He also talks about the decline and ultimate implosion of the Whig party - much the same as the Federalist party fell apart a generation before. Share: Twitter Facebook Email. Beard offered an economic interpretation of the Constitution and analyzed the economic origins of Jeffersonian democracy. The book is somewhat dated now, as he makes occasional references to WWII-era political thinking by both Republicans and Democrats. If many of the self-styled “workingmen” of Jackson’s day were not, in fact, workers at all but small proprietors on their way up, why should they define themselves as members of the working class and carry on so about the rich? The Jacksonian era, moreover, is filled with ambiguities that invite perpetual debate. The Age of Jackson was an age of conflict: conflict between classes, regions and personalities. How to account for the hatred the business community showed for Jackson and his works? Executive deference to Congress was over, at least for a while. Arthur Schlesinger, Jr. won the Pulitzer Prize for The Age of Jackson. ↩, J. Franklin Jameson, The History of Historical Writing in America (Houghton Mifflin, 1891), p. 107; Alfred A. Cave, Jacksonian Democracy and the Historians (University of Florida Press, 1964), p. 52. â†©, Roosevelt to House, November 21, 1933; reprinted in F. D. R.: His Personal Letters, 1928–1945, Elliott Roosevelt, ed., Volume I (Duell, Sloan and Pearce, 1950), p. 373. â†©, Two historians who made notable contributions to the consensus interpretation of Jacksonian democracy—Richard Hofstadter in his influential essay on Jackson in The American Political Tradition (Knopf, 1948) and Edward Pessen in his voluminous and useful writings on the Jackson era—defined the consensus from a critical perspective and deplored it. If you continue browsing the … I had recently started to learn about Andrew Jackson when choosing what new book to read and this book caught my eye. I well know the infirmities of the work. 577 pp. Seeking a subject for an honors essay as an undergraduate at Harvard College in the autumn of 1937, I chose the formidable Frontiers breed equality and individualism. Van Buren’s proposal that government funds be placed in federal subtreasuries, finally enacted in 1840, sought to give regulatory provisions, especially control over state bank notes, federal status. These reforms, Professor Sharp wrote, were aimed at one objective—the restriction or elimination of the virtually unlimited power that antebellum bankers had over prices, the money supply, and the economic cycle. One, he said, was neglecting to mention President Jackson’s brutal treatment of the Indians in his Pulitzer Prize-winning “Age of Jackson.” It was published when he was 27, and is still standard reading. History does not repeat itself, although the recurrence of events widely separated in time and having aspects of similarity, might cause one to think that it does. Schlesinger is a good prose stylist, and there's interesting biographical detail of political leaders throughout, but I found it hard to get into this book and was often frustrated by it. “The President,” Jackson said, “is the direct representative of the American people”12—more so, by implication, than the Congress. Here the second question merges with the first: Who is to control the state? The same thing, mutatis mutandis, could be said of the Roosevelt coalition of the 1930s. Seeking a subject for an honors essay as an undergraduate at Harvard College in the autumn of 1937, I chose the formidable nineteenth-century American intellectual Orestes A. Brownson. My surmise is that it had to do with the basic question of a democratic polity: Who is to control the state? In any event, as Jackson once told James K. Polk, “My political creed…was formed in the old republican school.”19, The old republican creed, as Robert V. Remini persuasively shows in his fine recent biography of Jackson, nourished Jackson’s commitment to public virtue and sanctioned government action to secure the common good. This formulation may carry the argument too far. As for the drastic ideologies and the fusillades of apocalyptic denunciation, this alarmist rhetoric, as Benson put it in a major tract of the ethnocultural school, was no more than “campaign claptrap.”8 The consensus interpretation was eventually pressed to the point where it almost obliterated the differences between the Jacksonians and the Whigs and left the bitter political tone of the age of Jackson a mystery. Jackson, paper read to the Cabinet, (September 18, 1833), quoted in Robert V. Remini, Andrew Jackson and the Bank War (Norton, 1967), p. 119. Please read our short guide how to send a book to Kindle. However much they may have had in common, Jackson and Nicholas Biddle and their respective followers disagreed vehemently on something. I love history because of learning about what our ancestors and past figures have done to create and progress the world, our country, and our lives. His purpose, he said, was, to persuade my countrymen, so far as I may, that it is not in a splendid government supported by powerful monopolies and aristocratical establishments that they will find happiness, but in a plain system, void of pomp, protecting all and granting favors to none, dispensing its blessings, like the dews of Heaven, unseen and unfelt save in the freshness and bounty they contribute to produce.9. He served as special assistant and "court historian" to President Kennedy from 1961 to 1963. On this level, my critics have a point when they claim the Whigs, and not the Jacksonians, as the real forerunners of the New Deal. Historians had nearly all agreed that Jacksonian democracy was a frontier phenomenon, but they had vigorously disagreed on whether this was a good or bad thing. My bias was rather in favor of the hard-money policy—that is, the maintenance of a stable ratio between paper and specie—and certainly against the unrestrained issue of paper notes by banks. The young Schlesinger, for all the tradition he embodied, had a refreshing streak of informality. Send-to-Kindle or Email . Despite internal feuding, the main body of the Democratic party supported radical reform of the banks.”28 “In the ideological universe of Jacksonian America,” Dr. John Ashworth wrote in “Agrarians” and “Aristocrats”: Party Political Ideology in the United States, 1837–1846, democracy and capitalism were in conflict.