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With Andrew Jackson's inauguration, the forces of egalitarianism for white men swept over the government. Jackson, although anything but a "common man," was egalitarian towards fellow white men in his habits. As was the case with other white men of the day, he was not egalitarian, as some historians have asserted, for he certainly did not believe in equal rights for women, African Americans, or "Native Americans." He was courteous to them and even raised a "Native American" in his home but he was a racist and a believer that women were innately inferior to men and had to be protected by men. He fought "Native Americans" many times, developing a reputation as an Indian fighter. As President, he would advocate the theft of their lands and the exiling of them to the West. He seemed egalitarian at the time because he believed in the common white man unlike the Federalists and the Jeffersonian Republicans who were elitists. His first inauguration signaled the change for people adopted him as one of their own and mobs at the White House became a problem. When the liquid refreshment was moved outside to get them and their muddy footwear out of the White House, many of them jumped out the windows to get something to drink. The establishment was appalled.
Jackson believed that almost any man could serve in the government bureaucracy. He put this into practice by rotating people in office. Just as Eli Whitney had introduced interchangeable parts in manufacturing, Jackson did it for federal government employment. Although Jefferson had more faith in people than did the Federalists, he still believed in an aristocracy of merit. Jackson did not.
Jackson's attitudes allowed him to introduce the Spoils System to national politics for he could reward all manner of supporters by giving them jobs. He was the first president to operate on the principle that the people themselves should decide public policy. He argued that he was the only public official elected by the people as a whole. He saw himself as a democratic tribune. He used the veto 12 times; all his predecessors had used it a combined total of 9 times. He usually took his Differences with Congress to the people.
Jackson had little political experience and few knew where he stood on the issues of the day. He was a popular candidate in 1824 and 1828 because he was General Andrew Jackson, hero of the Battle of New Orleans, not because he had experience in national politics. When he won the popular vote in 1824 but lost in the Electoral College, his supporters began a four year campaign to get him elected in 1828. Communication was so bad that his supporters could assert different things about his views in different parts of the country without fear of being caught out. That no one knew (or cared) what Jackson thought, made it easy.
John C. Calhoun
Once elected in 1828, where he stood on the issues did make a difference and observers assumed that his policies would depend upon whether he chose John C. Calhoun of his native South Carolina or Martin Van Buren of New York to advise him. Calhoun represented an alliance between the South and the West with the chief issues being reducing tariffs (for the South) and a liberal land policy for the West. The difficult issue for these two sections was internal improvements because the West wanted them but not the South. Van Buren's supporters were the Southern Planters and the "plain Republicans" of the Northeast. They opposed internal improvements and the national bank. The sticking point was how high the tariff should be. The planters wanted a low tariff whereas the plain Republicans were willing to have a higher one. Many assumed that Jackson would choose Calhoun, for he seemed to be in the lead until the inauguration but Calhoun's friends were frozen out of the Cabinet. Van Buren was named Secretary of State, the stepping stone to the Presidency. Calhoun was driven out of the party. The reasons are several.
John Quincy Adams
When Jackson had illegally invaded Spanish Florida in 1817 and executing two British subjects in 1818, a furor erupted in Washington. Spain protested and demanded his punishment. Secretary of War John C. Calhoun as well as other Cabinet officers wanted Jackson punished. Henry Clay, a member of the House of Representative from Kentucky demanded that Jackson be censured. Secretary of State John Quincy Adams, disagreed, for he wanted to acquire Florida. Adams informed the Spanish that Jackson was justified in what he had done for the Spanish were not policing their colony well enough to prevent raids into the United States by renegades, outlaws, and Indians. He told Spain that it should cede Florida to the US because it could not manage the colony. Spain signed the the Adams-Onis Treaty of 1819. The United States agreed to honor $5 million in damage claims by Americans against Spain. Under the treaty, Spain relinquished its claims to Oregon and the United States renounced, at least temporarily, its claims to Texas. Van Buren reminded Jackson that Calhoun had been the leader of the group that had wanted him imprisoned for the Florida escapade.
