Jeffersonian and Jacksonian America

The following notes will help you prepare for questions about Jeffersonian and Jacksonian America, covering 1800 through 1840, on the AP U.S. History Exam.

  • Thomas Jefferson, a Southerner was a believer in state's rights and was fearful of a strong central government. Despite that, he was responsible for the significantly increasing the size of the U.S. when he agreed to the Louisiana Purchase.

  • Andrew Jackson, also a Southerner, considered himself the "people's president." He believed that the economic system was harmful to the common man and was strongly opposed to the Bank of the United States. In addition to being remembered for killing the Bank of the United States, Jackson's presidency is notable for his policy on Indian removal.

  • The Supreme Court, under the leadership of Chief Justice John Marshall, ruled on several significant cases. Most importantly was Marbury v Madison (1803), which established the theory of judicial review.

  • In the War of 1812, the U.S. fought Great Britain over trade restrictions, impressment of American sailors, and the possibility of the U.S. annexing Canada. The war ended in a stalemate but made a hero of future president Andrew Jackson.

Corps of Discovery : group hired by Thomas Jefferson to explore the territory obtained in the Louisiana Purchase; the most famous of the explorers were William Clark, Meriwether Lewis, and Sacagawea

doves : people who wanted to avoid going to war with Great Britain

Erie Canal : man-made waterway running from Albany, New York to Lake Erie; when it opened in 1825, it marked the beginning of the expansion of the American economy to the West

impressment : forcing American sailors to join the British navy

judicial review : the right of the Supreme Court to declare a law unconstitutional

Kitchen Cabinet : friends of Andrew Jackson who were given government jobs in return for supporting him; these unofficial advisors were out of the control of Congress

Louisiana Purchase : land deal between the U.S. and France in 1803 in which France sold 828,000 square miles of land for $15 million

nullification : the theory that states should have the right to nullify federal laws that they believe are not in their best interest

spoils system : the process by which Andrew Jackson rewarded friends and supporters with government jobs

Trail of Tears : the forced relocation of 15,000 Cherokees from Georgia to present day Oklahoma in 1838 and 1839, resulting in 4,000 deaths; part of Jackson's Indian Removal policy

Treaty of Ghent : Peace treaty between the U.S. and Great Britain to end the War of 1812; all conquered territory was returned

War Hawks : members of Congress, particularly John C. Calhoun and Henry Clay, who were strongly in favor of war with Great Britain

People :

John C. Calhoun : proponent of the nullification theory

William Clark : co-leader of the Corps of Discovery

Henry Clay : supporter of the protective tariff and the Bank of the United States

Francis Scott Key : wrote the Star Spangled Banner while imprisoned on a ship during the War of 1812

Meriwether Lewis : co-leader of the Corps of Discovery

Napoleon Bonaparte : sold Louisiana to the U.S.

John Marshall : 4th Supreme Court justice whose opinions greatly shaped the Court

Sacagawea : Shoshone Indian who, with her husband and infant, joined the Corps of Discovery

Tecumseh : Shawnee leader who joined with Great Britain to oppose the U.S. in the War of 1812

Related Links:
Jeffersonian and Jacksonian America Quiz
AP US History Quizzes
AP US History Notes
Progressive Era