Andrew Jackson greatly revolutionized the role and power of the presidency by uniting the executive branch, altering the perceived face of the President, introducing personal power into the office, and controlled the presidency for a third of a century. Before him, the executive branch was a group divided, unsure of their function and their superiors. Before him, the President was identified with Congress, merely another part of the buearocracy. Before him, the office of President fulfilled only that which was specifically stated in the Constitution to be their duty. Before him, every four years there was a true battle for the fate of the highest government office in America.
Andrew Jackson was born on 1767, in a log cabin. This later became a subject of pride for Americans who voted for him. He was orphaned at 14, his poor Scottish-Irish parents killed. He was a self-made man, becoming rich through farming and practicing law. In spite of his humble beginnings, he never was a champion for the common man, although people thought he was. It is necessary to know these things; that Jackson struggled against adversity from the beginning of his life, to understand “Old Hickory” and what effect he had on the presidency’s role.
Prior to “Old Hickory”, the Secretary of the Treasury was an ambiguous office. Those who filled it were never sure just who exactly was their superior, the President or Congress. Most chose Congress, and so the Secretary of the Treasury became a spy for Congress in the President’s Cabinet. Andrew Jackson didn’t cotton to this divided group; he told one of his Secretaries of the Treasury plainly that he was merely “a subordinate” of the President. This resolution of a problem t...
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...President that it left a great deal of room for change. It only spelled out elections, his power over the Armed Forces, and things like the power to make treaties. The majority of the President’s powers were left open.
One could also claim that Jackson himself didn’t change the Presidency; that he was merely the figure head for a nationwide movement. But if this was so, then why was his presidency so different from the President directly before him? As I have said, he vetoed more than all of the other Presidents before him combined. No, Andrew Jackson was the driving force for Andrew Jackson.
Andrew Jackson, a man whose own peculiar blend of temper and truth guided his country for a time that shadows almost any other figure in American history. Andrew Jackson, a man who carved a path through precedent for beliefs. Andrew Jackson. More than man: legend.
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