Sample of Reading Quizzes
Questions1. How was Jackson a paradoxical and contradictory president?
2. Why did Jackson run for president in 1828?
3. What was Jackson's position on individualism?
4. How did Jackson react to the nullification crisis?
5. How did Jackson undermine the authority of the Supreme Court?
Answers1. While Jackson was in some ways the common man's warrior, attacking a political system that ignored the people's will, he was also in many ways a tyrant, disrespecting the processes and institutions essential to republican government. He was praised for his liberal defense of individual rights, but at the same time forced 90,000 Native Americans from their land.
2. Jackson was determined to restore the will of the people to politics. He believed that Washington power brokers had ignored the people's wishes in 1824 when they deprived him of the presidency despite winning a plurality of the popular vote; true democracy, he felt, would not be realized until America's political processes were significantly reformed. As a candidate, Jackson built a political organization that reached out directly to the public, and as president he attacked the institutions that he believed deepened divisions between the rich and the poor.
3. Jackson showed greater respect for individual political and economic rights than any previous president. He sought to increase the number of offices directly elected by the people, and he sought to restore an economic system that protected the rights of small producers rather than corporations and the wealthy.
4. Jackson took on the state of South Carolina, denounced its nullification theories, and threatened to bring in the United States army to enforce federal law. In doing so, he broke with his vice-president and alienated a portion of his southern political base. He accepted an alliance with politicians he did not respect and who did not respect him and he outlined an original theory of the Union that would serve Abraham Lincoln when he faced a similar secessionist crisis thirty years later.
5. Even when Native Americans won a Supreme Court trial, Jackson turned a deaf ear. He ignored three decades of government precedent, and a clear Court ruling, while implementing a removal policy called the Trail of Tears that displaced over 90,000 people to the West.