HIS-144-ONL: Evolution of Democracy

Directions: Complete the Evolution of Democracy Worksheet. Using resources from the Topic 3 Readings, including your textbook, materials provided by your instructor through class discussion, and materials from the GCU Library Guide for HIS-144 US History Themes, complete the assignment worksheet. 

Each answer to the questions should include citations for each question formatted using the APA Style Guide. Please note that the minimum word count varies for each of the questions.

The overall assignment must include three to five relevant scholarly sources in support of your content.

Compare and contrast the nation’s government from Jefferson’s era with Jackson’s era. Who was eligible to participate in the democratic processes when each was elected? How did that impact who was represented in the federal government? (200-350 words)

Jefferson’s era:

In Jefferson’s era, only white males who owned land were eligible to vote and participate in the democratic process. This excluded women, slaves (regardless of whether or not they owned any land), and any other man who didn’t “own” property (Karpowitz & Raphael, 2014).

Jackson’s Era:

In Jackson’s era, voting requirements included all white males who did not meet the property requirement for Jefferson’s era. This excluded women and slaves from voting, even if they had land. However, this change was brought on by the 1830 Indian Removal Act which forced Native Americans to migrate west of the Mississippi River in order to free up more space for European-American settlers (Karpowitz & Raphael, 2014).

This had an impact on who was represented in the federal government in two ways:

It became “easier” to be represented in the federal government. In the 1830s, Congressmen were elected off of a district-to-district basis, instead of just by state. This meant that even a few votes could cause someone to win or lose an election (example: Andrew Jackson won the presidential election with only 30,000 more votes than John Quincy Adams). This allowed for citizens with lower property values to have a voice in the government (but they had to be white males) (Karpowitz & Raphael, 2014).

It became harder for women and slaves to be represented in the federal government because they were not allowed to vote in most states at this time. In 1807, the Supreme Court declared in the case of Charles Pinney v. Ladd that states could NOT prohibit women from voting because it was a violation of the Constitution. The decision of this case was extremely unpopular and caused backlash against women’s suffrage throughout the nation.

In 1820, after a change in public opinion, only 7 states permitted women to vote. In 1848, the states ratified the 15th amendment which gave women and freed slaves the right to vote. Unfortunately, this did not take effect until 1870 because not all states ratified it until then (women were still prohibited from voting in some southern states) (Karpowitz & Raphael, 2014).

Explain three (3) ways the federal government changed or expanded from the time of Jefferson to Jackson? (200-350 words)

One of the main ways that the federal government changed or expanded from the time of Jefferson to Jackson was through the passage of a constitutional amendment. Although the Constitution originally specified seven articles, amendments can now be added to the Constitution after ratification by three-fourths of Congress and three-fourths of state legislatures (Cheathem, 2018).

The second way that the federal government expanded was with the enactment of tariff acts that created protective tariffs for certain products in order to make them less expensive for consumers and businesses. A tariff is a tax on goods coming into or out of a country; in this case it was placed on foreign goods coming into the United States. In 1828, Congress passed a tariff act that created protective tariffs for wool, hemp and flax. The purpose of these tariff acts was to improve the domestic industry by making imported goods more expensive so that consumers would buy home-grown products instead. There was also the establishment of a central bank, which gave the government a greater degree of control over money, credit, and debt (Cheathem, 2018).

The third way which included not only changes but expansions was through naturalization laws which allowed immigrants who met certain qualifications to become citizens without having to renounce their citizenship from their native countries (Cheathem, 2018).

Identify one (1) way democracy can be improved or continue to grow today. How can it be done? (350-500 words)

One main way that democracy can be improved or continue to grow today is by giving people more of a say when it comes to the policies. There is this thing called referendums where in certain countries if people want to do something like change their constitution, or make changes to their labour laws for example, then they can actually have a vote on that matter. Referendums are an excellent way for democracy to continue growing because it puts power back into the hands of the citizens where they know what’s best for them and it doesn’t matter what slant those in power have towards it (Karpowitz & Raphael, 2014).


Cheathem, M. R. (2018). The Coming of Democracy: Presidential Campaigning in the Age of Jackson. Johns Hopkins University Press+ ORM.

Karpowitz, C. F., & Raphael, C. (2014). Deliberation, democracy, and civic forums: Improving equality and publicity. Cambridge University Press.