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History Free Response Essay

In the period of 1820 -1840 a two party system began to form for several reasons including major political personalities as well as economic issues. Conflicts began to surface during this time period, which contributed to the reemergence of a two party system.

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 was 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 this “foul play”, and many of Jackson’s followers called the Election of 1824 a “corrupt bargain.” When election time came again in 1828 Jackson ran as a democrat while Quincy Adams ran as Republican. Jackson won the election as a Democratic. Jackson faced many crises during this time, which made him quite a few friends as well as many enemies.

The Tariff of 1828, which sought to drive up tariffs on many southern products, was widely disapproved by the people in the south but highly accepted by people in the north and could be seen as a power struggle between Daniel Webster who was Pro-Tariff and John C. Calhoun who was 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 in South Carolina if necessary. Jackson also made enemies with his Indian Removal Act. Even though Jackson made many enemies during his first term he was re-elected to a second term and defeated Clay in this second Election. During this election can the beginning of the Anti- Masonic Party. The Anti- Masonic Party was an Anti-Jackson Party. This party hated the Jackson Party, as well as Jackson himself, who was a Mason. During Jackson’s second term a long-term party developed which was called the Whigs, which stood for everything that was anti-Jackson. They hated the “abuse” of Jackson because he used the veto power more than any of the other presidents combined.

President Jackson did not run for re-election, as he was too old. However, by this point in time two distinct parties had formed. On one side were the democrats who glorified the individual, and believed in the liberal idea of laissez faire or self-help. They believed that the government should not bail out or attempt to help businesses that were failing by giving financial support. The Whigs however, supported the market system and capitalism. Whigs favored moral reforms, a national bank, tariffs and a natural balance in society as well as the community over the individual which was very much anti-Jackson. Both parties had many similarities however a primary division of the two parties came because of economic issue.

A second issue that arose and led to two political parties was the Bank of the United States. The Bank of the United States was due to expire, which meant it would need to be re-chartered. A Bank war erupted when two political viewpoints fought over the re-chartering of the bank. One side wanted the re-chartering to be passed and the other wanted President Jackson to use his veto power so the bank would be eliminated. Jackson was against the re- chartering, as he was apprehensive of all banks and their paper-money issues along with the fact that he believed that the bank had intervened in local and national elections. Jackson also believed that the banks president had too much control of its wealth and power.

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 close it down. He placed these removals into smaller state banks. Several other smaller banks also formed at this time and issued their own paper money. This new money led to over pricing of land in the west and forced Jackson to issue an order that all land be purchased with metal money instead of the paper money. Jackson left office shortly after this and left president Martin Van Buren to clean up this issue which had spread to every other part of the economy.

In the hopes of stopping the crisis Van Buren formed the Independent Treasury who would keep all government funds locked away in vaults. After Van Buren, the Federal Reserve System was created to help control the amount of money in circulation and to keep a certain amount in the central government. The Whigs, which was a major politically party formed because of the trouble surrounding the Bank of the United States. 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 the primary distinction between the two political parties.

Both political personalities like Andrew Jackson, Henry Clay and John Quincy Adams and economic issues as with The Bank of the United States led to the re-emergence of the two party systems of Whigs and Democrats.

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