Module 9 Assignment: Differing Historical Perspectives

The year is 1832, and even though political campaigns aren’t yet big productions like they are today, for this assignment you can imagine that you are employed as a press secretary working on either President Jackson’s campaign or the campaign of one of his opponents—Henry Clay or William Wirt. Back then, presidents didn’t run massive presidential campaigns as they do now, with major advertisements, commercials, and campaign trails. But for this assignment, we will imagine they had access to the types of advertising resources that we do today—fliers, commercials, newspapers ads, social media blitzes, etc.

In this assignment, you are tasked with EITHER:

  1. Preparing a brief “stump speech” for a campaign stop (because they were literally given upon stumps) OR
  2. Creating a political advertisement either promoting your own candidate or warning about the dangers of another candidate.


In the Election of 1828, the presidential candidates were nominated by a congressional party caucus, but the Election of 1832 was the first to hold national conventions for the political parties when nominating the president. Andrew Jackson was nominated by the Democratic party and ran against National Republican Henry Clay and Anti-Mason William Wirt.

Though the idea of running campaigns and using advertisements was not yet in vogue (President Jackson once explained to a friend that “I meddle not with elections. I leave the people to make their own President”), presidents still sought out supporters and held campaign events. Most candidates became regional favorites.[1]

The election campaign of 1832 revolved around the Second Bank of the United States. Jackson, who disliked banks and paper money in general, vetoed the renewal of the Bank’s charter and withdrew federal deposits from the bank. Clay hoped to divide Jackson’s supporters and curry favor in Pennsylvania, the bank’s headquarters, by attacking Jackson. Clay and his supporters criticized Jackson’s use of presidential veto power, portraying him as “King Andrew.”[2]

While some people were very pleased about the sometimes radical changes President Andrew Jackson has made, there were others who were upset not only by his handling of the Second Bank of the United States, but by the Nullification Crisis, the Petticoat Affair, and the removal of Native Americans.

Attacks on Jackson proved unsuccessful; he was able to convince the population that he was defending them against the privileged elite. Jackson’s events had large turnouts and he handily won the election with 54.23% of the popular vote and 219 electoral votes.[3]

Newspapers published advertisements or political cartoons favoring one candidate or another, and the candidates gave stump speeches highlighting their viewpoints.

Take a look at this website highlighting some of the political cartoons from 1832.

As you think about the supporters and opponents of Jackson’s presidency, reference at least one primary source (and include a citation) in your speech or advertisement. You can choose from these primary sources or find others to help you in your campaign:


Assignment Option #1 (Speech):

In the discussion forum and using at least one primary source, choose one of the issues mentioned above (Nullification Crisis, the Second Bank of the United States, Petticoat Affair, the Indian Removal Act) and write a 500-word speech for President Jackson, Henry Clay, or William Wirt that either justifies or refutes their position on the topic.

Your speech should be written in persuasive essay format, with an interesting introduction and argument, body paragraphs that expand on the introduction with at least three supportive details for the argument, and a conclusion that reiterates your main idea.

Assignment Option #2 (Political Advertisement):

Create a political advertisement or flyer for or against President Jackson or one of his opponents. It should be modeled after the types of political fliers you might get in the mail from political candidates. Keep in mind that political advertisements don’t tend to have a lot of words in them, so you will need to be thoughtful in what you include on the flyer. Your flyer should be easily understandable to anyone familiar with the event you are advertising.

You could use any program you would like for your flyer, but it should be visually appealing. You could use a couple of slides from this sample Google Slides template (make a copy to personalize), Canva, Adobe Spark, Genially, or other templates from programs such as My Creative Shop.

Post your flyer in the discussion forum. Along with your submission, include a short explanation of the flyer, explaining more about the background of the issue.  Please also include an explanation of how this would have been received at the time. Remember that you are trying to persuade people!

Assignment Part 2 (for all students):

Comment on another student’s post with a rebuttal of the speech or advertisement (at least 150 words). The rebuttal should be written from the point of view of someone who contradicts the message because they have been either positively or adversely affected by President Jackson’s policies. This should not be your own rebuttal, but the hypothetical rebuttal from someone from this time period who would have found fault with the speech or advertisement. For example, if the original post opposes the National Bank, the rebuttal could be written from the perspective of Nicholas Biddle and give reasons why the National Bank would be a good thing.

Assignment Grading Rubric:

Criteria Poor Good Excellent Points
Organization The speech does not show any organization or structure. The paper may lack topic sentences, connections between the thesis statement and body paragraphs. The political advertisement is not carefully constructed and looks messy or is hard to follow. The speech is organized logically, but there could be clearer connections between topic sentences and the thesis statement. The political advertisement looks good. The speech follows a clear organizational path and has a clear thesis statement. The political advertisement is visually appealing. _/4
Support and Development of Ideas Ideas lack sufficient evidence and explanation, or the ideas are not appropriate for the audience. Ideas are developed with evidence and explanation tailored to the audience, but some ideas may lack support. If creating the political advertisement, the topics chosen are logical and clear. Ideas are developed with evidence and clear explanation and interpretation tailored to the audience. If creating the political advertisement, the topics chosen are logical, reasonable, and supported by facts. _/10
Style, Grammar, Punctuation, Mechanics The speech or political advertisement  includes significant weaknesses, such as informal diction, quotations not integrated, overuse of short sentences, awkward wording, and sentences weakened by grammar/punctuation errors. The speech or political advertisement expresses ideas clearly but with mostly undistinguished word choice and sentence structure. May include weaknesses such as informal diction. The speech or political advertisement expresses ideas clearly and uses appropriate language for the time. The speech is free or almost free from grammar and punctuation errors. _/3
Rebuttal The rebuttal is unclear or not obviously written by someone holding an opposing viewpoint. Supporting facts may be weak or non-existent. Rebuttal contradicts the original message and is written by someone whole held an opposing viewpoint. It includes supporting evidence. Students respond to another post with a rebuttal that contradicts the speech or the advertisement. The rebuttal is at least 150 words, supported by facts. Responses should be civil, though written from the point of view of someone who contradicts the message because they have been either positively or adversely affected by President Jackson’s policies. _/3

  1. Jackson to David Burford, 28 July 1831, as quoted in Gil Troy's See How They Ran: The Changing Role of the Presidential Candidate (New York: Free Press, 1991), 16.
  2. Wikipedia contributors, "1832 United States presidential election," Wikipedia, The Free Encyclopedia, (accessed October 20, 2021).
  3. Wikipedia contributors, "1832 United States presidential election," Wikipedia, The Free Encyclopedia, (accessed October 20, 2021).