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Notes about Andrew Jackson

By alykat3497 Oct 31, 2013 2316 Words
The Jackson Presidency
Jackson’s election ushered in era in American politics called the “Age of the Common Man” he wasn’t a common man- military hero, rich slave owner, imperious and decidedly undemocratic personality had mass appeal to ordinary people- 1st to respond to the ways in which westward expansion + extension of the suffrage were changing politics at national/local/state levels A Popular Figure

During American Rev.- captured + beaten by British
made career as lawyer/wealthy slave owning planter at frontier station at Nashville, TN 1788 touchy sense of pride/honor- led him into many duels; ruthless toward Indians 1st became national hero w/ win vs. B. in battle of New Orleans 1815… fierce belligerence came to symbolize pioneer independence his little political experience not a hindrance in new age of popular politics inaugurated as president of US 3/4/1829- still mourning death of wife Rachel (attributed to slanders of campaign) strangers crowded into Washington for inauguration, unrestrained enthusiasm A Strong Executive

accompanying mob scene signaled higher level of controversy in national politics stripped politics of gentlemanly aura of cooperation- relished controversy dominated administration- basically ignored heads of govt. depts. of cabinet (except MVB) consulted instead w/ “Kitchen Cabinet”- informal group, made up of MVB and western friends didn’t include Calhoun, Clay (never forgave for role in “corrupt bargain” of 1825), or Webster (rep of favorite political target- privileged elite) used social distance to separate himself from other politicians- defended Peggy Eaton (wife of sec. of war, flamboyant reputation, shunned by respectable ladies of Washington) b/c of slanders against his own wife, urged cabinet members to force wives to call on her when, to a woman, they refused, J called husbands henpecked- drove wedge between Jackson + Calhoun (wife was leader of anti-Eaton group) Eaton episode might not have happened if Jackson wasn’t a widower- Rachel would have sided w/ Mrs. Calhoun freely used tools of office to strengthen executive branch of govt. at expense of legislature/judiciary used veto more frequently than all previous presidents combined- forced congress to constantly consider his opinions “Negative activism” restricted fed. activity- sharp change of direction only possible b/c of Jackson’s vehement + popular leadership The Nation’s Leader Versus Sectional Spokesmen

genuinely national figure- interested in asserting strong national leadership, not sectional compromise Believed president (who symbolized the popular will of the people) ought to dominate the govt. faced congress full of strong + popular sectional figures (Calhoun, Webster, Clay) Calhoun: began career as nationalist + expansionist as war hawk before war of 1812; since debate over MO compromise 1820, wholeheartedly identified w/ southern interests (slavery); South’s minority position in congress = defense for s. economic interests/slavery more rigid Webster: outstanding orator, capable of pathos too, became main spokesman for northern commercial interests- supported high protective tariff, national bank, strong fed. govt.; fondness for comfortable living- less effective as grew older Clay: spokesman of West, charming, witty, eager to forge political compromises; speaker of house of reps 1811-1825 + several terms in senate; worked to incorporate western desires for cheap + good transportation into national politics; promoted American System, might well have forged alliance between n. and w. if not for Jackson 3’s prominence/popularity = sectional interests remained strong even under a president determined to override them + disrupt usual politics- impose own personal style The Nullification Crisis

Constitution left fed. structure ambiguous, all sectional disagreements automatically became constitutional issues- carried a threat to national unity protective tariff that placed duty on imported goods = political issue that came to symbolize divergent sectional interests of N and S tariff= key element of Clay’s American System

