Jackson's Presidency

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Andrew Jackson has been considered the first modern president because, he significantly contributed to the expansion of the office, he was considered the first popularly elected president, and, throughout his presidency acted his role as a populist.

Jackson's Presidency was the beginning of the modern presidency, one in which the powers that the president holds while in the office of the grew immensely. Jackson was the first President to introduce the spoils system, the system in which when a political party wins an election the party members are given government jobs to as a reward for working toward victory, and as an incentive to keep working for the party. From this, patronage - present on a state level, became more powerful on a national level. Jackson used his function as the head of the party to enhance his power.

The way Jackson used his veto power extensively also made him more like the first modern president. He vetoed more bills in his term of office than all the previous presidents put together. Jackson was also the first to use the pocket veto, a delaying tactic in which the President does not sign a bill within ten days of the end of the Congressional term, preventing it from a becoming law. Jackson was a major opponent of the Second Bank of the United States, which was considered an instrument of the Eastern establishment. Jackson succeeded in having the bank's charter revoked.

One of Jackson's major tests as President came over the issue of indirect tax and nullification. This conflict masked the larger issue of states rights. There had been rising sectional unhappiness over the higher indirect taxes imposed by the federal government. South Carolina objected outright to the indirect taxes, and to counteract the indirect taxes, passed a nullification act. Jackson refused to tolerate such an act, and threatened to hang those supporting it. Eventually, a compromise was reached, but not before the groundwork was laid for an ongoing tension...
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