Andrew Jackson and the Rise of the Democratic Party
In Andrew Jackson and the Rise of the Democratic Party, author Mark R. Cheathem provides a unique historical analysis and bold critique of American partisanship from the early republic to the end of Andrew Jackson’s administration.
Cheathem begins by discussing the American political system after the American Revolutionary War while the debates over the ratification of the Constitution stormed on. In doing so, he delivers a contextual and chronological analysis of how the political system evolved from the vision of the Founding Fathers to Jackson’s populist Democratic party. Though other political changes throughout the decades affected the development of Jacksonian Democracy, Cheathem argues it was an identity crisis in the Republican party during Jackson’s rise to power that allowed Jackson’s populism to thrive. The faltering of the Republican party and Jackson’s executive agenda continued to shape the state of the Democratic party for years.
Additionally, Cheathem considers both Jacksonian Democracy’s impact on the political system of the time and his lingering populist influence in the altered Republican party and contemporary Republican presidencies. Cheathem deftly portrays the political nuances of Jackson’s rise, detailing events that shaped the early form and long-term durability of the Democratic party. Finally, Cheathem notes that the Democratic party of the Jacksonian era and Jackson’s ideology are hardly embraced by today’s Democratic party nor seen as the epitome of democracy. Setting all such historicism aside, Cheathem points American readers to the democratic climate of the present, welcoming renewed scrutiny of the one system which is ours to improve.
Mark R. Cheathem is a professor of history at Cumberland University in Lebanon, Tennessee. He is the author of Andrew Jackson, Southerner and Old Hickory’s Nephew: The Political and Private Struggles of Andrew Jackson Donelson. He is the editor of Jacksonian and Antebellum Age: People and Perspectives.