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The Jackson Cabinet

The Jackson Cabinet


Petticoat affair

The Petticoat Affair (also known as the Eaton Affair) was a political scandal involving members of President Andrew Jackson's Cabinet and their wives, from 1829 to 1831. Led by Floride Calhoun, wife of Vice President John C. Calhoun, these women, dubbed the "Petticoats", socially ostracized Secretary of War John Eaton and his wife, Peggy Eaton, over disapproval of the circumstances surrounding the Eatons' marriage and what they deemed her failure to meet the "moral standards of a Cabinet Wife".

The Petticoat Affair rattled the entire Jackson Administration and eventually led to the resignation of all but one Cabinet member. The ordeal facilitated Martin Van Buren's rise to the presidency and was in part responsible for Vice President Calhoun's transformation from a nationwide political figure with presidential aspirations into a sectional leader of the southern states.


Andrew Jackson 1767-1845 A brief biography

Some believed (and some still believe) Timberlake had killed herself over his wife's infidelity. She was said to have been Eaton's mistress, and in some versions to have carried on affairs with many men, or to have borne children by Eaton. The truth of the matter may never be known.

Washington was quite a small society with elaborate social rituals of one party "calling on" another, and it being a clear insult not to reciprocate. Mrs. Eaton was socially boycotted, with Mrs. Calhoun playing the leading role. Was this a simple matter of aristocratic ladies resenting an "innkeeper's daughter", and perhaps a "loose woman" being put down in the middle of their society?

Calhoun plead the principal that women governed such social matters and he could not, as a gentleman, intervene. This is accepted by Calhoun's biographer, Margaret L. Coit, but doubted by the Jackson scholar Remini. Why would Calhoun have sought to drive Eaton out of the cabinet?

Calhoun had actively sought the presidency since 1820, and looked to have a controlling influence in Jackson's cabinet. The Age of Jackson (Arthur M. Schlesinger 1945) says that except for Van Buren and the "negligible" Postmaster General, Eaton was the only cabinet member not for Calhoun in '32. So, the thesis goes, Calhoun attacked Eaton in his weak spot.

Why should any good have come out of this for Calhoun? With his years in the Senate and 12 years in presidential administrations, he may have seen Jackson - the political newcomer as a man to be easily manipulated. It was Calhoun who had established the Democratic party organ, which wrote matter-of-factly of Calhoun succeeding Jackson in '32.

Calhoun may have felt some superiority too, over keeping Jackson in the dark for 10 years as to his role in the uproar over Jackson's actions in Florida, while seeing Jackson maintain an undignified enmity towards others over the old affair. He may have believed the struggle was between him and Van Buren over the "management" of Jackson.

The way in which this all worked out has given rise to another popular theory, which is that Van Buren was the master manipulator behind it all. Van Buren had no wife who would have to chose sides in the war over who to admit in "society". So he could and did give dinners and parties to which Mrs. Eaton was invited. A couple of unmarried foreign ambassadors did likewise, through the Secretary of State's friendly persuasion. This all put the New Yorker in good stead with the president.

Jackson was quite incensed over the slandering of another innocent female, as he saw it, much as his wife had been slandered and driven to her grave (even Jackson's mother was called a "common prostitute" in the campaign).

The onetime frontier brawler and Indian fighter Jackson, and the smooth operating New Yorker Van Buren, were growing very close. They understood each other. It took little time for Van Buren to see Jackson's political ability and excellent judgment in most matters. He did not dream of "managing" Jackson, or soon abandoned the idea.

Parallel with all this, went the beginnings of confrontation with the South Carolina Nullifiers, and the open break with Calhoun, arising from the Florida business.

The Exposition and Protest, of which Calhoun was the secret author, was delivered to the Senate by South Carolina's senators Robert Y. Hayne and William Smith, and their names were thus included in the preamble of the document.

In January 1829, a famous debate took place in the Senate between Hayne and Daniel Webster. Webster's Second Reply to Hayne was for decades the most celebrated speech in American history, used by schoolboys for practice in declamation.

Webster's "First Reply" maneuvered Hayne into a full-blown defense of the nullification doctrine, and his second reply was a massive rebuttal of it, ending with the melodramatic "I have not coolly weighed the chances of preserving liberty when the bonds that unite us together shall be broken asunder . (nor) to hang over the precipice of disunion to see whether . I can fathom the depth of the abyss below . When my eyes shall be turned to behold for the last time the sun in heaven, may I not see him shining on the broken and dishonored fragments of a once glorious Union on States dissevered, discordant, belligerent on a land rent with civil feuds, or drenched, it may be, in fraternal blood."

In other words, he drew the conclusion, as many did, that nullification meant ultimate disunion and/or civil war. Certainly the land was to be drenched one day with "fraternal blood".

On April 13, 1830, Jackson cleared up any doubts as to where he stood. This was at an annual celebration of Jefferson's birthday given by those who considered themselves his political heirs. Those with states rights, nullification, and anti-tariff sentiments planned to make it a rally for their beliefs. Jackson, attended and, after listening to many toasts by the nullifiers, rose and proclaimed: "Our Union: It must be preserved".

Calhoun made clear their differences with: "The Union, Next to our liberty, the most dear. May we always remember that it can only be preserved by respecting the rights of the states and distributing equally the benefits and burdens of the Union."

The nullification agitation continued in South Carolina, though without any landmark events for the next two years, until Congress passed a new tariff act, signed by Jackson on July 14, 1832.

Meanwhile, the differences between Jackson and Calhoun took on a more personal (or seemingly personal) note. As said before, Calhoun, in Monroe's cabinet, strongly opposed Jackson's seizure of Florida from the Spanish. Furthermore, Jackson assumed at the time Calhoun, the Secretary of War, had supported him, and Calhoun had let the impression stand whether he said anything to promote it or not.

On May 12, 1830, soon after the Jefferson Dinner confrontation, William Crawford, whom Jackson largely blamed for his censure over Florida, got papers into the hand of Jackson that proved Calhoun had proposed Jackson's arrest and punishment over the Florida affair.

Jackson was determined by this time that the nullifier Calhoun should not succeed him, and this, which probably only confirmed Jackson's suspicions on the Florida affair, provided a means to way to challenge Calhoun.

Jackson sent the Florida correspondence to Calhoun with a note harshly demanding an explanation.

Calhoun responded in a 52 page letter which began "I cannot recognize the right on your part to call into question my behavior". He implied Jackson was being manipulated by others against Calhoun, as if Jackson were politically naive. The letter heavily implied that Calhoun would soon reveal to the public a conspiracy against him headed no doubt by Van Buren.

The Telegraph, long regarded as the administration's voice, had become a liability, being more loyal to Calhoun than to Jackson. It had even given the impression of Jackson as agreeable with the nullifiers.

So, by December 1830, Jackson, with the aid of his "kitchen cabinet" of private advisors, imported Francis P. Blair from Kentucky to launch The Globe, a purely Jackson newspaper.

On February 17, Calhoun took the self-destructive step of publishing via the Telegraph his recent correspondence with Jackson, with text that implied that it was part of a plot against him headed by Van Buren. It brought out into the open all the embarrassing feuds that had been going on in the cabinet, putting the administration up to ridicule.

On February 21, the new Globe labeled Calhoun's diatribe "a firebrand wantonly thrown into the [Democratic] party". It greatly lowered, rather than raising, Calhoun's public esteem, and Jackson concluded "[Green and Calhoun] have cut their own throats and destroyed themselves in a shorter space of time than any two men I ever know".

With Calhoun self mutilated, Van Buren could afford to be out of the public eye. Indeed it was the only thing for him, as much of the public would otherwise see him, in his Secretary of State position, as the triumphant manipulator - just as Calhoun claimed, and the party would be split between Anti Calhoun and anti Van Buren wings.

Van Buren had been accompanying Jackson on his daily exercise rides (after first taking riding lessons). On such a ride, Van Buren says he suggested to Jackson the way out of his dilemma. Van Buren would resign, and the rest of the cabinet would be pressured to follow suit.

Jackson would be freed from the "Eaton Malaria", as some called the affair, yet give no satisfaction to the Calhoun allies, who would also have to leave. Nor would it look like a triumph of a Van Buren faction, which Congress would have rejected, but a neutral dissolution of an incompatible team.

The embarrassing Mr. Eaton, the troublesome Calhoun allies in the cabinet, and the perceived "magician" left the cabinet together.

The resignations took place in April 1831, followed by an ugly brawl in the Washington newspapers, which would have been worse were it not during Congress' adjournment. Ingham and Branch, two ousted Calhoun allies, labeled it all a plot by "the Magician", and broadcast to the world all the charges of promiscuity against Peggy Eaton. Eaton counterattacked and defended his wife's (and his own) honor. He also, after demanding and not getting "explanations" from Ingham, challenged him to a duel and, not given this "satisfaction" from Ingham, threatened and harassed Ingham until he left town.

Nothing like this decimation of a president's cabinet had happened before, and it was seen as a constitutional crisis. By weathering it Jackson set the precedent that a president could exercise such control over members of his cabinet. There was a sense for a while that the Jackson administration was destroyed, but it passed.

Jackson had his new cabinet in place (though unratified) when congress reconvened. The next year and a half were the most eventful of his eight years in power.


Reelection in 1832

In the meantime, Jackson acquiesced to the pressure of friends and sought a second term. As the election of 1832 approached, Jackson’s opponents hoped to embarrass him by posing a new dilemma. The charter of the Bank of the United States was due to expire in 1836. The president had not clearly defined his position on the bank, but he was increasingly uneasy about how it was then organized. More significant in an election year was the fact that large blocs of voters who favoured Jackson were openly hostile to the bank. In the summer of 1832, Jackson’s opponents rushed through Congress a bill to recharter the bank, thus forcing Jackson either to sign the measure and alienate many of his supporters or to veto it and appear to be a foe of sound banking. Jackson’s cabinet was divided between friends and critics of the bank, but the obviously political motives of the recharter bill reconciled all of them to the necessity of a veto. The question before Jackson actually was whether the veto message should leave the door open to future compromise.

Few presidential vetoes have caused as much controversy in their own time or later as the one Jackson sent to Congress on July 10, 1832. The veto of the bill to recharter the bank was the prelude to a conflict over financial policy that continued through Jackson’s second term, which he nevertheless won easily. Efforts to persuade Congress to enact legislation limiting the circulation of bank notes failed, but there was one critical point at which Jackson was free to apply his theories. Nearly all purchasers of public lands paid with bank notes, many of which had to be discounted because of doubts as to the continuing solvency of the banks that issued them. Partly to protect federal revenues against loss and partly to advance his concept of a sound currency, Jackson issued the Specie Circular in July 1836, requiring payment in gold or silver for all public lands. This measure created a demand for specie that many of the banks could not meet banks began to fail, and the effect of bank failures in the West spread to the East. By the spring of 1837 the entire country was gripped by a financial panic. The panic did not come, however, until after Jackson had had the pleasure of seeing Van Buren inaugurated as president on March 4, 1837.

During Jackson’s time, the President’s House underwent noteworthy alterations. The North Portico, which had long been advocated by James Hoban, its architect, was added to the mansion. The appropriation that Jackson obtained for this work included a sum for refurbishing the interior of the building, and the public rooms were refitted on a grand scale. A system of iron pipes was also installed in order to convey water from a well to a small reservoir on the grounds from which it could be pumped to various parts of the building. For the first time, the occupants’ needs for water could be met without relying on the time-honoured system of filling pails and carrying them where required.

Jackson retired to his home, the Hermitage. For decades in poor health, he was virtually an invalid during the remaining eight years of his life, but he continued to have a lively interest in public affairs.


Blair House - The President's Guest House

When President Andrew Jackson took office in 1829, his official Cabinet was fractured by factional disputes, largely resulting from the fierce rivalry between Vice President John C. Calhoun and Secretary of State Martin Van Buren. The infighting was so pronounced that the Cabinet became virtually ineffectual, and Jackson stopped holding Cabinet meetings. He turned instead to an unofficial group of trusted friends and advisors, mocked in the rival press as the &ldquoKitchen Cabinet.&rdquo Francis Preston Blair was a valued member.

The Kitchen Cabinet played an important role in the Jackson administration until 1831. That year, controversy within the official Cabinet provoked the resignation of Van Buren and Secretary of War John Eaton, which allowed Jackson to request the resignations of all of the remaining members. The Kitchen Cabinet gradually declined with the success of his next official Cabinet, but Jackson&rsquos bond with Blair remained strong to the President&rsquos death in 1842.


Jacksonian Era

Jacksonian Era: 1829 - 1841
The articles in this section on United States History for Kids relate to the dates covered from 1829 - 1841: Jacksonian Era. The period saw the Bank Wars and the establishment of the Pet Banks. Andrew Jackson, the Democratic 'man of the people' ignored the politicians and took advice from his 'Kitchen Cabinet'. He backed movement to the frontiers but the Native Indians suffered as a result especially when the 1830 Indian Removal Act passed which led to forced relocation via the infamous Trail of Tears.

The clash between the Northern and Southern states dominated the nation. Runaway slaves received help from Abolitionist Movement and the "Underground Railroad". The Telegraph system spread across the country enabling instant communication between the East and the West. The leaders of the country who were elected president during the Jacksonian Era were Andrew Jackson and Martin Van Buren who had supported Jackson during his presidency.

Jacksonian Era: United States History from 1829 - 1841
Find interesting facts, history and important information about United States History from 1829 - 1841 in the Jacksonian Era with a short summary and definition followed by detailed info about each of these important historical events.

President Andrew Jackson and the Jacksonian Era: United States History from 1829 - 1841
Important events in United States History during the presidency of Andrew Jackson includes the Kitchen Cabinet, Nat Turner's Rebellion, The "Underground Railroad", The Spoils System, The McCormick reaper, 1830 Indian Removal Act, The Texas Revolution and the Battle of the Alamo - United States History for Kids:

Jacksonian Era: United States History from 1829 - 1841
Andrew Jackson Presidency (1829-1833) & (1833-1837)

President Andrew Jackson: Facts, biography, accomplishments and biography of the life of Andrew Jackson and summaries of important events during his presidency.

1830 Indian Removal Act : The start of the forced removal of Native American Indians fro their lands

Tariff of 1832 : P rotective tariff to ease the conflict created by the 1828 tax referred to as the Tariff of Abominations.

Force Bill : Against the South Carolina legislature who had declared the Tariffs of 1828 and 1832 null and void within the state borders of South Carolina.

Nullification Crisis : The crisis was due to the South opposing protective tariffs which damaged their economy

1833 Compromise Tariff : Defused the gravity of the Nullification Crisis.

Bank War : Jackson's destruction of the Second Bank of the United States

Pet Banks and Wildcat Banks : The emergence of the Pet Banks that were favored by Andrew Jackson and the rise of 'Wildcat Banks'

Specie Circular : All government owned lands must be paid for exclusively in gold or silver (specie)

Peggy Eaton affair: T he scandal that involved members of President Jackson's Cabinet and their wives

The Kitchen Cabinet : Jackson chose his friends as advisors rather than use the cabinet

Victory or Death letter: The "Victory or Death" letter sent by Colonel William B. Travis during the Battle of the Alamo

Texas Revolution : Resulted in the establishment of the Republic of Texas

Cyrus McCormick reaper : The McCormick reaper speeded the process of harvesting with a new machine.

Nat Turner's Rebellion : The history of the short lived slave revolt led by Nat Turner

Abolitionist Movement : Over 50 facts about the history of the Abolitionist Movement

Fugitive Slave Act: Guaranteed the right of a owners to recover an escaped slave and for fugitives to be returned

1836 Gag Rule : The gag rule prevented abolitionist petitions.

The "Underground Railroad" : The secret organization that helped slaves escape from slavery in the Southern slave states to freedom in the Northern free states and Canada

Underground Railroad Maps: Routes of the Underground Railways and details of the Free and Slave States

Underground Railroad Symbols & Secret Codes: The history of the secret codes used by slaves escaping from slavery

Jacksonian Era: United States History from 1829 - 1841 - Andrew Jackson Presidency

President Martin Van Buren and the Jacksonian Era: United States History from 1829 - 1841
Important events in United States History during the presidency of Martin Van Buren includes the Panic of 1837, Neutrality Law of 1838 and The Amistad incident - United States History for Kids:

Jacksonian Era: United States History from 1829 - 1841
Martin Van Buren Presidency (1837-1841)

President Martin Van Buren: Facts, biography, accomplishments and biography of the life of Martin Van Buren and summaries of important events during his presidency.

Panic of 1837 : The actions of President Jackson during the Bank Wars dried up credit

Aroostook War : The bloodless border conflict between Maine and the province of New Brunswick

Trail of Tears : Read about the 1000 mile forced relocation of the Five Civilized Tribes

The Amistad Slave Ship : The history of the Amistad rebellion involved 53 African slaves being shipped to Cuba

Samuel Morse and the First Telegraph : The invention of the telegraph was one of the most significant events in US history

Crash Course in American History: Summaries of Events in the Jacksonian Era
A fast overview, or crash course in American History, during the Jacksonian Era can be obtained from the interesting and important articles on United States History for Kids that can be found in the section. There are summaries and definitions of the key historical events for each of the presidencies of the Jacksonian Era from 1829 - 1841.

United States History for Kids: Video of US Presidents
The articles in the Jacksonian section of the United States History for Kids website provides historical facts and information about the important historical events that occurred from 1829 - 1841. The following video will give you additional important facts, history and dates about the personal and political lives of all the US Presidents of the New Nation Era, adding to your knowledge of United States History.

Jacksonian Era: 1829 - 1841

Jacksonian Era - US History - Historical Facts - Important Events - Jacksonian Era - US History Definitions - Summaries - American History - US History - USA History - Jacksonian Era - America - Dates - United States History - US History for Kids - Children - Schools - Homework - Important - Facts - History - United States History - Important - Events - History - Interesting - Jacksonian - Info - Information - Jacksonian - Facts - Historical - Important Events - Jacksonian Era


Martin Van Buren and Andrew Jackson

Martin Van Buren left the Senate in 1828 and ran successfully for governor of New York, but he gave up that post after Jackson defeated Adams and made Van Buren his secretary of state. Though he resigned as part of a cabinet reorganization in 1831, Van Buren became minister to Britain (with Jackson’s support) and in 1832 earned the Democrats’ first nomination as vice president. He ran with Jackson on a platform that strongly opposed the recharter of the Bank of the United States, which Jackson vetoed in July 1832. The Jackson-Van Buren ticket won easily over Henry Clay of the opposition Whig Party, and Jackson would handpick Van Buren as his successor in the White House four years later.

In the 1836 election, Van Buren defeated William Henry Harrison, whom the Whigs had chosen over their longtime leader Clay, proving the popularity of Jackson’s Democrats. Soon after Van Buren took office in 1837, however, the nation was gripped by a financial panic, caused partially by the transfer of federal funds from the now-defunct Bank of the United States to state banks. The failure of hundreds of banks and businesses and the burst bubble of wild land speculation in the West dragged the country into the worst depression of its history, and Van Buren’s continuation of Jackson’s deflationary money policies did little to improve the situation.


