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Jackson, Andrew

Andrew Jackson

Richard B. Latner

THE familiar labels "The Age of Jackson" and "Jacksonian Democracy" identify Andrew Jackson with the era in which he lived and with the advancement of political democracy. This honor may exaggerate his importance, but it also acknowledges the important truth that Jackson significantly contributed to shaping the American nation and its politics. Just as contemporaneous artists so often depicted him astride his horse overseeing the battlefield, Jackson bestrode some of the key currents of nineteenth-century American political life.

Jackson's presidency began on a sunny, spring-like day, 4 March 1829. Dressed in a simple black suit and without a hat, partly out of respect for his recently deceased wife, Rachel, and partly in keeping with traditions of republican simplicity, Jackson made his way on foot along a thronged Pennsylvania Avenue. From the east portico of the Capitol, he delivered his inaugural addressinaudible except to those close byin which he promised to be "animated by a proper respect" for the rights of the separate states. He then took the oath of office, placed his Bible to his lips, and made a parting bow to the audience. With great difficulty, he made his way through the crowd, mounted his horse, and headed for the White House and what had been intended as a reception for "ladies and gentlemen."

What next took place has become a part of American political folklore. According to one observer, the White House was inundated "by the rabble mob," which, in its enthusiasm for the new president and the refreshments, almost crushed Jackson to death while making a shambles of the house. Finally, Jackson was extricated from the mob and taken to his temporary quarters at a nearby hotel. "The reign of King 'Mob' seemed triumphant," one cynic scoffed. There was little doubt that Jackson's presidency was going to be different from that of any of his predecessors. Daniel Webster put it best when he predicted that Jackson would bring a "breeze with him. Which way it will blow I cannot tell."

Webster's uncertainty is readily understandable because Jackson was a relative newcomer to national politics. Jackson was born on 15 March 1767, in the Waxhaw settlement, a frontier border area between North and South Carolina, where his early life was marked by misfortune and misadventure. His Scotch-Irish father had joined the tide of immigrants seeking improved economic and political conditions in the New World, only to die after two years, leaving his pregnant wife and two sons. The third son, whom she named Andrew after her late husband, was born just days later. As a young man during the Revolutionary War, Jackson also lost both his brothers and his mother.

Despite these inauspicious beginnings, Jackson received some formal education at local academies and schools, and following the Revolution, he left the Waxhaw community to study law with two prominent members of the North Carolina bar. In the 1780s, after finding little legal work in North Carolina, he migrated to Tennessee, where he showed the good sense to identify himself with the BlountOverton faction, a group of prominent men bound together by politics, land speculation, and, increasingly, financial and banking interests.

The eager, hardworking, and talented young Jackson soon received a host of political rewards. He became a public prosecutor, attorney general for the Mero District, delegate to the Tennessee constitutional convention, a member of Congress, a United States senator, and a judge of the Superior Court of Tennessee. By the year 1800, he was the leader of the Western branch of the Blount-Overton faction.

Military positions also came Jackson's way, and he gradually advanced from his appointment as judge advocate for the Davidson County militia in 1792 to be elected major general of the Tennessee militia a decade later. At the same time, he accumulated significant amounts of property, establishing himself as a member of the Tennessee elite by purchasing a plantation, first at Hunter's Hill and then, in 1804, at the Hermitage, near Nashville.

Jackson's enormous military success during the War of 1812, culminating in the Battle of New Orleans, made him a national hero, and during the winter of 18211822, political friends placed his name before the country as a presidential candidate in the election of 1824. His first presidential bid fell short, for in a four-way contest, Jackson won a plurality of the popular vote but failed to receive an electoral majority. The decision rested with the House of Representatives, and John Quincy Adams emerged victorious after receiving the support of Henry Clay. When Adams appointed Clay as his secretary of state and heir apparent, Jacksonians alleged a "corrupt bargain." Jackson himself always believed that the will of the people had been corruptly overturned, and he denounced Clay as "the Judas of the West." Although it is unlikely that Adams and Clay actually made a secret deal, Jackson had a telling point in that Clay's action deprived the most popular candidate of the presidency. The incident strengthened Jackson's conviction that a republic should be based on the democratic principle of majority, not elite, rule.

