Andrew Jackson

Andrew Jackson

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Like any hall of fame, its inductees are the best in whatever

they do, from baseball or football to something like being

President. If you are a member of any hall of fame (including

the one for the Presidents), it means that you have done

something special or have a certain quality about yourself

that makes you worthy to be in a hall of fame. My nominee

for the Presidents hall of Fame is our seventh President of

the United States, Andrew Jackson. I'll go over his

presidency, focusing on both the highs and the lows of his

two terms in office, from 1829-1837. The issues that I'll

focus on are states' rights, nullification, the tariff, the spoils

system, Indian removal and banking policies; these

controversies brought forth strong rivalry over his years of

president. He was known for his iron will and fiery

personality, and strong use of the powers of his office that

made his years of presidency to be known as the "Age of

Jackson." Andrew Jackson was born on March 15, 1767, in

a settlement on the border of North and South Carolina. He

was orphaned at age 14. After studying law and becoming a

member of the Bar in North Carolina later he moved to

Nashville Tennessee. Their he became a member of a

powerful political faction led by William Blount. He was

married in 1791 to Rachel Donelson Robards, and later

remarried to him due to a legal mistake in her prior divorce

in 1794. Jackson served as delegate to Tenn. in the 1796

Constitutional convention and a congressman for a year

(from 1796-97). He was elected senator in 1797, but

financial problems forced him to resign and return to

Tennessee in less than a year. Later he served as a

Tennessee superior court judge for six years starting in

1798. In 1804 he retired from the bench and moved to

Nashville and devoted time to business ventures and his

plantation. At this time his political career looked over. In

1814 Jackson was a Major General in the Tennessee Militia,

here he was ordered to march against the Creek Indians

(who were pro-British in the war of 1812). His goal was

achieved at Horseshoe Bend in March of 1814. Eventually

he forced All Indians from the area. His victory's impressed

some people in Washington and Jackson was put in

command of the defense of New Orleans. This show of

American strength made Americans feel proud after a war

filled with military defeats. Jackson was given the nickname

"Old Hickory", and was treated as a national hero. In 1817

he was ordered against the Seminole Indians.

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He pushed

them back into Spanish Florida and executed two British

subjects. Jackson instead that his actions were with approval

of the Monroe administration. His actions helped to acquire

the Florida territory, and he became a provisional governor

of Florida that same year. In 1822 the Tennessee Legislature

nominated him for president and the following year he was

elected the U.S. senate. He also nearly won the presidential

campaign of 1824 however as a result of the "corrupt

bargain" with Henry Clay. Over the next four years the

current administration built a strong political machine with

nationalistic policies and a lack of concern of states rights. In

1828 through a campaign filled with mud slinging on both

sides, Andrew Jackson became the seventh President to the

United States. Instead of the normal cabinet made up by the

president, he relied more on an informal group of newspaper

writers and northern politicians who had worked for his

election. I believe that this made him more in contact with the

people of the United States, more in contact with the public

opinion and feelings toward national issues President

Jackson developed the system of "rotation in office." This

was used to protect the American people from a

development of a long-standing political group by removing

long-term office holders. His enemies accused him of

corruption of civil service for political reasons. However, I

think that it was used to insure loyalty of the people in his

administration. States rights played an important part in

Jackson's policy's as president. In the case of the Cherokee

Indians vs. The State of Georgia, two Supreme Court

decisions in 1831 and 1832 upholding the rights of the

Cherokee nation over the State of Georgia who had wanted

to destroy Cherokee jurisdiction on it's land because gold

had been found on it, and the state seeing the Indians as

tenants on state land decided to "kick them out". Chief

Justice John Marshall ruled that Georgia had no jurisdiction

to interfere with the rights of the Cherokee and removal of

them would violate treaties between them and the U.S.

