“The Interests of the Many”: The Expansion of Democracy in the Jacksonian Era

Tuesday, November 15, 2011
7:00–8:30 p.m. (EST) Enter Classroom Enter Forum
County Election cropped


Reeve Huston
Associate Professor of History
Duke University

About the Seminar

  • How did the electorate change between 1800 and the 1830s?
  • How did ideas about who was entitled to membership in the political community change?
  • How did the practice of politics—the rules of the political game—change?
  • Who gained power as the result of these changes? Who lost power? How democratic was the Jacksonian political order?
  • What role did ordinary people play in bringing about those changes? What role did political operatives play? What role did Andrew Jackson play?

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Seminar Recording

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Assigned Readings

  1. Assigned texts with notes, by Reeve Huston, Associate Professor of History, Duke University (PDF)
  2. The County Election, 1851-52 by George Caleb Bingham (American, 1811-1879), oil on canvas (PDF)

  3. The next texts are from the National Humanities Center's primary source collection "The Triumph of Nationalism/The House Dividing". Please study the notes, the discussion questions, and the texts.

  4. "An Address to the People of Rhode Island," Thomas W. Dorr, 1834. Note and text.
  5. Selections from The American Democrat: A Treatise on Jacksonian Democracy, James Fennimore Cooper, 1838. Note and text.

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