Four years later, Old Hickory was vindicated. In the election of 1828, he received about 56 percent of the popular vote and carried virtually every electoral vote south of the Potomac River and west of New Jersey. Yet Jackson's victory was the product of a diverse coalition of groups rather than of a coherent political party. In addition to the original Jackson men from the campaign of 1824, there were the followers of New York's Martin Van Buren and Jackson's vice president, South Carolina's John C. Calhoun; former Federalists; and groups of "relief men," who during the Panic of 1819 had bucked the established political interests by advocating reforms to help indebted farmers and artisans.

Further, there were few clear-cut issues dividing the candidates. Instead, popular attention was captured by a host of scurrilous charges that dragged the contest down to the level of mud-slinging. Rachel, for example, was accused of bigamy in marrying Jackson while she was legally attached to another man. Jackson men, in addition to harping on the corrupt-bargain charge, accused Adams of pimping for the czar while he was minister to Russia.

Nevertheless, there were signs even in that campaign of Jackson's future course. The Jackson men

of 1828 already displayed elements of the political organization that would emerge during his presidency. Significantly, his followers showed themselves more adept than the opposition at appealing to the people and organizing grassroots sentiment. The center of the Jackson campaign was the Nashville Central Committee, whose key members were Jackson's earliest and closest associates in Tennessee politics, such as John Eaton, John Overton, and William B. Lewis. This committee linked together the numerous state and local Jackson organizations and worked closely with political leaders in Washington.

The Jackson committees encouraged a more popular and democratic style of politics by organizing rallies, parades, and militia musters; helping to sustain Jackson newspapers; and encouraging voters to cast their ballots for Jackson on election day. This was the first election in which gimmicks such as campaign songs, jokes, and cartoons were extensively used to arouse popular enthusiasm. Years before, Jackson's soldiers had given him the nickname Old Hickory to signify both his toughness and their affection for him. During the 1828 campaign, his followers ceremoniously planted hickory trees in village and town squares, and sported hickory canes and hats with hickory leaves. Hickory poles, symbolically connecting Jackson to the liberty poles of the revolutionary era, were erected "in every village, as well as upon the corners of many city streets." Jackson himself, while avoiding overt electioneering displays, carefully supervised this political activity.

The election of 1828 also hinted at Jackson's future program. Until recently, Jackson was rarely considered a man with any coherent political views. Most accounts treated him as a confused, opportunistic, and inconsistent politician. Jackson, to be sure, had no formal political philosophy, but he adhered to certain underlying values and ideas with a degree of consistency throughout his long political career.

Jackson's philosophy owed much to the teachings of Thomas Jefferson and to the tradition of republican liberty of the revolutionary generation. One of the unique products of the American Revolution was the new and distinctive definition it gave to classical and Renaissance traditions of republicanism. Revolutionary thinkers taught that liberty was always jeopardized by excessive power and that a proper balance and limitation of governmental powers was essential to assure freedom. In addition, this ideology of republicanism also emphasized that the character and spirit of the peoplewhat was called public virtuewere fundamental to maintaining a free society. A virtuous citizenry was necessary to liberty, and whatever corrupted the people thereby corrupted their institutions. Rooted in an agrarian, premodern society, traditional republican thought warned of the competing dangers inherent in an expansive market economy, such as stockjobbing, paper credit, funded debts, powerful moneyed interests, a swollen bureaucracy, and extreme inequality of condition.

During the nineteenth century, Americans accommodated republicanism's precapitalistic bias to the dramatic changes in transportation, communication, and economic activity that have been called the Market Revolution. Especially after the War of 1812, Americans acknowledged that it was no longer possible or even desirable to maintain a rigid agrarian social order. They increasingly accepted as beneficial certain material and moral aspects of a developing economy. Economic ambition, for example, need not breed only luxury and corruption; it could also promote industriousness, frugality, and other republican virtues. Nevertheless, many Americans continued to harbor anxieties that the emerging world of commerce, banking, and manufacturing endangered the conditions essential to maintain liberty. In short, the language of republicanism remained potent throughout the Jacksonian era, but its diagnosis of the condition of the American republic was subject to different interpretations.

