Classroom activity: Age of Jackson


This era is often referred to as the “Era of the Common Man.” One reason for this is that it was the first election of a President from the “West,” since President Andrew Jackson was not from Virginia or Massachusetts. Andrew Jackson, a military hero from the War of 1812, was thought to represent the average American which included farmers, frontiersmen, and laborers, rather than the privileged class from the East who were often tied to the Second Bank of the United States. This era is marked by progress in expanding the role of the common man in the democratic process, but also marked with conflict with Native Americans over the movement west.

Directions: Use the content from the Citizen Bee website and inferencing skills to answer the following questions.


John Quincy Adams

  1. What are some unique characteristics of John Quincy Adams?
  2. How are these characteristics different from characteristics of Andrew Jackson?

Andrew Jackson

  1. What does it mean to be a “populist” candidate?
  2. What were some reasons to support the idea that Andrew Jackson was a “populist” candidate and president?


Tariff of 1828

  1. What is the purpose of a tariff? Why was the Tariff of 1828 considered a protective tariff?
  2. Why did the South resent the Tariff of 1828?

Indian Removal Act

  1. What was the reason President Jackson supported the Indian Removal Act?
  2. What were two effects of the Indian Removal Act?

Cherokee Nation v. Georgia

  1. What was Chief Justice Marshall’s reasoning when he said the Supreme Court did not have jurisdiction (the right to hear a case) of Cherokee Nation v. Georgia?

Worcester v. Georgia

  1. Why is Worcester v. Georgia considered a victory if one only reads the decision of the Supreme Court in this case?
  2. Why is Worcester v. Georgia considered a defeat and tragedy when one looks at what happened to the Indians after the decision of the Supreme Court?


Election of 1824

  1. Why did the House of Representatives select the President in the Election of 1824?
  2. What is the so called “Corrupt Bargain” and how did it determine the final winner in theelection?

Election of 1828

  1. How did Andrew Jackson appeal to the “common man” in the Election of 1828 that made Andrew Jackson the most popular candidate?
  2. How did Jackson use the spoils system?

Nullification Crisis

  1. What did John C. Calhoun mean when he said the “Tariff of Abominations” (the Tariff of 1828) should be declared null and void?
  2. What did John C. Calhoun threaten that South Carolina would do if the federal government tried to enforce the Tariff of 1828?
  3. How did the Nullification Crisis end?

Trail of Tears

  1. What was the result of the Trail of Tears on the Native Americans?
  2. What happened to the land that the Native Americans were forced to vacate (leave)?

Bank War

  1. What happened because of the closing of the Second Bank of the United States?

Connection Questions

  1. How are the Supreme Court cases of Cherokee Nation v. Georgia and Worcester v. Georgia similar? Different?
  2. How does this era illustrate the expanding role of the common man in the democratic process?
  3. How does the Nullification Crisis illustrate deep divisions between the North and the South in the United States?
  4. What characteristic(s) of the Era explain why President Jackson vetoed the charter for the Second Bank of the United States?
  5. How do the people, documents, and events of this era illustrate the characteristics of the Age of Jackson?

Click here for a PDF copy of the questions.