by Ted Widmer

The Age of Jackson has never been easy to define. Broader than his presidency (1829–1837), and narrower than his life (1767–1845), it roughly describes the third, fourth, and fifth decades of the nineteenth century. While some historians have attempted to define this era as the Age of Reform, or Democracy, or the Market Revolution, no name has ever conveyed more of the era’s energy, upward aspiration, and general restlessness than that of Jackson himself. If his election in 1828 launched the Age of Jackson, and terminated the so-called Era of Good Feelings, then his death in 1845 and the Mexican War that immediately followed it (1846–1848) might be considered the era’s close. By 1850, the crisis over slavery began to dominate almost every aspect of political discourse, leading to the unraveling of the great Democratic coalition forged by Jackson.More »

Featured Primary Sources

Texas: Church of Alamo, San Antonio de Bexar

A plea to defend the Alamo, 1836

Creator: William Travis Curriculum Subjects: Government and Civics Grade Levels:
Andrew Jackson, “To the Cherokee Tribe of Indians East of the Mississippi [circu

Andrew Jackson to the Cherokee Tribe, 1835

Creator: Andrew Jackson Curriculum Subjects: Grade Levels: 9, 10, 11, 12, 13+
Davy Crockett

Davy Crockett on the removal of the Cherokees, 1834

Creator: David Crockett Curriculum Subjects: Government and Civics Grade Levels: 5, 6, 7, 8, 9, 10, 11, 12, 13+
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Redeeming Martin Van Buren

Speaker(s): Ted Widmer

The Rise and Fall of the American Whig Party

Speaker(s): Michael F. Holt
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