|Study Question--Wilentz, pp. 3-12, 312-520
1.) How does Wilentz interpret Andrew Jackson? If he too inclined to give Jackson the benefit of the doubt regarding the political struggles of the era? Is there, in the end, a "Jacksonian" philosophy?
2.) How was political power wielded in this era--a time when the federal government was relatively weak, and remote from the day-to-day lives of most Americans? Did voting or more abstract political participation really matter?
3.) What role did Indian affairs play in understanding the politics of the Jacksonian period--and how does Wilentz fit Indian issues into his argument?
4.) How does Wilentz see the Whigs? Would US history have been different had WH Harrison lived?
5.) Given his centrality on issues from the formation of the Whigs to the question of abolition, can a case be made that it's better to understand this period as the "Age of JQ Adams" rather than the age of Jackson?
6.) Why did abolitionism emerge during this period--and not more strongly immediately after the Revolution, given the strong freedom-oriented rhetoric of the time?
7.) Wilentz is very interested in issues of class--but is there anything like a "working" class or a lower class in the society he describes? If so, what political role does it play?
8.) Wilentz spends a good deal of time on the BUS fight--what is its significance in his argument?
9.) In page xx of the preface, Wilentz promises a "different interpretation" than what we've seen in recent years in US history, with "a greater emphasis on the vagaries of politics, high and low," rather than simply "submerg[ing] the history of politics in the history of social change, reducing politics and democracy to by-products of various social forces." Exactly what is he saying here, and does the section of the book we read deliver on this promise?
Pay particular attention to pp. 507-518.