Part 1: 1450-1750
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Part 4: 1831-1865

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Modern Voices
David Blight on Jacksonian democracy
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Q: In what ways did slavery define the national character in the Age of Jackson?
David Blight

A: By the early 1830s, we have the beginning of an organized abolition movement, but we've also got now this burgeoning thing we call "Jacksonian Democracy," the spread of the right to vote among white people.

There is now a vast westward movement. America now has this seemingly limitless, boundless, western future. Immigration is beginning from Europe. This whole idea of the American dream, of the small, free farmer and the free mechanic who can take his family and move to America and get a new beginning, is now going to run squarely into the problem of the expansion of racial slavery across the same continent.
David W. Blight
Professor of History and Black Studies
Amherst College

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