Contents

The 1828 election was a rematch between Jackson and John Quincy Adams, who had faced–off against each other four years earlier in the 1824 presidential election. Jackson had won a plurality, but not the required majority, of the electoral vote in the 1824 election, while Adams, Secretary of War William H. Crawford, and Speaker of the House Henry Clay also received a significant share of the vote. Under the rules of the Twelfth Amendment, the U.S. House of Representatives held a contingent election. The House elected Adams as president. Jackson denounced the House vote as the result of an alleged "corrupt bargain" between Adams and Clay, who became Adams's Secretary of State after the latter succeeded outgoing President James Monroe in March 1825. [3]

Jackson was nominated for president by the Tennessee legislature in October 1825, more than three years before the 1828 election. It was the earliest such nomination in presidential history, and it attested to the fact that Jackson's supporters began the 1828 campaign almost as soon as the 1824 campaign ended. Adams's presidency floundered, as his ambitious agenda faced defeat in a new era of mass politics. Critics led by Jackson attacked Adams's policies as a dangerous expansion of federal power. Senator Martin Van Buren, who had been a prominent supporter of Crawford in the 1824 election, emerged as one of the strongest opponents of Adams's policies, and he settled on Jackson as his preferred candidate in the 1828 election. Jackson also won the support of Vice President John C. Calhoun, who opposed much of Adams's agenda on states' rights grounds. Van Buren and other Jackson allies established numerous pro-Jackson newspapers and clubs around the country, while Jackson made himself available to visitors at his Hermitage plantation. [4]

The 1828 campaign was very much a personal one. As was the custom at the time, neither candidate personally campaigned, but their political followers organized many campaign events. Jackson was attacked as a slave trader, [5] and his conduct was attacked in pamphlets such as the Coffin Handbills. [6] Rachel Jackson was also a frequent target of attacks, and was widely accused of bigamy, a reference to the controversial situation of her marriage with Jackson. [7]

Despite the attacks, in the 1828 election, Jackson won a commanding 56 percent of the popular vote and 68 percent of the electoral vote, carrying most states outside of New England. [4] Concurrent congressional elections also gave Jackson's allies nominal majorities in both houses of Congress, although many of those who campaigned as supporters of Jackson would diverge form Jackson during his presidency. [8] The 1828 election marked the definitive end of the one-party "Era of Good Feelings", as the Democratic-Republican Party broke apart. Jackson's supporters coalesced into the Democratic Party, while Adams's followers became known as the National Republicans. [4] Rachel had begun experiencing significant physical stress during the election season, and she died of a heart attack on December 22, 1828, three weeks after her husband's victory in the election. [9] Jackson felt that the accusations from Adams's supporters had hastened her death, and he never forgave Adams. "May God Almighty forgive her murderers", Jackson swore at her funeral. "I never can." [10]

Jackson's first inauguration, on March 4, 1829, was the first time in which the ceremony was held on the East Portico of the United States Capitol. [11] Due to the acrimonious campaign and mutual antipathy, Adams did not attend Jackson's inauguration. [12] Ten thousand people arrived in town for the ceremony, eliciting this response from Francis Scott Key: "It is beautiful it is sublime!" [13] Jackson was the first president to invite the public to attend the White House inaugural ball. Many poor people came to the inaugural ball in their homemade clothes and rough-hewn manners. The crowd became so large that the guards could not keep them out of the White House, which became so crowded with people that dishes and decorative pieces inside were broken. Jackson's raucous populism earned him the nickname "King Mob". [14] Though numerous political disagreements had marked Adams's presidency and would continue during his own presidency, Jackson took office at a time when no major economic or foreign policy crisis faced the United States. [12] He announced no clear policy goals in the months before Congress convened in December 1829, save for his desire to pay down the national debt. [15]

Jackson's name has been associated with Jacksonian democracy or the shift and expansion of democracy as political power shifted from established elites to ordinary voters based in political parties. "The Age of Jackson" shaped the national agenda and American politics. [16] Jackson's philosophy as president was similar to that of Thomas Jefferson, as he advocated republican values held by the Revolutionary War generation. [17] He believed in the ability of the people to "arrive at right conclusions," and he thought that they should have the right not only to elect but also to "instruct their agents & representatives." [18] He rejected the need for a powerful and independent Supreme Court, arguing that "the Congress, the Executive, and the Court must each or itself be guided by its own opinions of the Constitution." [19] Jackson thought that Supreme Court justices should be made to stand for election, and believed in strict constructionism as the best way to ensure democratic rule. [20] He also called for term limits on presidents and the abolition of the Electoral College. [21]

The Jackson Cabinet
OfficeNameTerm
PresidentAndrew Jackson1829–1837
Vice PresidentJohn C. Calhoun1829–1832
none [a] 1832–1833
Martin Van Buren1833–1837
Secretary of StateMartin Van Buren1829–1831
Edward Livingston1831–1833
Louis McLane1833–1834
John Forsyth1834–1837
Secretary of the TreasurySamuel D. Ingham1829–1831
Louis McLane1831–1833
William J. Duane1833
Roger B. Taney1833–1834
Levi Woodbury1834–1837
Secretary of WarJohn Eaton1829–1831
Lewis Cass1831–1836
Attorney GeneralJohn M. Berrien1829–1831
Roger B. Taney1831–1833
Benjamin Franklin Butler1833–1837
Postmaster GeneralWilliam T. Barry1829–1835
Amos Kendall1835–1837
Secretary of the NavyJohn Branch1829–1831
Levi Woodbury1831–1834
Mahlon Dickerson1834–1837

Instead of choosing party leaders for his cabinet, Jackson chose "plain businessmen" whom he intended to control. [22] For the key positions of Secretary of State and Secretary of the Treasury, Jackson chose two Northerners, Martin Van Buren of New York and Samuel Ingham of Pennsylvania. [23] He appointed John Branch of North Carolina as Secretary of the Navy, John Macpherson Berrien of Georgia as Attorney General, [24] and John Eaton of Tennessee, a friend and close political ally, as Secretary of War. [22] Recognizing the growing importance of the Post Office, Jackson elevated the position of Postmaster General to the cabinet, and he named William T. Barry of Kentucky to lead the department. [25] Of the six officials in Jackson's initial cabinet, only Van Buren was a major political figure in his own right. Jackson's cabinet choices were criticized from various quarters Calhoun and Van Buren were both disappointed that their respective factions were not more prominent in the cabinet, while leaders from the state of Virginia and the region of New England complained about their exclusion. [24] In addition to his official cabinet, Jackson would come to rely on an informal "Kitchen Cabinet" of advisers, [26] including General William Berkeley Lewis and journalist Amos Kendall. Jackson's nephew, Andrew Jackson Donelson, served as the president's personal secretary, and wife, Emily, acted as the White House hostess. [27]

Jackson inaugural cabinet suffered from bitter partisanship and gossip, especially between Eaton, Vice President John C. Calhoun, and Van Buren. By mid-1831, all except Barry (and Calhoun) had resigned. [28] Governor Lewis Cass of the Michigan Territory became Secretary of War, ambassador and former Congressman Louis McLane of Delaware took the position of Secretary of the Treasury, Senator Edward Livingston of Louisiana became Secretary of State, and Senator Levi Woodbury of New Hampshire became Secretary of the Navy. Roger Taney, who had previously served as the Attorney General of Maryland, replaced Berrien as the U.S. Attorney General. In contrast to Jackson's initial choices, the cabinet members appointed in 1831 were prominent national leaders, none of whom were aligned with Calhoun. [29] Outside of the cabinet, journalist Francis Preston Blair emerged as an influential adviser. [30]

At the start of his second term, Jackson transferred McLane to the position of Secretary of State, while William J. Duane replaced McLane as Secretary of the Treasury and Livingston became the ambassador to France. [31] Due to his opposition to Jackson's removal of federal funds from the Second Bank of the United States, Duane was dismissed from the cabinet before the end of 1833. Taney became the new Secretary of the Treasury, while Benjamin F. Butler replaced Taney as Attorney General. [32] Jackson was forced to shake up his cabinet again in 1834 after the Senate rejected Taney's nomination and McLane resigned. John Forsyth of Georgia was appointed Secretary of State, Mahlon Dickerson replaced Woodbury as Secretary of the Navy, and Woodbury became the fourth and final Secretary of the Treasury under Jackson. [33] Jackson dismissed Barry in 1835 after numerous complaints about the latter's effectiveness as Postmaster General, and Jackson chose Amos Kendall as Barry's replacement. [34]

Jackson appointed six Justices to the Supreme Court of the United States. [35] Most were undistinguished. [36] His first nominee was John McLean, a close ally of Calhoun's who had been Adams's Postmaster General. Because McLean was reluctant to make full use of his office's powers of patronage, Jackson delicately removed him from office with an appointment to the Supreme Court. [37] McLean "turned Whig and forever schemed to win" the presidency. Jackson's next two appointees–Henry Baldwin and James Moore Wayne–disagreed with Jackson on some points but were poorly regarded even by Jackson's enemies. [38] In reward for his services, Jackson nominated Taney to the Court to fill a vacancy in January 1835, but the nomination failed to win Senate approval. [36] Chief Justice John Marshall died later that year, leaving two vacancies on the court. Jackson nominated Taney for Chief Justice and Philip P. Barbour for Associate Justice, and both were confirmed by the new Senate. [39] Taney served as Chief Justice until 1864, presiding over a court that upheld many of the precedents set by the Marshall Court. [40] On the last full day of his presidency, Jackson nominated John Catron, who was confirmed. [41] By the time Jackson left office, he had appointed a majority of the sitting members of the Supreme Court, the only exceptions being Joseph Story and Smith Thompson. [42] Jackson also appointed eighteen judges to the United States district courts.

Jackson devoted a considerable amount of his time during his early years in office responding to what came to be known as the "Petticoat affair" or "Eaton affair." [43] Washington gossip circulated among Jackson's cabinet members and their wives, including Vice President Calhoun's wife Floride Calhoun, concerning Secretary of War Eaton and his wife Peggy Eaton. Salacious rumors held that Peggy, as a barmaid in her father's tavern, had been sexually promiscuous or had even been a prostitute. [44] Some also accused the Eatons of having engaged in an adulterous affair while Peggy's previous husband, John B. Timberlake, was still living. [45] Petticoat politics emerged when the wives of cabinet members, led by Floride Calhoun, refused to socialize with the Eatons. [44] The cabinet wives insisted that the interests and honor of all American women were at stake. They believed a responsible woman should never accord a man sexual favors without the assurance that went with marriage. Historian Daniel Walker Howe argues that the actions of the cabinet wives reflected the feminist spirit that in the next decade shaped the woman's rights movement. [46]

Jackson refused to believe the rumors regarding Peggy Eaton, telling his cabinet that "She is as chaste as a virgin!" [44] He was infuriated by those who, in attempting to drive the Eatons out, dared to tell him who he could and could not have in his cabinet. The affair also reminded him of similar attacks that had been made against his wife. [47] Though he initially blamed Henry Clay for the controversy over Eaton, by the end of 1829 Jackson had come to believe that Vice President Calhoun had masterminded the dissension in his cabinet. [48] The controversy over Eaton dragged on into 1830 and 1831, as the other cabinet wives continued to ostracize Eaton. [49] Jackson's cabinet and closest advisers became polarized between Vice President Calhoun and Secretary of State Van Buren, a widower who remained on good terms with the Eatons. [50] In early 1831, as the controversy continued unabated, Van Buren proposed that the entire cabinet resign, and the Petticoat Affair finally ended after Eaton stepped down in June 1831. [51] With the sole exception of Postmaster General Barry, the other cabinet officials also left office, marking the first mass resignation of cabinet officials in U.S. history. [52]

Van Buren was rewarded with a nomination to the position of ambassador to Great Britain, but the Senate rejected his nomination. [53] Calhoun, who cast a tie-breaking vote in the Senate to defeat Van Buren's nomination, believed that the Senate vote would end Van Buren's career, but in fact it strengthened Van Buren's position with Jackson and many other Democrats. [54] By cultivating the support of Jackson, Van Buren emerged from the Petticoat Affair as Jackson's heir apparent. Three decades later, biographer James Parton would write that "the political history of the United States, for the last thirty years, dates from the moment when the soft hand of Mr. Van Buren touched Mrs. Eaton's knocker." [52] Meanwhile, Jackson and Vice President Calhoun became increasingly alienated from one another. [55] Following the Petticoat Affair, Jackson acquired the Globe newspaper to use as a weapon against the rumor mills. [56] [57]

Jackson removed an unprecedented number of presidential appointees from office, though Thomas Jefferson had dismissed a smaller but still significant number of Federalists during his own presidency. [58] Jackson believed that a rotation in office (the removal of governmental officials) was actually a democratic reform preventing nepotism, and that it made civil service responsible to the popular will. [59] Reflecting this view, Jackson told Congress in December 1829, "In a country where offices are created solely for the benefit of the people, no one man has any more intrinsic right to official station than another." [60] [61] Jackson rotated about 20% of federal office holders during his first term, some for dereliction of duty rather than political purposes. [62] [63] The Post Office was most strongly affected by Jackson's rotation policy, but district attorneys, federal marshals, customs collectors, and other federal employees were also removed from office. [64]

Jackson's opponents labeled his appointments process a "spoils system," arguing that he was primarily motivated by a desire to use government positions to reward supporters and build his own political strength. [65] Because he believed that most public officials faced few challenges for their positions, Jackson dismissed the need for a meritocratic appointment policy. [66] Many of Jackson's appointees, including Amos Kendall and Isaac Hill, were controversial, and many of those who Jackson removed from office were popular. [67] Jackson's appointment policy also created political problems within his own coalition, as Calhoun, Van Buren, Eaton, and others clashed over various appointments. [68] His appointments encountered some resistance in the Senate, and by the end of his presidency, Jackson had had more nominees rejected than all previous presidents combined. [69]

In an effort to purge the government from the alleged corruption of previous administrations, Jackson launched presidential investigations into all executive cabinet offices and departments. [70] His administration conducted a high-profile prosecution against Tobias Watkins, the Auditor at the Treasury Department during Adams's presidency. [67] John Neal, a friend of Watkins and critic of Jackson, said that this prosecution served to "feed fat his ancient grudge" and was "characteristic of that willful, unforgiving, inexorable man, who was made President by the war-cry." [71]

He also asked Congress to reform embezzlement laws, reduce fraudulent applications for federal pensions, and pass laws to prevent evasion of custom duties and improve government accounting. [72] Despite these attempts at reform, historians believe Jackson's presidency marked the beginning of an era of decline in public ethics. [73] Supervision of bureaus and departments whose operations were outside of Washington, such as the New York Customs House, the Postal Service, and the Bureau of Indian Affairs proved to be difficult. However, some of the practices that later became associated with the spoils system, including the buying of offices, forced political party campaign participation, and collection of assessments, did not take place until after Jackson's presidency. [74] Eventually, in the years after Jackson left office, presidents would remove appointees as a matter of course while Jackson dismissed 45 percent of those who held office, Abraham Lincoln would dismiss 90 percent of those who had held office prior to the start of his presidency. [75]

Indian Removal Act Edit

Prior to taking office, Jackson had spent much of his career fighting the Native Americans of the Southwest, and he considered Native Americans to be inferior to those who were descended from Europeans. [76] His presidency marked a new era in Indian-Anglo American relations, as he initiated a policy of Indian removal. [77] Previous presidents had at times supported removal or attempts to "civilize" the Native Americans, but had generally not made Native American affairs a top priority. [78] By the time Jackson took office, approximately 100,000 Native Americans lived east of the Mississippi River within the United States, with most located in Indiana, Illinois, Michigan, Wisconsin Territory, Mississippi, Alabama, Georgia, and Florida Territory. [79] Jackson prioritized removing Native Americans from the South, as he believed that the Native Americans of the Northwest could be "pushed back." [80] In his 1829 Annual Message to Congress, Jackson advocated for setting aside land west of the Mississippi River for Native American tribes while he favored voluntary relocation, he also proposed that any Native Americans who did not relocate would lose their independence and be subject to state laws. [81]

A significant political movement, consisting largely of evangelical Christians and others from the North, rejected Indian removal and instead favored continuing efforts to "civilize" Native Americans. [82] Overcoming opposition led by Senator Theodore Frelinghuysen, Jackson's allies won the passage of the Indian Removal Act in May 1830. The bill passed the House by a 102 to 97 vote, with most Southern congressmen voting for the bill and most Northern congressmen voting against it. [83] The act authorized the president to negotiate treaties to buy tribal lands in the east in exchange for lands farther west, outside of existing state borders. [84] The act specifically pertained to the "Five Civilized Tribes" in the Southern United States, the conditions being that they could either move west or stay and obey state law. [85] The Five Civilized Tribes consisted of the Cherokee, Muscogee (also known as the Creek), Chickasaw, Choctaw, and Seminole Indians, all of whom had adopted aspects of European culture, including some degree of sedentary farming. [86]

Cherokee Edit

With Jackson's support, Georgia and other states sought to extend their sovereignty over tribes within their borders, despite existing U.S. treaty obligations. [87] Georgia's dispute with the Cherokee culminated in the 1832 Supreme Court decision of Worcester v. Georgia. In that decision, Chief Justice John Marshall, writing for the court, ruled that Georgia could not forbid whites from entering tribal lands, as it had attempted to do with two missionaries supposedly stirring up resistance among the tribespeople. [88] The Supreme Court's ruling helped establish the doctrine of tribal sovereignty, but Georgia did not release the prisoners. [89] Jackson is frequently attributed the following response: "John Marshall has made his decision, now let him enforce it." Remini argues that Jackson did not say it because, while it "certainly sounds like Jackson. [t]here was nothing for him to enforce." [90] The court had held that Georgia must release the prisoners, but it had not compelled the federal government to become involved. In late 1832, Van Buren intervened on behalf of the administration to put an end to the situation, convincing Georgia Governor Wilson Lumpkin to pardon the missionaries. [91]

As the Supreme Court was no longer involved, and the Jackson administration had no interest in interfering with Indian removal, the state of Georgia was free to extend its control over the Cherokee. In 1832, Georgia held a lottery to distribute Cherokee lands to white settlers. [92] Under the leadership of Chief John Ross, most Cherokee refused to leave their homeland, but a group led by John Ridge and Elias Boudinot negotiated the Treaty of New Echota. In return for $5 million and land west of the Mississippi River, Ridge and Boudinot agreed to lead a faction of the Cherokee out of Georgia a fraction of the Cherokee would leave in 1836. Many other Cherokee protested the treaty, but, by a narrow margin, the United States Senate voted to ratify the treaty in May 1836. [93] The Treaty of New Echota was enforced by Jackson's successor, Van Buren subsequently, as many as 4,000 out of 18,000 Cherokees died on the "Trail of Tears" in 1838. [94]

Other tribes Edit

Jackson, Eaton, and General John Coffee negotiated with the Chickasaw, who quickly agreed to move. [95] Jackson put Eaton and Coffee in charge of negotiating with the Choctaw tribe. Lacking Jackson's skills at negotiation, they frequently bribed the chiefs in order to gain their submission. [96] The Choctaw chiefs agreed to move with the signing of the Treaty of Dancing Rabbit Creek. The removal of the Choctaw took place in the winter of 1831 and 1832, and was wrought with misery and suffering. [96] Members of the Creek Nation signed the Treaty of Cusseta in 1832, allowing the Creek to either sell or retain their land. [97] Conflict later erupted between the Creek who remained and the white settlers, leading to a second Creek War. [98] The Creek uprising was quickly crushed by the army, and the remaining Creek were escorted across the Mississippi River. [99]

Of all the tribes in the Southeast, the Seminole proved to be the most resistant to mass relocation. The Jackson administration reached a removal treaty with a small group of Seminole, but the treaty was repudiated by the tribe. Jackson sent soldiers into Florida to remove the Seminole, marking the start of the Second Seminole War. The Second Seminole War dragged on until 1842, and hundreds of Seminole still remained in Florida after 1842. [100] A shorter conflict broke out in the Northwest in 1832 after Chief Black Hawk led a band of Native Americans across the Mississippi River to their ancestral homeland in Illinois. A combination of the army and the Illinois militia drove out the Native Americans by the end of the year, bringing a close to the Black Hawk War. [101] By the end of Jackson's presidency, nearly 50,000 Native Americans had moved across the Mississippi River, and Indian removal would continue after he left office. [102]

First term Edit

In 1828, Congress had approved the so-called "Tariff of Abominations", which set the tariff at a historically high rate. [103] The tariff was popular in the Northeast and, to a lesser extent, the Northwest, since it protected domestic industries from foreign competition. [104] Southern planters strongly opposed high tariff rates, as they resulted in higher prices for imported goods. [103] This opposition to high tariff rates was especially intense in South Carolina, where the dominant planter class faced few checks on extremism. [105] The South Carolina Exposition and Protest of 1828, secretly written by Calhoun, had asserted that their state could "nullify"—declare void—the tariff legislation of 1828. [106] Calhoun argued that, while the Constitution authorized the federal government to impose tariffs for the collection of revenue, it did not sanction tariffs that were designed to protect domestic production. [107] Jackson sympathized with states' rights concerns, but he rejected the idea of nullification. [108] In his 1829 Annual Message to Congress, Jackson advocated leaving the tariff in place until the national debt was paid off. He also favored a constitutional amendment that would, once the national debt was paid off, distribute surplus revenues from tariffs to the states. [81]

