“A Man of the People”?
The election of Andrew Jackson, a military hero, Tennessee slaveholder, Jeffersonian democrat, symbolized for his supporters and opponents a new age of politics. Jackson brought to national politics a new egalitarianism, reflecting the frontier west of the Appalachian Mountains. In this era, voting rights for all white males, frequent elections, term limits, and a new style of politicking became apparent. Political candidates presented themselves as men of the common people. Jackson presented himself as a man of the people. As president, he expanded presidential powers.
- Some of our presidents have been successful presenting themselves as “men of the people” (Bill Clinton, Ronald Reagan). Others have tried but been less successful (George H.W. Bush, Barack Obama). How important do you think it is that the president represent himself as “one of us”?
- President Trump has actively sought to identify his presidency with that of Andrew Jackson, going so far as to put a portrait of Jackson in the Oval Office. What traits do you think President Trump finds admirable about Jackson? Do you share that admiration?
This reading is an excerpt from Certell’s Common Sense American History eBook. Certell offers curriculum materials and eBooks free of charge for students and teachers. Click here to download the Common Sense American History materials.
27, Sept. 2018, Portrait of Andrew Jackson [Digital image]. Retrieved from <google.com>.