Martin Van Buren
Strangely enough, what has been called the Peggy Eaton Affair1 played a major role in Jackson's attitudes towards Calhoun. It led to the resignation of the vice president and the entire cabinet. It was complicated by Jackson's own sexual history. Jackson fell in love with Rachel Donelson Robards, the wife of Captain Lewis Robards. Rachel had been born in Halifax County, Virginia, on June 15, 1767 but moved to Tennessee in 1779. In 1784, at the age of 17, she married Lewis Robards in Kentucky, a very jealous man from a prominent family. When he went to serve in the Navy, he sent her to her mother's house in Nashville, Tennessee. At her mother's boarding house she met and fell in love with Andrew Jackson, who was staying there. Robards came home and took Rachel back to Kentucky and presumably out of reach of her beloved Jackson. Jackson, however, went after her to Kentucky. The Robards separated and Lewis Robards asked the state legislature for permission to file for divorce. Claiming that they thought her husband had divorced her, they asserted that they had gotten married in Natchez, Spanish territory, in the summer of 1791. But they had not. Not only is there no record of the marriage—the Spanish kept very good records—no Catholic priest would have married these two Protestants and no Protestant or an American Justice of the Peace had the authority to marry anyone in Spain (to which Natchez belonged). Andrew and Rachel were adulterers—illegal in those days—and she was a bigamist. Robards then got a divorce on the grounds of adultery in 1793. Andrew and Rachel then married in 1794. The Jacksons always contended that the first marriage was an honest mistake—what else could they say?—but Jackson was a lawyer and knew not only the procedures for a divorce but also that he could not get married in Spanish territory. He and Rachel suffered for the rest of their lives because of this and Jackson sought to avenge Rachel's honor. Worse, their adultery as an issue in the 1828 campaign and then she died after her was elected and buried in December, 1828. Jackson was convinced that the gossip killed her.
He saw in Peggy Eaton another woman unfairly accused of immorality and rushed to defend her. Peggy O'Neal Timberlake Eaton was the daughter of a tavern keeper, William O'Neale; attractive, she had caught many a man's eye. Some said that she was more than friendly with some of them but that may have been unfair, for it may have been said simply because she lived in a tavern. She married John Timberlake, purser of the U.S.S. Constitution. Jackson's friend and compatriot, John Eaton, fell in love with her. Eaton had been a US Senator and the manager of Jackson's presidential campaign in 1828. Jackson appointed him as Secretary of War. He got Timberlake moved to the Mediterranean squadron. This was arduous duty and unhealthy. Timberlake was in poor health and died soon after going there. Eaton had already moved in with Mrs. Timberlake before her husband died; shortly after hearing of his death, they married. Their behavior was scandalous and some wondered if Eaton had sent Timberlake to a place where he would likely die. Jackson, for his part, liked them both and was convinced that the gossip was a pack of lies.
Polite Washington society, led by Mrs John C Calhoun and the Cabinet wives, would have nothing to do with Peggy O'Neal Timberlake Eaton. She would call on them; they were never home to her; she left her card; and they never responded. They refused to attend social functions where she was, leaving if necessary.
Jackson was furious and told Cabinet members and Vice President Calhoun to force their wives to be nice to Mrs Eaton. Calhoun's wife, the ringleader of the anti-Peggy Eaton faction. The pressure against the Eatons got so intense that John Eaton resigned to go back to Tennessee. Martin Van Buren resigned as well. He explained to Jackson that the entire Cabinet would have to resign because two members had. They did and Jackson was able to appoint a more amenable Cabinet. Jackson appointed Van Buren as minister to England but Calhoun blocked his Senate confirmation, thus striking a blow at his rival. Jackson was furious and did not invite Calhoun to Cabinet meetings. He finally resigned and became a US Senator from South Carolina. In 1832, Jackson chose Van Buren as his running mate.