These ideas left their mark on Jackson. It was evident in his highly moralistic tone; his agrarian sympathies; his devotion to the principles of states' rights and limited government; and his fear that speculation, moneyed interests, and human greed would corrupt his country's republican character and institutions. At the same time, he was not a rigid traditionalist. He accepted economic progress, a permanent and expanding Union with sovereign authority, and democratic politics. His philosophy, therefore, brought together the not entirely compatible ideals of economic progress, political democracy, and traditional republicanism.

In the campaign of 1828, Jackson's sentiments distinguished him from Adams. While Adams viewed an active and positive government as promoting liberty, Jackson preferred to limit governmental power and return to the path of Jeffersonian purity. The comparison was by no means perfect. Jackson intended no states' rights crusade, and he dissatisfied some idealists, particularly in the South, by endorsing some tariff protection and the distribution of any surplus revenue back to the states. Yet it was evident that, compared to his opponent, Jackson would qualify federal activity. He considered his victory a moral mandate to restore "the real principles of the constitution as understood when it was first adopted, and practiced upon in 1798 and 1800." His specific program was to become clear only as his presidency unfolded.

Administration and Appointments

Among Jackson's first responsibilities as president was the administration of government, including his selection of cabinet and other personnel. Some Jackson men, like the Virginia editor Thomas Ritchie, wanted Jackson to share power with an "old fashioned . . . consultative" cabinet, reflective of the cabinet's increased status in the period following the War of 1812. But Jackson refused; he intended, instead, to control his cabinet. More than that, he was prepared to alter fundamentally the whole basis of presidential power by resting his authority directly upon the people. The president, Jackson claimed, was "the direct representative of the American people."

The idea that the chief executive was the people's special representative became an established part of the presidential office, though not all occupants were as skilled as Jackson in making political capital of it. At the time, it was controversial. One prominent editor complained that whereas formerly the president's essential duty was to execute the law made by other government branches, it had come to be claimed as "the true democracy, that the president is THE 'GOVERNMENT.' " But Jackson's supporters parried such protests. "That the practice is not usual is no objection to it," responded Jackson's official newspaper, the Washington Globe.

As befit a president who intended to lead, Jackson wanted a cabinet composed of "plain, business men" who would sustain a moderate states' rights program, rather than prominent politicians who might undercut his authority and use their office as a stepping-stone to higher position. He also had to navigate carefully between the rival camps of Van Buren and Calhoun, both of whom were considered competitors for the succession. In the end, Jackson selected Van Buren as secretary of state, his friend Eaton as secretary of war, Samuel Ingham of Pennsylvania as secretary of the treasury, John Branch of North Carolina as head of the Navy Department, John McPherson Berrien of Georgia as attorney general, and Kentucky's William T. Barry as postmaster general.

The selections generally fit Jackson's criteria. There were no radical antitariff or protariff zealots who might stir trouble, and none, with the exception of Van Buren, was a major political figure. Both the Calhoun and Van Buren men felt disappointed, a sign of Jackson's ability to maintain his independence of both groups. Almost unnoticed in the din of protest by dissatisfied office seekers was that Jackson had drawn the line against the followers of Adams and Clay. His would be, applauded one Jackson man, "a party administration."

Jackson's first cabinet proved a keen disappointment. Its members soon divided into hostile factions, and Jackson called it into session only rarely before it dissolved in the spring of 1831. But, contrary to most historical accounts, this was the exception, not the rule. Later cabinet appointments were generally more felicitous, and Jackson ordinarily met his cabinet on a regular basis, usually once a week, except when crises called for more frequent, even daily, sessions. Yet Jackson never granted his cabinet great formal power. Individual members like Van Buren might accumulate considerable influence, but Jackson looked to his cabinet primarily to inform and discuss, not to decide. The more important the issue to him, the more he used his cabinet only to gain political support for a predetermined policy.

