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Jill Chipman
November 28, 2008
Section 3
13-16 Essay
Choice 1: How did TWO of the following contribute to the reemergence of a two party
system in the period 1820 to 1840?
~ Major Political Personalities ~ States’ Rights ~ Economic Issues
A distinct two party system began to form in the period of 1820-1840. This change began
to form because of several reasons including Major Political Personalities as well as economic
issues. For example, a strong Sectionalist leader John C. Calhoun faced issues with the Tariff of
Abominations and how it unfairly taxed his region. In his South Carolina exposition he denounced
the tariffed and called for the secession of any state who agreed. This led a division between
those who supported States rights and those who did not. Conflicts such as this arouse frequently
during this time period and allowed for two distinct parties to be formed.
Major Political Personalities such as Henry Clay, Andrew Jackson, William H. Crawford,
and John Quincy Adams were all candidates for president in 1824. This is where the first split
began. All four candidates were from the Republican Party. Andrew Jackson won the popular
vote but failed to win the majority of the Electoral College. According to the constitution, the top
three candidates would be voted on in the House of Representatives. Clay is thus eliminated (as
he received the 4th amount of votes). Clay used his power as speaker of the House to throw his
support to John Quincy Adams. Shortly after Quincy Adams’ election he placed Clay in the
position of Secretary of State, a known stepping stone to the presidency. Jackson called foul play,
and many of Jackson’s followers called the Election of 1824 a “corrupt bargain.” When election
time came again in 1828 Jackson went as a democrat while Quincy Adams went as Republican.
Democratic Jackson won the election. Jackson faced many crises during this time which made
him many friends as well as many enemies. The Tariff of 1828, which sought to drive up tariffs on
many southern products, was widely disliked by the south but adored by the north and could be
seen in the bickering between Daniel Webster (Pro-Tariff) and John C. Calhoun (Anti-Tariff).
Calhoun advocated a complete nullification of the bill in South Carolina. Jackson responded
immediately by threatening to send in armed forces to collect the taxes if South Carolina’s actions
demanded it. Jackson also made enemies with his Indian Removal Act. Jackson went directly
against Supreme Court Rulings. Even though Jackson made many enemies during his first term
he was re-elected to a second term and defeated Clay in the Election of 1932. Known in this
election was the emergence of the Anti- Masonic Party. The Anti- Masonic Party was an AntiJackson Party; they despised the order of the Jackson Party, as well as Jackson himself, a
Mason. A major part of this election was the Bank of the United States; this will be discussed in a
later paragraph. During Jackson’s second term a long term party developed; the Whigs, the
Whigs stood for everything that was anti-Jackson. They despised the executive “abuse” of
Jackson (He used the veto power more than any of the other presidents…combined). The Whigs
wanted reform and a national bank with paper currency. President Jackson did not run for reelection in 1936 as he was too old. However, by this point in time; two distinct parties had formed.
On one side were the democrats. The Jacksonian Democrats glorified the individual, while still
maintaining that the privileged should belong in government. They also held onto the ideas of
states rights and federal control in matters regarding society and economics. The Whigs however,
favored a natural balance in society as well as the community over the individual; they were
incredible anti-Jackson. Whigs also favored a national bank, tariffs, internal improvements, and
moral reforms. Both had many similarities including having mass participation and remaining loyal
to American ideals. However, a primary division of the two parties came because of economic
The primary issue that arose and led to two political parties was the Bank of the United
States. After the election of Jackson to a second term in 1832 a problem arose. The Bank of the
United States was due to expire in 1936, thus the Bank needed to be re chartered. A Bank war
erupted in 1832 when two sectionalist leaders Daniel Webster and Henry Clay fought over the re
chartering of the bank. Clay wished for Jackson to approve the bill as vetoing the bill would harm
those in the East who supported the Bank. However Webster was not in favor of the Bank and
wanted it to be eliminated. Jackson was whole-heartily against the re chartering as he said the
Bank of the United States as monopolistic with Nicholas Biddle controlling an unconstitutional
amount of the Bank’s wealth and power, Jackson also saw it as beneficial to a select group of the
wealthy and kept the finances in one central unit. Jackson decided the Bank of the United States
would not be re chartered. Jackson began removing funds from the Bank in the hopes that it
would slowly dissolve. Jackson placed these removals into smaller state “pet banks”. Several
smaller “wildcat” banks also formed and issued their own paper money. This wildcat money led to
overspeculation of land in the west and forced Jackson to issue a Specie Circular ordering that all
land be purchased with metallic money. Jackson left office shortly after this and left his successor
Van Buren to pick up his mess. The Panic of 1837 was caused by overspeculation in land to the
west, this craze spread to every other sector of the economy. To stop the crisis Van Burn had the
Independent Treasury formed in 1840. The Independent Treasury would keep all government
funds locked away in vaults. The Whigs, who took control after Van Burn in 1846 created the
Federal Reserve System (after repealing the Independent Treasury Act) which is used to control
the amount of money in circulation and keep a certain amount in the central government. A major
politically party formed because of the Bank of the United States and the troubles precipitating
from it; the Whigs. The Whigs stood for a strong national bank in control of every aspect while
Jackson and the Democrats believed in central government supervision of state banks. This
became a primary distinction between the two political parties and led to the re-emergence of the
two party systems in the mid 19th century.
In summation economic issues and Political Personalities led to distinct two party
systems of Whigs and Democrats. The primary economic issue was the Bank of United States
and those who supported the bank (Whigs) and those who favored Jackson’s states’ banks
(Democrats). Political Personalities included Andrew Jackson, Henry Clay, and John C. Calhoun.
These leaders, who tended to be sectional leaders (Clay and Calhoun, the other was Webster)
led to distinct parties which ended up forming the two major political parties of the mid 1800’s;
The Jacksonian Democrats (Democrats) and The Whigs.