Jackson found Van Buren more congenial. He had an instinctive egalitarianism and neo- Jeffersonian agrarian-mindedness like Jackson. During the Peggy Eaton crisis, Van Buren, a bachelor, had been nice to the Eatons, thus earning the gratitude of Jackson.
Jackson acted very much according to his personal biases. That was clearly the case in the above actions. It was also true when it came to economic policies.
Jackson had a problem with credit and land speculation in his earlier years, for he had been a land speculator in the Memphis, Tennessee area with John Overton and others. Failed but Jackson was determined to pay off his creditors and did but at a cost to himself. He developed a fear of speculation and financial schemes. He was the Panic of 1819 replicating his personal experience on a national scale. He wanted a simple, economical government and to pay off the national debt as soon as possible.
Although he had made a considerable amount of money from speculating in land with credit, he almost went to debtors' prison because of a failure in 1797. He had sold 68,000 acres to David Allison in 1795, and was paid with IOUs. Jackson then used the IOUs to stock a trading post. But, in 1797, Allison defaulted and Jackson had to find a way to pay off the debts or go to prison. Although it took 15 years, he paid of the debts but grew to hate the use of credit and paper money.
Henry Clay and other National Republicans (later Whigs) proposed the American System Plan—high tariffs, federally-funded internal improvements, and a national bank. These conservatives, who wanted a strong central government which would protect and promote the interests of the wealthy and other elites, grew restive under Jackson's opposition to their goals as well as his belief that the government should represent all white men not just the few. They would say that Jackson represented the mob, the great unwashed, and that allowing these people to dictate public policy was the road to ruin. His views on federally-financed internal improvements became clear with the Maysville Road veto in 1830. It became a test case on Jackson's attitudes about internal improvements. Congress passed a bill that would entail the federal government buying $150,000 worth of stock in the Maysville Road Company, a company that proposed to build a sixty-mile road near Maysville, Kentucky. Jackson, arguing that it was a purely local project, one that did not cross state lines, vetoed the bill. Moreover, he questioned the constitutionality of such measures. The veto put the quietus on any scheme to finance local projects with federal money. Jackson did support bills to improve harbors and lighthouses. And he had managed to kill a project in the home state of his rival, Henry Clay.
The Jacksonians split on the issue of protective or high tariffs. The issue was complex. Manufacturers, especially those who had to compete against foreign-made goods, tended to want imports taxed heavily to encourage the purchase of domestic goods. In other words, they did not want free enterprise when it came to their activities; instead, they wanted to use the coercive power of the government to reach into the pockets of the purchasers. This was an indirect subsidy. They defended the idea on the grounds that the nation would benefit from the protection of domestic industry and that, eventually, domestic manufacture would be so robust that it would be able to compete in the international market. Opponents argued that this was class legislation, that it benefited the few at a cost to the many. Those who believed in free enterprise wanted only tax rates on imported goods sufficient to yield some revenue for the national government. The tariff was one of its only sources of funds but its need for money was not great since most governmental actions were done by the states. Because the US was self-sufficient for most agricultural products, farmers would not benefit from a tariff on them. When Jackson was trying to beat the incumbent, John Quincy Adams, for the presidency in 1828, his supporters in Congress got a high tariff passed on such items as textiles and iron. The tariff would aid New England manufacturers and Pennsylvania mines. It was designed to get votes for Jackson. Opponents called it the "Tariff of Abominations," a propaganda name that has stuck.