From the outset, Jackson looked for advice from friends and associates not necessarily in the cabinet. He asked William B. Lewis, who held a job in the Treasury Department, to live in the White House, and he retained his nephew Andrew Jackson Donelson as his private secretary, while Donelson's wife, Emily, served as White House hostess. More significantly, he gave special attention to a Kentucky editor and former relief leader named Amos Kendall, who landed an appointment as an auditor in the Treasury Department. In December 1830, Kendall was joined among Jackson's close advisers by another Kentucky relief man, Francis Preston Blair, who arrived to edit the Globe. Along with Van Buren, the two Kentuckians constituted Jackson's inner circle of advisers, though others would from time to time join them.

The opposition soon dubbed Jackson's advisers the "kitchen cabinet," by which they meant a close-knit group of "favorites who controlled and directed" him. The charge was unfounded. In reality, Jackson established a flexible advisory system composed of many people with overlapping responsibilities. The system was well suited to an active president who disliked official councils and preferred to consult informally with whomever he thought able to give useful advice.

The arrangement also left Jackson entirely free to make the final judgment and assume full responsibility for a decision. Jackson vigorously denied that others made policy for him, and his own closest aides agreed. Kendall summed it up best when he explained that influence depended on agreement with Jackson's objectives and style: "There are a few of us who have always agreed with the President in relation to the Bank and other essential points of policy, and therefore they charge us with having an influence over him! Fools!! They can not beat the President out of his long-cherished opinions, and his firmness they charge to our influence."

Jackson's handling of administrative matters also refutes opposition charges that he was incompetent and irresponsible. In Jackson's day, presidents were expected to oversee the day-to-day conduct of public business, such as appointments and removals, department reports, budgetary appropriations, and other administrative chores. Jackson showed the attention to detail, consistency, and tact required of good administrators. One observer reported that the president "looks personally into every thing.. . . He frequently visits the executive offices, supervises the proceedings of the subordinate functionaries, and directs and stimulates them by his presence." Little wonder that Jackson could report that his labors employed him "day and night" and that his situation was one of "dignified slavery."

Meanwhile, economic growth, an increased and more widely dispersed population, and new government initiatives such as Indian removal strained old administrative arrangements. In the preceding forty years of constitutional government, there had been only two formal administrative reorganizations worthy of notice; but during Jackson's presidency, almost every federal department was overhauled at least once, and the Post Office and General Land Office, which accounted for more than three-quarters of the civilian manpower employed by the executive branch, underwent major reorganizations. The civil service was enlarged, and new formal and elaborate bureaucracies appeared. Administrative rules better defined jurisdictions and responsibilities, and official duties were carefully checked and separated from private activities. According to Matthew A. Crenson's prominent study, Jackson's administrative legacy was the beginning of real government bureaucracy.

No aspect of Jackson's administrative performance has been subjected to as much criticism as his policy of rotation in office. It has been viewed as a euphemism for the spoils system and as a major culprit in the decline of administrative standards during the Jacksonian period. During the campaign of 1828, there was an expectation among many Jackson supporters that his victory would be followed by the wholesale removal of Adams officeholders. To some extent, this reflected the wider participation by citizens in government and the practice of party politics in some states like Pennsylvania and New York, which had well-developed party organizations. No politician of Jackson's skill could ignore the need to inspire and reward efforts made in his behalf. As his presidency progressed, Jackson found further justification in having loyal friends in office. Faithful office-holders brought the government closer to the people and assured that the people's will, as expressed in his policies, was dutifully carried out. In short, partisanship was democratic.

But removals also resulted from Jackson's concern for republican virtue. Jackson sincerely believed that his election was a victory over "the corrupting influence of executive patronage" and that the "corrupt bargain" between Adams and Clay was symptomatic of the extensive decay imbedded in the government. Jackson affirmed the reforming impulse behind removals in his first annual message. "Corruption in some and in others a perversion of correct feelings and principles divert government from its legitimate ends and make it an engine for the support of the few at the expense of the many," he asserted. "Rotation" would prevent officeholders from assuming a permanent right to their positions, and public duties should be made simple enough so that all "men of intelligence" could perform them. Implicit in this message was Jackson's idea that "rotation in office . . . will perpetuate our liberty."