1st substantial tariff enacted 1816-> wealthy southern planters opposed tariff b/c duties raised cost of luxury goods imported from Europe, believed in principle of free trade, feared American tariffs would cause other countries to retaliate w/ tariffs against s. cotton as north industrialized, tariff bills 1824 + 1828 raised rates higher, protected more items southerners outvoted in congress by n. and w. reps who agreed on tariff 1828 “Tariff of Abominations” - target of southern anger, Jackson’s supporters in congress passed it in order to increase northern support for him in the pres. campaign that year esp. high on textiles + iron - 1/3-1/2 total value of products s. claimed tariff unconstitutional b/c violated rights of some of the states SC hit hardest by opening of new cotton lands in Old Southwest- drained pop + commerce from state Charleston: 1800-as important a seaport as NY and Boston; 1820s- eclipsed by all northern ports + Mobile and New Orleans (major ports for exporting cotton) SC had close ties w/ slave owners in Caribbean, shaken by news that B. Parliament planned to emancipate all slaves in B. west indies If congress had power to impose harmful tariffs, what prevents it from enacting legislation like B’s, depriving s. of slaves? Fears = renewed interest in doctrine of nullification-> upheld right of a slave to declare a fed. law null + void + to refuse to enforce it with in state Calhoun wrote widely circulated defense of doctrine- Exposition and Protest, 1828- written anonymously Jackson saw nullification as threat to national unity- Pres. + vp in open disagreement on a matter of crucial national importance Calhoun lost all influence w/ Jackson, resigned vp 2 yrs. later; presidential aspirations in ruins, became senator from SC; MVB elected to office for Jackson’s 2nd term Tariff of 1832 = SC held special convention- Ordinance of Nullification- rejected tariff and refused to collect the taxes required state issued a call for a volunteer militia + threatened to secede from Union if Jackson used force against it Jackson obtained from Congress a Force Bill- authorized the fed. govt. to collect the tariff at gunpoint if necessary- other states intimidated + refused to follow SC’s lead Jackson asked Congress to revise tariff, Clay (supported by Calhoun) crafted Tariff Act of 1833- SC accepted face-saving compromise + repealed nullification of tariff of 1832 legislature nullified Force Bill, but Jackson ignored its action nullification crisis = most serious threat to national unity the US ever experienced

Changing the Course of Government
Jackson’s agenda: remove Indians from vicinity of white pop, settlement beyond the Mississippi; stop abuses of fed govt. regarding internal improvements; oppose existing re-incorporation of national bank -> believed expressed popular will opposition he evoked revealed limits of pres. authority in age of dem. politics Indian Removal

5 civilized tribes remained after govt. had signed removal treaties w/ Indian nations after War of 1812 1830s- each had ceded most of lands, sizable self-governing groups still lived in GA, AL, MS, FL- - all moving toward coexistence w/ whites, resist suggestion to voluntarily remove themselves Cherokees: farms, businesses, grain/lumber mills, plantations w/ black slaves, intermarriage (whites and AAs) produced group of mixed-bloods w/in C nation-eager to accept white ways, almost totally literate in English-> most extensive steps to adopt white ways 1820s- GA, AL, MS legislatures voted to invalidate fed. treaties Fed. govt. (not states) = responsibility for Indian policy…actions constituted sectional challenge to fed. authority Resisting states had presidential support- Jackson determined fed. policy of whole-sale removal of southern Indian tribes 1830- Congress passed Indian Removal Act: appropriated funds for relocation, by force if necessary most moved, but Cherokees used law to fight removal- appeared to win at first Cherokee Nation v. Georgia (1831) and Worcester v. Georgia (1832)- John Marshall ruled they couldn’t be forced by state to give up land against will Jackson ignored decision, continued support for removal

Some Seminole bands mounted successful resistance war in FL everglades, others less fortunate Choctaws moved west 1830, Creeks forced by military 1836, Chickasaws 1837 last + most infamous removal- resisting Cherokees driven west to OK on “Trail of Tears”- - escorting 7,000 man army watched thousands die along the way Black Hawk war: 1832 Sauk + Fox Indians led by Black Hawk tried to move back into old tribal grounds in IL, settlers demanded military protection, fed troops chased them back to WI, 300 indians died + Black Hawk taken prisoner Jackson’s policy expressed opinion of most southerners + westerners, northerners strongly opposed- - female benevolent societies joined to organize 1st national female petition drive congress surprised, protest failed closely, Indian Removal Act passed House of Reps by only 3 votes out of 2000 policy showed unfairness of majority rule- minority not strong enough to force compromise Internal Improvements

Jackson’s veto of Maysville Road Bill 1830 = unexpected, refused to allow federal funding of southern spur of National Road in KY (said should be paid for by state) Argued fed. funding for extensive/expensive transportation measures unconstitutional, infringed on reserved powers constitution left to states since 1816- impossible to propose nationally funded transportation plan that satisfied everyone- Jackson ended debate by refusing federal funds for any of them country needed basic infrastructure of roads/canals/railroads to tie national economy together- private developers turned to individual states states spent more than fed govt. on internal improvement: $26 million in 1820s, $108 million next decade- states + towns competed against one another 1842- AK, FL, IL, IN, LA, MA, MI, MS, PA defaulted on transportation loans… OH, NY forced to suspend dividends to investors- financially chaotic/expensive situation Legal Support for Private Enterprise