Calhoun was not as extreme as some within South Carolina, and he and his allies kept more radical leaders like Robert James Turnbull in check early in Jackson's presidency. As the Petticoat Affair strained relations between Jackson and Calhoun, South Carolina nullifiers became increasingly strident in their opposition to the "Tariff of Abominations." [109] Relations between the Jackson and Calhoun reached a breaking point in May 1830, after Jackson discovered a letter that indicated that then-Secretary of War Calhoun had asked President Monroe to censure Jackson for his invasion of Spanish Florida in 1818. [104] Jackson's adviser, William Lewis, acquired the letter from William Crawford, a former Monroe cabinet official who was eager to help Van Buren at the expense of Calhoun. [110] Jackson and Calhoun began an angry correspondence which lasted until July 1830. [111] By the end of 1831, an open break had emerged not just between Calhoun and Jackson but also between their respective supporters. [112] Writing in the early 1830s, Calhoun claimed that three parties existed. One party (led by Calhoun himself) favored free trade, one party (led by Henry Clay) favored protectionism, and one party (led by Jackson) occupied a middle position. [113]

Believing that Calhoun was leading a conspiracy to undermine his administration, Jackson built a network of informants in South Carolina and prepared for a possible insurrection. He also threw his support behind a tariff reduction bill that he believed would defuse the nullification issue. [114] In May 1832, Representative John Quincy Adams introduced a slightly revised version of the bill, which Jackson accepted, and it was passed into law in July 1832. [115] The bill failed to satisfy many in the South, and a majority of southern Congressmen voted against it, [116] but passage of the Tariff of 1832 prevented tariff rates from becoming a major campaign issue in the 1832 election. [117]

Crisis Edit

Seeking to compel a further reduction in tariff rates and bolster the ideology of states' rights, South Carolina leaders prepared to follow through on their nullification threats after the 1832 election. [118] In November 1832, South Carolina held a state convention that declared the tariff rates of 1828 and 1832 to be void within the state, and further declared that federal collection of import duties would be illegal after January 1833. [114] After the convention, the South Carolina Legislature elected Calhoun to the U.S. Senate, replacing Robert Y. Hayne, who had resigned to become that state's governor. Hayne had often struggled to defend nullification on the floor of the Senate, especially against fierce criticism from Senator Daniel Webster of Massachusetts. [119]

In his December 1832 Annual Message to Congress, Jackson called for another reduction of the tariff, but he also vowed to suppress any rebellion. [120] Days later, Jackson issued his Proclamation to the People of South Carolina, which strongly denied the right of states to nullify federal laws or secede. [121] Jackson ordered the unionist South Carolina leader, Joel Roberts Poinsett, to organize a posse to suppress any rebellion, and promised Poinsett that 50,000 soldiers would be dispatched if any rebellion did break out. [122] At the same time, Governor Hayne asked for volunteers for the state militia, and 25,000 men volunteered. [123] Jackson's nationalist stance split the Democratic Party and set off a national debate over nullification. Outside of South Carolina, no Southern states endorsed nullification, but many also expressed opposition to Jackson's threat to use force. [124]

Democratic Congressman Gulian C. Verplanck introduced a tariff reduction bill in the House of Representatives that would restore the tariff levels of the Tariff of 1816, and South Carolina leaders decided to delay the onset of nullification while Congress considered a new tariff bill. [125] As the debate over the tariff continued, Jackson asked Congress to pass a "Force Bill" explicitly authorizing the use of military force to enforce the government's power to collect import duties. [126] Though the House effort to write a new tariff bill collapsed, Clay initiated Senate consideration of the topic by introducing his own bill. [127] Clay, the most prominent protectionist in the country, worked with Calhoun's allies rather than Jackson's allies to pass the bill. [128] He won Calhoun's approval for a bill that provided for gradual tariff reductions until 1843, with tariff rates ultimately reaching levels similar to those proposed in the Verplanck bill. Southern leaders would have preferred lower rates, but they accepted Clay's bill as the best compromise they could achieve at that point in time. [129] The Force Bill, meanwhile, passed both houses of Congress many Southern congressmen opposed the bill but did not vote against it in an effort to expedite consideration of the tariff bill. [130]

Clay's tariff bill received significant support across partisan and sectional lines, and it passed 149–47 in the House and 29–16 in the Senate. [131] Despite his intense anger over the scrapping of the Verplanck bill and the new alliance between Clay and Calhoun, Jackson saw the tariff bill as an acceptable way to end the crisis. He signed both the Tariff of 1833 and the Force Bill into law on March 2. [132] Simultaneous passage of the Force Bill and the tariff allowed both the nullifiers and Jackson to claim that they had emerged victorious from the confrontation. [133] Despite his earlier support for a similar measure, Jackson vetoed a third bill that would have distributed tariff revenue to the states. [134] The South Carolina Convention met and rescinded its nullification ordinance, and, in a final show of defiance, nullified the Force Bill. [135] Though the nullifiers had largely failed in their quest to lower tariff rates, they established firm control over South Carolina in the aftermath of the Nullification Crisis. [136]

First term Edit

The Second Bank of the United States ("national bank") had been chartered under President James Madison to restore an economy devastated by the War of 1812, and President Monroe had appointed Nicholas Biddle as the national bank's executive in 1822. The national bank operated branches in several states, and granted these branches a large degree of autonomy. [137] The national bank's duties included storing government funds, issuing banknotes, selling Treasury securities, facilitating foreign transactions, and extending credit to businesses and other banks. [138] [137] The national bank also played an important role in regulating the money supply, which consisted of government-issued coins and privately issued banknotes. By presenting private banknotes for redemption (exchange for coins) to their issuers, the national bank limited the supply of paper money in the country. [137] By the time Jackson took office, the national bank had approximately $35 million in capital, which represented more than twice the annual expenditures of the U.S. government. [138]

The national bank had not been a major issue in the 1828 election, but some in the country, including Jackson, despised the institution, [139] The national bank's stock was mostly held by foreigners, Jackson insisted, and it exerted an undue amount of control over the political system. [140] Jackson had developed a life-long hatred for banks earlier in his career, and he wanted to remove all banknotes from circulation. [139] In his address to Congress in 1830, Jackson called for the abolition of the national bank. [141] Senator Thomas Hart Benton, a strong supporter of the president despite a brawl years earlier, gave a speech strongly denouncing the Bank and calling for open debate on its recharter, but Senator Daniel Webster led a motion that narrowly defeated the resolution. [142] Seeking to reconcile with the Jackson administration, Biddle appointed Democrats to the boards of national bank branches and worked to speed up the retirement of the national debt. [143]

Though Jackson and many of his allies detested the national bank, others within the Jacksonian coalition, including Eaton and Senator Samuel Smith, supported the institution. [138] Despite some misgivings, Jackson supported a plan proposed in late 1831 by his moderately pro-national bank Treasury Secretary Louis McLane, who was secretly working with Biddle. McLane's plan would recharter a reformed version of the national bank in a way that would free up funds, partly through the sale of government stock in the national bank. The funds would in turn be used to strengthen the military or pay off the nation's debt. Over the objections of Attorney General Taney, an irreconcilable opponent of the national bank, Jackson allowed McLane to publish a Treasury Report which essentially recommended rechartering the national bank. [144]

Hoping to make the national bank a major issue in the 1832 election, Clay and Webster urged Biddle to immediately apply for recharter rather than wait to reach a compromise with the administration. [145] Biddle received advice to the contrary from moderate Democrats such as McLane and William Lewis, who argued that Biddle should wait because Jackson would likely veto the recharter bill. In January 1832, Biddle submitted to Congress a renewal of the national bank's charter without any of McLane's proposed reforms. [146] In May 1832, after months of congressional debate, Biddle assented to a revised bill that would re-charter the national bank but give Congress and the president new powers in controlling the institution, while also limiting the national bank's ability to hold real estate and establish branches. [147] The recharter bill passed the Senate on June 11 and the House on July 3, 1832. [140]

When Van Buren met Jackson on July 4, Jackson declared, "The Bank, Mr. Van Buren, is trying to kill me. But I will kill it." [148] Jackson officially vetoed the bill on July 10. His veto message, crafted primarily by Taney, Kendall, and Andrew Jackson Donelson, attacked the national bank as an agent of inequality that supported only the wealthy. [149] He also noted that, as the national bank's charter would not expire for another four years, the next two Congresses would be able to consider new re-chartering bills. [150] Jackson's political opponents castigated the veto as "the very slang of the leveller and demagogue", claiming Jackson was using class warfare to gain support from the common man. [140]

1832 election Edit

In the years leading up to the 1832 election, it was unclear whether Jackson, frequently in poor health, would seek re-election. [151] However, Jackson announced his intention to seek re-election in 1831. [152] Various individuals were considered as possible Democratic vice presidential nominees in the 1832 election, including Van Buren, Judge Philip P. Barbour, Treasury Secretary McLane, Senator William Wilkins, Associate Justice John McLean, and even Calhoun. In order to agree on a national ticket, the Democrats held their first national convention in May 1832. [153] Van Buren emerged as Jackson's preferred running mate after the Eaton affair, and the former Secretary of State won the vice presidential nomination on the first ballot of the 1832 Democratic National Convention. [54] [154] Later that year, on December 28, Calhoun resigned as Vice President, after having been elected to the U.S. Senate. [155] [b]

In the 1832 election, Jackson would face a divided opposition in the form of the Anti-Masonic Party and the National Republicans. [157] Since the disappearance and possible murder of William Morgan in 1827, the Anti-Masonic Party had emerged by capitalizing on opposition to Freemasonry. [158] In 1830, a meeting of Anti-Masons called for the first national nominating convention, and in September 1831 the fledgling party nominated a national ticket led by William Wirt of Maryland. [159] In December 1831, the National Republicans convened and nominated a ticket led by Henry Clay. Clay had rejected overtures from the Anti-Masonic Party, and his attempt to convince Calhoun to serve as his running mate failed, leaving the opposition to Jackson split among different leaders. [157] For vice president, the National Republicans nominated John Sergeant, who had served as an attorney for both the Second Bank of the United States and the Cherokee Nation. [160]

The political struggle over the national bank emerged as the major issue of the 1832 campaign, although the tariff and especially Indian removal were also important issues in several states. [161] National Republicans also focused on Jackson's alleged executive tyranny one cartoon described the president as "King Andrew the First." [162] At Biddle's direction, the national bank poured thousands of dollars into the campaign to defeat Jackson, seemingly confirming Jackson's view that it interfered in the political process. [163] On July 21, Clay said privately, "The campaign is over, and I think we have won the victory." [164]

Jackson, however, managed to successfully portray his veto of the national bank recharter as a defense of the common man against governmental tyranny. Clay proved to be no match for Jackson's popularity and the Democratic Party's skillful campaigning. [165] Jackson won the election by a landslide, receiving 54 percent of the popular vote and 219 electoral votes. [166] Nationwide, Jackson won 54.2 percent of the popular vote, a slight decline from his 1828 popular vote victory. Jackson won 88 percent of the popular vote in the states south of Kentucky and Maryland, and Clay did not win a single vote in Georgia, Alabama, or Mississippi. [167] Clay received 37 percent of the popular vote and 49 electoral votes, while Wirt received eight percent of the popular vote and seven electoral votes. [166] The South Carolina legislature awarded the state's electoral votes to states' rights advocate John Floyd. [168] Despite Jackson's victory in the presidential election, his allies lost control of the Senate. [169]

Removal of deposits and censure Edit

Jackson's victory in the 1832 election meant that he could veto an extension of the national bank's charter before that charter expired in 1836. Though a congressional override of his veto was unlikely, Jackson still wanted to ensure that the national bank would be abolished. His administration was unable to legally remove federal deposits from the national bank unless the Secretary of the Treasury issued an official finding that the national bank was a fiscally unsound institution, but the national bank was clearly solvent. [170] In January 1833, at the height of the Nullification Crisis, Congressman James K. Polk introduced a bill that would provide for the removal the federal government's deposits from the national bank, but it was quickly defeated. [171] Following the end of the Nullification Crisis in March 1833, Jackson renewed his offensive against the national bank, despite some opposition from within his own cabinet. [172] Throughout mid-1833, Jackson made preparations to remove federal deposits from the national bank, sending Amos Kendall to meet with the leaders of various banks to see whether they would accept federal deposits. [173]

Jackson ordered Secretary of the Treasury William Duane to remove existing federal deposits from the national bank, but Duane refused to issue a finding that the federal government's deposits in the national bank were unsafe. In response, Jackson replaced Duane with Roger Taney, who received an interim appointment. Rather than removing existing deposits from the national bank, Taney and Jackson pursued a new policy in which the government would deposit future revenue elsewhere, while paying all expenses from its deposits with the national bank. [174] The Jackson administration placed government deposits in a variety of state banks which were friendly to the administration's policies critics labeled these banks as "pet banks." [175] Biddle responded to the withdrawals by stockpiling the national bank's reserves and contracting credit, thus causing interest rates to rise. Intended to force Jackson into a compromise, the move backfired, increasing sentiment against the national bank. [176] The transfer of large amounts of bank deposits, combined with rising interest rates, contributed to the onset of a financial panic in late 1833. [177]

When Congress reconvened in December 1833, it immediately became embroiled in the controversy regarding the withdrawals from the national bank and the subsequent financial panic. [178] Neither the Democrats nor the anti-Jacksonians exercised complete control of either house of Congress, but the Democrats were stronger in the House of Representatives while the anti-Jacksonians were stronger in the Senate. [179] Senator Clay introduced a measures to censure Jackson for unconstitutionally removing federal deposits from the national bank, and in March 1834, the Senate voted to censure Jackson in a 26–20 vote. [180] It also rejected Taney as Treasury Secretary, forcing Jackson to find a different treasury secretary he eventually nominated Levi Woodbury, who won confirmation. [33]

Led by Polk, the House declared on April 4, 1834, that the national bank "out not to be rechartered" and that the depositions "ought not to be restored." The House also voted to allow the pet banks to continue to serve as places of deposit, and sought to investigate whether the national bank had deliberately instigated the financial panic. [181] By mid-1834, the relatively mild panic had ended, and Jackson's opponents had failed to recharter the national bank or reverse Jackson's removals. The national bank's federal charter expired in 1836, and though Biddle's institution continued to function under a Pennsylvania charter, it never regained the influence it had had at the beginning of Jackson's administration. [182] Following the loss of the national bank's federal charter, New York City supplanted Philadelphia (the national bank's headquarters) as the nation's financial capital. [183] In January 1837, when the Jacksonians had a majority in the Senate, the censure was expunged after years of effort by Jackson supporters. [184]

Clear partisan affiliations had not formed at the start of Jackson's presidency. He had supporters in the Northwest, the Northeast, and the South, all of whom had different positions on different issues. [185] The Nullification Crisis briefly scrambled the partisan divisions that had emerged after 1824, as many within the Jacksonian coalition opposed his threats of force, while some opposition leaders like Daniel Webster supported them. [186] Jackson's removal of the government deposits in late 1833 ended any possibility of a Webster-Jackson alliance and helped to solidify partisan lines. [187] Jackson's threats to use force during the Nullification Crisis and his alliance with Van Buren motivated many Southern leaders to leave the Democratic Party, while opposition to Indian removal and Jackson's actions in the Bank War spurred opposition from many in the North. Attacking the president's "executive usurpation," those opposed to Jackson coalesced into the Whig Party. The Whig label implicitly compared "King Andrew" to King George III, the King of Great Britain at the time of the American Revolution. [188]

The National Republicans, including Clay and Webster, formed the core of the Whig Party, but many Anti-Masons like William H. Seward of New York and Thaddeus Stevens of Pennsylvania also joined. Several prominent Democrats defected to the Whigs, including former Attorney General John Berrien, Senator Willie Person Mangum of North Carolina, and John Tyler of Virginia. [188] Even John Eaton, the former Secretary of War, became a member of the Whig Party. [189] Beginning in December 1833, voting behavior in Congress began to be dominated by partisan affiliation. [188] By the time of the 1836 presidential election, Whigs and Democrats had established state parties throughout the country, though party strength varied by state and many of Jackson's opponents in the Deep South eschewed the Whig label. [190] While Democrats openly embraced partisanship and campaigning, many Whigs only reluctantly accepted the new system of party politics, and they lagged behind the Democrats in establishing national organizations and cross-sectional unity. [191] Along with the Democrats, the Whigs were one of the two major parties of the Second Party System, which would extend into the 1850s. [189] Calhoun's nullifiers did not fit neatly into either party, and they pursued alliances with both major parties at various times. [192]

The national economy boomed after mid-1834 as state banks liberally extended credit. [193] Due in part to the booming economy, Jackson paid off the entire national debt in January 1835, the only time in U.S. history that that has been accomplished. [194] [195] In the aftermath of the Bank War, Jackson asked Congress to pass a bill to regulate the pet banks. [196] Jackson sought to restrict the issuance of paper banknotes under $5, and also to require banks to hold specie (gold or silver coins) equal to one fourth of the value of banknotes they issued. As Congress did not act on this proposal by the end of its session in March 1835, Secretary of the Treasury Woodbury forced the pet banks to accept restrictions similar to those that Jackson had proposed to Congress. [197]

The debate over financial regulation became tied to a debate over the disposition of the federal budget surplus and proposals to increase the number of pet banks. In June 1836, Congress passed a bill that doubled the number of pet banks, distributed surplus federal revenue to the states, and instituted Jackson's proposed bank regulations. Jackson considered vetoing the bill primarily due to his opposition to the distribution of federal revenue, but he ultimately decided to let it pass into law. As the number of pet banks increased from 33 to 81, regulation of the government's deposits became more difficult, and lending increased. The growing number of loans contributed to a boom in land prices and land sales the General Land Office sold 12.5 million acres of public land in 1835, compared to 2 million acres in 1829. [198] Seeking to curb land speculation, Jackson issued the Specie Circular, an executive order that required buyers of government lands to pay in specie. [199] The Specie Circular undermined the public's trust in the value of paper money Congress passed a bill to revoke Jackson's policy, but Jackson vetoed that bill on his last day in office. [200]

The period of good economic conditions ended with the onset of the Panic of 1837. [201] Jackson's Specie Circular, albeit designed to reduce speculation and stabilize the economy, left many investors unable to afford to pay loans in gold and silver. The same year there was a downturn in Great Britain's economy, resulting in decreased foreign investment in the United States. As a result, the U.S. economy went into a depression, banks became insolvent, the national debt increased, business failures rose, cotton prices dropped, and unemployment dramatically increased. [201] The depression that followed lasted until 1841, when the economy began to rebound. [194] [202]

Internal improvements Edit

In the years before Jackson had taken office, the idea of using federal funding to build or improve internal improvements (such as roads and canals) had become increasingly popular. [203] Jackson had campaigned against Adams's support for federally funded infrastructure projects, but, unlike some states' rights supporters, Jackson believed that such projects were constitutional so long as they aided the national defense or improved the national economy. [204] The National Road was one of the major infrastructure projects worked on during Jackson's presidency, and his tenure saw the National Road extended from Ohio into Illinois. [205] In May 1830, the House passed a bill to create the Maysville Road, which would link the National Road to the Natchez Trace via Lexington, Kentucky. With the strong support of Van Buren, Jackson vetoed the bill, arguing that the project was too localized for the federal government to become involved. Jackson further warned that government expenditures on infrastructure would be costly and threatened his goal of retiring the national debt. The veto shored up Jackson's support among pro-states' rights "Old Republicans" like John Randolph, but angered some Jacksonians who favored internal improvements. [206]

Despite the Maysville Road Veto, federal funding for infrastructure projects increased substantially during Jackson's presidency, reaching a total greater than all previous administrations combined. [204] Because of a booming economy and high levels of federal revenues, the Jackson administration was able to retire the national debt even while spending on infrastructure projects increased. [207]

Slavery controversies Edit

A slaveowner himself, Jackson favored the expansion of slavery into the territories and disapproved of anti-slavery agitation. Though slavery was not a major issue of Jackson's presidency, two notable controversies related to the issue of slavery arose while he was in the White House. In 1835, the American Anti-Slavery Society launched a mail campaign against the peculiar institution. Tens of thousands of antislavery pamphlets and tracts were sent to Southern destinations through the U.S. mail. Across the South, reaction to the abolition mail campaign bordered on apoplexy. [208] In Congress, Southerners demanded the prevention of delivery of the tracts, and Jackson moved to placate Southerners in the aftermath of the Nullification Crisis. Postmaster General Amos Kendall gave Southern postmasters discretionary powers to discard the tracts, a decision that abolitionists attacked as suppression of free speech. [209]

