The Jefferson era (Jeffersonian Democracy) was the period that witnessed two most dominant political movements in the U.S. history. The period started from 1790s and went on through the 1820s. It involved opposition between the Federalist Party formed by Alexander Hamilton and the father of the Jefferson era Thomas Jefferson (Meacham, 2012). The Jacksonian era, on the other hand, referred to the period between the 1820s to mid-1840s. This period witnessed rampant growth and regional diversification within the United States of America under the leadership of Andrew Jackson whose influence not only shaped the politics of America before his presidency, but also after the end of his presidency (Wilentz, 2005).
The Jacksonian era came right after the end of the Jefferson era, and the Jacksonian followers factionalized the Democratic-Republican Party leading to the formation of the modern Democratic Party (Wilentz, 2005). They held several similar views such as the belief in the common man and his participation in the formation of the government. Both Jefferson and Andrew Jackson believed in democracy and vouched for equal opportunities to all. Both of them believed in little no Government interference with an economic structure of an unseen hand of the market.
These two eras, however, held several differences. The Jeffersonians were in opposition of inherited elites but greatly preferred educated men (Meacham, 2012). The Jacksonians, on the other hand, did not value education much. The Jacksonian democracy supported a strong presidency and executive branch at the expense of Congress (Wilentz, 2005). This was in contrast to the Jeffersonian democracy that believed in the strength of both the presidency and the congress to ensure balance and checks. According to Wilentz, (2005) the Jacksonians were for appointed judges while the Jeffersonians believed that judges were to be appointed.
The Jefferson era and the Jacksonian era were two eras in the American History that greatly shaped the American destiny to what it is today. They were periods of many reforms in the American political system. They were only disrupted by the American Civil War that led to a drastic reshaping of American politics and the emergence of the Third Party System (Wilentz, 2005).
Meacham, J. (2012). Thomas Jefferson: The art of power. New York: Random House.
Wilentz, S. (2005). Andrew Jackson. New York: Times Books.
Wilentz, S. (2005). The rise of American democracy: Jefferson to Lincoln. New York: Norton.