Making America Great? The Role of Andrew Jackson, Donald Trump, and American Politics in the Ages of Resistance and Rebellion

Open Access
Author:
Kohr, Alexandra
Area of Honors:
History
Degree:
Bachelor of Arts
Document Type:
Thesis
Thesis Supervisors:
  • Christina Nicole Snyder, Thesis Supervisor
  • Dr. Cathleen Denise Cahill, Honors Advisor
Keywords:
  • history
  • andrew jackson
  • donald trump
  • american
  • united states
Abstract:
The 19th and 21st centuries are drastically different in regard to technology, political parties, and social equality. However, Andrew Jackson and Donald Trump’s presidencies have been compared countless times by historians, political commentators, and news anchors. This thesis seeks to explore the comparison between the two presidents in relation to their policy, as well as their influence and response to resistance and rebellion. Although it may seem easy to compare the two based upon their personalities, this thesis takes a deeper approach of comparing policy and rhetoric surrounding the two presidents’ decisions in minority impacting legislation, as well as the role technology and media has influenced their actions in office. This thesis focuses heavily on the Jackson papers and suggests Jackson’s personal friend, Amos Kendall, held an extremely influential and important role within Jackson’s cabinet. In the 21st century, Trump’s use of media, rhetoric, and campaign ideology is influenced by Jackson as highlighted through his allusions to the 19th century politician in speeches and policy. As the thesis progresses, readers will be able to better understand the theory of “making America great” as not just a slogan, but rather an ideology that spans centuries involving majority and minority parties, rebellion and counter-resistance movements, and intrinsic and extrinsic value to what “great” means for those impacted by the phrasing. Through examination of the two presidents, as well as the influences surrounding them, readers will find that the comparisons between the two equates to more than personality or temperament, but instead spans both internal and external factors that transcend different eras of American history.