Another conflict over slavery in 1835 ensued when abolitionists sent the U.S. House of Representatives petitions to end the slave trade and slavery in Washington, D.C. [210] These petitions infuriated pro-slavery Southerners, who attempted to prevent acknowledgement or discussion of the petitions. Northern Whigs objected that anti-slavery petitions were constitutional and should not be forbidden. [210] South Carolina Representative Henry L. Pinckney introduced a resolution that denounced the petitions as "sickly sentimentality", declared that Congress had no right to interfere with slavery, and tabled all further anti-slavery petitions. Southerners in Congress, including many of Jackson's supporters, favored the measure (the 21st Rule, commonly called the "gag rule"), which was passed quickly and without any debate, thus temporarily suppressing abolitionist activities in Congress. [210]

Two other important slavery-related developments occurred while Jackson was in office. In January 1831, William Lloyd Garrison established The Liberator, which emerged as the most influential abolitionist newspaper in the country. While many slavery opponents sought the gradual emancipation of all slaves, Garrison called for the immediate abolition of slavery throughout the country. Garrison also established the American Anti-Slavery Society, which grew to approximately 250,000 members by 1838. [211] In the same year that Garrison founded The Liberator, Nat Turner launched the largest slave rebellion in U.S. history. After killing dozens of whites in southeastern Virginia across two days, Turner's rebels were suppressed by a combination of vigilantes, the state militia, and federal soldiers. [212]

U.S. Exploring Expedition Edit

Jackson initially opposed any federal exploratory scientific expeditions during his first term in office. [213] Jackson's predecessor, President Adams, had attempted to launch a scientific oceanic exploration in 1828, but Congress was unwilling to fund the effort. When Jackson assumed office in 1829 he pocketed Adams' expedition plans. However, wanting to establish a presidential legacy similar to that of Jefferson, who had sponsored the Lewis and Clark Expedition, Jackson decided to support scientific exploration during his second term. On May 18, 1836, Jackson signed a law creating and funding the oceanic United States Exploring Expedition. Jackson put Secretary of the Navy Mahlon Dickerson in charge of planning the expedition, but Dickerson proved unfit for the task, and the expedition was not launched until 1838. [213] One brig ship, USS Porpoise, later used in the expedition having been commissioned by Secretary Dickerson in May 1836, circumnavigated the world and explored and mapped the Southern Ocean, confirming the existence of the continent of Antarctica. [214]

Administrative reforms Edit

Jackson presided over several reforms in the executive branch. [215] Postmaster General Amos Kendall reorganized the Post Office and successfully pushed for the Post Office Act of 1836, which made the Post Office a department of the executive branch. Under Commissioner Ethan Allen Brown, the General Land Office was reorganized and expanded to accommodate the growing demand for public land. The Patent Office was also reorganized and expanded under the leadership of Henry Leavitt Ellsworth. After his request to divide the State Department into two departments was rebuffed, Jackson divided the State Department into eight bureaus. Jackson also presided over the establishment of the Office of Indian Affairs, which coordinated Indian removal and other policies related to Native Americans. By signing the Judiciary Act of 1837, Jackson played a role in extending the circuit courts to several western states. [216]

States admitted to the Union Edit

Two new states were admitted into the Union during Jackson's presidency: Arkansas (June 15, 1836) [217] and Michigan (January 26, 1837). [218] Both states increased Democratic power in Congress and voted for Van Buren in 1836. [219]

Spoliation and commercial treaties Edit

Foreign affairs under Jackson were generally uneventful prior to 1835. [220] [221] His administration's foreign policy focused on expanding trade opportunities for American commerce. [222] The Jackson administration negotiated a trade agreement with Great Britain that opened the British West Indies and Canada to American exports, though the British refused to allow American ships to engage in the West Indian carrying trade. [223] The agreement with Britain, which had been sought by previous presidents, represented a major foreign policy success for Jackson. [224] The State Department also negotiated routine trade agreements with Russia, Spain, the Ottoman Empire, and Siam. American exports (chiefly cotton) increased 75%, while imports increased 250%. [225] Jackson increased funding to the navy and used it to defend American commercial interests in far-flung areas such as the Falkland Islands and Sumatra. [226]

A second major foreign policy emphasis in the Jackson administration was the settlement of spoliation claims. [227] The most serious crisis involved a debt that France owed for the damage Napoleon had done two decades earlier. France agreed to pay the debt, but kept postponing payment. Jackson made warlike gestures, while domestic political opponents ridiculed his bellicosity. Jackson's Minister to France William C. Rives finally obtained the ₣ 25,000,000 francs involved (about $5,000,000) in 1836. [228] [229] The Department of State also settled smaller spoliation claims with Denmark, Portugal, and Spain. [225]

Recognition of Republic of Texas Edit

Jackson believed that Adams had bargained away rightfully American territory in the Adams–Onís Treaty, and he sought to expand the United States west. He continued Adams's policy of attempting to purchase the Mexican state of Coahuila y Tejas, which Mexico continued to rebuff. Upon gaining independence, Mexico had invited American settlers to that underdeveloped province, and 35,000 American settlers moved to the state between 1821 and 1835. Most of the settlers came from the Southern United States, and many of these settlers brought slaves with them. In 1830, fearing that the state was becoming a virtual extension of the United States, Mexico banned immigration into Coahuila y Tejas. Chafing under Mexican rule, the American settlers became increasingly dissatisfied. [230]

In 1835, American settlers in Texas, along with local Tejanos, fought a war for independence against Mexico. Texan leader Stephen F. Austin sent a letter to Jackson pleading for an American military intervention, but the United States remained neutral in the conflict. [231] By May 1836, the Texans had routed the Mexican military, establishing an independent Republic of Texas. The new Texas government sought recognition from President Jackson and annexation into the United States. [232] Antislavery elements in the U.S. strongly opposed annexation because of slavery's presence in Texas. [233] [234] Jackson was reluctant to recognize Texas, as he was unconvinced that the new republic would maintain its independence from Mexico and did not want to make Texas an anti-slavery issue during the 1836 election. After the 1836 election, Jackson formally recognized the Republic of Texas, and nominated Alcée Louis la Branche as chargé d'affaires. [225] [235]

On January 30, 1835, the first attempt to kill a sitting president occurred just outside the United States Capitol. When Jackson was leaving through the East Portico after a funeral, Richard Lawrence, an unemployed house painter from England, aimed a pistol at Jackson, which misfired. Lawrence then pulled out a second pistol, which also misfired, possibly due to the humid weather. [236] Jackson, infuriated, attacked Lawrence with his cane, and others present restrained and disarmed Lawrence. [237] Lawrence said that he was a deposed English king and that Jackson was his clerk. [238] He was deemed insane and was institutionalized. [239] Jackson initially suspected that a number of his political enemies might have orchestrated the attempt on his life, but his suspicions were never proven. [240]

Jackson declined to seek a third term in 1836, instead throwing his support behind his chosen successor, Vice President Van Buren. [241] With Jackson's support, Van Buren won the presidential nomination of the Democratic Convention without opposition. [242] Two names were put forward for the vice-presidential nomination: Representative Richard M. Johnson of Kentucky, and former senator William Cabell Rives of Virginia. Southern Democrats, as well as Van Buren, strongly preferred Rives, but Jackson strongly preferred Johnson. Again, Jackson's considerable influence prevailed, and Johnson received the required two-thirds vote after New York Senator Silas Wright prevailed upon non-delegate Edward Rucker to cast the 15 votes of the absent Tennessee delegation in Johnson's favor. [242] [243]

Van Buren's competitors in the election of 1836 were three members of the newly established Whig Party, still a loose coalition bound by mutual opposition to Jackson's Bank War. [243] The Whigs ran several regional candidates in hopes of sending the election to the House of Representatives, where each state delegation would have one vote and the Whigs would stand a better chance of winning. [244] Senator Hugh Lawson White of Tennessee emerged as the main Whig nominee in the South. White ran against the Force Bill, Jackson's actions in the Bank War, and Van Buren's unpopularity in the South. William Henry Harrison, who had gained national fame for his role in the Battle of Tippecanoe, established himself as the main Whig candidate in the North, although Daniel Webster also had the support of some Northern Whigs. [245]

Van Buren won the election with 764,198 popular votes, 50.9 percent of the total, and 170 electoral votes. Harrison led the Whigs with 73 electoral votes, while White received 26, and Webster 14. [246] Willie Person Mangum received the 11 electoral votes of South Carolina, which were awarded by the state legislature. [247] Van Buren's victory resulted from a combination of his own attractive political and personal qualities, Jackson's popularity and endorsement, the organizational power of the Democratic party, and the inability of the Whig Party to muster an effective candidate and campaign. [248]

Jackson remains one of the most studied and controversial figures in American history. Historian Charles Grier Sellers says, "Andrew Jackson's masterful personality was enough by itself to make him one of the most controversial figures ever to stride across the American stage." There has never been universal agreement on Jackson's legacy, for "his opponents have ever been his most bitter enemies, and his friends almost his worshippers." [249] He was always a fierce partisan, with many friends and many enemies. He has been lauded as the champion of the common man, while criticized for his treatment of Indians and for other matters. [250] According to early biographer James Parton:

Andrew Jackson, I am given to understand, was a patriot and a traitor. He was one of the greatest generals, and wholly ignorant of the art of war. A brilliant writer, elegant, eloquent, without being able to compose a correct sentence or spell words of four syllables. The first of statesmen, he never devised, he never framed, a measure. He was the most candid of men, and was capable of the most profound dissimulation. A most law-defying law-obeying citizen. A stickler for discipline, he never hesitated to disobey his superior. A democratic autocrat. An urbane savage. An atrocious saint. [251]

In the 20th century, Jackson was written about by many admirers. Arthur M. Schlesinger's Age of Jackson (1945) depicts Jackson as a man of the people battling inequality and upper-class tyranny. [252] From the 1970s to the 1980s, Robert Remini published a three-volume biography of Jackson followed by an abridged one-volume study. Remini paints a generally favorable portrait of Jackson. [253] He contends that Jacksonian democracy "stretches the concept of democracy about as far as it can go and still remain workable. . As such it has inspired much of the dynamic and dramatic events of the nineteenth and twentieth centuries in American history—Populism, Progressivism, the New and Fair Deals, and the programs of the New Frontier and Great Society." [254] To Remini, Jackson serves as "the embodiment of the new American. This new man was no longer British. He no longer wore the queue and silk pants. He wore trousers, and he had stopped speaking with a British accent." [253] However, other 20th-century writers such as Richard Hofstadter and Bray Hammond depict Jackson as an advocate of the sort of laissez-faire capitalism that benefits the rich and oppresses the poor. [252]

Brands observes that Jackson's reputation declined after the mid-20th century as his actions towards Indians and African Americans received new attention. After the Civil Rights Movement, Brand writes, "his unrepentant ownership of slaves marked him as one to be censured rather than praised." Further, "By the turn of the present [21st] century, it was scarcely an exaggeration to say that the one thing American schoolchildren learned about Jackson was that he was the author of the Trail of Tears." [255] Starting mainly around 1970, Jackson came under sharp attack from historians for his Indian removal policies. Howard Zinn called him "the most aggressive enemy of the Indians in early American history" [256] and "exterminator of Indians." [257] By contrast, Remini claims that, if not for Jackson's policies, the Southern tribes would have been totally wiped out, just like other tribes-namely, the Yamasee, Mahican, and Narragansett–which did not move. [258]

Despite some criticism, Jackson's performance in office has generally been ranked in the top half in polls of historians and political scientists. His position in C-SPAN's poll of historians dropped from 13th in 2009 to 18th in 2017. Some associate this decline with the frequent praise Jackson has received from sitting President Donald Trump, who hung Jackson's official portrait in the Oval Office. [259] A 2018 poll of the American Political Science Association’s Presidents and Executive Politics section ranked Jackson as the fifteenth best president. [260]


Contents

Andrew Jackson was born on March 15, 1767, in the Waxhaws region of the Carolinas. His parents were Scots-Irish colonists Andrew Jackson and his wife Elizabeth Hutchinson, Presbyterians who had emigrated from Ulster, Ireland, two years earlier. [3] [4] Jackson's father was born in Carrickfergus, County Antrim, around 1738. [5] Jackson's parents lived in the village of Boneybefore, also in County Antrim. His paternal ancestors originated in Killingswold Grove, Yorkshire, England. [6]

When they immigrated to North America in 1765, Jackson's parents’ first two children also came with them from Ireland, Hugh (born 1763) and Robert (born 1764). [7] The family probably landed in Philadelphia. Most likely they traveled overland through the Appalachian Mountains to the Scots-Irish community in the Waxhaws, straddling the border between North and South Carolina. [8] Jackson's father died in February 1767 at the age of 29, in a logging accident while clearing land, three weeks before his son Andrew was born. [7] Jackson, his mother, and his brothers lived with Jackson's aunt and uncle in the Waxhaws region, and Jackson received schooling from two nearby priests. [9]

Jackson's exact birthplace is unclear because of a lack of knowledge of his mother's actions immediately following her husband's funeral. [10] The area was so remote that the border between North and South Carolina had not been officially surveyed. [11] In 1824, Jackson wrote a letter saying he had been born on the plantation of his uncle James Crawford in Lancaster County, South Carolina. [10] Jackson may have claimed to be a South Carolinian because the state was considering nullification of the Tariff of 1824, which he opposed. In the mid-1850s, second-hand evidence indicated that he might have been born at a different uncle's home in North Carolina. [11] [12] As a young boy, Jackson was easily offended and was considered something of a bully. He was, however, also said to have taken a group of younger and weaker boys under his wing and been kind to them. [13]

During the Revolutionary War, Jackson's eldest brother, Hugh, died from heat exhaustion after the Battle of Stono Ferry on June 20, 1779. [14] Anti-British sentiment intensified following the Waxhaws Massacre on May 29, 1780. Jackson's mother encouraged him and his elder brother Robert to attend the local militia drills. [15] Soon, they began to help the militia as couriers. [16] They served under Colonel William Richardson Davie at the Battle of Hanging Rock on August 6. [15] Andrew and Robert were captured by the British in April 1781 [17] [16] while staying at the home of the Crawford family. When Andrew refused to clean the boots of a British officer, the officer slashed at the youth with a sword, leaving him with scars on his left hand and head, as well as an intense hatred for the British. Robert also refused to do as commanded and was struck with the sword. [18] The two brothers were held as prisoners, contracted smallpox, and nearly starved to death in captivity. [19]

Later that year, their mother Elizabeth secured the brothers' release. She then began to walk both boys back to their home in the Waxhaws, a distance of some 40 miles (64 km). Both were in very poor health. Robert, who was far worse, rode on the only horse they had, while Andrew walked behind them. In the final two hours of the journey, a torrential downpour began which worsened the effects of the smallpox. Within two days of arriving back home, Robert was dead and Andrew in mortal danger. [20] [21] After nursing Andrew back to health, Elizabeth volunteered to nurse American prisoners of war on board two British ships in the Charleston harbor, where there had been an outbreak of cholera. In November, she died from the disease and was buried in an unmarked grave. Andrew became an orphan at age 14. He blamed the British personally for the loss of his brothers and mother. [22]

Legal career and marriage

After the Revolutionary War, Jackson received a sporadic education in a local Waxhaw school. [23] On bad terms with much of his extended family, he boarded with several different people. [24] In 1781, he worked for a time as a saddle-maker, and eventually taught school. He apparently prospered in neither profession. [25] In 1784, he left the Waxhaws region for Salisbury, North Carolina, where he studied law under attorney Spruce Macay. [26] With the help of various lawyers, he was able to learn enough to qualify for the bar. In September 1787, Jackson was admitted to the North Carolina bar. [24] Shortly thereafter, his friend John McNairy helped him get appointed to a vacant prosecutor position in the Western District of North Carolina, which would later become the state of Tennessee. During his travel west, Jackson bought his first slave, a woman who was older than him. In 1788, having been offended by fellow lawyer Waightstill Avery, Jackson fought his first duel. The duel ended with both men firing into the air, having made a secret agreement to do so before the engagement. [27] [28]

Jackson moved to the small frontier town of Nashville in 1788, where he lived as a boarder with Rachel Stockly Donelson, the widow of John Donelson. Here Jackson became acquainted with their daughter, Rachel Donelson Robards. The younger Rachel was in an unhappy marriage with Captain Lewis Robards he was subject to fits of jealous rage. [29] The two were separated in 1790. According to Jackson, he married Rachel after hearing that Robards had obtained a divorce. Her divorce had not been made final, making Rachel's marriage to Jackson bigamous and therefore invalid. After the divorce was officially completed, Rachel and Jackson remarried in 1794. [30] To complicate matters further, evidence shows that Rachel had been living with Jackson and referred to herself as Mrs. Jackson before the petition for divorce was ever made. [31] It was not uncommon on the frontier for relationships to be formed and dissolved unofficially, as long as they were recognized by the community. [32]

Land speculation and early public career

In 1794, Jackson formed a partnership with fellow lawyer John Overton, dealing in claims for land reserved by treaty for the Cherokee and Chickasaw. [33] Like many of their contemporaries, they dealt in such claims although the land was in Indian territory. Most of the transactions involved grants made under a 'land grab' act of 1783 that briefly opened Indian lands west of the Appalachians within North Carolina to claim by that state's residents. He was one of the three original investors who founded Memphis, Tennessee, in 1819. [34]

After moving to Nashville, Jackson became a protege of William Blount, a friend of the Donelsons and one of the most powerful men in the territory. Jackson became attorney general in 1791, and he won election as a delegate to the Tennessee constitutional convention in 1796. [27] When Tennessee achieved statehood that year, he was elected its only U.S. Representative. He was a member of the Democratic-Republican Party, the dominant party in Tennessee. [35] As a representative, Jackson staunchly advocated for the rights of Tennesseans against Native American tribal interests. He strongly opposed the Jay Treaty and criticized George Washington for allegedly removing Democratic-Republicans from public office. Jackson joined several other Democratic-Republican congressmen in voting against a resolution of thanks for Washington, a vote that would later haunt him when he sought the presidency. [36] In 1797, the state legislature elected him as U.S. senator. Jackson seldom participated in debate and found the job dissatisfying. He pronounced himself "disgusted with the administration" of President John Adams and resigned the following year without explanation. [37] Upon returning home, with strong support from western Tennessee, he was elected to serve as a judge of the Tennessee Supreme Court [38] at an annual salary of $600. [39] Jackson's service as a judge is generally viewed as a success and earned him a reputation for honesty and good decision-making. [40] Jackson resigned the judgeship in 1804. His official reason for resigning was ill health. He had been suffering financially from poor land ventures, and so it is also possible that he wanted to return full-time to his business interests. [41]

After arriving in Tennessee, Jackson won the appointment of judge advocate of the Tennessee militia. [42] In 1802, while serving on the Tennessee Supreme Court, he declared his candidacy for major general, or commander, of the Tennessee militia, a position voted on by the officers. At that time, most free men were members of the militia. The organizations, intended to be called up in case of armed conflicts, resembled large social clubs. Jackson saw it as a way to advance his stature. [43] With strong support from western Tennessee, he tied with John Sevier with seventeen votes. Sevier was a popular Revolutionary War veteran and former governor, the recognized leader of politics in eastern Tennessee. On February 5, Governor Archibald Roane broke the tie in Jackson's favor. [44] Jackson had also presented Roane with evidence of land fraud against Sevier. Subsequently, in 1803, when Sevier announced his intention to regain the governorship, Roane released the evidence. Jackson then published a newspaper article accusing Sevier of fraud and bribery. Sevier insulted Jackson in public, and the two nearly fought a duel over the matter. Despite the charges leveled against Sevier, he defeated Roane and continued to serve as governor until 1809. [45]