There was much outcry among officeholders and opposition spokesmen who feared a mass beheading of all who would not swear fealty to Old Hickory. Even some of Jackson's own supporters, particularly in the South, expressed disapproval of large-scale dismissals and the appointment of inappropriate personnel, especially low-status newspaper editors. Jackson's critics had a point. Partisanship explicitly entered more fully into the appointments process than ever before. In his first year in office, Jackson removed more officials than all his predecessors combined, and the purges and partisan appointments doubtless contributed to a decline in ethical standards. Certainly, no previous officer managed to bilk the government of as much money as Jackson's collector of the Port of New York, Samuel Swartwout, who absconded with over $1 million and fled to Europe. While Jackson did not intend to introduce a spoils system, his policy opened the way for his successors to institute a more systematic policy of party patronage.

Yet, there was no wholesale proscription during Jackson's presidency, and there were many positive aspects to his policy. Jackson made clear from the outset that reform would proceed "judiciously . . . and upon principle." Only about one-tenth of federal officeholders were removed during his presidency, and not all of these were for political reasons. Especially in the upper echelons of the civil service, key figures remained in their positions, retaining their subordinates and giving stability to the system.

Although a few of Jackson's appointments proved to be disastersPostmaster General Barry's tenure was marked by inefficient service and escalating debtsmany of Jackson's appointments were excellent. From his position in the Treasury Department, for example, Amos Kendall zealously lopped off excess expenditures, unmasked corruption, and improved efficiency. He boasted of saving thousands of dollars and shocked many opposition leaders by exposing his predecessor, Tobias Watkins, a furious Adams partisan, for defalcation. Even Adams conceded that "some of the dismissions are deserved," and though he considered most of the new appointees "less respectable, he acknowledged that some were "good."

The wrongdoing that did occur should also be seen within the context of a general deterioration of ethical standards in American society. The legal profession, the business community, and organized religion all showed a similar decline in internal discipline, and it is likely that Jackson's administrative reforms were designed in part to counteract this slide. In the outcry over removals, it is often forgotten that Jackson's presidency marked an era of creative administration.

The Eaton Affair

Jackson had barely taken office when he confronted his first political crisis. The trouble revolved around Secretary of War Eaton and his wife, Peggy. For various reasons, Eaton's appointment was unpopular with many Jackson supporters. Compounding this difficulty was Eaton's marriage on New Year's Day 1829 to Margaret O'Neale Timberlake. Peggy, the daughter of a Washington tavern keeper, had gained an unsavory reputation for being too forward with her father's boarders when her first husband, a naval officer, was away. Eaton was a frequent guest at the O'Neale tavern. When her husband died at sea, probably a suicide brought on by drinking, Eaton married Peggy after receiving Jackson's opinion that marriage would disprove the charges of impropriety.

Washington society, already fearful that Jackson would have as little regard for its conventions as he had for Indians or British troops, saw Eaton's appointment as a challenge and responded by snubbing Mrs. Eaton. Although some prominent Washington leaders, particularly Van Buren, associated with the Eatons, many did not. Among the families that excluded her were those of Calhoun, Ingham, Branch, Berrien, and Donelson. Doubtless recalling the slanderous attacks against his own wife during the recent campaign, Jackson decried the baseness of those who, in the name of morality, dragged the intimate and private relations of marriage into the public arena. "Our society wants purging here," he concluded.

Jackson devoted an inordinate amount of time during his first year in office gathering evidence to prove Mrs. Eaton's virtue and laboring to have his family and cabinet harmonize. His efforts had little effect, and the social war against Peggy Eaton continued unabated. Jackson was furious and miserable, but he continued to support the Eatons and insisted that loyalty to them was essential to his own success.

The Eaton affair inevitably spilled over into politics. Initially, Jackson assumed that Clay and the opposition were responsible. However, by the late fall of 1829, he had identified Calhoun as the arch-conspirator. Because Eaton, who was a Van Buren partisan, had refused to back Calhoun's presidential aspirations, Jackson alleged, Calhoun thought it necessary to destroy him, whatever the consequences to the administration.

