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Chapter 10 - Summary Give Me Liberty!: an American History

James Moore
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March 4, 1829—Andrew Jackson sworn in as president
o Career embodied major developments of his era
 Market revolution
 Westward expansion
 Slavery expansion
 Growth of democracy
o Symbolized the triumph of political democracy
 Came from humble beginnings—orphaned during Revolutionary War
What were the social bases for the flourishing democracy of the early mid-nineteenth
Property and Democracy
 No state entering Union after original 13th required property requirements for voting
o 1860, in older states, all except 1 barred property qualifications
The Dorr War
 Exception to property qualifications for voting was Rhode Island
o Must own real estate valued at &134 or rent at $7 per year
o Factory production centered economy
o Growing class of property-less wage earners unable to vote
 October 1841—supported of democratic reform organized a People’s Convention
o Drafted new state Constitution
o Gave right to vote to all adult white men while eliminating full blacks
 Reformers ratified Constitution in extralegal referendum (referendum: a general vote by the electorate on a
single political question that has been referred to them for a direct decision; extralegal: beyond the authority of
the law)
o Inaugurated Thomas Dorr as governor
 President John Tyler sent troops to state
o Movement collapsed
o Dorr imprisoned for 2 years for treason
 Dorr War demonstrated the passions aroused by the continuing exclusion of any group of white men from
Tocqueville on Democracy
 1840, more than 90% of adult white men eligible to vote
 Country lacked traditional nationality = democratic political institutions came to define nation’s sense of its own
 Democracy in America: Two works, published in 1835 and 1840, by the French thinker Alexis de Tocqueville on
the subject of American democracy. Tocqueville stressed the cultural nature of American democracy, and the
importance and prevalence of equality in American life
o Account of society in midst of political transformation
o Came to study prisons
o Realized, to understand America he must understand democracy (disliked—he was an aristocrat)
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o Key insight = democracy was more than right to vote or a particular set of political institutions
o Democracy = “habit of the heart” = culture that encouraged as essential to freedom:
 Individual initiative
 Belief in equality
 Active public sphere populated by numerous voluntary organizations
The Information Revolution
 Market Revolution + political democracy = expansion of public sphere + explosion in printing (“information
 Steam power to newspaper printing = mass circulation and 1 cent vs. 6 cents per paper
 New York Sun and New York Herald
o Introduced new style of journalism, emphasizing sensationalism (crime stories, exposes of official
 1820s and 1830s, “alternative” newspapers appeared
o Freedom’s Journal—first black newspapers
o Philadelphia Mechanic’s Advocate—labor publications
o The Liberator and Cherokee Phoenix—1st Native American newspaper
The Limits of Democracy
 Democracy central to freedom and nationality = need to define boundaries
o 1851, United States Magazine and Democratic Review: “principle of universal suffrage” meant that
“white males of age constituted the political nation”
 Gender and racial differences were understood as part of a single, natural hierarchy of innate
 White males = inherently superior in character and abilities
A Racial Democracy
 Blacks portrayed in theatrical presentations by whites in blackface
o Portrayed as stupid, dishonest, and ridiculous
 Authors portrayed them as stereotypes
o Happy slaves prone to superstition or long-suffering but devout Christians
 Franchise: The right to vote
o Revolutionary era: Virginia, South Carolina, and Georgia = only ones to explicitly confine vote to whites
 Other states made voting difficult for blacks though
o 1800—no norther states barred blacks from voting
 Every state that entered union after 1800 (except Maine) limited right to vote to white males
o By 1860, blacks could only vote in 5 New England states (4% of nation’s free black population)
o In effect, race had replaced class as the boundary between free men who could vote
 New white immigrant male could vote immediately upon immigration, free blacks who were
residents for years could not



Chapter 10 - Summary Give Me Liberty!: an American History

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