it was wrong of Andrew Jackson to close it. After it had closed, a recession started and after that, inflation began. The inflation was partially caused by the state banks that had received funds from the closing of the United States Bank which is why closing that bank was part of the source of the problem. Jackson had not anticipated nor wanted this result. He was against both the privileges of the United States Bank and inflation yet he had inadvertently caused inflation. The new currency system was suffering worse than it had been when the United States Bank was present. With this in mind, it is clear that closing the bank was a mistake because the resulting economy suffered worse than the previous economy.
Jackson had made this mistake by acting on his own personal beliefs rather than for the sake of America. Jackson had hated banks, and these hateful feelings were applied to the United States Bank when it came up for charter. If he had not hated banks, he might not have made the decision to reject the charter and close the bank. As president, he should have seen its merits and flaws without any bias, but he could not do that. Perhaps, if his decision was not clouded by his resentment, he might have understood how the United States Bank helped America and kept it in place for those reasons. Since Jackson could not act without involving his own personal beliefs, he had failed in doing what could have been right for America.
J.R.C.: In Richard Hofstadter’s article titled, “Andrew Jackson and the Rise of Liberal Capitalism”, the development of a democratic leader is portrayed to be a lifelong process. The majority of people both in modern day and about the time of his presidency seem to believe that Andrew Jackson was raised to be an absolute democratic frontiersman and he lived his life accordingly. I agree with the author on this point, mainly because he left no grounds to argue by providing a complete picture of the life Jackson lived, and the clearly false assumptions that tended to follow. Hofstadter opposed many of these assumptions by explaining further as to the life Jackson truly lived. Some examples of this were found in his explanation of Jackson being an aristocrat, the vivid situations of Jackson’s temper, and the means in which Jackson gained national popularity. Also, to add to many of the thought provoking, contradicting examples of the wrongs of people’s assumptions, Hofstadter went further, by explaining the lack of any political experience Jackson had. The author and the writer above, C.C.R., in an avoidance of undermining Jackson’s talents, also explained that due to his gentlemanlike qualities, Jackson appealed to the more necessary, upper-class votes. In doing so, both writers provide a valid reason as to why Jackson had such an extended reach on society. Along with many other legitimate examples of Jackson’s effective presidency, many counterexamples basically negated the valid, beneficial ones. For example, the author provides the negative example of the closing of the United States Bank. This, along with many others, causes one to question the effectiveness of Jackson’s presidency. Though many seem to believe Jackson rose to presidency strictly due to his prominence on the Tennessee frontier, myriad facts about his life serve as contradicting ideals.
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