Sources of Freedom Exercises

This chapter concentrates on the last of the three historical processes unleashed by the Revolution and accelerated after the War of 1812—the rise of a vigorous political democracy. Democracy triumphed as the electorate enlarged with the abolishment of property requirements for suffrage. Voices of Freedom highlights the argument of a non-landholding citizen for suffrage. However, as with the market revolution, women and blacks were excluded from political democracy.

The War of 1812 put into motion the market revolution and national leaders understood that the federal government had a responsibility to ensure economic growth for America. "The American System" was a political program for economic growth and the chapter explains the role of banks, transportation, and economic recessions. The 1820 Missouri Compromise is discussed by highlighting sectional divisions in the country. Increased American power in the western hemisphere is shown with the Monroe Doctrine and the nationalist agenda of John Quincy Adams. The emergence of political parties is explored, highlighting Martin Van Buren’s beliefs that party politics was an important component in ensuring liberty for the American people.

The chapter then chronicles the presidency of Andrew Jackson. Guiding the nation through a nullification crisis, the removal of Indians from the southeast, and a bankwar, Jackson’s commitment to states’ rights were challenged. Once again, sectionalism and the power of the South in Congress are seen with the nullification crisis. Jackson, and Whigs such as Daniel Webster, supported Union and liberty; while supporters of nullification cried that the federal government was overstepping its rights and infringing upon states’ liberty. Likewise, the South’s desire to expand the Cotton Kingdom forced the removal of "civilized" Indians who had adopted many American ways.

Finally, the chapter concludes with the bank wars and Jackson’s veto to extend the life of the Second Bank of the United States. The Panic of 1837 and subsequent depression allowed the Whig William Henry Harrison to reach the White House in 1840, only to pass away a month after the inauguration.

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