Jackson, however, was a low tariff man. Whether one likes a protective tariff (an indirect subsidy of some people in society) depends upon whether one benefits from it or not. Jackson, as a Western agrarian in 1828-1837, opposed the protective tariff. He believed that the national government should treat everyone equally, which protective tariffs do not do.. He, therefore, wanted to reduce the tariffs once he got in office but doing so would reduce national government income which he needed to reduce the national debt. Further, tampering with the tariff would endanger the North-South alliance which had elected him when no one knew where he stood on the issues. The Tariff of 1830 made a few revisions but did not affect the basic schedule. South Carolina exploded for it had counted on Jackson and Congress to repeal the high tariff. The state had been prosperous prior to this and many blamed the economic difficulties on the tariff, which they opposed. Calhoun and his faction outflanked the states righters with Calhoun's essay, "The South Carolina Exposition and Protest." In the essay, Calhoun posited that the United States was actually a confederation of states, a compact among the several states and, if a state did not like a law passed by the national government did, it could nullify it, that is, not allow it to be enforced within the state. South Carolina then passed a law to nullify the Tariff of 1832.
Jackson asked for and got a bill authorizing him to coerce South Carolina into obeying the law. Some would argue that such legislation was unnecessary because the constitution said the president could enforce national laws but Jackson believed in limited national government and that most of the political power in the country should reside with the states. He also urged Congress to modify the tariff rates, which it did with the Tariff of 1833. This tariff created a sliding scale whereby the tax rates would decline for ten years until they reached 20%, thus giving the high tariff people the rates they wanted but not forever.2 South Carolina rescinded the nullification of the Tariff of 1832 but nullified the Force Bill to reassert its putative right to nullify a national law.
The long term effects were serious. The nullifiers could claim that their tactic worked for they had forced the national government to pass a law that would gradually lower the tariff. This victory made them more hostile to the national government and more willing to make the argument and variants of it again. They took control of South Carolina. Eventually, those who believed as they did would try to secede from the United States in 1860.
In the short run, however, it appeared that the nullifiers had lost. Jackson had been willing to use force and had strongly denounced disunion and nullification. He had discovered that he was more a nationalist than he had thought. Every other legislature, including Southern legislatures, had come out against nullification and South Carolina. James Madison, the father of the Constitution and one of the two authors of the Virginia and Kentucky Resolutions,3 asserted that South Carolina was in error.
Jackson distrusted banks both because of his personal financial history and because he did not understand them. As a rich planter, he understood owning land and selling it or livestock or crops; those were tangible. One could put his hands on them. Buying, selling, and renting the abstraction called money were beyond his ken. The Bank of the United States (BUS) made him very nervous because it concentrated a lot of power in a few hands, some of those were foreign nationals, and because it was created via a broad interpretation instead of a strict one of the Constitution. In his opinion, it was unconstitutional.
The Bank had become a stabilizing influence since 1823 under the leadership of Nicholas Biddle. Because in the course of doing business, the BUS collected a lot of bank notes from state banks, it could operate as a brake upon those banks by presenting the bank notes for collection. Since there were few rules which state chartered banks had to follow, only the BUS could hope to insure that they were safe. Most businessmen as well as most politicians liked this regulatory aspect of the BUS' operations.
Opponents of the Bank had differing motives. Some saw it as unconstitutional or the head of a hateful system of banks or both. Some people believed in the old Christian view that it was a sin to loan money at interest. Some feared banks and credit because they did not understand them. Money lenders have never been very popular. These opponents of the BUS were joined in the 1830s by those who wanted cheap and easy credit. As the economy expanded again after a recession, money could be made in land speculation and new factories and more land being farmed. If the rent on money (borrowing at interest) dropped, then they could afford and invest more. The BUS, however, was pursuing a non-inflationary, non-expansionist policy and thus became a target of those who wanted a go-go economy. And it was the only bank the US government could do anything about.
An irony of politics in these days was that both entrepreneurs and the agrarian-minded were attracted to Jackson's Democratic Party, a name that the more liberal wing of the Jeffersonian Republicans4 took to emphasize their inclusiveness.
