The Birth of Modern Politics: Andrew Jackson, John Quincy Adams, and the Election of 1828 [NOOK Book]

Overview

The 1828 presidential election, which pitted Major General Andrew Jackson against incumbent John Quincy Adams, has long been hailed as a watershed moment in American political history. It was the contest in which an unlettered, hot-tempered southwestern frontiersman, trumpeted by his supporters as a genuine man of the people, soundly defeated a New England "aristocrat" whose education and political resume were as impressive as any ever seen in American public life. It was, many historians have argued, the ...
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The Birth of Modern Politics: Andrew Jackson, John Quincy Adams, and the Election of 1828

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Overview

The 1828 presidential election, which pitted Major General Andrew Jackson against incumbent John Quincy Adams, has long been hailed as a watershed moment in American political history. It was the contest in which an unlettered, hot-tempered southwestern frontiersman, trumpeted by his supporters as a genuine man of the people, soundly defeated a New England "aristocrat" whose education and political resume were as impressive as any ever seen in American public life. It was, many historians have argued, the country's first truly democratic presidential election. It was also the election that opened a Pandora's box of campaign tactics, including coordinated media, get-out-the-vote efforts, fund-raising, organized rallies, opinion polling, campaign paraphernalia, ethnic voting blocs, "opposition research," and smear tactics. In The Birth of Modern Politics, Parsons shows that the Adams-Jackson contest also began a national debate that is eerily contemporary, pitting those whose cultural, social, and economic values were rooted in community action for the common good against those who believed the common good was best served by giving individuals as much freedom as possible to promote their own interests. The book offers fresh and illuminating portraits of both Adams and Jackson and reveals how, despite their vastly different backgrounds, they had started out with many of the same values, admired one another, and had often been allies in common causes. But by 1828, caught up in a shifting political landscape, they were plunged into a competition that separated them decisively from the Founding Fathers' era and ushered in a style of politics that is still with us today.
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Editorial Reviews

Library Journal

Parsons (history, SUNY at Brockport: John Quincy Adams) has written a well-crafted and -researched survey of the 1828 election skillfully tying some elements to the present. The author brings up important arguments such as the perception that Adams was too intellectual and out of touch, while Jackson was a self-made man, a political "outsider." Parsons also notes that the increased number of white male voters who did not own property looked for candidates with similar experience and education-and this helped Jackson. With the 1828 election, political parties for the first time used cartoons, parades, coordinated national meetings, and campaign paraphernalia on a much larger scale. All of these components of the election were pretty radical in 1828, but not so afterward. Equally important, Parsons highlights themes that have been overlooked, such as how the newly formed Democratic Party would help focus partisanship and get Jackson elected while setting up the "big government" vs. "small government" dialog still evident today. Highly recommended for all academic libraries and for public libraries with a strong political history readership.
—Bryan Craig

Kirkus Reviews
Historian Parsons (John Quincy Adams, 1998, etc.) examines a watershed in American campaign history. .The 1828 presidential election pitted frontiersman and war hero Andrew Jackson against incumbent John Quincy Adams, a highly educated aristocrat, accomplished politician and the son of a previous president. The word "campaign" is a military term, Parsons points out, and this particular one was more like an all-out war. It introduced many innovations that persist to this day in American politics, including coordinated media efforts, get-out-the-vote campaigns and other touchstones of organized political party strategy. Most notably, the campaign showcased the use of smear tactics. The notorious "Coffin Handbills," distributed by Adams advocates, branded Jackson's wife an adulteress—her divorce, unknown to her, was legally shaky—and attacked the candidate for executing military deserters and for his brutal military actions against Native American villages. Meanwhile, Jackson partisans charged Adams with procuring a young woman for Russian Czar Alexander I while in the foreign diplomatic service. Ironically, Parsons reveals that Jackson and Adams had previously worked in common cause for shared political goals and expressed genuine mutual admiration and respect. Though the campaign highlighted their differences, the two men actually had much in common. In particular, both intensely disliked organized electioneering by their political parties. After the 1828 election, however, the party polarization they loathed emerged triumphant—and effectively persists today..Sharply focused introduction to an election that fundamentally changed the landscape of American politics.
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780199837540
  • Publisher: Oxford University Press, USA
  • Publication date: 4/1/2009
  • Series: Pivotal Moments in American History
  • Sold by: Barnes & Noble
  • Format: eBook
  • Sales rank: 620,175
  • File size: 3 MB

Meet the Author

Lynn Hudson Parsons is Professor of History Emeritus at the State University of New York College at Brockport. He is the author of John Quincy Adams and coeditor, with Kenneth Paul O'Brien, of The Home-Front War: World War II and American Society.

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Table of Contents

Editor's Note Preface to the Paperback Prologue Chapter 1
Chapter 2
Chapter 3
Chapter 4
Chapter 5
Chapter 6
Epilogue Acknowledgments Notes Index

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