Our democracy endures.
We at Andrew Jackson’s Hermitage are celebrating a record U.S. voter turnout in the 2020 election for President of the United States. No matter your preferred candidate, we can all unite in acknowledging this milestone as more Americans than ever before participated in a quintessentially American act of democracy and freedom.
The vote carried special significance for Andrew Jackson. Despite winning the popular vote in the general election of 1824, he ultimately lost the presidency in the House of Representatives to John Quincy Adams after failing to carry a majority of American voters. Jackson felt that the people’s voice had not been heard.
In the following years, property qualifications for many voters were eliminated and excitement over the prospect of a Jackson presidency grew. As a result, voter turnout increased by 214 percent in 1828, an election in which Jackson handily defeated Adams and was at last propelled by his national fame to the land’s highest office. He was elected for a second term in 1832.
Though Jackson had loyal followers and fierce competitors, he governed on behalf of all Americans. His humble beginnings and populist platform earned him the moniker, “The People’s President.”
Recent U.S. elections have been exceptionally competitive, but this is hardly new in the American political arena. With few exceptions, our country’s history is replete with examples of closely contested elections, but our democracy always prevails.
No matter your party or candidate, I hope you will join me in observing this remarkable demonstration of American ideals. It is an exercise for which Andrew Jackson fought fiercely, and I am confident our seventh President would be pleased with how passionate, informed and determined the American voter has become.
In his farewell address on March 4, 1837, President Andrew Jackson concluded his speech by saying, “I thank God that my life has been spent in a land of liberty and that He has given me a heart to love my country with the affection of a son.”
May our modern leaders share this same unwavering commitment to and love for the United States of America.
Howard J. Kittell is President and CEO of the Andrew Jackson Foundation.