The BUS charter was to expire in 1836, twenty years after it was first granted. Biddle was considering trying to get it re-charted early for the Bank seemed very popular. Jackson, in his first inaugural address, had questioned both the constitutionality and the necessity of having the Bank but Biddle and other Bank supporters, although upset by Jackson's remarks, believed that the Bank was sacrosanct. When it became clear that Jackson was going to run for reelection5 in 1832, the National Republicans, who were going to run his fellow Westerner, Henry Clay of Kentucky, against him persuaded Biddle to have the recharter bill submitted to Congress. They believed that the bill would pass with substantial majorities and it did. They thought they had Jackson in a double bind. He would hurt his re-election chances if he vetoed the bill for it was clear that Congress and many others supported the Bank. If he signed the recharter bill, then the National Republicans could point out what a hypocrite he was since he had said he opposed the BUS.
Jackson vetoed the bill and took his decision to the people. He argued that it was unconstitutional6 and that foreigners owned too much stock and had too much control. This xenophobic argument often works in politics because many people are so insecure that they fear strangers in general, and strangers (including strangers from another country) having and power over them. Jackson understood this but he was also a very nationalistic ex-General. What appealed to constituents, however, were his ideas on privilege. In his veto message he acknowledged that natural inequalities
exist but when the laws undertake to add to these natural and just advantages artificial distinctions, to grant titles, gratuities, and exclusive privileges, to make the rich richer and the potent more powerful, the humble members of society—the farmers, mechanics and laborers—who have neither the time nor the means of securing like favors to themselves have a right to complain of the injustice of their government.
This powerful statement of liberal philosophy worked. Jackson beat Clay by a vote of 219 to 40.7
Jackson was determined to destroy the Bank. He paid off the national debt and ordered his Secretary of the Treasury to remove the $10 million in federal deposits from the BUS and place them in selected state banks (banks which supported Jackson, of course). He had to fire two secretaries of the treasury before he could find one, Roger B. Taney, who would obey his orders, which he did in September, 1833. The first two believed that the removal of deposits would hurt the economy. Taney was a loyal Jacksonian and would later be rewarded by being appointed Chief Justice of the Supreme Court. It was a mistake the kill the Bank, for, despite any shortcoming it might have had, it was effective. The US finally created another agency to do much of what the BUS did but only in 1913.
The National Republicans and Biddle refused to accept this outcome; they tried to use the power of the Bank—calling in the loans of opponents, cheap loans to supporters, attacks on state banks in districts of opponents, special favors to supporters, and similar actions—to force a recharter bill through Congress with a veto-proof majority. The fight in the 1833-34 session of Congress was fierce, abetted by the widespread economic distress created by Biddle, but the Jacksonians, led by James K. Polk in the House, held firm. Jackson won the Bank war.
Jackson wanted to do more than destroy the Bank of the United States; he and his main followers wanted to drive paper money (bank notes) from circulation. They were "hard money" men, believing that only money backed by specie (gold and silver) should be used. So Jackson ordered the "pet banks" (as detractors called the deposit banks) to quit issuing or accepting $5 notes from other banks, thus driving them out of circulation. Then these banks would quit accepting higher denominations. Driving these notes from circulation would mean that state banks would have to use specie for small transactions and to do so, would have to curtail loans and withdraw small bills from circulation in order to have enough specie available.
Inflation hit the economy before the plan went very far, for Jackson had destroyed the BUS' power to curtail state banks inflating the currency by issuing bank notes in massive quantities. The nation went into another speculative land boom worse than the one in 1815-19 which had collapsed in the Panic8 of 1819 and ensuing bust. Even the pet banks joined the boom. The lure of easy money was too great to resist. The Jackson administration would not interfere because it believed in free enterprise (laissez faire). At the state level, the split between hard and soft money men split the Democratic Party. Since much of the boom was caused by people buying public land on credit in hopes of selling it at a profit a few months later, Jackson issued the Specie Circular in 1836 to stop this speculation by requiring that the land be paid for in specie or specie-backed bank notes. The Circular strained the credit system because it decreased the amount of money in circulation, made the cost of borrowing higher, and forced many creditors to call in loans. The economy collapsed in the Panic of 1837, throwing one-third of the workers out of jobs. Jackson left office in March, 1837, before the full effects were felt.