In retrospect, it is clear that Jackson exaggerated Calhoun's responsibility. The Eaton controversy involved matters of decorum that would have made it difficult under the best of circumstances to harmonize the cabinet. Much opposition to the Eatons also emanated more from political hostility to Eaton and Van Buren than from devotion to Calhoun.

Yet if Jackson simplified, he also struck a core truth. While there is no direct evidence that Calhoun initiated the quarrel to strengthen his claims to the succession, he was doing nothing to put a stop to a scandal that was damaging Jackson's credibility. One close Jackson associate put the issue squarely when he judged Calhoun a "madman" if he promoted the maneuvers against Eaton, and not a wise man if he does not put an end to it."

Soon other difficulties mixed with the Eaton incident to separate Calhoun from Jackson. In the fall of 1829, Jackson learned that, as a member of Monroe's cabinet, Calhoun had recommended that Jackson be punished for defying the president's orders and pursuing the Seminole Indians into Spanish Florida. In May 1830, when Jackson received confirming evidence in written form, he forwarded the material to Calhoun and expressed his "great surprise" at these allegations. Calhoun began a correspondence in which he attempted to blame Van Buren's friends for reviving the issue, but he was still forced to concede his opposition to Jackson's Florida invasion. Jackson denounced Calhoun as a "hypocrite" who had "attempted to stab me in the dark."

Jackson also grew increasingly irritated by Calhoun's political independence, particularly his prominent position among the radical antitariff nullifiers. Their deteriorating relationship came to a head at the Jefferson Day Dinner in April 1830, which some Calhounites intended to use as an occasion to identify nullification with Jeffersonian principles. Jackson suspected that the proceedings would prove irregular, and he made the impending dinner the subject of "frequent conversations" with Van Buren. Having seen the list of regular toasts beforehand, he prepared his own and carefully rehearsed it with aides.

After the regular toasts were given, Jackson rose to provide the first volunteer statement. Tradition has it that he stared sternly at Calhoun and announced, "Our Unionit must be preserved." The words struck home with great force, and one nullifier rushed to ask Jackson to insert the word federal be-fore Union. Jackson readily agreed, saying that he had written the phrase that way but had inadvertently omitted the word. Even so, Jackson's declaration contrasted starkly with the sentiment offered by Calhoun: "The Union: Next to our liberty, the most dear; may we all remember that it can only be preserved by respecting the rights of the States and distributing equally, the benefit and burden of the Union." This overly long toast did nothing to dispel the idea that he was not in accord with Jackson's convictions.

Jackson's alienation from Calhoun was largely complete by this time. Thereafter, occasional efforts were made to reconcile the two men, but never successfully. In February 1831, Calhoun placed himself totally outside the pale by publishing his correspondence with Jackson concerning the Seminole controversy. The effect was to challenge Jackson in public and to give the impression that Jackson was weak and had been manipulated by Calhoun's enemies. "Mr. Calhoun does not attack the President, he says; yet he makes him out a dupe!" Kendall observed. The administration drew the line against "false friends," and Calhoun was effectively read out of the party.

The final scene of the Eaton drama was played out a few months later, in April 1831, when Van Buren paved the way for a general cabinet reorganization by resigning from his position. While Calhoun had been losing Jackson's confidence, Van Buren had been gaining it. The New Yorker, by showing the Eatons the same social consideration he gave to others and by lending his support to Jackson's political goals, earned Jackson's trust and affection. By January 1830, Jackson had concluded that Van Buren should be his successor. Van Buren's enemies charged him with manipulating the Eaton affair to undermine Calhoun, but the truth is that Van Buren needed only to let events take their course and take advantage of "the indiscretions of Calhoun's friends." Jackson noted approvingly that Van Buren "identified him [self] with the success of the administration." He could not say the same for Calhoun.

Yet Van Buren's prominence placed him in a distressing situation. So long as he remained in the cabinet, he was certain to bring continued attention to himself as a possible intriguer. The public might blame him for the Jackson-Calhoun split and for the disturbances over the Eatons. Van Buren, consequently, hit upon the idea of resigning from the cabinet as a way to restore harmony to the party and cabinet and to remove himself from a precarious position.

