Era of Good Feelings DBQ Essay

Throughout the course of history many campaigns and elections have changed and been influenced by the time period surrounding them. The participation in political campaigns and elections in the United States between 1815-1840 greatly changed due to the significant effects of the War of 1812. As a new era formed as a result of the war, change in our nations politics did too. This new era known as “the era of good feelings” paved the way for change within our nations elections and campaigns. Just as it had united the voters of America in the beginning, its decline resulted in a growing show of sectionalism in the voters throughout the country.
The years following the War of 1812, marked the beginning of a influential era in history. The “Era of Good Feelings” directly resulted in the cease of the Federalist party, therefore leaving only one major party present throughout the nation. Since only one party stood, not much tension existed throughout Americas voters. Unity among voters however, did not last very long, just as the era had rapidly begun it came to and end as well. The election of 1824 marked a very significant election in history. Four candidates had arose from the one-party system still well intact.
These four candidates were John Q. Adams, Andrew Jackson, Henry Clay and William Crawford. Since none won electoral majority the decision went to the house of representatives, where Clay used his influence to get Adams elected shortly after becoming president Clay is appointed as Secretary of State. This is well known as the “corrupt bargain”. Two elections later the successor of Andrew Jackson, Martin Van Buren states as written in document C “we can only restore a better state of things, by combining General Jackson’s personal popularity with the portion of old party feeling yet remaining”.

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Here he explains how he a future president, would like to follow the example of a very common man who was widely known as a war hero. This presents us with one of the first changes that took place concerning elections. The presidency of Andrew Jackson soon became well known since he had changed the game. Jackson did not come from a very highly educated family, he was a common man who had appealed to the people and won their votes. An additional policy of Andrew Jackson was his “spoils system” in which he hired trusted and loyal friends for his cabinet.
This was a huge change to the system and to the traditional cabinets former presidents had. The former presidents had usually kept the previous representatives in their cabinet whereas Jackson only had loyal supporters as shown in the Democratic Party Ballot in document D. Thus, Jackson’s presidency could be negatively impacted since he would have an all biased cabinet that didn’t have an opposing view. This view can sometimes be necessary since the opposing ideas can benefit the people of the nation.
A further action President Jackson takes concerning voter participation in the Presidential elections is extending the eligibility requirements in the voters. An example of this is shown in document A, the percent of eligible voters rose as the years went on. This brought huge change to the elections since now the presidential candidates had to address an even larger population of voters, contrary to how the population of eligibility was in the 1920s. Many men who did not own property in the 1920s or weren’t considered educated enough would not meet the requirements and therefore couldn’t cast a vote in the elections.
Document B presents us with a great example from an excerpt from the proceedings and debates of a convention in New York. It is stated “ we are no longer to remain plain and simple republics of farmers, we are fast becoming a great nation with great commerce, population.. ”. Here we see how the people at the convention have realized how rapidly their nation is expanding and how they have began to gain some equality such as a expanded voter eligibility.
In summation, concerning the participation in elections in the United States, change was definitely brought about between 1815 and 1840. Regarding participation in campaigns, much change was brought about as well. Under the presidency of Andrew Jackson a new party began to form. This party, known as the Whigs, arouse as opponents of Jackson. They did not like his presidential actions, specifically they did not like that he had vetoed the bill to re charter the national bank.
Document F presents us with the start of the Whig party rise. Frances Trollope, an English novelist and writer, states “ Mr. Adams was out-voted for no other reason, that I could learn, but because “it was best to change” “Jackson forever! ” was screamed from the mouths both drunk and sober till he was elected”. Here we see an unhappy voter who did not support Andrew Jackson or his voters. These are the people that joined together and formed the Whig party. With the rise of a second party system, campaign participation had changed.
Now, contrary to before there was an opposing party that could sway the votes of other presidential candidates. Since two parties now had opposing campaigns media was on the rise as shown in the graph of document G. It shows us the number of different news papers published in the United States from 1775 to 1835. In 1775 only 31 had been published by 1789 it had increased to 91 and by 1835 only 60 years later 1,200 different newspapers were being published. This immense variety of news papers informed the people of America the views of each candidate throughout their campaign.
In the years before this newspapers and media had not played such an important role in the politics and the peoples lives, many people in small populated places began to be more in tune to the campaigns. Lastly document I presents us with a cover of the “Hard Cider and Log Cabin Almanac” of June, 1840. This cover shows the first Whig representative to run for president along with his vice president as a running mate. This was a great change in the campaigns since now posters like these could be used in favor of the candidate supported in the place or against the candidate that was not supported there.
In sum, concerning participation in campaigns, change was a major factor throughout the years 1815 to 1840. In conclusion, its clear to see that as time progresses, new eras and time periods change as well as influence the participation in the campaigns and elections. From the years 1815 to 1840 many new changes were made to the system of elections as well as to the way that voters became informed of the changing campaigns. Throughout history the face of many campaigns and elections has changed regarding the time period they took place in.

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