Hamilton wanted a national debt to bind the wealthy to the government. If the government failed, they would lose money. That's still one of the functions of the national debt. Did Jackson pay off the national debt? The US government was very limited. Although Jackson believed in a more activist government than his predecessors, none of his decisions meant paying off the national debt. With the boom in land sales and trade, revenue poured in faster than the US government could spend it. This had nothing to do with anything Jackson did. So the national debt was paid off (which most economists would say was a bad thing because it constricted the money supply).
A surplus was generated, something Jackson had sought because he believed in a limited government; he signed the Distribution Act, which would remit the surplus to the states, on June 23, 1836. He did not want it but signed it in order to help his man Van Buren get elected. Many Jacksonians were deeply troubled by this action for it ran counter to Jackson's philosophy.
Van Buren defeated three National Republicans/Whigs for the presidency and assumed office in March, 1837 just in time to bear the brunt of the economic depression caused, in part, by his mentor, Jackson. He tried to disassociate the national government from the private banking industry by proposing that the government create a treasury system independent of private banks in which the national government would place all its funds and from which those funds would be disbursed. This independent treasury system would, thus, remove federal funds from politics. There was considerable opposition, however, to this proposal because it would contract credit because private bankers would no longer be able to use federal government monies to back loans. The measure did not pass until 1840, thus doing Van Buren little good. He also wanted the national government to accept only gold or silver, thus contracting the money supply even further.
Van Buren's economic policies did little to end the depression and he was defeated in 1840 by the Whig, William Henry Harrison. The Panic of 1837 caused a wave on anti-bank measures at the state level. Some states prohibited banks. Other states adopted the socialist measure of having the state government own the banks. More moderate state legislatures opted to create banks owned by a combination of the state and private enterprise. Virtually all states created stricter regulation of the banking business. New York passed the Free Banking Act of 1838 which created general incorporation acts. Instead of banks receiving their charters from legislatures, an open invitation to influence peddling and corruption, New York created a system by which any group of people who met the requirements could incorporate as a bank, thus democratizing the process.9
Out of all this turmoil over banks, the money supply tariffs, federally-financed internal improvements, and who should make public policy, a new political system emerged. Once again, a two-party system emerged but this time the parties did not represent elites—the Southern planter aristocracy and the merchant elite of New England—but white men in general. Suffrage requirements had been lowered in the 1820s and 1830s and campaigns, beginning with Jackson's campaign for the presidency after 1824.10 As the parties—the Democrats and the Whigs—competed for the votes of white males, they had to find ways to build strong political machines and use simple slogans to entice followers. Veracity became a hindrance because the truth was too often too complex. The Whigs had run three candidates in 1836 representing different section (regions of the country) but lost so they adopted the Jacksonian tactics and ran Harrison as a "people's candidate" against the "aristocratic" Van Buren. They used the slogan "Tippecanoe and Tyler Too," referring to the Battle of Tippecanoe (Harrison suffered severe losses against Tecumseh's army and did not stop his army). When the Democrats referred to Harrison as a man who would be satisfied sipping hard cider under a tree, the Whigs capitalized in it by portraying him as a simple man from a log cabin, i.e., a man of the people. They depicted Van Buren as an aristocrat, out of touch with the people. The truth was that Harrison was college-educated when few were and from an aristocratic Virginia family. Van Buren was more a man of the people but he could not overcome the Whig campaign tactics of massive rallies, torchlight parades and the symbolism of the log cabin, hard cider, and the Indian fighter. Harrison won by only 150,000 in the popular vote but by 234 to 60 in the Electoral College, the only vote that really counted. The modern election campaign was born.
The parties were almost equal in strength. They had to turn out the vote to win. Whereas in 1824, only 27% of the eligible voters voted, this percentage rose to 56% in 1836 and 78% in 1840. Parties developed stridently partisan newspapers to convince people that they were right and built organizations (political machines) to get out their vote. To win, parties had to figure out what the electorate wanted and then promise to get it.
