I. Growth of Democracy—Universal White Manhood Suffrage



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The Growth of Democracy:


I. Growth of Democracy—Universal White Manhood Suffrage

  1. From 1824 to 1840, democracy was extended to more Americans


1. Before 1800, voting was limited to property owners

2. By 1840, property restrictions were removed or relaxed to allow more white men to vote

3. Democracy in America was more widespread than in any other country in the world

4. The new surge in democracy did not fit Jefferson’s vision of an American republic


  1. By 1830, a “democracy of commoners” was seen as more acceptable than a “republic of aristocrats”


1. America promoted equal opportunities for white men under the law & in the professions

2. But, America was not equal: ownership of land, low-paid industrial workers, rich vs. poor farmers

C. Reasons for universal manhood suffrage

1. Westward expansion & statehood increased demands for suffrage among “common men”

2. Western states lacked natural aristocrats serve as republican leaders

3. The extension of suffrage in the West pressured eastern politicians to do the same

4. By 1840, the U.S. experienced near universal white manhood suffrage (but not for blacks or women)

D. Impacts of universal manhood suffrage

1. Political parties developed new forms of politicking

a. Entertaining parades, campaigns, slogans were used

b. Organized state “political machines” were formed & demanded loyalty from politicians

c. Partisan newspapers increased in number & in readers

2. Increased democracy in the 1830s & 1840s led to

a. Massive voter turnout in elections

b. direct methods of selecting presidential electors, state governors & judges, & county officials


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