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President Andrew Jackson Essay, Research Paper

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. 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.


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