In addition to his legal and political career, Jackson prospered as planter, slave owner, and merchant. He built a home and the first general store in Gallatin, Tennessee, in 1803. The next year, he acquired the Hermitage, a 640-acre (259 ha) plantation in Davidson County, near Nashville. He later added 360 acres (146 ha) to the plantation, which eventually totaled 1,050 acres (425 ha). The primary crop was cotton, grown by slaves—Jackson began with nine, owned as many as 44 by 1820, and later up to 150, placing him among the planter elite. Jackson also co-owned with his son Andrew Jackson Jr. the Halcyon plantation in Coahoma County, Mississippi, which housed 51 slaves at the time of his death. [47] Throughout his lifetime, Jackson may have owned as many as 300 slaves. [48] [49]

Men, women, and child slaves were owned by Jackson on three sections of the Hermitage plantation. Slaves lived in extended family units of between five and ten persons and were quartered in 400 square feet (37 m 2 ) cabins made either of brick or logs. The size and quality of the Hermitage slave quarters exceeded the standards of his times. To help slaves acquire food, Jackson supplied them with guns, knives, and fishing equipment. At times he paid his slaves with money and coins to trade in local markets. The Hermitage plantation was a profit-making enterprise. Jackson permitted slaves to be whipped to increase productivity or if he believed his slaves' offenses were severe enough. [49] At various times he posted advertisements for fugitive slaves who had escaped from his plantation. In one advertisement placed in the Tennessee Gazette in October 1804, Jackson offered "ten dollars extra, for every hundred lashes any person will give him, to the amount of three hundred." [50]

The controversy surrounding his marriage to Rachel remained a sore point for Jackson, who deeply resented attacks on his wife's honor. By May 1806, Charles Dickinson, who, like Jackson, raced horses, had published an attack on Jackson in the local newspaper, and it resulted in a written challenge from Jackson to a duel. Since Dickinson was considered an expert shot, Jackson determined it would be best to let Dickinson turn and fire first, hoping that his aim might be spoiled in his quickness Jackson would wait and take careful aim at Dickinson. Dickinson did fire first, hitting Jackson in the chest. The bullet that struck Jackson was so close to his heart that it could not be removed. Under the rules of dueling, Dickinson had to remain still as Jackson took aim and shot and killed him. Jackson's behavior in the duel outraged many in Tennessee, who called it a brutal, cold-blooded killing and saddled Jackson with a reputation as a violent, vengeful man. He became a social outcast. [51]

After the Sevier affair and the duel, Jackson was looking for a way to salvage his reputation. He chose to align himself with former vice president Aaron Burr. Burr's political career ended after the killing of Alexander Hamilton in a duel in 1804 in 1805 he set out on a tour of what was then the western United States. [52] Burr was extremely well received by the people of Tennessee, and stayed for five days at the Hermitage. [53] Burr's true intentions are not known with certainty. He seems to have been planning a military operation to conquer Spanish Florida and drive the Spanish from Texas. [54] To many westerners like Jackson, the promise seemed enticing. [55] Western American settlers had long held bitter feelings towards Spain due to territorial disputes and their persistent failure to stop Indians living in Spanish territory from raiding American settlements. [56] On October 4, 1806, Jackson addressed the Tennessee militia, declaring that the men should be "at a moment's warning ready to march." [57] On the same day, he wrote to James Winchester, proclaiming that the United States "can conquer not only the Floridas [at that time there was an East Florida and a West Florida.], but all Spanish North America." He continued:

I have a hope (Should there be a call) that at least, two thousand Volunteers can be lead into the field at a short notice—That number commanded by firm officers and men of enterprise—I think could look into Santafee and Maxico—give freedom and commerce to those provinces and establish peace, and a permanent barier against the inroads and attacks of forreign powers on our interior—which will be the case so long as Spain holds that large country on our borders. [58]

Jackson agreed to provide boats and other provisions for the expedition. [59] However, on November 10, he learned from a military captain that Burr's plans apparently included seizure of New Orleans, then part of the Louisiana Territory of the United States, and incorporating it, along with lands won from the Spanish, into a new empire. He was further outraged when he learned from the same man of the involvement of Brigadier General James Wilkinson, whom he deeply disliked, in the plan. [60] Jackson acted cautiously at first, but wrote letters to public officials, including President Thomas Jefferson, vaguely warning them about the scheme. In December, Jefferson, a political opponent of Burr, issued a proclamation declaring that a treasonous plot was underway in the West and calling for the arrest of the perpetrators. Jackson, safe from arrest because of his extensive paper trail, organized the militia. Burr was soon captured, and the men were sent home. [61] Jackson traveled to Richmond, Virginia, to testify on Burr's behalf in trial. The defense team decided against placing him on the witness stand, fearing his remarks were too provocative. Burr was acquitted of treason, despite Jefferson's efforts to have him convicted. Jackson endorsed James Monroe for president in 1808 against James Madison. The latter was part of the Jeffersonian wing of the Democratic-Republican Party. [62] Jackson lived relatively quietly at the Hermitage in the years after the Burr trial, eventually accumulating 640 acres of land. [63]

War of 1812

Creek campaign and treaty

Leading up to 1812, the United States found itself increasingly drawn into international conflict. Formal hostilities with Spain or France never materialized, but tensions with Britain increased for a number of reasons. Among these was the desire of many Americans for more land, particularly British Canada and Florida, the latter still controlled by Spain, Britain's European ally. [64] On June 18, 1812, Congress officially declared war on the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Ireland, beginning the War of 1812. [65] Jackson responded enthusiastically, sending a letter to Washington offering 2,500 volunteers. [66] However, the men were not called up for many months. Biographer Robert V. Remini claims that Jackson saw the apparent slight as payback by the Madison administration for his support of Burr and Monroe. Meanwhile, the United States military repeatedly suffered devastating defeats on the battlefield. [67]

On January 10, 1813, Jackson led an army of 2,071 volunteers [68] to New Orleans to defend the region against British and Native American attacks. [69] [70] [71] He had been instructed to serve under General Wilkinson, who commanded Federal forces in New Orleans. Lacking adequate provisions, Wilkinson ordered Jackson to halt in Natchez, then part of the Mississippi Territory, and await further orders. Jackson reluctantly obeyed. [72] The newly appointed Secretary of War, John Armstrong Jr., sent a letter to Jackson dated February 6 ordering him to dismiss his forces and to turn over his supplies to Wilkinson. [73] In reply to Armstrong on March 15, Jackson defended the character and readiness of his men, and promised to turn over his supplies. He also promised, instead of dismissing the troops without provisions in Natchez, to march them back to Nashville. [74] The march was filled with agony. Many of the men had fallen ill. Jackson and his officers turned over their horses to the sick. [75] He paid for provisions for the men out of his own pocket. [76] The soldiers began referring to their commander as "Hickory" because of his toughness, and Jackson became known as "Old Hickory". [77] The army arrived in Nashville within about a month. Jackson's actions earned him respect and praise from the people of Tennessee. [78] Jackson faced financial ruin, until his former aide-de-camp Thomas Benton persuaded Secretary Armstrong to order the army to pay the expenses Jackson had incurred. [79] On June 14, Jackson served as a second in a duel on behalf of his junior officer William Carroll against Jesse Benton, the brother of Thomas. On September 3, Jackson and his top cavalry officer, Brigadier General John Coffee, were involved in a street brawl with the Benton brothers. Jackson was severely wounded by Jesse with a gunshot to the shoulder. [80] [81]

On August 30, 1813, a group of Muscogee (or Creek) called the Red Sticks, so named for the color of their war paint, perpetrated the Fort Mims massacre. During the massacre, hundreds of white American settlers and non-Red Stick Creeks were slaughtered. The Red Sticks, led by William Weatherford (also called Red Eagle) and Peter McQueen, had broken away from the rest of the Creek Confederacy, which wanted peace with the United States. They were allied with Tecumseh, a Shawnee chief who had launched Tecumseh's War against the United States, and who was fighting alongside the British. The resulting conflict became known as the Creek War. [70]

Jackson, with 2,500 American soldiers, was ordered to crush the Red Sticks. On October 10, he set out on the expedition, his arm still in a sling from fighting the Bentons. Jackson established Fort Strother as a supply base. On November 3, Coffee defeated a band of Red Sticks at the Battle of Tallushatchee. [82] Coming to the relief of friendly Creeks besieged by Red Sticks, Jackson won another decisive victory at the Battle of Talladega. [83] In the winter, Jackson, encamped at Fort Strother, faced a severe shortage of troops due to the expiration of enlistments and chronic desertions. He sent Coffee with the cavalry (which abandoned him) back to Tennessee to secure more enlistments. Jackson decided to combine his force with that of the Georgia militia, and marched to meet the Georgia troops. From January 22–24, 1814, while on their way, the Tennessee militia and allied Muscogee were attacked by the Red Sticks at the Battles of Emuckfaw and Enotachopo Creek. Jackson's troops repelled the attackers, but outnumbered, were forced to withdraw to Fort Strother. [84] Jackson, now with over 2,000 troops, marched most of his army south to confront the Red Sticks at a fortress they had constructed at a bend in the Tallapoosa River. Jackson, together with Lower Creek and Cherokee allies and enjoying an advantage of more than 2 to 1, engaged them on March 27 at the Battle of Horseshoe Bend. An initial artillery barrage did little damage to the well-constructed fort. A subsequent Infantry charge, in addition to an assault by Coffee's cavalry and diversions caused by the allied Creeks, overwhelmed the Red Sticks. [85]

The campaign ended three weeks later with Red Eagle's surrender, although some Red Sticks such as McQueen fled to East Florida. [86] On June 8, Jackson accepted a commission as brigadier general in the United States Army, and 10 days later became a major general, in command of the Seventh Military Division. [87] Subsequently, Jackson, with Madison's approval, imposed the Treaty of Fort Jackson. The treaty required the Muscogee, including those who had not joined the Red Sticks, to surrender 23 million acres (8,093,713 ha) of land to the United States. [86] Most of the Creeks bitterly acquiesced. [88] Though in ill-health from dysentery, Jackson then turned his attention to defeating Spanish and British forces. Jackson accused the Spanish of arming the Red Sticks and of violating the terms of their neutrality by allowing British soldiers into the Floridas. [89] The first charge was true, [90] while the second ignored the fact that it was Jackson's threats to invade Florida which had caused them to seek British protection. [91] In the November 7 Battle of Pensacola, Jackson defeated British and Spanish forces in a short skirmish. The Spanish surrendered and the British fled. Weeks later, he learned that the British were planning an attack on New Orleans, which sat on the mouth of the Mississippi River and held immense strategic and commercial value. Jackson abandoned Pensacola to the Spanish, placed a force in Mobile, Alabama, to guard against a possible invasion there, and rushed the rest of his force west to defend the city. [92]

The Creeks coined their own name for Jackson, Jacksa Chula Harjo or "Jackson, old and fierce." [93]

Battle of New Orleans

After arriving in New Orleans on December 1, 1814, [94] Jackson instituted martial law in the city, as he worried about the loyalty of the city's Creole and Spanish inhabitants. At the same time, he formed an alliance with Jean Lafitte's smugglers, and formed military units consisting of African-Americans and Muscogees, [95] in addition to recruiting volunteers in the city. Jackson received some criticism for paying white and non-white volunteers the same salary. [96] These forces, along with U.S. Army regulars and volunteers from surrounding states, joined with Jackson's force in defending New Orleans. The approaching British force, led by Admiral Alexander Cochrane and later General Edward Pakenham, consisted of up to 10,000 soldiers, many of whom had served in the Napoleonic Wars. [95] Jackson had only about 5,000 men, most of whom were inexperienced and poorly trained. [97]

The British arrived on the east bank of the Mississippi River on the morning of December 23. That evening, Jackson attacked the British and temporarily drove them back. [98] On January 8, 1815, the British launched a major frontal assault against Jackson's defenses. An initial artillery barrage by the British did little damage to the well-constructed American defenses. Once the morning fog had cleared, the British launched a frontal assault, and their troops made easy targets for the Americans protected by their parapets. Despite managing to temporarily drive back the American right flank, the overall attack ended in disaster. [99] For the battle on January 8, Jackson admitted to only 71 total casualties. Of these, 13 men were killed, 39 wounded, and 19 missing or captured. The British admitted 2,037 casualties. Of these, 291 men were killed (including Pakenham), 1,262 wounded, and 484 missing or captured. [100] After the battle, the British retreated from the area, and open hostilities ended shortly thereafter when word spread that the Treaty of Ghent had been signed in Europe that December. Coming in the waning days of the war, Jackson's victory made him a national hero, as the country celebrated the end of what many called the "Second American Revolution" against the British. [101] By a Congressional resolution on February 27, 1815, Jackson was given the Thanks of Congress and awarded a Congressional Gold Medal. [38]

Alexis de Tocqueville ("underwhelmed" by Jackson according to a 2001 commentator) later wrote in Democracy in America that Jackson "was raised to the Presidency, and has been maintained there, solely by the recollection of a victory which he gained, twenty years ago, under the walls of New Orleans." [102] Some have claimed that, because the war was already ended by the preliminary signing of the Treaty of Ghent, Jackson's victory at New Orleans was without importance aside from making him a celebrated figure. However, the Spanish, who had sold the Louisiana Territory to France, disputed France's right to sell it to the United States through the Louisiana Purchase in 1803. [103] In April 1815, Spain, assuming that the British had won at New Orleans, asked for the return of the Louisiana Territory. Spanish representatives claimed to have been assured that they would receive the land back. [104] Furthermore, Article IX of the Treaty of Ghent stipulated that the United States must return land taken from the Creeks to their original owners, essentially undoing the Treaty of Fort Jackson. Thanks to Jackson's victory at New Orleans, the American government felt that it could safely ignore that provision and it kept the lands that Jackson had acquired. [103]

Enforced martial law in New Orleans

Jackson, still not knowing for certain of the treaty's signing, refused to lift martial law in the city. State senator Louis Louaillier had written an anonymous piece in the New Orleans newspaper, challenging Jackson's refusal to release the militia after the British ceded the field of battle. Jackson attempted to find the author and, after Louiallier admitted to having written the piece, he was imprisoned. [105] In March 1815, after U.S. District Court Judge Dominic A. Hall signed a writ of habeas corpus on behalf of Louaillier, Jackson ordered Hall's arrest. [106] Jackson did not relent his campaign of suppressing dissent until after ordering the arrest of a Louisiana legislator, a federal judge, and a lawyer, and after the intervention of State Judge Joshua Lewis. Lewis was simultaneously serving under Jackson in the militia, and also had signed a writ of habeas corpus against Jackson, his commanding officer, seeking Judge Hall's release. [107]

Civilian authorities in New Orleans had reason to fear Jackson—he summarily ordered the execution of six members of the militia who had attempted to leave. Their deaths were not well publicized until the Coffin Handbills were circulated during his 1828 presidential campaign. [108]

First Seminole War

Following the war, Jackson remained in command of troops on the southern border of the U.S. He conducted business from the Hermitage. [109] He signed treaties with the Cherokee and Chickasaw which gained for the United States large parts of Tennessee and Kentucky. [110] The treaty with the Chickasaw, finally agreed to later in the year, is commonly known as the Jackson Purchase. [34]

Jackson would soon find himself embroiled in another conflict in the Floridas. Several Native American tribes, collectively known as the Seminole, straddled the border between the U.S. and Florida. The Seminole, in alliance with escaped slaves, frequently raided Georgia settlements before retreating back into Florida. These skirmishes continually escalated into the conflict now known as the First Seminole War. [111] In 1816, Jackson led a detachment into Florida and at the Battle of Negro Fort destroyed the community of escaped slaves and their descendants. [112] Jackson was then ordered by President Monroe in December 1817 to lead a campaign in Georgia against the Seminole and Creek. Jackson was also charged with preventing Florida from becoming a refuge for runaway slaves, after Spain promised freedom to fugitive slaves. Critics later alleged that Jackson exceeded orders in his Florida actions. His orders from President Monroe were to "terminate the conflict." [113] Jackson believed the best way to do this was to seize Florida from Spain once and for all. Before departing, Jackson wrote to Monroe, "Let it be signified to me through any channel . that the possession of the Floridas would be desirable to the United States, and in sixty days it will be accomplished." [114]

Jackson invaded Florida on March 15, 1818, capturing Pensacola. He crushed Seminole and Spanish resistance in the region and captured two British agents, Robert Ambrister and Alexander Arbuthnot, who had been working with the Seminole. After a brief trial, Jackson executed both of them, causing a diplomatic incident with the British. Jackson's actions polarized Monroe's cabinet, some of whom argued that Jackson had gone against Monroe's orders and violated the Constitution, since the United States had not declared war upon Spain. He was defended by Secretary of State John Quincy Adams. Adams thought that Jackson's conquest of Florida would force Spain to finally sell the province, and Spain did indeed sell Florida to the United States in the Adams–Onís Treaty of 1819. A congressional investigation exonerated Jackson, but he was deeply angered by the criticism he received, particularly from Speaker of the House Henry Clay. After the ratification of the Adams–Onís Treaty in 1821, Jackson resigned from the army and briefly served as the territorial Governor of Florida before returning to Tennessee. [115]

Election of 1824

In the spring of 1822, Jackson suffered a physical breakdown. His body had two bullets lodged in it, and he had grown exhausted from years of hard military campaigning. He regularly coughed up blood, and his entire body shook. Jackson feared that he was on the brink of death. After several months of rest, he recovered. [116] During his convalescence, Jackson's thoughts increasingly turned to national affairs. He obsessed over rampant corruption in the Monroe administration and grew to detest the Second Bank of the United States, blaming it for causing the Panic of 1819 by contracting credit. [117]

Jackson turned down an offer to run for governor of his home state, but accepted John Overton's plan to have the legislature nominate him for president. [118] On July 22, 1822, he was officially nominated by the Tennessee legislature. [119] Jackson had come to dislike Secretary of the Treasury William H. Crawford, who had been the most vocal critic of Jackson in Monroe's cabinet, and he hoped to prevent Tennessee's electoral votes from going to Crawford. Yet Jackson's nomination garnered a welcoming response even outside of Tennessee, as many Americans appreciated his attacks on banks. The Panic of 1819 had devastated the fortunes of many, and banks and politicians seen as supportive of banks were unpopular. With his growing political viability, Jackson emerged as one of the five major presidential candidates, along with Crawford, Adams, Clay, and Secretary of War John C. Calhoun. During the Era of Good Feelings, the Federalist Party had faded away, and all five presidential contenders were members of the Democratic-Republican Party. Jackson's campaign promoted him as a defender of the common people, as well as the one candidate who could rise above sectional divisions. On the major issues of the day, most prominently the tariff, Jackson expressed centrist beliefs, and opponents accused him of obfuscating his positions. At the forefront of Jackson's campaign was combatting corruption. Jackson vowed to restore honesty in government and to scale back its excesses. [120] As a war hero, Jackson was popular with ordinary people, and he benefited from the expansion of suffrage among white males that followed the conclusion of the War of 1812. [121]

In 1823, Jackson reluctantly allowed his name to be placed in contention for one of Tennessee's U.S. Senate seats. The move was independently orchestrated by his advisors William Berkeley Lewis and U.S. senator John Eaton in order to defeat incumbent John Williams, who openly opposed his presidential candidacy. The legislature narrowly elected him. [122] [123] His return, after 24 years, 11 months, 3 days out of office, marks the second longest gap in service to the chamber in history. [124] Although Jackson was reluctant to serve once more in the Senate, he was appointed chairman of the Committee on Military Affairs. [125] Eaton wrote to Rachel that Jackson as a senator was "in harmony and good understanding with every body," including Thomas Hart Benton, now a senator from Missouri, with whom Jackson had fought in 1813. [126] Meanwhile, Jackson himself did little active campaigning for the presidency, as was customary. Eaton updated an already-written biography of him in preparation for the campaign and, along with others, wrote letters to newspapers praising Jackson's record and past conduct. [127]

Democratic-Republican presidential nominees had historically been chosen by informal Congressional nominating caucuses, but this method had become unpopular. In 1824, most of the Democratic-Republicans in Congress boycotted the caucus. Those who attended backed Crawford for president and Albert Gallatin for vice president. A Pennsylvania convention nominated Jackson for president a month later, stating that the irregular caucus ignored the "voice of the people" in the "vain hope that the American people might be thus deceived into a belief that he [Crawford] was the regular democratic candidate." [128] Gallatin criticized Jackson as "an honest man and the idol of the worshipers of military glory, but from incapacity, military habits, and habitual disregard of laws and constitutional provisions, altogether unfit for the office." [129] After Jackson won the Pennsylvania nomination, Calhoun dropped out of the presidential race and successfully sought the vice presidency instead. [130]

