The raucous political debates of Jacksonian America often seemed to pit those who defended the ideals of liberty against those who asserted power. Harry L. Watson argues that these were serious policy disputes about the future of the Republic and the nature of its society and economy, and they led to intensified public involvement in politics and enduring political parties. His narrative shows how religious revivalism, new waves of immigration, westward expansion, the deeply divisive issue of Afro-American slavery, nascent industrialism, and other socioeconomic forces put strains on America's political framework and, in the end, transformed it.
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