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Is Jacksonian Democracy a Benefit to Society?

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  • Is Jacksonian Democracy a Benefit to Society?

    Does everybody in our society (both in America as well as in almost all western cultures) need the ability to vote at age eighteen with very few exceptions? In today's society, it seems that while politics is simply becoming a nastier and nastier place, general voter education on political issues seems to be falling in addition to voter turnout. My question is this: why must the rather young and naive, those who choose not to make use of the free education given to them by the state, or any who take their political power for granted be allowed to use it? Whilst obviously suffrage would have no relation to race or gender, and none would think of making it so, why not restrict it in important ways?

    John Locke, as well as the entire federalist half of the founding fathers (of which many quotes dubious of democracy may be found), would think very poorly of Andrew Jackson's schemes with the electorate. To Locke, only those propertied, with an actual stake in the commonwealth, should deserve to share in its power. While nowadays this might be more impractical due to increasing population density, especially in places like Manhattan, London, or any great city, one can see Locke thought it important to place at least some form of restrictions.

    I have always viewed the expansion of suffrage throughout history as much more of a political move rather than a decision based on actual political theory or wishing to empower the people or having a better functioning democracy. The lower, unpropertied classes supported Jackson? Then he threw out the founders restrictions on property-based suffrage in order to gain millions of free votes. I view the very large amount of voter fraud in the modern day to simply be a symptom of the same interest- why disenfranchise free votes, even if they are 'cheating'?

    The criteria by which we in democracies as a whole might not be the most important thing to decide right now- whether it might be raising the voting age by a considerable amount (throw in an exception to military members to get rid of the 'you can fight and die but can't vote' argument), whether it be requiring a High school diploma, or even a college degree. The important question is: Do we need to restrict suffrage to some degree? Is unlimited suffrage a desirable thing or not?
    Two roads diverged in a yellow wood,
    And sorry I could not travel both
    And be one traveler, long I stood
    ...
    Two roads diverged in a wood, and I,
    I took the one less traveled by,
    And that has made all the difference.

  • #2

    On the Plains of Hesitation lie the blackened bones of countless millions who, at the dawn of victory, sat down to rest-and resting... died. Adlai E. Stevenson

    ACG History Today

    BoRG

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    • #3
      I have nothing good to say about Jackson, so I won't.
      This bass guitar kills TERRORISTS!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

      Comment


      • #4
        Originally posted by Duke Maynard View Post
        Does everybody in our society (both in America as well as in almost all western cultures) need the ability to vote at age eighteen with very few exceptions? In today's society, it seems that while politics is simply becoming a nastier and nastier place, general voter education on political issues seems to be falling in addition to voter turnout. My question is this: why must the rather young and naive, those who choose not to make use of the free education given to them by the state, or any who take their political power for granted be allowed to use it? Whilst obviously suffrage would have no relation to race or gender, and none would think of making it so, why not restrict it in important ways?

        John Locke, as well as the entire federalist half of the founding fathers (of which many quotes dubious of democracy may be found), would think very poorly of Andrew Jackson's schemes with the electorate. To Locke, only those propertied, with an actual stake in the commonwealth, should deserve to share in its power. While nowadays this might be more impractical due to increasing population density, especially in places like Manhattan, London, or any great city, one can see Locke thought it important to place at least some form of restrictions.

        I have always viewed the expansion of suffrage throughout history as much more of a political move rather than a decision based on actual political theory or wishing to empower the people or having a better functioning democracy. The lower, unpropertied classes supported Jackson? Then he threw out the founders restrictions on property-based suffrage in order to gain millions of free votes. I view the very large amount of voter fraud in the modern day to simply be a symptom of the same interest- why disenfranchise free votes, even if they are 'cheating'?

        The criteria by which we in democracies as a whole might not be the most important thing to decide right now- whether it might be raising the voting age by a considerable amount (throw in an exception to military members to get rid of the 'you can fight and die but can't vote' argument), whether it be requiring a High school diploma, or even a college degree. The important question is: Do we need to restrict suffrage to some degree? Is unlimited suffrage a desirable thing or not?
        Who decides on the limits imposed? It cannot be the government, because that's an insurmountable conflict of interest.

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        • #5
          Originally posted by Mountain Man View Post
          Who decides on the limits imposed? It cannot be the government, because that's an insurmountable conflict of interest.
          Whose deciding on them now and before? Certainly not a private firm. The fact there's a conflict of interest there is just an inherent flaw in the entire system. It was certainly one for any of the previous enlargements of the voter pool. While I wouldn't advocate we need to restrict suffrage right now, I think it's something we in society must strive for and think about before any further enlargements of suffrage.
          Two roads diverged in a yellow wood,
          And sorry I could not travel both
          And be one traveler, long I stood
          ...
          Two roads diverged in a wood, and I,
          I took the one less traveled by,
          And that has made all the difference.

          Comment


          • #6
            It can't happen.

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            • #7
              Originally posted by Naffenea View Post
              It can't happen.
              Anything can happen if there's a political will for it. Even if there is no will at this time, could it not be created?
              Two roads diverged in a yellow wood,
              And sorry I could not travel both
              And be one traveler, long I stood
              ...
              Two roads diverged in a wood, and I,
              I took the one less traveled by,
              And that has made all the difference.

              Comment


              • #8
                Personally, I prefer that only those who paid income taxes be eligible to vote.
                "If you are right, then you are right even if everyone says you are wrong. If you are wrong then you are wrong even if everyone says you are right." William Penn.

