Cicero and Caesar in America: John Quincy Adams, Andrew Jackson, and the political war of the 1820s

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Southern New Hampshire University
The election of Andrew Jackson over the incumbent president, John Quincy Adams, in 1828, led to a fundamental change in American politics. The following study argues that the results of the presidential elections of 1824 and 1828 redefined America’s earlier definition of republicanism and democracy, effectively ending the political ideology of the Revolutionary generation. Furthermore, this study argues that the emergence of Andrew Jackson, and his subsequent accumulation of executive power—the greatest fear of Jeffersonian Republicans—was made possible through the very ideology embraced by the Republican faction. To complete this study a wide assortment of primary and secondary sources will be utilized. Included within the primary sources are the Adams Family Papers, courtesy of the Massachusetts Historical Society, and the personal diary of John Quincy Adams. Political and personal correspondence, speeches, government documents, and political cartoons, courtesy of the Library of Congress, National Archives, and the Founders Online databases, will also be incorporated. Secondary sources will be predominantly used throughout this study and address the historical background of individuals and events pertaining to the thesis. The presidential elections between John Quincy Adams and Andrew Jackson led to a shift in politics that drastically transformed the socio-political ideology in America. Bitterly fought campaigns, wide-ranging personalities, growing sectional divide, the expansion of voting rights, populist rhetoric favoring the “common man,” and the emergence of party politics, all led to the transition of what became known as Jacksonian Democracy. (Author abstract)