In the presidential election, Jackson won a plurality of the electoral vote, taking states in the South, West, and Mid-Atlantic. He was the only candidate to win states outside of his regional base, as Adams dominated New England, Clay took three western states, and Crawford won Virginia and Georgia. Jackson won a plurality of the popular vote, taking 42 percent, although not all states held a popular vote for the presidency. He won 99 electoral votes, more than any other candidate, but still short of 131, which he needed for a true majority. With no candidate having won a majority of the electoral votes, the House of Representatives held a contingent election under the terms of the Twelfth Amendment. The amendment specifies that only the top three electoral vote-winners are eligible to be elected by the House, so Clay was eliminated from contention. Jackson believed that he was likely to win this contingent election, as Crawford and Adams lacked Jackson's national appeal, and Crawford had suffered a debilitating stroke that made many doubt his physical fitness for the presidency. Clay, who as Speaker of the House presided over the election, saw Jackson as a dangerous demagogue who might topple the republic in favor of his own leadership. He threw his support behind Adams, who shared Clay's support for federally funded internal improvements such as roads and canals. With Clay's backing, Adams won the contingent election on the first ballot. Furious supporters of Jackson accused Clay and Adams of having reached a "corrupt bargain" after Adams appointed Clay as his Secretary of State. [131] "So you see," Jackson growled, "the Judas of the West has closed the contract and receive the thirty pieces of silver. [H]is end will be the same." [132] After the Congressional session concluded, Jackson resigned his Senate seat and returned to Tennessee. [133]

Election of 1828 and death of Rachel Jackson

Almost immediately, opposition arose to the Adams presidency. [134] Jackson opposed Adams's plan to involve the U.S. in Panama's quest for independence, writing, "The moment we engage in confederations, or alliances with any nation, we may from that time date the down fall of our republic." Adams damaged his standing in his first annual message to Congress, when he argued that Congress must not give the world the impression "that we are palsied by the will of our constituents." [135]

Jackson was nominated for president by the Tennessee legislature in October 1825, more than three years before the 1828 election. It was the earliest such nomination in presidential history, and it attested to the fact that Jackson's supporters began the 1828 campaign almost as soon as the 1824 campaign ended. Adams's presidency foundered, as his ambitious agenda faced defeat in a new era of mass politics. Critics led by Jackson attacked Adams's policies as a dangerous expansion of Federal power. New York Senator Martin Van Buren, who had been a prominent supporter of Crawford in 1824, emerged as one of the strongest opponents of Adams's policies, and he settled on Jackson as his preferred candidate in 1828. Van Buren was joined by Vice President Calhoun, who opposed much of Adams's agenda on states' rights grounds. Van Buren and other Jackson allies established numerous pro-Jackson newspapers and clubs around the country, while Jackson avoided campaigning but made himself available to visitors at his Hermitage plantation. In the election, Jackson won a commanding 56 percent of the popular vote and 68 percent of the electoral vote. The election marked the definitive end of the one-party Era of Good Feelings, as Jackson's supporters coalesced into the Democratic Party and Adams's followers became known as the National Republicans. [136] In the large Scots-Irish community that was especially numerous in the rural South and Southwest, Jackson was a favorite. [137]

The campaign was heavily personal. As was the custom at the time, neither candidate personally campaigned, but their political followers organized campaign events. Both candidates were rhetorically attacked in the press. Jackson was labelled a slave trader who bought and sold slaves and moved them about in defiance of higher standards of slaveholder behavior. [138] A series of pamphlets known as the Coffin Handbills were published to attack Jackson, one of which revealed his order to execute soldiers at New Orleans. [108] [139] Another accused him of engaging in cannibalism by eating the bodies of American Indians killed in battle, [140] while still another labeled his mother a "common prostitute" and stated that Jackson's father was a "mulatto man." [141]

Rachel Jackson was also a frequent target of attacks, and was widely accused of bigamy, a reference to the controversial situation of her marriage with Jackson. [142] Jackson's campaigners fired back by claiming that while serving as Minister to Russia, Adams had procured a young girl to serve as a prostitute for Emperor Alexander I. They also stated that Adams had a billiard table in the White House and that he had charged the government for it. [143]

Rachel had been under extreme stress during the election, and often struggled while Jackson was away. She began experiencing significant physical stress during the election season. Jackson described her symptoms as "excruciating pain in the left shoulder, arm, and breast." After struggling for three days, Rachel finally died of a heart attack on December 22, 1828, three weeks after her husband's victory in the election (which began on October 31 and ended on December 2) and 10 weeks before Jackson took office as president. A distraught Jackson had to be pulled from her so the undertaker could prepare the body. [144] He felt that the abuse from Adams's supporters had hastened her death and never forgave him. Rachel was buried at the Hermitage on Christmas Eve. "May God Almighty forgive her murderers, as I know she forgave them" Jackson swore at her funeral. "I never can." [145]

Philosophy

Jackson's name has been associated with Jacksonian democracy or the shift and expansion of democracy with the passing of some political power from established elites to ordinary voters based in political parties. "The Age of Jackson" shaped the national agenda and American politics. [146] Jackson's philosophy as president was similar to that of Jefferson, advocating republican values held by the Revolutionary generation. Jackson took a moral tone, with the belief that agrarian sympathies, and strong states rights with a limited federal government, would produce less corruption. [147] He feared that monied and business interests would corrupt republican values. When South Carolina opposed the tariff law, he took a strong line in favor of nationalism and against secession. [148]

Jackson believed in the ability of the people to "arrive at right conclusions." [149] They had the right not only to elect but to "instruct their agents & representatives." [150] Office holders should either obey the popular will or resign. [147] He rejected the view of a powerful and independent Supreme Court with binding decisions, arguing that "the Congress, the Executive, and the Court must each or itself be guided by its own opinions of the Constitution." [151] Jackson thought that Supreme Court justices should be made to stand for election, and believed in strict constructionism as the best way to ensure democratic rule. [152] He called for term limits on presidents and the abolition of the Electoral College. [153] According to Robert V. Remini, Jackson "was far ahead of his times–and maybe even further than this country can ever achieve." [154]

Inauguration

Jackson departed from the Hermitage on January 19 and arrived in Washington on February 11. He then set about choosing his cabinet members. [155] Jackson chose Van Buren as expected for Secretary of State, Eaton of Tennessee as Secretary of War, Samuel D. Ingham of Pennsylvania as Secretary of Treasury, John Branch of North Carolina as Secretary of Navy, John M. Berrien of Georgia as Attorney General, and William T. Barry of Kentucky as Postmaster General. Jackson's first choice of cabinet proved to be unsuccessful, full of bitter partisanship and gossip. [156] Jackson blamed Adams in part for what was said about Rachel during the campaign, and refused to meet him after arriving in Washington. Therefore, Adams chose not to attend the inauguration. [157]

On March 4, 1829, Andrew Jackson became the first United States president-elect to take the oath of office on the East Portico of the U.S. Capitol. [158] In his inaugural speech, Jackson promised to respect the sovereign powers of states and the constitutional limits of the presidency. He also promised to pursue "reform" by removing power from "unfaithful or incompetent hands." At the conclusion of the ceremony, Jackson invited the public to the White House, where his supporters held a raucous party. Thousands of spectators overwhelmed the White House staff, and minor damage was caused to fixtures and furnishings. Jackson's populism earned him the nickname "King Mob." [159]

Reforms, rotation of offices, and spoils system

In an effort to purge the government of corruption, Jackson launched presidential investigations into all executive Cabinet offices and departments. He believed appointees should be hired on merit and withdrew many candidates he believed were lax in their handling of monies. [160] He believed that the federal government had been corrupted and that he had received a mandate from the American people to purge such corruption. Jackson's investigations uncovered enormous fraud in the federal government, and numerous officials were removed from office and indicted on corruption, including personal friend of John Quincy Adams and Treasury Fourth Auditor Tobias Watkins. [161] [162] In the first year of Jackson's presidency, his investigations uncovered $280,000 stolen from the Treasury, and the Department of the Navy was saved $1 million. [162] He asked Congress to reform embezzlement laws, reduce fraudulent applications for federal pensions, pass revenue laws to prevent evasion of custom duties, and pass laws to improve government accounting. Jackson's Postmaster General Barry resigned after a Congressional investigation into the postal service revealed mismanagement of mail services, collusion and favoritism in awarding lucrative contracts, as well as failure to audit accounts and supervise contract performances. Jackson replaced Barry with Treasury Auditor and prominent Kitchen Cabinet member Amos Kendall, who went on to implement much needed reforms in the Post Office Department. [163]

Jackson repeatedly called for the abolition of the Electoral College by constitutional amendment in his annual messages to Congress as president. [164] [165] In his third annual message to Congress, he expressed the view "I have heretofore recommended amendments of the Federal Constitution giving the election of President and Vice-President to the people and limiting the service of the former to a single term. So important do I consider these changes in our fundamental law that I can not, in accordance with my sense of duty, omit to press them upon the consideration of a new Congress." [153]

Although he was unable to implement these goals, Jackson's time in office did see a variety of other reforms. He supported an act in July 1836 that enabled widows of Revolutionary War soldiers who met certain criteria to receive their husbands' pensions. [166] In 1836, Jackson established the ten-hour day in national shipyards. [167]

Jackson enforced the Tenure of Office Act, signed by President Monroe in 1820, that limited appointed office tenure and authorized the president to remove and appoint political party associates. Jackson believed that a rotation in office was a democratic reform preventing hereditary officeholding and made civil service responsible to the popular will. [168] Jackson declared that rotation of appointments in political office was "a leading principle in the republican creed." [164] Jackson noted, "In a country where offices are created solely for the benefit of the people no one man has any more intrinsic right to official station than another." [169] Jackson believed that rotating political appointments would prevent the development of a corrupt bureaucracy. The number of federal office holders removed by Jackson were exaggerated by his opponents Jackson rotated only about 20% of federal office holders during his first term, some for dereliction of duty rather than political purposes. [170] Jackson, nonetheless, used his presidential power to award loyal Democrats by granting them federal office appointments. Jackson's approach incorporated patriotism for country as qualification for holding office. Having appointed a soldier who had lost his leg fighting on the battlefield to postmaster, Jackson stated, "[i]f he lost his leg fighting for his country, that is . enough for me." [171]

Jackson's theory regarding rotation of office generated what would later be called the spoils system. [168] The political realities of Washington sometimes forced Jackson to make partisan appointments despite his personal reservations. [172] Supervision of bureaus and departments whose operations were outside of Washington (such as the New York Customs House the Postal Service the Departments of Navy and War and the Bureau of Indian Affairs, whose budget had increased enormously in the previous two decades) proved to be difficult. [173] Remini writes that because "friendship, politics, and geography constituted the President's total criteria for appointments, most of his appointments were predictably substandard." [174]

Petticoat affair

Jackson devoted a considerable amount of his presidential time during his early years in office responding to what came to be known as the "Petticoat affair" or "Eaton affair." [175] Washington gossip circulated among Jackson's cabinet members and their wives, including Calhoun's wife Floride Calhoun, concerning Secretary of War Eaton and his wife Peggy Eaton. Salacious rumors held that Peggy, as a barmaid in her father's tavern, had been sexually promiscuous or had even been a prostitute. [176] Controversy also ensued because Peggy had married soon after her previous husband's death, and it was alleged that she and her husband had engaged in an adulterous affair while her previous husband was still living. [177] Petticoat politics emerged when the wives of cabinet members, led by Mrs. Calhoun, refused to socialize with the Eatons. Allowing a prostitute in the official family was unthinkable—but Jackson refused to believe the rumors, telling his Cabinet that "She is as chaste as a virgin!" [176] Jackson believed that the dishonorable people were the rumormongers, who in essence questioned and dishonored Jackson himself by, in attempting to drive the Eatons out, daring to tell him who he could and could not have in his cabinet. Jackson was also reminded of the attacks that were made against his wife. These memories increased his dedication to defending Peggy Eaton. [178]

Meanwhile, the cabinet wives insisted that the interests and honor of all American women was at stake. They believed a responsible woman should never accord a man sexual favors without the assurance that went with marriage. A woman who broke that code was dishonorable and unacceptable. Historian Daniel Walker Howe notes that this was the feminist spirit that in the next decade shaped the woman's rights movement. Secretary of State Martin Van Buren, a widower, was already forming a coalition against Calhoun. He could now see his main chance to strike hard he took the side of Jackson and Eaton. [179]

In the spring of 1831, Jackson, at Van Buren's suggestion, demanded the resignations of all the cabinet members except Barry. Van Buren himself resigned to avoid the appearance of bias. In 1832, Jackson nominated Van Buren to be Minister to Great Britain. Calhoun blocked the nomination with a tie-breaking vote against it, claiming the defeated nomination would ". kill him [Van Buren] dead, sir, kill him dead. He will never kick, sir, never kick." [180] Van Buren continued to serve as an important adviser to Jackson and was placed on the ticket for vice president in the 1832 election, making him Jackson's heir-apparent. [130] The Petticoat affair led to the development of the Kitchen Cabinet. The Kitchen Cabinet emerged as an unofficial group of advisors to the president. Its existence was partially rooted in Jackson's difficulties with his official cabinet, even after the purging. [181]

Indian removal policy

Throughout his eight years in office, Jackson made about 70 treaties with American Indian tribes both in the South and in the Northwest. [182] Jackson's presidency marked the beginning of a policy of Indian removal. [180] Jackson himself sometimes participated in the treaty negotiating process, though other times he left the negotiations to his subordinates. The southern tribes included the Choctaw, Creek, Chickasaw, Seminole and the Cherokee. The northwest tribes include the Chippewa, Ottawa, and the Potawatomi. [183]

Relations between Indians and whites increasingly grew tense and sometimes violent as a result of territorial conflicts. [180] Previous presidents had at times supported removal or attempts to "civilize" Native people, [184] but generally let the problem play itself out with minimal intervention. But by Jackson's time, a growing popular and political movement developed wanting action on the issue, and out of this came policy decisions to relocate certain Indian populations. Jackson, never known for timidity, became an advocate for this relocation policy in what many historians consider the most controversial aspect of his presidency. [180]

In his First Annual Message to Congress, Jackson advocated land west of the Mississippi River be set aside for Indian tribes. On May 26, 1830, Congress passed the Indian Removal Act, which Jackson signed into law two days later. The Act authorized the president to negotiate treaties to buy tribal lands in the east in exchange for lands farther west, outside of existing state borders. [182] The act specifically pertained to the Five Civilized Tribes in the South, the conditions being that they could either move west or stay and obey state law, effectively relinquishing their sovereignty. [185]

Jackson, Eaton, and General Coffee negotiated with the Chickasaw, who quickly agreed to move. [186] Jackson put Eaton and Coffee in charge of negotiating with the Choctaw. Lacking Jackson's skills at negotiation, they simply bribed various leaders in order to gain their agreement. The tactics worked, and with the Treaty of Dancing Rabbit Creek, the Choctaw were required to move. The removal of the Choctaw took place in the winter of 1831 and 1832, and was wrought with misery and suffering. [187] The Seminole, despite the signing of the Treaty of Payne's Landing in 1832, [188] refused to move. In December 1835, this dispute began the Second Seminole War. The war lasted over six years, finally ending in 1842. [183] Members of the Creek Nation had signed the Treaty of Cusseta in 1832, allowing the Creek to either sell or retain their land. [189] Conflict later erupted between the Creek who remained and the white settlers, leading to a second Creek War. [190] A common complaint amongst the tribes was that the men who had signed the treaties did not represent the whole tribe. [183] [190]

The state of Georgia became involved in a dispute with the Cherokee, culminating in the 1832 Supreme Court decision in Worcester v. Georgia. Chief Justice John Marshall, writing for the court, ruled that Georgia could not forbid whites from entering tribal lands, as it had attempted to do with two missionaries supposedly stirring up resistance amongst the tribespeople. [191] Jackson is frequently attributed the following response: "John Marshall has made his decision, now let him enforce it." The quote, apparently indicating Jackson's dismissive view of the courts, was attributed to Jackson by Horace Greeley, who cited as his source Representative George N. Briggs. Remini argues that Jackson did not say it because, while it "certainly sounds like Jackson. [t]here was nothing for him to enforce." This is because a writ of habeas corpus had never been issued for the missionaries. [192] The Court also did not ask federal marshals to carry out the decision, as had become standard. [193]

A group of Cherokees led by John Ridge negotiated the Treaty of New Echota. Ridge was not a widely recognized leader of the Cherokee, and this document was rejected by some as illegitimate. [194] Another faction, led by John Ross, unsuccessfully petitioned to protest the proposed removal. [195] The Cherokee largely considered themselves independent, and not subject to the laws of the United States or Georgia. [196] The treaty was enforced by Jackson's successor, Van Buren. Subsequently, as many as 4,000 out of 18,000 Cherokee died on the "Trail of Tears" in 1838. [197]

More than 45,000 people were relocated, primarily to Indian territory in present-day Oklahoma during Jackson's administration, though some Cherokee people walked back afterwards, and others evaded removal by migrating into the Great Smoky Mountains. [198]

Another conflict during the Jackson administration was the Black Hawk War in 1832 after a group of Sauk and other tribal nations known collectively as the British Banda crossed into Illinois from Iowa, which at the time was still Indian country. [199]

Nullification crisis

In 1828, Congress had approved the "Tariff of Abominations", which set the tariff at a historically high rate. Southern planters, who sold their cotton on the world market, strongly opposed this tariff, which they saw as favoring northern interests. The South now had to pay more for goods it did not produce locally and other countries would have more difficulty affording southern cotton. The issue came to a head during Jackson's presidency, resulting in the Nullification Crisis, in which South Carolina threatened disunion. [200]

The South Carolina Exposition and Protest of 1828, secretly written by Calhoun, asserted that their state had the right to "nullify"—declare void—the tariff legislation of 1828. Although Jackson sympathized with the South in the tariff debate, he also vigorously supported a strong union, with effective powers for the central government. Jackson attempted to face down Calhoun over the issue, which developed into a bitter rivalry between the two men. One incident came at the April 13, 1830, Jefferson Day dinner, involving after-dinner toasts. Robert Hayne began by toasting to "The Union of the States, and the Sovereignty of the States." Jackson then rose, and in a booming voice added "Our federal Union: It must be preserved!" – a clear challenge to Calhoun. Calhoun clarified his position by responding "The Union: Next to our Liberty, the most dear!" [201]

In May 1830, Jackson discovered that Calhoun had asked President Monroe to censure Jackson for his invasion of Spanish Florida in 1818 while Calhoun was serving as Secretary of War. Calhoun's and Jackson's relationship deteriorated further. By February 1831, the break between Calhoun and Jackson was final. Responding to inaccurate press reports about the feud, Calhoun had published letters between him and Jackson detailing the conflict in the United States Telegraph. Jackson and Calhoun began an angry correspondence which lasted until Jackson stopped it in July. [130] The Telegraph, edited by Duff Green, initially supported Jackson. After it sided with Calhoun on nullification, Jackson needed a new organ for the administration. He enlisted the help of longtime supporter Francis Preston Blair, who in November 1830 established a newspaper known as the Washington Globe, which from then on served as the primary mouthpiece of the Democratic Party. [202]

Jackson supported a revision to tariff rates known as the Tariff of 1832. It was designed to placate the nullifiers by lowering tariff rates. Written by Treasury Secretary Louis McLane, the bill lowered duties from 45% to 27%. In May, Representative John Quincy Adams introduced a slightly revised version of the bill, which Jackson accepted. It passed Congress on July 9 and was signed by the president on July 14. The bill failed to satisfy extremists on either side. [203] On November 24, the South Carolina legislature nullified both the Tariff of 1832 and the Tariff of 1828. [204] In response, Jackson sent U.S. Navy warships to Charleston harbor, and threatened to hang any man who worked to support nullification or secession. [205] On December 28, 1832, Calhoun resigned as vice president, after having been elected to the U.S. Senate. [206] [b] This was part of a strategy whereby Calhoun, with less than three months remaining on his vice presidential term, would replace Robert Y. Hayne in the Senate, and he would then become governor of South Carolina. Hayne had often struggled to defend nullification on the floor of the Senate, especially against fierce criticism from Senator Daniel Webster of Massachusetts. [208]

