Jackson as a President: Yesterday and Today

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Jackson as a President: Yesterday and Today The Andrew Jackson Administration, from 1829 to 1837, was very important in American history. A self-made man, Jackson exemplified republican virtues by restraining a centralized government and promoting the powers of the people. His administration left a lasting impact on American politics. With his extreme usage of the presidential veto, Jackson strengthened the executive branch and rendered it equal in power to the legislative branch. These Jacksonian ideals of decentralized government can still be seen in politics to this day. Jackson was the first American president to have come from the frontier society of the American West. He was a "one-generation aristocrat" (Hoftstedder, 58) whose ambitions were to be wealthy and receive military glory rather than have political power (although military glory is a good way to gain popular support and political power). Jackson gained 'national hero' status after his military victory at the Battle of New Orleans. This victory, along with wounds from his participation in the Revolutionary War, gave him the popular support he needed for a strong presidency. Although Jackson lost in his first attempt at the Presidency, he quickly learned from his mistakes and won the election of 1828 by 95 electoral votes (Norton, 359). During his administration Jackson was faced with many key issues, of which the Nullification crisis is an example. This was a crisis over the doctrine of nullification, which was being strongly pushed by South Carolina. According to this doctrine, the state had the right to nullify government legislature that was inconsistent with its own. This doctrine was not used until 1832 when a new tariff was imposed that would reduce some duties but retain high taxes on many imports. The south felt this tariff would make them pay for northern industrialism, and they did not want to succumb to the will of the North. Jackson was against this theory of Nullification because he was a strong supporter of the Union. He took action against this by publicly 'nullifying nullification' and by moving troops into South Carolina to help the federal marshals collect the unpaid duties. Finally a compromise tariff was passed in 1833 which increased the number of duty free items and reduced other duties. Jackson's decisive actions in the Nullification crisis helped define the powers of the central government more clearly, they made it clear to the states that he would not suffer their tyranny, which might break up the Republic, just as the States would not tolerate a tyrannical central government.

In this essay, the author

  • Explains that jackson's actions in the nullification crisis helped define the powers of the central government more clearly.
  • Analyzes how jackson showed his distaste for the rich and powerful by vetoing the recharter of the second bank.
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