Nothing dominated the American conversation of the decade of the 1820s more than the idea of Andrew Jackson as president. The back-and-forth between the pro-Jackson and anti-Jackson forces is bewildering and dizzying even to the biographer who has the grand advantage of hindsight…
The Great Depression of 1819 and the Missouri slavery question of the same year ended, rather abruptly, the so-called “Era of Good Feelings.” In that fell year of 1819, Andrew Jackson, the “Hero of New Orleans,” remained not just the great symbol of what America had done, but also the great hope for what the American republic could achieve in the coming decades. He had become an American myth, and, as such, the vast majority of the American people clung to his image throughout the 1820s as the one person who could, perhaps by sheer force of will, restore the glories of the republic of 1776 and 1787. Indeed, the very people who saw him as the future of America were those who had flooded the West after the conclusion of the War of 1812. In large part, though through no intention of his own, Jackson had secured the republic for his very own constituency. That he had, as governor of Florida, given each male the vote—irrespective of race, religion, or property ownership—was not lost on a frontier people who believed they had as much right to remake the land as they had to govern themselves. True, Jackson had not been a great legislator or a great judge, but he had more than proven himself in the third branch of governance, the executive. Perhaps, many conjectured, that same executive prowess would work in a civilian office as well as it had in a martial one.
In terms of American culture and interest, nothing dominated the conversation of the decade more than the idea of Andrew Jackson as president. The back-and-forth between the pro-Jackson and anti-Jackson forces is nothing but bewildering and dizzying even to the biographer who has the grand advantage of hindsight.At some point, the American people must have experienced a kind of “Jackson fatigue” due to his frequent appearances in the newspapers. The brutality of the 1824 and, especially, the 1828 elections becomes almost comedic farce and tragedy wrapped into one, at least for the modern-day biographer. Despite the elections being contests between John Quincy Adams and Andrew Jackson, the real division of the decade was between Andrew Jackson and Henry Clay. Clay was the real opponent—so much so, that John Quincy Adams, despite being the sixth president of the United States, must have felt like one of America’s least important persons, a mere prop, extra, or stagehand in his own play.
If Jackson had thought of assuming the White House prior to 1821, no records indicate this. Indeed, as a good republican and a man fiercely in love with his wife and his farm, he just wanted to retire from public life. He had done his duty, he knew, and he was ready to retire to the good life. Yet, that very same republican longing that told good men to retire rather than pursue power also laid claim to the virtuous leader. When called to serve, serve he must. Republicanism informs and frees as much as it possesses and demands.Read More: http://www.theimaginativeconservative.org/2018/06/1820s-decade-andrew-jackson-bradley-birzer.html