Shift to Universal White Male Suffrage and Other Shifts Altering Politics


The Shifts in Who Votes (Suffrage), How Candidates Are Chosen, and How Campaigning Works

Your textbook covers several shifts in suffrage (voting) and in politics:

1.       The evolution from property requirements to vote to white universal manhood suffrage about 1828.

2.       The shift in how candidates were chosen:

o         From about 1800 to the 1820s, candidates were chosen by a caucus (a talk within a group) of political party members who had been elected to office (as in member of the House of Representatives or a Senator). At that time, Being Secretary of State was considered necessary preparation to run for President because of its responsibilities for foreign policy.

o         The Jacksonian period brought a rejection of what they called “King Caucus” (with King being a dirty word because of its association with King George III). The political party convention replaced it—at that time a very volatile meeting of delegates who choose the candidate for President.

3.       The Jacksonian era use of the “spoils system” meant that federal workers chosen by their political party did campaigning for their party as part of their jobs on the federal payroll.

Shifts in State Rules for Who Votes and Who Decides the Electoral College

Other things are going on as well to alter voting that your book does not cover. Examples:

§         States determine who votes. The NEW western states offered:

o         Not only more opportunities for men to get land (with property being traditionally a voter requirement)

o         But also more liberal voting rules in hopes of getting settlers.

§         By the Jacksonian era, citizens in the OLD eastern states began to demand the same voting opportunities as those in the west.

§         State laws change, and voters (not the state legislatures) are deciding the electoral college results.





Copyright C. J. Bibus, Ed.D. 2003-2013


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