Exam preparation materials

Jeffersonian and Jacksonian Democracy, 1800-1840

Things to Know

1. Jefferson as President: attitude toward Federalist programs; Louisiana Purchase and reaction to it; foreign policy and neutral rights.

2. The Supreme Court under John Marshall: major cases and significance of decisions.




Marbury v Madison (1803)

first time an act of Congress declared unconstitutional; establishes principle of judicial review

Fletcher v. Peck (1810)

first time a state law declared unconstitutional; contract clause of the Constitution overrode state law

Dartmouth College v. Woodward

the charter of a private corporation is protected under the Constitution

McCulloch v. Maryland (1819)

upheld constitutionality of Bank of the United States; example of loose construction of the Constitution

Gibbons v. Ogden (1824)

affirmed federal control of interstate commerce under commerce clause of the Constitution

3. Presidencies of James Madison and James Monroe: foreign-policy background and results of War of 1812 and Monroe Doctrine; economic nationalism — development of national transportation system and tariff policy; shift from cottage industry to factory system.

4. The Age of Jackson: election of 1824 — “corrupt bargain”; political views of Democrats; strong executive — veto as instrument of political power; Second Bank of the United States; nullification crisis; Indian policy; Whig party.

Key Terms and Concepts

Judiciary Act of 1801

John C. Calhoun

midnight judges

judicial review

Lewis and Clark Expedition Embargo Act of 1807

Non-Intercourse Act

Henry Clay

Daniel Webster

Francis Scott Key

Battle of New Orleans

Treaty of Ghent

Hartford Convention

Rush-Bagot Agreement

factory system

National Road

Erie Canal

Adams-Om's Treaty

Monroe Doctrine

Noah Webster

Washington Irving

James Fenimore Cooper



Trail of Tears

spoils system

Maysville Road veto

Tariff of Abominations

Webster-Hayne debate

Independent Treasury Act

Important Definitions

American System: Economic program advanced by Henry Clay that included support for a national bank, high tariffs, and internal improvements; emphasized strong role for federal government in the economy.

corrupt bargain: Refers to the claim from the supporters of Andrew Jackson that John Quincy Adams and Henry Clay had worked out a deal to ensure that Adams was elected President by the House of Representatives in 1824.

Era of Good Feelings: Refers to the period after the War of 1812, during the presidency of James Monroe, when competition among political parties was at a low ebb.

impressment: British practice of taking American sailors from American ships and forcing them into the British navy; a factor in the War of 1812.

internal improvements: Included roads, canals, railroads; essentially, an internal transportation network that would bind the country together.

judicial review: The right of the Supreme Court to declare a law passed by Congress unconstitutional; the principle was established in Marbury v. Madison.

Kitchen Cabinet: Informal group of friends who advised Jackson during his administration. Jackson believed that the “official” Cabinet’s main function was to carry out his orders.

nullification: The theory advanced by John Calhoun in response to the Tariff of 1828; states, acting through a popular convention, could declare a law passed by Congress “null and void”; the roots of the idea go back to Jefferson’s compact theory of government.

pet banks: A term used by Jackson’s opponents to describe the state banks that the federal government used for new revenue deposits in an attempt to destroy the Second Bank of the United States; the practice continued after the charter for the Second Bank expired in 1836.

spoils system: Essentially, political patronage; public offices went to political supporters during Jackson’s presidency.

War Hawks: Those nationalist members of Congress who strongly supported war with Great Britain on the eve of the War of 1812; included Henry Clay and John C. Calhoun.

Readings on Jeffersonian and Jacksonian Democracy

Brodie, Fawn. Thomas Jefferson: An Intimate History (1974).

Dangerfield, George. The Era of Good Feelings (1952).

Ellis, Richard. The Jeffersonian Crisis: Courts and Politics in the Young Republic (1971).

Horsman, Reginald. The Causes of the War of 1812 (1962).

May, Ernest R. The Making of the Monroe Doctrine (1975).

Remini, James C. Andrew Jackson and the Course of American Democracy, 1833-1845 (1984).

Schlesinger, Arthur M., Jr. The Age of Jackson (1945).

Taylor, George Rogers. The Transportation Revolution (1955).

Ward, John William. Andrew Jackson: Symbol for an Age (1955).

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