series of decisions by fed courts encouraged commercial enterprise by limiting regulatory power of states by preventing states from interfering w/ interstate commerce, govt. assured entrepreneurs freedom + security to operate in risky new market Dartmouth College v. Woodward (1819)- Supreme court prevented states from interfering in contracts Gibbons v. Ogden (1824)- enjoined state of NY from giving monopoly over steamboat line to Robert Fulton(inventor of vessel) patenting encouraged technology but not at expense of competition Charles River Bridge v. Warren Bridge (1837)- supported economic opportunity by denying monopoly All 3 cases involved fed. reversal of decisions made at state level- supreme court weakened powers of state governments in ways that aided growth of private enterprise passage of laws concerning incorporation of business that grew too large for individual proprietorship, family ownership, or limited partnership protection investors wanted most was limited liability- assurance they would lose no more than what they had invested in a corporation if it was sued/went bankrupt The Bank War

Jackson rejected notion of coordinated economic planning by govt. 1816- congress granted 20 yr. charter to 2nd Bank of US
Bank = nation’s largest, 30 branches, performed variety of functions: held govts money ($10 million), sold govt. bonds, made commercial loans exercised control over state banks- demanded repayment of loans in hard currency-- forced state banks to maintain adequate reserves + restricted speculative activities, demanded only partial payment in coin in times of recession acted as a currency stabilizer by helping to control the money supply had many opponents- western farmers + urban workers remembered Panic of 1819 which bank caused by sharply cutting back on available credit many believed system based on paper currency would be manipulated by bankers in unpredictable/dangerous ways- Andrew Jackson held that opinion 1832- Jackson + Nicholas Biddle (director of Bank) locked in personal conflict- harmed national economy + reputations of both men Biddle (urged by Clay + Webster)- early application for rechartering Bank, approved by congress in 1832, Jackson immediately vetoed Jackson denounced bank as unconstitutional, harmful to states’ rights, dangerous to liberties of people- presented himself as spokesman for majority of ordinary people veto message: sharp division between social classes, aroused sectional and national feelings (allusions to British + eastern bank stockholders profiting from debts of poor southerners/westerners)-- most financial community appalled Jackson’s Reelection in 1832

Jackson defeated Henry Clay- painted by Dems as defender of bank and privilege, 49 electoral votes to 219 some votes went to 1st 3rd party in US history, Anti-Masonic Party- expressed resentments that some new voters felt against traditional political elite by targeting secrecy of 1 fraternal group (Masonic Order- many politicians belonged) 1st to hold national nominating convention (quickly adopted by other parties) Bank war continued- Jackson killed bank by transferring its $10 million in govt. deposits to favored state banks… objected by cabinet members and senate nothing congress could do to prevent Jackson from acting on his expansive interpretation of presidential powers short of impeachment refusal to renew charter of 2nd Bank of US- end of Clay’s American System, inaugurated economic policy of laissez faire (decision-making rests w/ commercial interests, not govt.)-American 2 party system emerged Whigs, Van Buren, and the Election of 1836

Biddle counteracted deposit withdrawal by calling in bank’s commercial loans- panic + recession merchants, businessmen, southern planters all furious at Jackson opponents coalesced into formal opposition party called Whigs- resist tyrannical “king Andrew”- overcame sectional differences to unite in opposition Whigs ran 4 sectional candidates in election of 1836- hoped combined votes would deny Van Buren a majority + force election into House of Reps- failed by slight margin, MVB won near success shoed the basis for united national opposition did exist The Panic of 1837

many new state banks were chartered that were eager to give loans, price of cotton rose, speculation in western lands was feverish (“flush times”) inflation made worse by govt. surplus of $37 million distributed to states in 1836 Specie Circular- (1836) govt. would only accept payment for public lands in hard currency foreign investors (British) called in American loans- sharp contraction of credit led to Panic of 1837 + 6 yr. recession 1837- 800 banks suspended business, refusing to pay out any of $150 million in deposits- collapse of banking system = business closures + failures nationwide- unemployment rate = > 10%

NYC: 1/3 manual laborers unemployed, 10,000 living in poverty- 4-5 thousand protesters gathered at City Hall 2/10/1838- marched to warehouse of Eli Hart- took possession of thousands of barrels of flour, couldn’t be controlled by policemen + militia economy didn’t show signs of recovery until 1843

1837/1819- govt. didn’t take any action to aid victims of economic recession, didn’t undertake public works projects/pump money into economy Soup kitchens/charities mobilized in major cities only by volunteer groups, not local/state govt. government intervention considered unwarranted- people realized participation in American economy was very dangerous MVB could find no remedies to depression- gave Whigs opportunity

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