Personal Image Vs Public Image Analysis

1756 Words 8 Pages
Everybody, most importantly high-ranking leaders and officials, has a public image to uphold. The success, or downfall, of a politician is determined by the way people perceive them. An individual has a personal image addressing who they think they are and what they supposedly stand for, but often, this personal image does not completely correspond with the public image being perceived by everybody else. A unique example in the history of the United States demonstrating this idea of personal image versus public image occurred during the 1820’s and 1830’s. This time period is now known as the Age of Jackson. Andrew Jackson was the US president for two terms, elected in 1828 and reelected in 1832. He was a strong Democrat who was known as a war …show more content…
The Democrats, especially Jackson, prided themselves on being populists who worked to benefit the common people. During Jackson’s presidency, political democracy grew significantly, resulting in 90% of white men being able to vote by 1840. For example in Document D, Harriet Martineau, a British author, describes her amazement at the advancements in society that had occurred in the United States. She said, “awe at the prevalence of…intellectual ability…absence of poverty, of gross ignorance” and later declared “every man in the towns an independent citizen” (document D). The growth of the public sphere had opened up new opportunities for the lower classes to participate in politics and had created equal economic opportunity for most Americans. Now, ordinary Americans, who were supporters of Jackson, could acquire government jobs such as customs official through his “spoils system” that rewarded loyalty. Another idea that the Democrats firmly supported was the right to individual liberty. They thought the government should not involve itself in the private matters of individuals, and demonstrated opposition to the government controlling the morals of its citizens. This position favored the Democrats as they gained supporters from the Irish and German immigrant populations who didn’t want the government imposing Protestant values onto them. Jackson …show more content…
Political democracy increased significantly, but Indians, women, and African Americans were not able to vote. The federal government even prohibited free African Americans from serving in the state militias or the army. This racism during Jackson was clearly shown in Document E, the description of riots in cities by a Whig politician. He notes that, “riot and insubordination to the laws…appears to have been produced by causes equally insignificant-hostility to the blacks and an indiscriminate persecution of all whose skins were darker” (Document E). This document demonstrates that even though the Democrats prided themselves on a broad political democracy, their racist attitudes tormented a significant portion of the population and made it impossible to hear their political voices. Another example of failing to achieve political democracy, in addition to the creation of unequal economic opportunities was Jackson’s “spoils system”. Loyalty was rewarded with government jobs, but at the same time, an unfair system for those citizens who opposed Jackson and his views was formed. Jackson’s favoring of certain people was again demonstrated when he transferred federal funds from the national bank into local banks that were managed by his friends or associates. Afterwards, Jackson contradicted his principles as he strengthened federal power over state power during the Tariff of 1832. South

Related Documents