Also that December, Jackson issued a resounding proclamation against the "nullifiers," stating that he considered "the power to annul a law of the United States, assumed by one State, incompatible with the existence of the Union, contradicted expressly by the letter of the Constitution, unauthorized by its spirit, inconsistent with every principle on which it was founded, and destructive of the great object for which it was formed." South Carolina, the president declared, stood on "the brink of insurrection and treason," and he appealed to the people of the state to reassert their allegiance to that Union for which their ancestors had fought. Jackson also denied the right of secession: "The Constitution . forms a government not a league . To say that any State may at pleasure secede from the Union is to say that the United States are not a nation." [209] Jackson tended to personalize the controversy, frequently characterizing nullification as a conspiracy between disappointed and bitter men whose ambitions had been thwarted. [210]

Jackson asked Congress to pass a "Force Bill" explicitly authorizing the use of military force to enforce the tariff. It was introduced by Senator Felix Grundy of Tennessee, and was quickly attacked by Calhoun as "military despotism." [211] At the same time, Calhoun and Clay began to work on a new compromise tariff. A bill sponsored by the administration had been introduced by Representative Gulian C. Verplanck of New York, but it lowered rates more sharply than Clay and other protectionists desired. Clay managed to get Calhoun to agree to a bill with higher rates in exchange for Clay's opposition to Jackson's military threats and, perhaps, with the hope that he could win some Southern votes in his next bid for the presidency. [212] The Compromise Tariff passed on March 1, 1833. [213] The Force Bill passed the same day. Calhoun, Clay, and several others marched out of the chamber in opposition, the only dissenting vote coming from John Tyler of Virginia. [214] The new tariff was opposed by Webster, who argued that it essentially surrendered to South Carolina's demands. [215] Jackson, despite his anger over the scrapping of the Verplanck bill and the new alliance between Clay and Calhoun, saw it as an efficient way to end the crisis. He signed both bills on March 2, starting with the Force Bill. [216] The South Carolina Convention then met and rescinded its nullification ordinance, but in a final show of defiance, nullified the Force Bill. [213] On May 1, Jackson wrote, "the tariff was only the pretext, and disunion and southern confederacy the real object. The next pretext will be the negro, or slavery question." [213]

Foreign affairs

Addressing the subject of foreign affairs in his First Annual Address to Congress, Jackson declared it to be his "settled purpose to ask nothing that is not clearly right and to submit to nothing that is wrong." [164]

When Jackson took office, spoliation claims, or compensation demands for the capture of American ships and sailors, dating from the Napoleonic era, caused strained relations between the U.S. and French governments. The French Navy had captured and sent American ships to Spanish ports while holding their crews captive forcing them to labor without any charges or judicial rules. According to Secretary of State Martin Van Buren, relations between the U.S. and France were "hopeless." [217] Jackson's Minister to France, William C. Rives, through diplomacy was able to convince the French government to sign a reparations treaty on July 4, 1831, that would award the U.S. ₣ 25,000,000 ($5,000,000) in damages. [218] The French government became delinquent in payment due to internal financial and political difficulties. The French king Louis Philippe I and his ministers blamed the French Chamber of Deputies. By 1834, the non-payment of reparations by the French government drew Jackson's ire and he became impatient. In his December 1834 State of the Union address, Jackson sternly reprimanded the French government for non-payment, stating the federal government was "wholly disappointed" by the French, and demanded Congress authorize trade reprisals against France. [219] Feeling insulted by Jackson's words, the French people began pressuring their government not to pay the indemnity until Jackson had apologized for his remarks. [220] In his December 1835 State of the Union Address, Jackson refused to apologize, stating he had a good opinion of the French people and his intentions were peaceful. Jackson described in lengthy and minute detail the history of events surrounding the treaty and his belief that the French government was purposely stalling payment. The French accepted Jackson's statements as sincere and in February 1836, reparations were paid. [221]

In addition to France, the Jackson administration successfully settled spoliation claims with Denmark, Portugal, and Spain. Jackson's state department was active and successful at making trade agreements with Russia, Spain, Turkey, the United Kingdom, and Siam. Under the treaty with the United Kingdom, American trade was reopened in the West Indies. The trade agreement with Siam was America's first treaty between the United States and an Asiatic country. As a result, American exports increased 75% while imports increased 250%. [221]

Jackson's attempt to purchase Texas from Mexico for $5,000,000 failed. The chargé d'affaires in Mexico, Colonel Anthony Butler, suggested that the U.S. take Texas over militarily, but Jackson refused. Butler was later replaced toward the end of Jackson's presidency. In 1835, the Texas Revolution began when pro-slavery American settlers in Texas fought the Mexican government for Texan independence. By May 1836, they had routed the Mexican military, establishing an independent Republic of Texas. The new Texas government legalized slavery and demanded recognition from President Jackson and annexation into the United States. Jackson was hesitant in recognizing Texas, unconvinced that the new republic could maintain independence from Mexico, and not wanting to make Texas an anti-slavery issue during the 1836 election. The strategy worked the Democratic Party and national loyalties were held intact, and Van Buren was elected president. Jackson formally recognized the Republic of Texas, nominating Alcée Louis la Branche as chargé d'affaires on the last full day of his presidency, March 3, 1837. [221]

Jackson failed in his efforts to open trade with China and Japan and was unsuccessful at thwarting the United Kingdom's presence and power in South America. [221]

Bank veto and election of 1832

The 1832 presidential election demonstrated the rapid development and organization of political parties during this time period. The Democratic Party's first national convention, held in Baltimore, nominated Jackson's choice for vice president, Van Buren. The National Republican Party, who had held their first convention in Baltimore earlier in December 1831, nominated Henry Clay, now a senator from Kentucky, and John Sergeant of Pennsylvania. [222] The Anti-Masonic Party emerged by capitalizing on opposition to Freemasonry, which existed primarily in New England, after the disappearance and possible murder of William Morgan. [223] The party, which had earlier held its convention also in Baltimore in September 1831, nominated William Wirt of Maryland and Amos Ellmaker of Pennsylvania. Clay was, like Jackson, a Mason, and so some anti-Jacksonians who would have supported the National Republican Party supported Wirt instead. [224]

In 1816, the Second Bank of the United States was chartered by President James Madison to restore the United States economy devastated by the War of 1812. [225] Monroe had appointed Nicholas Biddle as the Bank's executive. [226] Jackson believed that the Bank was a fundamentally corrupt monopoly. Its stock was mostly held by foreigners, he insisted, and it exerted an unfair amount of control over the political system. Jackson used the issue to promote his democratic values, believing the Bank was being run exclusively for the wealthy. Jackson stated the Bank made "the rich richer and the potent more powerful." [226] He accused it of making loans with the intent of influencing elections. [227] In his address to Congress in 1830, Jackson called for a substitute for the Bank that would have no private stockholders and no ability to lend or purchase land. Its only power would be to issue bills of exchange. [228] The address touched off fiery debate in the Senate. Thomas Hart Benton, now a strong supporter of the president despite the brawl years earlier, gave a speech excoriating the Bank and calling for debate on its recharter. Webster led a motion to narrowly defeat the resolution. Shortly afterward, the Globe announced that Jackson would stand for reelection. [229]

Despite his misgivings about the Bank, Jackson supported a plan proposed in late 1831 by his moderately pro-Bank Treasury Secretary Louis McLane, who was secretly working with Biddle, to recharter a reformed version of the Bank in a way that would free up funds which would in turn be used to strengthen the military or pay off the nation's debt. This would be done, in part, through the sale of government stock in the Bank. Over the objections of Attorney General Roger B. Taney, an irreconcilable opponent of the Bank, he allowed McLane to publish a Treasury Report which essentially recommended rechartering the Bank. [230]

Clay hoped to make the Bank an issue in the election, so as to accuse Jackson of going beyond his powers if he vetoed a recharter bill. He and Webster urged Biddle to immediately apply for recharter rather than wait to reach a compromise with the administration. [231] Biddle received advice to the contrary from moderate Democrats such as McLane and William Lewis, who argued that Biddle should wait because Jackson would likely veto the recharter bill. On January 6, 1832, Biddle submitted to Congress a renewal of the Bank's charter without any of the proposed reforms. [232] The submission came four years before the original 20-year charter was to end. Biddle's recharter bill passed the Senate on June 11 and the House on July 3, 1832. [226] Jackson determined to veto it. Many moderate Democrats, including McLane, were appalled by the perceived arrogance of the bill and supported his decision. When Van Buren met Jackson on July 4, Jackson declared, "The Bank, Mr. Van Buren, is trying to kill me. But I will kill it." [233] Jackson vetoed the bill on July 10. The veto message was crafted primarily by Taney, Kendall, and Jackson's nephew and advisor Andrew Jackson Donelson. It attacked the Bank as an agent of inequality that supported only the wealthy. [234] The veto was considered "one of the strongest and most controversial" presidential statements [235] and "a brilliant political manifesto." [236] The National Republican Party immediately made Jackson's veto of the Bank a political issue. [224] Jackson's political opponents castigated the veto as "the very slang of the leveller and demagogue," claiming Jackson was using class warfare to gain support from the common man. [226]

At Biddle's direction, the Bank poured thousands of dollars into a campaign to defeat Jackson, seemingly confirming Jackson's view that it interfered in the political process. [237] Jackson successfully portrayed his veto as a defense of the common man against governmental tyranny. Clay proved to be no match for Jackson's ability to resonate with the people and the Democratic Party's strong political networks. Democratic newspapers, parades, barbecues, and rallies increased Jackson's popularity. [238] Jackson himself made numerous public appearances on his return trip from Tennessee to Washington, D.C. He won the election by a landslide, receiving 54 percent of the popular vote and 219 electoral votes. Clay received 37 percent of the popular vote and 49 electoral votes. Wirt received only eight percent of the popular vote and seven electoral votes while the Anti-Masonic Party eventually declined. [239] Jackson believed the solid victory was a popular mandate for his veto of the Bank's recharter and his continued warfare on the Bank's control over the national economy. [240]

Removal of deposits and censure

In 1833, Jackson attempted to begin removing federal deposits from the bank, whose money-lending functions were taken over by the legions of local and state banks that materialized across America, thus drastically increasing credit and speculation. [241] Jackson's moves were greatly controversial. He removed McLane from the Treasury Department, having him serve instead as Secretary of State, replacing Edward Livingston. He replaced McLane with William J. Duane. [242] In September, he fired Duane for refusing to remove the deposits. Signalling his intent to continue battling the Bank, he replaced Duane with Taney. [243] Under Taney, the deposits began to be removed. [241] They were placed in a variety of state banks which were friendly to the administration's policies, known to critics as pet banks. [244] Biddle responded by stockpiling the Bank's reserves and contracting credit, thus causing interest rates to rise and bringing about a financial panic. The moves were intended to force Jackson into a compromise. "Nothing but the evidence of suffering abroad will produce any effect in Congress," he wrote. At first, Biddle's strategy was successful, putting enormous pressure on Jackson. [245] But Jackson handled the situation well. When people came to him complaining, he referred them to Biddle, saying that he was the man who had "all the money." [246] Jackson's approach worked. Biddle's strategy backfired, increasing anti-Bank sentiment. [247] [248]

In 1834, those who disagreed with Jackson's expansion of executive power united and formed the Whig Party, calling Jackson "King Andrew I," and named their party after the English Whigs who opposed seventeenth century British monarchy. [249] A movement emerged among Whigs in the Senate to censure Jackson. The censure was a political maneuver spearheaded by Clay, which served only to perpetuate the animosity between him and Jackson. [250] Jackson called Clay "reckless and as full of fury as a drunken man in a brothel." [251] On March 28, the Senate voted to censure Jackson 26–20. [252] It also rejected Taney as Treasury Secretary. [253] The House however, led by Ways and Means Committee chairman James K. Polk, declared on April 4 that the Bank "ought not to be rechartered" and that the depositions "ought not to be restored." It voted to continue allowing pet banks to be places of deposit and voted even more overwhelmingly to investigate whether the Bank had deliberately instigated the panic. Jackson called the passage of these resolutions a "glorious triumph." It essentially sealed the Bank's demise. [254] The Democrats later suffered a temporary setback. Polk ran for Speaker of the House to replace Andrew Stevenson. After Southerners discovered his connection to Van Buren, he was defeated by fellow-Tennessean John Bell, a Democrat-turned-Whig who opposed Jackson's removal policy. [255]

Payment of US national debt

The national economy following the withdrawal of the remaining funds from the Bank was booming and the federal government through duty revenues and sale of public lands was able to pay all bills. On January 1, 1835, Jackson paid off the entire national debt, the only time in U.S. history that has been accomplished. [256] [257] The objective had been reached in part through Jackson's reforms aimed at eliminating the misuse of funds and through his vetoes of legislation which he deemed extravagant. [258] In December 1835, Polk defeated Bell in a rematch and was elected Speaker. [259] Finally, on January 16, 1837, when the Jacksonians had a majority in the Senate, the censure was expunged after years of effort by Jackson supporters. [250] The expunction movement was led, ironically, by Benton. [260]

In 1836, in response to increased land speculation, Jackson issued the Specie Circular, an executive order that required buyers of government lands to pay in "specie" (gold or silver coins). The result was high demand for specie, which many banks could not meet in exchange for their notes, contributing to the Panic of 1837. [261] The White House Van Buren biography notes, "Basically the trouble was the 19th-century cyclical economy of 'boom and bust,' which was following its regular pattern, but Jackson's financial measures contributed to the crash. His destruction of the Second Bank of the United States had removed restrictions upon the inflationary practices of some state banks wild speculation in lands, based on easy bank credit, had swept the West. To end this speculation, Jackson in 1836 had issued a Specie Circular . " [262]

Attack and assassination attempt

The first recorded physical attack on a U.S. president was directed at Jackson. He had ordered the dismissal of Robert B. Randolph from the navy for embezzlement. On May 6, 1833, Jackson sailed on USS Cygnet to Fredericksburg, Virginia, where he was to lay the cornerstone on a monument near the grave of Mary Ball Washington, George Washington's mother. During a stopover near Alexandria, Randolph appeared and struck the president. He fled the scene chased by several members of Jackson's party, including the writer Washington Irving. Jackson declined to press charges. [23]

On January 30, 1835, what is believed to be the first attempt to kill a sitting president of the United States occurred just outside the United States Capitol. When Jackson was leaving through the East Portico after the funeral of South Carolina Representative Warren R. Davis, Richard Lawrence, an unemployed house painter from England, aimed a pistol at Jackson, which misfired. Lawrence then pulled out a second pistol, which also misfired. Historians believe the humid weather contributed to the double misfiring. [263] Jackson, infuriated, attacked Lawrence with his cane, until others present, including Davy Crockett, fearing that the president would beat Lawrence to a pulp, intervened to restrain and disarm Lawrence. [264] [265]

Lawrence offered a variety of explanations for the attempted shooting. He blamed Jackson for the loss of his job. He claimed that with the president dead, "money would be more plenty," (a reference to Jackson's struggle with the Bank of the United States) and that he "could not rise until the President fell." Finally, Lawrence told his interrogators that he was a deposed English king—specifically, Richard III, dead since 1485—and that Jackson was his clerk. [266] He was deemed insane and was institutionalized at the Government Hospital for the Insane in Washington, D.C. [267] [268]

Afterwards, the pistols were tested and retested. Each time they performed perfectly. Many believed that Jackson had been protected by the same Providence that also protected their young nation. The incident became a part of Jacksonian mythos. Jackson initially suspected that a number of his political enemies might have orchestrated the attempt on his life. His suspicions were never proven. [269]

Reaction to anti-slavery tracts

During the summer of 1835, Northern abolitionists began sending anti-slavery tracts through the postal system into the South. [270] Pro-slavery Southerners demanded that the postal service ban distribution of the materials, which were deemed "incendiary," and some began to riot. Jackson wanted sectional peace, and desired to placate Southerners ahead of the 1836 election. [271] He fiercely disliked the abolitionists, whom he believed were, by instituting sectional jealousies, attempting to destroy the Union. [272] Jackson also did not want to condone open insurrection. He supported the solution of Postmaster General Amos Kendall, which gave Southern postmasters discretionary powers to either send or detain the anti-slavery tracts. [271] That December, Jackson called on Congress to prohibit the circulation through the South of "incendiary publications intended to instigate the slaves to insurrection." [273]

U.S. exploring expedition

Jackson initially opposed any federal exploratory scientific expeditions during his first term in office. [274] The last scientific federally funded expeditions took place from 1817 to 1823, led by Stephen H. Harriman on the Red River of the North. Jackson's predecessor, President Adams, attempted to launch a scientific oceanic exploration in 1828, but Congress was unwilling to fund the effort. When Jackson assumed office in 1829 he pocketed Adams' expedition plans. Eventually, wanting to establish his presidential legacy, similar to Jefferson and the Lewis and Clark Expedition, Jackson sponsored scientific exploration during his second term. On May 18, 1836, Jackson signed a law creating and funding the oceanic United States Exploring Expedition. Jackson put Secretary of the Navy Mahlon Dickerson in charge, to assemble suitable ships, officers, and scientific staff for the expedition with a planned launch before Jackson's term of office expired. Dickerson proved unfit for the task, preparations stalled and the expedition was not launched until 1838, during the presidency of Van Buren. [274] One brig ship, USS Porpoise, later used in the expedition having been commissioned by Secretary Dickerson in May 1836, circumnavigated the world and explored and mapped the Southern Ocean, confirming the existence of the continent of Antarctica. [275]

Panic of 1837

In spite of economic success following Jackson's vetoes and war against the Bank, reckless speculation in land and railroads eventually caused the Panic of 1837. [276] Contributing factors included Jackson's veto of the Second National Bank renewal charter in 1832 and subsequent transfer of federal monies to state banks in 1833 that caused western banks to relax their lending standards. Two other Jacksonian acts in 1836 contributed to the Panic of 1837: the Specie Circular, which mandated western lands only be purchased by money backed by gold and silver, and the Deposit and Distribution Act, which transferred federal monies from eastern to western state banks and in turn led to a speculation frenzy by banks. Jackson's Specie Circular, albeit designed to reduce speculation and stabilize the economy, left many investors unable to afford to pay loans in gold and silver. The same year there was a downturn in Great Britain's economy that stopped investment in the United States. As a result, the U.S. economy went into a depression, banks became insolvent, the national debt (previously paid off) increased, business failures rose, cotton prices dropped, and unemployment dramatically increased. [276] The depression that followed lasted for four years until 1841, when the economy began to rebound. [256] [277]

Administration and cabinet

The Jackson [278] Cabinet
OfficeNameTerm
PresidentAndrew Jackson1829–1837
Vice PresidentJohn C. Calhoun1829–1832
None1832–1833
Martin Van Buren1833–1837
Secretary of StateMartin Van Buren1829–1831
Edward Livingston1831–1833
Louis McLane1833–1834
John Forsyth1834–1837
Secretary of the TreasurySamuel D. Ingham1829–1831
Louis McLane1831–1833
William J. Duane1833
Roger B. Taney1833–1834
Levi Woodbury1834–1837
Secretary of WarJohn Eaton1829–1831
Lewis Cass1831–1836
Attorney GeneralJohn M. Berrien1829–1831
Roger B. Taney1831–1833
Benjamin Franklin Butler1833–1837
Postmaster GeneralWilliam T. Barry1829–1835
Amos Kendall1835–1837
Secretary of the NavyJohn Branch1829–1831
Levi Woodbury1831–1834
Mahlon Dickerson1834–1837

Judicial appointments

Jackson appointed six justices to the Supreme Court. [279] Most were undistinguished. His first appointee, John McLean, had been nominated in Barry's place after Barry had agreed to become postmaster general. [280] McLean "turned Whig and forever schemed to win" the presidency. His next two appointees–Henry Baldwin and James Moore Wayne–disagreed with Jackson on some points but were poorly regarded even by Jackson's enemies. [174] In reward for his services, Jackson nominated Taney to the Court to fill a vacancy in January 1835, but the nomination failed to win Senate approval. [280] Chief Justice Marshall died in 1835, leaving two vacancies on the court. Jackson nominated Taney for Chief Justice and Philip P. Barbour for Associate Justice. Both were confirmed by the new Senate. [281] Taney served as Chief Justice until 1864, presiding over a court that upheld many of the precedents set by the Marshall Court. [282] He was regarded with respect over the course of his career on the bench, but his opinion in Dred Scott v. Sandford largely overshadows his other accomplishments. [283] On the last full day of his presidency, Jackson nominated John Catron, who was confirmed. [284]

