The election of 1828 is viewed by many as a revolution. Just as the French Revolution marked the end of aristocratic rule and the ascent of the lower classes, the election of Andrew Jackson as the seventh president of the United States likewise marked the end of the aristocratic “Virginia Dynasty” and the ascent of the common man. While Jackson was a hero of the people, having routed the British at the Battle of New Orleans and having clawed his way from poverty to wealth, he was elected primarily because his followers believed he stood for certain ideals. The Jacksonian Democrats were self-styled guardians of the United States Constitution, political democracy, individual liberty, and equality of economic opportunity.
As a strict constitutional constructionist, Jackson indeed guarded what he considered the spirit of the constitution. This is borne out in his handling of South Carolina’s Nullification Crisis. By passing the “force bill,” Jackson made a statement that the position of John C. Calhoun and his home state was unconstitutional, and that he, as president, was prepared to back his ideals with force if necessary. Jackson further advanced his strict constructionist position through his handling of the “Bank War.” Nowhere in Article I, section 8 of the Constitution is the authority to create a national bank given to congress. By allowing Roger B. Taney to assist in withdrawing the federal treasury from the Bank of the U.S. and subsequently depositing the funds into regional “pet banks,” Jackson effectively disassembled what he viewed as a “monopoly of the foreign and domestic exchange” which was not “compatible with justice, with sound policy, or with the Constitution of our country.”(B) Jackson’s position on the Bank of the United States also illustrates his commitment to political democracy. The Bank re-charter of 1832, though designed by Webster and Clay to embarrass Jackson publicly, backfired on the opponent Whigs. In his bank veto message of 1832,...
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