By 1840, the United States was changing from an agrarian society with a small export sector, a society run by small elites, into a more complex society that included both subsistence and commercial agriculture, substantial national and international trade, and a burgeoning manufacturing sector. In this new society, the common white man counted and had to be courted. It was not democracy, as many have proclaimed, but it was more democratic for white men, a minority in the United States.
What was Jackson like? Among other things, he obviously was a smart, ambitious man who made friends with important people. John Overton was one of them. He was quick-tempered and given to fighting, including duels. He valued his military exploits more than being president; he wanted to be called General when he was president.
He is a symbol for an age, to paraphrase closely one of the great books about him. It was an age when rule by the elite and deferential politics was disappearing as more and more white men (some blacks in parts of the nation as well) were being enfranchised and were exercising the newly-acquired right to vote. Conservatives wailed about this trend but could not stop it. Property and religious qualifications were being repealed at the state level. The election of 1824 proved that the congressional caucus system of nominating candidates for president was dead but it also proved that the election of the president was not done by popular vote. The Jacksonians began a four-year campaign to get their man elected in 1828. They could and did say different things about him in different places because no one knew where he stood on the issues and communications were so bad that they did not get caught. John Quincy Adams, although a brilliant man, was stymied in Congress as the Jacksonians did everything they could to make him look bad. And he certainly wasn't "Mr. Personality." They ran Jackson as the "Hero of the Battle of New Orleans" and as a great Indian fighter. So we see the appeal to the masses. His opponents, the National Republicans, used the adultery issue in the campaign. Both sides were using irrelevant criteria in campaigns. We see more of this in 1832, then again in 1836, and, in full flower, in 1840. The Whigs had learned the lesson that it wasn't experience, offices held, or such that mattered. In order to appeal to the masses, it was necessary to use hoopla.
http://www.wnpt.net/rachel/rachel_mardiv/natchez.html for the question of whether
Jackson and Rachel Robards were married in Natchez in the summer of 1791. A biography of Rachel
Jackson can be found at
John S. Cooper, Andrew Jackson and the Eaton Affair: A National
Soap Opera is useful.
2 The high tariff people won more than the low tariff people because they got what they wanted first, thus putting them in the position to pass a new high tariff law five or more years later. More important was the fact that they were in the catbird seat.
3 These resolutions were issued by Thomas Jefferson and James Madison in the 1790s to oppose the Alien and Sedition Acts of the John Adams administration. They argued a case for nullification when the Bill of Rights was being violated.
4 Not to be confused with the modern Republican Party which was founded in the 1850s. The genealogy is the Federalist Party, the National Republicans, the Whig Party, and then the Republican Party. The names are a product of historical context.
5That Jackson survived his first term was a surprise. When elected he was 60 years old and in ill health. His beloved Rachel had and many thought that he would soon follow. Instead, the presidency invigorated him.
6Presidents cannot decide the constitutionality but the right of the federal courts to do so was not clearly established in 1832.
7As was demonstrated once again in 2000, only the members of the Electoral College can vote for the President and Vice President of the United States. When Jackson ran in 1832, the popular vote did not have the force that it has today.
8Economic depressions were called panics in the 19th century.
9The US had not used the corporate form for business much so this act was precedent setting and very important for the economic history of the nation.
10 Jackson had gotten more votes than anyone else in the 1824 election but no one had a majority. When the election was thrown into the House of Representatives, the Henry Clay forces threw in their lot with John Quincy Adams to elect him. Clay was rewarded by being named Secretary of State, at the time the stepping stone to the presidency. Jackson's supporters immediately began campaigning for their man to win the presidency in 1828. In order to do so, they sought to generate anger at J. Q. Adams by declaring that he and Clay had made a "corrupt bargain." Of course there was nothing corrupt about it.