States admitted to the Union

Two new states were admitted into the Union during Jackson's presidency: Arkansas (June 15, 1836) [285] and Michigan (January 26, 1837). [286] Both states increased Democratic power in Congress and helped Van Buren win the presidency in 1836. This was in keeping with the tradition that new states would support the party which had done the most to admit them. [287]

In 1837, after serving two terms as president, Jackson was replaced by his chosen successor Martin Van Buren and retired to the Hermitage. He immediately began putting it in order as it had been poorly managed in his absence by his adopted son, Andrew Jackson Jr. Although he suffered ill health, Jackson remained highly influential in both national and state politics. [288] He was a firm advocate of the federal union of the states and rejected any talk of secession, insisting, "I will die with the Union." [289] Blamed for causing the Panic of 1837, he was unpopular in his early retirement. Jackson continued to denounce the "perfidy and treachery" of banks and urged his successor, Van Buren, to repudiate the Specie Circular as president. [288]

As a solution to the panic, he supported an Independent Treasury system, which was designed to hold the money balances of the government in the form of gold or silver and would be restricted from printing paper money so as to prevent further inflation. [290] A coalition of conservative Democrats and Whigs opposed the bill, and it was not passed until 1840. During the delay, no effective remedy had been implemented for the depression. Van Buren grew deeply unpopular. A unified Whig Party nominated popular war hero William Henry Harrison and former Jacksonian John Tyler in the 1840 presidential election. The Whigs' campaign style in many ways mimicked that of the Democrats when Jackson ran. They depicted Van Buren as an aristocrat who did not care for the concerns of ordinary Americans, while glorifying Harrison's military record and portraying him as a man of the people. Jackson campaigned heavily for Van Buren in Tennessee. [291] He favored the nomination of Polk for vice president at the 1840 Democratic National Convention over controversial incumbent Richard Mentor Johnson. No nominee was chosen, and the party chose to leave the decision up to individual state electors. [292]

Harrison won the election, and the Whigs captured majorities in both houses of Congress. "The democracy of the United States has been shamefully beaten", Jackson wrote to Van Buren, "but I trust, not conquered." [293] Harrison died only a month into his term, and was replaced by Tyler. Jackson was encouraged because Tyler had a strong independent streak and was not bound by party lines. [294] Tyler quickly incurred the wrath of the Whigs in 1841 when he vetoed two Whig-sponsored bills to establish a new national bank, bringing satisfaction to Jackson and other Democrats. [295] After the second veto, Tyler's entire cabinet, with the exception of Daniel Webster, resigned. [296]

Jackson strongly favored the annexation of Texas, a feat he had been unable to accomplish during his own presidency. While Jackson still feared that annexation would stir up anti-slavery sentiment, his belief that the British would use Texas as a base to threaten the United States overrode his other concerns. [297] He also insisted that Texas was part of the Louisiana Purchase and therefore rightfully belonged to the United States. [298] At the request of Senator Robert J. Walker of Mississippi, acting on behalf of the Tyler administration, which also supported annexation, Jackson wrote several letters to Texas president Sam Houston, urging him to wait for the Senate to approve annexation and explaining how much being a part of the United States would benefit Texas. [299] Initially prior to the 1844 election, Jackson again supported Van Buren for president and Polk for vice president. A treaty of annexation was signed by Tyler on April 12, 1844, and submitted to the Senate. When a letter from Secretary of State Calhoun to British Ambassador Richard Pakenham linking annexation to slavery was made public, anti-annexation sentiment exploded in the North and the bill failed to be ratified. Van Buren decided to write the "Hamlet letter," opposing annexation. This effectively extinguished any support that Van Buren might previously have enjoyed in the South. [300] The Whig nominee, Henry Clay, also opposed annexation, and Jackson recognized the need for the Democrats to nominate a candidate who supported it and could therefore gain the support of the South. If the plan failed, Jackson warned, Texas would not join the Union and would potentially fall victim to a Mexican invasion supported by the British. [301]

Jackson met with Polk, Robert Armstrong, and Andrew Jackson Donelson in his study. He then pointed directly at a startled Polk, telling him that, as a man from the southwest and a supporter of annexation, he would be the perfect candidate. Polk called the scheme "utterly abortive", but agreed to go along with it. [302] At the 1844 Democratic National Convention, Polk emerged as the party's nominee after Van Buren failed to win the required two-thirds majority of delegates. George M. Dallas was selected for vice president. Jackson convinced Tyler to drop his plans of running for re-election as an independent by promising, as Tyler requested, to welcome the President and his allies back into the Democratic Party and by instructing Blair to stop criticizing the President. [303] Polk won the election, defeating Clay. [297] A bill of annexation was passed by Congress in February and signed by Tyler on March 1. [304]

Jackson's age and illness eventually overcame him. On June 8, 1845, he was surrounded by family and friends at his deathbed. Jackson, startled by their sobbing, said, "What is the matter with my dear children? Have I alarmed you? Oh, do not cry. Be good children and we will all meet in Heaven." [305] He died immediately after at the age of 78 of chronic dropsy and heart failure. [306] [305] According to a newspaper account from the Boon Lick Times, "[he] fainted whilst being removed from his chair to the bed . but he subsequently revived . Gen. Jackson died at the Hermitage at 6 p.m. on Sunday the 8th instant. . When the messenger finally came, the old soldier, patriot and Christian was looking out for his approach. He is gone, but his memory lives, and will continue to live." [307] In his will, Jackson left his entire estate to Andrew Jackson Jr. except for specifically enumerated items that were left to various friends and family members. [308]

Family

Jackson had three adopted sons: Theodore, an Indian about whom little is known, [309] Andrew Jackson Jr., the son of Rachel's brother Severn Donelson, and Lyncoya, a Creek orphan adopted by Jackson after the Battle of Tallushatchee. Lyncoya died of tuberculosis on July 1, 1828, at the age of sixteen. [310]

The Jacksons also acted as guardians for eight other children. John Samuel Donelson, Daniel Smith Donelson, and Andrew Jackson Donelson were the sons of Rachel's brother Samuel Donelson, who died in 1804. Andrew Jackson Hutchings was Rachel's orphaned grand nephew. Caroline Butler, Eliza Butler, Edward Butler, and Anthony Butler were the orphaned children of Edward Butler, a family friend. They came to live with the Jacksons after the death of their father. [311]

The widower Jackson invited Rachel's niece Emily Donelson to serve as hostess at the White House. Emily was married to Andrew Jackson Donelson, who acted as Jackson's private secretary and in 1856 ran for vice president on the American Party ticket. The relationship between the president and Emily became strained during the Petticoat affair, and the two became estranged for over a year. They eventually reconciled and she resumed her duties as White House hostess. Sarah Yorke Jackson, the wife of Andrew Jackson Jr., became co-hostess of the White House in 1834. It was the only time in history when two women simultaneously acted as unofficial First Lady. Sarah took over all hostess duties after Emily died from tuberculosis in 1836. Jackson used Rip Raps as a retreat. [312]

Temperament

Jackson's quick temper was notorious. Biographer H. W. Brands notes that his opponents were terrified of his temper: "Observers likened him to a volcano, and only the most intrepid or recklessly curious cared to see it erupt. . His close associates all had stories of his blood-curdling oaths, his summoning of the Almighty to loose His wrath upon some miscreant, typically followed by his own vow to hang the villain or blow him to perdition. Given his record—in duels, brawls, mutiny trials, and summary hearings—listeners had to take his vows seriously." [313]

On the last day of his presidency, Jackson admitted that he had but two regrets, that he "had been unable to shoot Henry Clay or to hang John C. Calhoun." [314] On his deathbed, he was once again quoted as regretting that he had not hanged Calhoun for treason. "My country would have sustained me in the act, and his fate would have been a warning to traitors in all time to come," he said. [315] Remini expresses the opinion that Jackson was typically in control of his temper, and that he used his anger, along with his fearsome reputation, as a tool to get what he wanted. [316]

Physical appearance

Jackson was a lean figure, standing at 6 feet 1 inch (1.85 m) tall, and weighing between 130 and 140 pounds (59 and 64 kg) on average. Jackson also had an unruly shock of red hair, which had completely grayed by the time he became president at age 61. He had penetrating deep blue eyes. Jackson was one of the more sickly presidents, suffering from chronic headaches, abdominal pains, and a hacking cough. Much of his trouble was caused by a musket ball in his lung that was never removed, that often brought up blood and sometimes made his whole body shake. [116]

Religious faith

In 1838, Jackson became an official member of the First Presbyterian Church in Nashville. [317] Both his mother and his wife had been devout Presbyterians all their lives, but Jackson himself had postponed officially entering the church in order to avoid accusations that he had joined only for political reasons. [318]

Freemasonry

Jackson was a Freemason, initiated at Harmony Lodge No. 1 in Tennessee. He was elected Grand Master of the Grand Lodge of Tennessee in 1822 and 1823. [319] During the 1832 presidential election, Jackson faced opposition from the Anti-Masonic Party. He was the only U.S. president to have served as Grand Master of a state's Grand Lodge until Harry S. Truman in 1945. His Masonic apron is on display in the Tennessee State Museum. An obelisk and bronze Masonic plaque decorate his tomb at the Hermitage. [320] [321] [322]

Historical reputation

Jackson remains one of the most studied and controversial figures in American history. Historian Charles Grier Sellers says, "Andrew Jackson's masterful personality was enough by itself to make him one of the most controversial figures ever to stride across the American stage." There has never been universal agreement on Jackson's legacy, for "his opponents have ever been his most bitter enemies, and his friends almost his worshippers." [323] He was always a fierce partisan, with many friends and many enemies. He has been lauded as the champion of the common man, while criticized for his treatment of Indians and for other matters. [324] James Parton was the first man after Jackson's death to write a full biography of him. Trying to sum up the contradictions in his subject, he wrote:

Andrew Jackson, I am given to understand, was a patriot and a traitor. He was one of the greatest generals, and wholly ignorant of the art of war. A brilliant writer, elegant, eloquent, without being able to compose a correct sentence or spell words of four syllables. The first of statesmen, he never devised, he never framed, a measure. He was the most candid of men, and was capable of the most profound dissimulation. A most law-defying law-obeying citizen. A stickler for discipline, he never hesitated to disobey his superior. A democratic autocrat. An urbane savage. An atrocious saint. [325]

Jackson was criticized by his contemporary Alexis de Tocqueville in his 1835 book Democracy in America for flattering the dominant ideas of his time, including the mistrust over the federal power, for sometimes enforcing his view by force and disrespect towards the institutions and the law:

Far from wishing to extend the Federal power, the President belongs to the party which is desirous of limiting that power to the clear and precise letter of the Constitution, and which never puts a construction upon that act favorable to the government of the Union far from standing forth as the champion of centralization, General Jackson is the agent of the state jealousies and he was placed in his lofty station by the passions that are most opposed to the central government. It is by perpetually flattering these passions that he maintains his station and his popularity. General Jackson is the slave of the majority: he yields to its wishes, its propensities, and its demands—say, rather, anticipates and forestalls them. . General Jackson stoops to gain the favor of the majority but when he feels that his popularity is secure, he overthrows all obstacles in the pursuit of the objects which the community approves or of those which it does not regard with jealousy. Supported by a power that his predecessors never had, he tramples on his personal enemies, whenever they cross his path, with a facility without example he takes upon himself the responsibility of measures that no one before him would have ventured to attempt. He even treats the national representatives with a disdain approaching to insult he puts his veto on the laws of Congress and frequently neglects even to reply to that powerful body. He is a favorite who sometimes treats his master roughly.

In the 20th century, Jackson was the subject of multiple biographies. Arthur M. Schlesinger Jr.'s Age of Jackson (1945) depicts Jackson as a man of the people battling inequality and upper-class tyranny. [326] From the 1970s to the 1980s, Robert Remini published a three-volume biography of Jackson followed by an abridged one-volume study. Remini paints a generally favorable portrait of Jackson. [327] He contends that Jacksonian democracy "stretches the concept of democracy about as far as it can go and still remain workable. . As such it has inspired much of the dynamic and dramatic events of the nineteenth and twentieth centuries in American history—Populism, Progressivism, the New and Fair Deals, and the programs of the New Frontier and Great Society." [328] To Remini, Jackson serves as "the embodiment of the new American . This new man was no longer British. He no longer wore the queue and silk pants. He wore trousers, and he had stopped speaking with a British accent." [327] Other 20th-century writers such as Richard Hofstadter and Bray Hammond depict Jackson as an advocate of the sort of laissez-faire capitalism that benefits the rich and oppresses the poor. [326]

Jackson's policies against Native American people have been widely considered genocide. [329] Starting around 1970, Jackson came under attack from some historians on this issue. Howard Zinn called him "the most aggressive enemy of the Indians in early American history" and "exterminator of Indians." [330] [331]

Jackson has long been honored, along with Thomas Jefferson, in the Jefferson–Jackson Day fundraising dinners held by state Democratic Party organizations to honor the two men whom the party regards as its founders. However, because both Jefferson and Jackson were slave owners, as well as because of Jackson's Indian removal policies, many state party organizations have renamed the dinners. [332] [333]

Brands argues that Jackson's reputation suffered since the 1960s as his actions towards Indians and African Americans received new attention. He also claims that the Indian controversy has eclipsed Jackson's other achievements in public memory. Brands notes that he was often hailed during his lifetime as the "second George Washington" because, while Washington had fought for independence, Jackson confirmed it at New Orleans and made the United States a great power. Over time, while the Revolution has maintained a strong presence in the public conscience, memory of the War of 1812, including the Battle of New Orleans, has sharply declined. Brands argues that this is because once America had become a military power, "it was easy to think that America had been destined for this role from the beginning." [334]

Still, Jackson's performance in office compared to other presidents has generally been ranked in the top half in public opinion polling. His position in C-SPAN's poll dropped from 13th in 2009 to 18th in 2017. [335]

Portrayal on banknotes and stamps

Jackson has appeared on U.S. banknotes as far back as 1869, and extending into the 21st century. His image has appeared on the $5, $10, $20, and $10,000 note. Most recently, his image has appeared on the U.S. $20 Federal reserve note beginning in 1928. [336] In 2016, Treasury Secretary Jack Lew announced his goal that by 2020 an image of Harriet Tubman would replace Jackson's depiction on the front side of the $20 banknote, and that an image of Jackson would be placed on the reverse side, though the final decision will be made by his successors. [337]

Jackson has appeared on several postage stamps. He first appeared on an 1863 two-cent stamp, which is commonly referred to by collectors as the Black Jack due to the large portraiture of Jackson on its face printed in pitch black. [338] During the American Civil War, the Confederate government issued two Confederate postage stamps bearing Jackson's portrait, one a 2-cent red stamp and the other a 2-cent green stamp, both issued in 1863. [339]

Memorials

Numerous counties and cities are named after him, including the city of Jacksonville in Florida and North Carolina the cities of Jackson in Louisiana, Michigan, Mississippi, Missouri, and Tennessee the city of Andrew in Iowa Jackson County in Florida, Illinois, Iowa, Michigan, Mississippi, Missouri, Ohio, and Oregon and Jackson Parish in Louisiana. [340]

Memorials to Jackson include a set of four identical equestrian statues by the sculptor Clark Mills: in Lafayette Square, Washington, D.C. in Jackson Square, New Orleans in Nashville on the grounds of the Tennessee State Capitol and in Jacksonville, Florida. [341] Other equestrian statues of Jackson have been erected elsewhere, as in the State Capitol grounds in Raleigh, North Carolina. That statue controversially identifies him as one of the "presidents North Carolina gave the nation," and he is featured alongside James Polk and Andrew Johnson, both U.S. presidents born in North Carolina. [342] There is a bust of Andrew Jackson in Plaza Ferdinand VII in Pensacola, Florida, where he became the first governor of the Florida Territory in 1821. [343] There is also a 1928 bronze sculpture of Andrew Jackson by Belle Kinney Scholz and Leopold Scholz in the U.S. Capitol Building as part of the National Statuary Hall Collection. [344]

Popular culture depictions

Jackson and his wife Rachel were the main subjects of a 1951 historical novel by Irving Stone, The President's Lady, which told the story of their lives up until Rachel's death. The novel was the basis for the 1953 film of the same name starring Charlton Heston as Jackson and Susan Hayward as Rachel. [345] [346]

Jackson has been a supporting character in a number of historical films and television productions. Lionel Barrymore played Jackson in The Gorgeous Hussy (1936), a fictionalized biography of Peggy Eaton starring Joan Crawford. [347] The Buccaneer (1938), depicting the Battle of New Orleans, included Hugh Sothern as Jackson, [348] and was remade in 1958 with Heston again playing Jackson. [349] Basil Ruysdael played Jackson in Walt Disney's 1955 Davy Crockett TV miniseries. [350] Wesley Addy appeared as Jackson in some episodes of the 1976 PBS miniseries The Adams Chronicles. [351]

Jackson is the protagonist of the comedic historic rock musical Bloody Bloody Andrew Jackson (2008) with music and lyrics by Michael Friedman and book by Alex Timbers. [352]


The Dorr Rebellion

The Dorr Rebellion in Rhode Island was an uprising of men who wanted to see greater, faster expansion of white male suffrage.

Learning Objectives

Describe the circumstances surrounding the Dorr Rebellion and its effect on the Rhode Island constitution

Key Takeaways

Key Points

  • The Dorr Rebellion of Rhode Island (1841–1842) was an insurrection led by Thomas Dorr regarding the issues of suffrage and electoral-system reforms.
  • Under Rhode Island’s original charter, only landowners were allowed to vote. As a result, by 1829, 60 percent of the state’s free white men were ineligible to vote (as were all women and most non-white men).
  • The Dorr Rebellion demonstrated that as average citizens became more involved in political issues, conflict was possible and did occur. The event can be viewed as symptomatic of an era in which citizens became more passionate about and partisan in their political beliefs.
  • The rebellion started when two different state constitutions were approved and two different governors were elected in the same election. The Dorrites favored greater voting rights, while the Charterites preferred the original charter and restricted voting.
  • The Dorr Rebellion fell apart after an unsuccessful attack on the Providence arsenal in 1842. However, the event convinced the Charterites to frame a new state constitution that extended suffrage to any free man, regardless of race, who could pay a poll tax of one dollar.

Key Terms

  • Guarantee Clause: Article Four of the U.S. Constitution, which outlines the duties states have to each other as well as those the federal government has to the states.
  • Charterite: A resident of Rhode Island who supported the original state charter that limited suffrage to free white landowners.
  • dorrite: A participant in the Dorr Rebellion of 1841–1842.

Introduction: The Dorr Rebellion

The Dorr Rebellion (1841–1842) was a short-lived, armed insurrection in the U.S. state of Rhode Island led by Thomas Wilson Dorr, who was agitating for changes to the state’s electoral system. The Rebellion demonstrated that as average citizens became more involved in political issues, conflict was possible and did occur. The event can be viewed as symptomatic of an era in which citizens became more passionate about and partisan in their political beliefs.

Precursors

Under Rhode Island’s charter, only white male landowners could vote. At a time when most of the citizens of the colonies were farmers, this was considered fairly democratic. By the 1840s, property worth at least $134 was required in order to vote. However, as the Industrial Revolution reached North America and people moved to cities, fewer people owned land.

By 1829, 60 percent of the state’s white men were ineligible to vote (as were all women and most non-white men), meaning that the electorate of Rhode Island was made up of only 40 percent of the state’s white men. Those who wished to extend white male suffrage argued that the charter was un- republican and violated the U.S. Constitution’s Guarantee Clause, which stated, “The United States shall guarantee to every State in this Union a Republican Form of Government….”

Before the 1840s, there had been several attempts to approve a new state constitution that provided broader voting rights however, all had failed. The charter lacked a procedure for amendment, and the Rhode Island General Assembly had consistently failed to liberalize the constitution by extending voting rights, enacting a bill of rights, or reapportioning the legislature. By 1841, Rhode Island was one of the few states without universal suffrage for white men.


Watch the video: My new Jackson Audio DIY Cab and how I assembled it! (December 2021).