Government. However, Jackson, not liking these decisions

was reported of saying "John Marshall has made his

decision, now let him enforce it." It seems to me like a slap in

Justice Marshall's face, that Jackson was and always will be

an Indian fighter. I think he just liked pushing around the

Indians because he new that whatever resistance they had

was no match for the U.S. army. To emphasize his point, in

1838 (one year after Jackson left office), a unite of federal

troops rounded up the 15,000 Cherokee who resisted

relocation and remained in Georgia and during the cold and

rain of winter forced them to march to their lands in the west,

this was known as the "Trail of Tears" since about 25% of

the people died in route of either disease, starvation, and

exposure to the cold. Even though Jackson wasn't in office

at the time and is not a part of his presidency, his effluence

still existed through his predecessor, Martin Van Burin. The

question of the tariff was a major controversy in the United

States around the years of his Presidency and his strong

support for a unified nation oven states rights would hold the

country together in this national crisis. Jackson had promised

the south a reduction in duties to levels established in 1828,

which were acceptable to southerners as opposed to the

higher rates since then. In 1832 his administration only sliced

away a little bit of the duties, not close to what the south

expected he would do. In retaliation of this insulting lack of

concern of the South's voice in government, South Carolina

acting on the doctrine of Nullification which stated that the

union was made up of the states and that the states had the

right to null or void a law if they didn't agree with it, declared

the federal tariff laws of 1828 and 1832 invalid and

prohibited collection of tariff's after February first of 1833.

Jackson's response to this came on his Nullification

Proclamation on December 10, 1832. He declared his intent

to enforce the law and was willing to seek and agreement in

a lowering of tariff's. In 1833 congress passed a

compromise bill which set a new tariff, when the other

southern states accepted the new tariff the threat of S.

Carolina breaking away form the union was brought to a

"happy" end. The Second Bank of the United States was not

made into an issue of his election in 1828 by Jackson.

However he decided the bank, which is not a government

bank, but chartered by it in 1826, had failed to provide a

stable currency, and had favored the Northern states, and

few loans were granted to the southern and western areas

because they were a larger risk and the bank didn't see it in

it's interest to make such a gamble with it's money. And in

his mind the bank was in violation on the Constitution. Even

though the bank's charter wasn't due to expire until 1836,

Jackson's political enemies pushed a bill through congress

granting the banks re-charter, Jackson vetoed the bill. The

"Bank" issue was a major item in his re-election in 1832. In

his second term Jackson decided to remove federal deposits

from the bank into "pet banks" which virtually took away the

power Nicholas Biddle's power as president of the Second

National Bank, which left him and anti-Jackson people very

upset with what they called the abuse of his powers. The

increase in loans from the state chartered caused a land

boom and gave the federal government a surplus (which it

split up amongst the states), the increase in loans brought on

the use of paper currency that was issued by the state banks,

Jackson prohibited the use of paper money to by federal

land or pay federal debts. This demand for coins called

specie led to many bank failures in the Panic of 1837. I don't

think he knew what he got himself into when he did this, and

could of handled the situation a little better, but not all the

blame should fall on his shoulders, because it wasn't his fault

the private state-chartered banks issued the paper money

when they didn't have the specie to back it up. Jackson's

foreign policy showed a strong interest in making the French

to pay long-overdue spoliation claims and reopening the

British West Indian Trade. Even thought he personally

agreed with the rebellion of Texas against Mexico. He didn't

recognize the Lone Star republic until the day before he left

office in 1837, and left the problem of Texas annexation to

Martin Van Buren. Even though Jackson switched support

form his successor Martin Van Buren to James K. Polk

(probably due to Van Burins failed economic policy).

Jackson was a powerful voice in the Democratic party even

after retired. He died on June 8, 1845 on his plantation, the

Hermitage, in Nashville Tennessee. Andrew Jackson was

the first "peoples president." This comes from his youth in a

frontier territory and his "people qualities" which helped him

to be more touch with the people of the United States, and

therefore the people of the United States took a more active

role in the Government. He even went so far as to call

himself the elected representative of all American people. I

think that Jackson's strengthening of the powers of the

presidency are the biggest influence to this day. He used the

power of the veto 12 times (more times than all of his

successors combined). And his use of the powers of

removal and of executive orders made a standard for a

modern American Presidency. I only wish that their was a

candidate like that running for election in '96. The closest to

someone like Jackson would of probably been Colin Powel,

unfortunately he decided not to run. When you gave this

project, I though Jackson was a mean tempered Indian

fighter who found his way to office because he took over

Florida and defended New Orleans Successfully. But I grew

to learn that he was really a great president and did a lot for

the presidency of the United States of America. The

Nomination ofAndrew Jackson to the "Presidents Hall of

Fame" By: Brian Weber Dedember 8, 1995
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