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                • #9
                  Restricting suffrage increases the political power of those who retain the vote without necessarily improving the quality of the process. It remains driven by tensions between self-interests. As the those who still have the franchise bend the results more to their liking, it will be in their interests to impose further restrictions leading to ever greater concentration of power. IOW once you start withdrawing the right to vote from some definable group, you create a feedback loop fueled by political power.
                  Any metaphor will tear if stretched over too much reality.

                  Questions about our site? See the FAQ.

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                  • #10
                    Originally posted by GCoyote View Post
                    Restricting suffrage increases the political power of those who retain the vote without necessarily improving the quality of the process. It remains driven by tensions between self-interests. As the those who still have the franchise bend the results more to their liking, it will be in their interests to impose further restrictions leading to ever greater concentration of power. IOW once you start withdrawing the right to vote from some definable group, you create a feedback loop fueled by political power.
                    I see nothing wrong with this.
                    But how would restricting the vote make the right to vote no longer given to 'a definable group'? We redefined voting requirements from a minimum age of 21 to 18, why could we not simply reverse this process? What is undefinable about those who have high school diplomas and those who do not?

                    Conflicting interest of everything is in the nature of democracy. It doesn't matter what direction you take it. It's just a flaw in the system. There's not a conceivable change one could make to an electorate without half of a nation bitterly contesting the vote... or a concievable change to virtually anything should this current congress be taken as a model.
                    Two roads diverged in a yellow wood,
                    And sorry I could not travel both
                    And be one traveler, long I stood
                    ...
                    Two roads diverged in a wood, and I,
                    I took the one less traveled by,
                    And that has made all the difference.

                    Comment


                    • #11
                      Now compare Jacksonian democracy versus Heinlienian democracy (starship troopers). Only those who have served the state are eligible to become citizens and vote. "Service guarentees citizenship."

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                      • #12
                        Enfranchising all adults gives everyone (in theory) a means to resolve their issues peacefully at the ballot box. Take that away from enough people and they will still want their problems addressed. Historically that means a war of some sort.
                        Any metaphor will tear if stretched over too much reality.

                        Questions about our site? See the FAQ.

                        Comment


                        • #13
                          Originally posted by Trailboss49 View Post
                          Personally, I prefer that only those who paid income taxes be eligible to vote.
                          I agree with this.

                          I am not sure why raising the age limit would be better. I know there is this belief that young people are lazy, uneducated, disrespectful and selfess but there are plenty of middle aged people and senior citizens like that.
                          “When you're in jail, a good friend will be trying to bail you out. A best friend will be in the cell next to you saying, 'Damn, that was fun'.”
                          ― Groucho Marx

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                          • #14
                            Originally posted by GCoyote View Post
                            Enfranchising all adults gives everyone (in theory) a means to resolve their issues peacefully at the ballot box. Take that away from enough people and they will still want their problems addressed. Historically that means a war of some sort.
                            Didn't seem to stop a war from happening in America during the civil war. The ballot box gave way to the ammunition box all the same, even after Andrew Jackson.

                            There have been tens of thousands of different wars throughout human history. What tiny percentage involved wars of democratic revolution? How many more were wars of the exact opposite, coups or government takeovers in an already democratic society? In the modern day, political parties can completely block and undo each other's actions again and again, or deadlock the legislative, or threaten violent action should their wishes not be met (and in many, many cases, come to violent action). Fully enfranchised adult populations have been no panacea, and there are countless examples of long existing, peaceful, entirely non-democratic societies.


                            Originally posted by Checkertail20 View Post
                            I agree with this.

                            I am not sure why raising the age limit would be better. I know there is this belief that young people are lazy, uneducated, disrespectful and selfess but there are plenty of middle aged people and senior citizens like that.
                            I agree also with restricting the vote in such a manner- a highly logical option as well.

                            I do not solely advocate restricting suffrage by age alone- I merely put it forth because I still regard it as an excellent option. Yes, there may be plenty of the ignorant at greater ages- they may not have learned the most from their increased expirience- but, as a whole, statistically speaking, they are on average more expirienced, educated, and for lack of a better word, usually wiser. While certainly there are a very high number of exceptions for both the younger and the more elderly, in a nation of millions that's not terribly relevant.
                            Last edited by Duke Maynard; 13 Sep 12, 21:12.
                            Two roads diverged in a yellow wood,
                            And sorry I could not travel both
                            And be one traveler, long I stood
                            ...
                            Two roads diverged in a wood, and I,
                            I took the one less traveled by,
                            And that has made all the difference.

                            Comment


                            • #15
                              Originally posted by Checkertail20 View Post
                              I agree with this.

                              I am not sure why raising the age limit would be better. I know there is this belief that young people are lazy, uneducated, disrespectful and selfess but there are plenty of middle aged people and senior citizens like that.
                              Aye in high school kids are submerged and forced to pay attention to the political level and write essays, and form opinions, and debate or suffer lack luster marks. Compare that to the majority of 20-40yr olds who could not give a rat's behind about political stuff and only pay attention to what their local news commentators say. It gives the Lazy, disrespectful, kids a higher chance of giving a well-informed vote.
                              God didn’t create evil. Evil is the result of when man does not have God's love in his heart.It's the cold when there is no heat.The darkness that comes when there is no light

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