Study Questions

Lynn Hudson Parsons, The Birth of Modern Politics: Andrew Jackson, John Quincy Adams, and the Election of 1828

Describe the inauguration of Andrew Jackson and explain what was different from earlier presidential inaugural events. Why was the election of 1828 a turning point in American political history?

Describe Andrew Jackson's origins, career, personality, and political experience. Describe John Quincy Adams's origins, career, personality, and political experience. What role did each play in the War of 1812? How did Jackson's life provide lots of controversial events to dog him during his later life?

What was the Era of Good Feelings? Why did the Federalist Party die? How were American political culture and presidential elections changing by the 1810s and 1820s? What controversial actions did Jackson get involved in in Florida and New Orleans? How did Adams respond to them and what was his role in acquiring Florida? Explain how the Bank of the U.S., the Panic of 1819, slavery, and the Missouri problem cause not-so-good feelings during Monroe's administration?

Describe Martin Van Buren and explain his role in the election of 1824. What was the ideal of the "Mute Tribune"? How had Presidents come to be selected? Why did this system not work in 1824 and how did the nation end up with four candidates? How did the Electoral College work in 1824? Describe the process for electing the President. How did the passing of the Revolutionary Generation affect the nation? What were the election results? Who got to decide who would be President? What was the "corrupt bargain"?

Describe Jackson's reaction to Adams's presidency. What did Adams say in his State of the Union address and what was the reaction to it? How did the Panama Conference become an issue? Describe Adams's high-minded appointment policy and the problems it caused him. Identify John C. Calhoun and describe his changing politics and his alliance with Jackson. What was important about the congressional elections of 1826? Describe Van Buren's political actions and goals.

Explain the role of newspapers in presidential elections, and how did Jackson's campaign use them? Describe how Jackson's campaign was organized. Why did Jackson avoid taking positions on public policy issues? What explains Adams's relatively passive campaigning for himself? How did Rachel Jackson become a campaign issue? What was Jackson's "media event"? How did a billiard table become a political issue? What weaknesses did Adams's presidential record have? What weaknesses in the Jackson campaign did the Adams campaign fail to take advantage of?

What was the "coffin handbill"? What advantages and disadvantages did Jackson's public record have for Adams's campaign? How did Adams create problems for himself (for example, the "Ebony and Topaz" incident). How did sectionalism and regionalism play a role? What role did religion play? Why was voter turnout so unusually high? Describe the election results for each candidate. Why was this election so important for the future of American politics and presidential elections?

How successful was Jackson's presidency? What caused the rift between Calhoun and Jackson? How did Van Buren take advantage of it? Describe the latter years of Adams and Jackson. Why did they never reconcile?