Essays On Jacksonian Democracy

Essays On Jacksonian Democracy-19
Harry Truman’s decision to use atomic weapons to force an unconditional Japanese surrender remains so publicly sacrosanct that earlier this year, when the White House announced that President Obama would visit Hiroshima, it that he would in no way apologize for America’s behavior there.Had the White House left open the possibility of American remorse, the political blowback would have been ferocious.

Harry Truman’s decision to use atomic weapons to force an unconditional Japanese surrender remains so publicly sacrosanct that earlier this year, when the White House announced that President Obama would visit Hiroshima, it that he would in no way apologize for America’s behavior there.Had the White House left open the possibility of American remorse, the political blowback would have been ferocious.The core concepts underlying Jacksonian Democracy—equal protection of the laws; an aversion to a moneyed aristocracy, exclusive privileges, and monopolies, and a predilection for the common man; majority rule; and the welfare of the community over the individual—have long been defined almost exclusively by the Bank War, which commenced in earnest with the election of Andrew Jackson in 1828.

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They have little interest in the “Hamiltonian” project of prying other countries open to American commerce or the “Wilsonian” project of spreading democracy and liberty across the globe.

But when attacked, especially by what they consider dishonorable foes, Jacksonians believe that “wars must be fought with all available force.

New Orleans was the culmination of Jackson’s already impressive military career, and it established the man in the public’s imagination as a successor to those who had won the American Revolution.

Americans suddenly wanted portraits and biographies of Jackson—the general credited with “winning” the War of 1812—reminiscent of those revered patriots.

The use of limited force is deeply repugnant.” This ethic is central to the way that Americans—especially Jacksonian Americans, who dominate the Republican base—tell the story of America’s major wars.

In this narrative, the United States was minding its own business until one December morning in 1941, when Japan launched a shameful sneak attack at Pearl Harbor. Tokyo was seeking the same kind of regional hegemony that the United States enjoyed in Latin America.Ted Cruz, he declared later, is a “nasty guy.” The protesters at his rallies are “bad dudes.” Fox has treated him “very unfairly.” CNN’s behavior towards him has been “very unprofessional.” This depiction of himself as blameless, and his foes as vicious, justifies whatever Trump does in response.In the first GOP debate, Kelly quoted some of Trump’s derogatory statements about women and then asked how he’d respond when Hillary Clinton cited them in the general election.Asked by Kelly why he insults his opponents, Trump responded that, “I view myself as a person who like everyone else is fighting for survival.” He invariably describes himself as an innocent besieged by brutal, unscrupulous assailants.“I’ve been attacked pretty viciously by some of these guys,” he said last August about his GOP foes.But when “animals” attack the US, he rejects virtually any moral limits on America’s response. Sure, because “You’re not going to win if we’re soft and…they have no rules.” Using nuclear weapons? In a quintessentially Jacksonian moment, former Indiana basketball coach Bobby Knight praised Trump last month for being like Truman, who had “the guts to drop the bomb in 1944.”But this alone doesn’t capture Trump’s appeal. He also appears to channel the Jacksonian ethic in his personal conduct.Trump describes his political struggle in the same Hobbesian terms as he describes America’s struggle in the world.He depicts America as preyed upon by predators and crooks, and he depicts himself the same way.Thus, whatever America does—and whatever he does—is merely self-defense. But in just about all cases I’ve been responding to what they did to me.”It’s a claim Trump has made before. He minds his own business until someone else launches a dastardly attack. To many Republicans, it’s a tremendously appealing self-self-depiction. Because it’s the way they depict the United States.Jacksonians, Mead argues, view America as a country that just wants to be left alone.

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