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Liberty and Power in the Age of Jackson

Page history last edited by Mr. Hengsterman 1 year, 2 months ago


Liberty and Power: Politics in the Age of Jackson [1828-1836]

Understanding Andrew Jackson, requires an ability to resist either vilification or veneration,

to see the man whole – his failings as well as his successes. 


Vindicating Jackson Review


Developments at the grassroots level prepared the way for democratic  changes at the federal level after Jackson took office.  

There was a widespread belief in the principle of equality (for the white male majority) – or more precisely, equality of opportunity during the “Age of Jackson”




The Battles of President Andrew Jackson



“Debates still swirl around the period’s central figure, Andrew Jackson, who rose to fame in 1815 in the Battle of New Orleans and later served two terms as President, aggressively defending average Americans against moneyed institutions.


Was Jackson good or bad for America? 


A savoir of the people or a reckless autocrat?


Democracy’s champion or lawbreaking white supremacist?


Jackson had many deep flaws, but there was also much to admire about him, including the strengthening of presidential power essential for maintaining the American union in a time of escalating sectional crises.


His shortcomings reflected the era, as did those of other great leaders from Jefferson to Lincoln. But understanding Jackson, perhaps more that most leading Americans of his time, requires an ability to resist either vilification or veneration, to see the man whole – his failings as well as his successes






Battle #1  
Vice-President  John C. Calhoun and the Tariff issue





Tariff Details 


REVIEW Calhoun’s Tariff of 1816 The South believed that the development of a home market would help the U.S. economy which would benefit everyone…the protection – especially in the textile industry – led to the beginning of the factory system. This was made possible thanks to two developments:


#1 system of interchangeable parts – Eli Whitney


#2 system of all the work done in one building was developed by Lowell









Tariff of 1828


Tariff of Abominations raised the tariff on imported manufactured goods to 45%. The tariff protected the North but harmed the South;


South said that the tariff was economically discriminatory and unconstitutional because it violated state's rights. It passed because New England favored high tariffs.   REVIEW STATES RIGHTS



John Calhoun and Nullifaction

Vice-President Calhoun anonymously published the essay South Carolina Exposition  (Nullification)


Calhoun proposed that each state in the union counter the tyranny of the majority by asserting the right to nullify an unconstitutional act of Congress. It was written in reaction to the Tariff of 1828, which he said placed the Union in danger and stripped the South of its rights. South Carolina had threatened to secede if the tariff was not revoked; Calhoun suggested state nullification as a more peaceful solution.



The Force Bill of 1833 (Checks and Balances)


Executive Action: The Force Bill authorized President Jackson to use the army and navy to collect duties on the Tariffs of 1828 and 1832.


State's Reaction: South Carolina's ordinance of nullification had declared these tariffs null and void, and South Carolina would not collect duties on them. The Force Act was never invoked because it was passed by Congress the same day as the Compromise Tariff of 1833, so it became unnecessary. South Carolina also nullified the Force Act.   






The Election of 1832


Jackson will be re-elected – he will defeat Henry Clay 
and what was left of the Republicans




Andrew Jackson (Democrat) ran for re-election with V.P. Martin Van Buren. The main issue was his veto of the re-charter of the U.S. Bank, which he said was a monopoly. Henry Clay (Whig), who was pro-Bank, ran against him


The Anti-Masonic Party nominated William Wirt. This was the first election with a national nominating convention. Jackson won - 219 to Clay's 49 and Wirt's


The Masons were a semi-secret society devoted to libertarian principles to which most educated or upper-class men of the Revolutionary War era belonged. The Anti-Masons sprang up as a reaction to the perceived elitism of the Masons, and the new party took votes from the Whigs, helping Jackson to win the election.







Battle #2 
The Bank of the United States 
(start video at 2:51 for Bank Issue)


Nicholas Biddle 


Nicholas Biddle  was an American financier who served as the third and last president of the Second Bank of the United States (chartered 1816–1836


Jackson used his veto power extensively. He vetoed more bills in his term of office than all the previous presidents put together. Jackson was also the first to use the pocket veto, a delaying tactic in which the President does not sign a bill within ten days of the end of the Congressional term, preventing it from becoming law. 

Jackson's Bank  Veto message:  1832 - Jackson, in his veto message of the re-charter of the Second Bank of the U.S., said that the bank was a monopoly that catered to the rich, and that it was owned by the wealthy and by foreigners.




Pet banks (or "Wildcat" banks)  is a derogatory term for state banks selected by the U.S. Department of Treasury to receive surplus Treasury funds in 1833. They were chosen among the big U.S. bank when President Andrew Jackson vetoed the recharter for the Second Bank of the United States, proposed by Henry Clay four years before the recharter was due. Clay intended to use the rechartering of the bank as a topic in the upcoming election of 1832


Other Notable Economic Policy promoted by Andrew Jackson 


The Specie Circular is a United States presidential executive order issued by President Andrew Jackson in 1836 pursuant to the Coinage Act and carried out by his successor, President Martin Van Buren. It required payment for government land to be in gold and silver.''





Battle #3 
Native Americans



Cherokee Nation v. Georgia: 1831 - The Supreme Court ruled that Indians weren't independent nations but dependent domestic nations which could be regulated by the federal government.


Chief John Ross - Principal Chief of the Cherokee Nation from 1828–1866


Worchester v. Georgia, 1832 - The Supreme Court decided Georgia had no jurisdiction over Cherokee reservations. Georgia refused to enforce decision and President Jackson didn't support the Court. “  John Marshall has made his decision, now let him enforce it.”    By 1836 – Bureau of Indian Affairs had been established under the Dept. of War




Cherokee Indian removal, "Trail of Tears" A minority of the Cherokee tribe, despite the protest of the majority, had surrendered their Georgia land in the 1835 Treaty of New Echota. During the winter of 1838 - 1839, troops under General Winfield Scott evicted them from their homes in Georgia and moved them to Oklahoma Indian country. Many died on the trail; the journey became known as the "Trail of Tears".


G (Greed - we want their land!)  


P (Paternalism - Tribes as domestioc dependents)

S (Security - Tribes as a potential internal threat)












The removal included many members of the Cherokee, Muscogee (Creek), Seminole, Chickasaw, and Choctaw nations, among others in the United States, from their homelands to Indian Territory (eastern sections of the present-day state of Oklahoma). The phrase originated from a description of the removal of the Choctaw Nation in 1831.[ Many Native Americans suffered from exposure, disease and starvation en route to their destinations. Many died, including 4,000 of the 15,000 relocated Cherokee.




Andrew Jackson's Presidency in 3 minutes 



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