On March 4th, 1829, Andrew Jackson took the oath of office and became the seventh president of the United States. Born to humble roots in 1767 somewhere in the Carolina’s, he went on to become both an outstanding military commander and a polarizing statesman. Jackson’s military career included victories over the Creek Indians in the Battle of Horseshoe Bend, the British in the battle of New Orleans, and the Spanish in Florida. His victories in Florida directly lead to the acquisition of Florida as a state. Jackson’s greatest impacts, however, did not occur on the battlefield. Jackson revolutionized the presidency by introducing the spoils system and taking full advantage of the veto. Jackson was so domineering that a new political party, the Whig party, was formed in opposition to him.
When Jackson entered into the presidency in 1829 a whole new wave of Jackson supporters entered into prominent government positions. These supporters were cashing in on the spoils system. The system gained its popular name in 1832 when “In defending one of President Andrew Jackson’s appointments, Marcy [Williams] said, “To the victor belong the spoils,” (Britannica). Throughout his campaign Jackson had promised government positions to many of his supporters and delivered those positions upon his ascending to the presidency. This promise of positions in exchange for support in the election is somewhat ironic as he campaigned against the “corrupt bargain” between John Quincy Adams and Henry Clay. Previously, when Jackson lost the 1824 election to Adams in the House of Representatives, Clay and Adams had struck a bargain where Adams won and Clay became the Secretary of State. During his eight-year tenure, “one fifth of officeholders were replaced,” (...
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American Politics changed significantly as a result of Jackson’s presidency. As a result of his following though on campaign promises, the spoils system was established. Because of this and his other actions as president, a new political party, the Whigs, was established in direct opposition to him. His unprecedented use of the veto established the president’s legislative authority in a way, which was in contrast with his predecessors. His main fault ended up being his Indian policies. These led to largely unnecessary death and violence, which may have been avoided otherwise. His policies started the downward spiral of dealings with Native Americans lasting much of the 19th century. Nevertheless, Jackson is, and will always be, remembered as a president who wielded his executive power with enough authority that men called him a king.
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