Jackson reluctantly accepted Van Buren's resignation, along with that of Eaton, and then discharged Branch, Berrien, and Ingham. Only Barry remained, leaving Jackson with virtually a free hand to select new members who would work better together. Jackson also appointed Van Buren minister to Great Britain, but on 25 January 1832, the Senate rejected his nomination. A tie was arranged so that Calhoun could cast the deciding vote against his rival. It may have been Calhoun's hope that this act of revenge would weaken Van Buren and the administration. One senator overheard Calhoun reassuring his followers that the vote would hurt Van Buren: "It will kill him, sir, kill dead. He will never kick, sir, never kick." But in the end, the rejection made Van Buren a political martyr and the inevitable choice for Jackson's vice president at the upcoming Democratic National Convention.

Despite the extraordinary discord and division of Jackson's first two years, he emerged from the fray with a more coherent and loyal following. The loss of Calhoun was more than compensated by the firmer attachment of the Van Buren interest. Similarly, the establishment of Blair's Globe in December 1830, replacing Duff Green's pro-Calhoun United States Telegraph, provided new energy for the administration. To be sure, Blair's arrival from Kentucky was not auspicious: his already thin, cadaverous-looking frame was disheveled and bandaged from a mishap to his coach, leading a disappointed Lewis to comment, "Mr. Blair, we want stout hearts and sound heads here." But Blair and his paper were all that Jackson could wish. Unlike Green, Blair was fully devoted to Jackson and his objectives, particularly on banking and currency matters. Blair also made the Globe a clearinghouse for party information and propaganda, by exchanging copies with over four hundred other papers and by extending its circulation. The paper gave Jackson greater control over his administration, greater authority with Congress, and closer ties to the voters.

Indian Removal

Not all of Jackson's energy was diverted by political rivalry and intrigue. Even as he was preoccupied with Eaton and Calhoun, he began to move forward with his program. Among the first issues to be addressed was the situation of the Indian tribes.

When Jackson took office, relations between the southern tribes, the state governments, and the United States had reached a critical juncture. Georgia had clashed with the federal government when President John Quincy Adams refused to implement a controversial treaty removing the Creek Indians. Although Adams backed down and negotiated another treaty ceding the disputed land to the state, the incident highlighted the plight of the remaining southern tribes, particularly the Cherokee. Perhaps no issue more clearly distinguished the two presidential candidates in 1828, for Jackson's imposing record of conquest over the Indians, both by arms and treaty, contrasted dramatically with Adams' protective posture.

In his first annual message of December 1829, Jackson proposed that an area west of the Mississippi River be set apart and guaranteed to the Indian tribes. There they could be taught "the arts of civilization" and perpetuate their race. Emigration to this new territory would be "voluntary," but those who remained in the East would be subject to the laws of the states in which they lived and would "ere long become merged in the mass of our population."

The idea of removing Indians westward had a long history and the federal government had made numerous treaties for the removal of Indians. But Jackson's statement represented a shift in emphasis of sufficient magnitude to mark a new era in Indian-white relations. He proposed that efforts at civilizing the tribes now take place only in Indian territory, where the tribes would be free from corrupting contact with the advancing tide of frontiersmen. Determined to pursue removal with unprecedented vigor and directness, Jackson threatened that those Indians who remained behind would lose their tribal status and be considered individuals subject to state authority.

The administration's Indian removal bill encountered stiff resistance in Congress, where humanitarian and political objections nearly defeated it. Only by skillfully mobilizing their forces did Jackson's followers narrowly succeed in passing the measure on 26 May 1830. The final vote showed a considerable degree of party loyalty, making it the first important measure of Jackson's presidency that distinguished the emerging Democratic party from the opposition.

Despite the public outcry against removal, the program had many defenders, among them Jackson himself. Disputing the idea that the Indian tribes could establish separate nations within the borders of existing states, he promised liberal and equitable exchanges for their present lands. He contended that only in the West could Indians avoid demoralization and even complete annihilation at the hands of an expanding "mercenary" white population. With the Indians secure in their new territory, the federal government could exercise "parental control" over their interests and make them "civilized."

However sincerely intended, Jackson's humanitarian concerns were laced with an ethnocentrism and paternalism that devalued Indian culture and advances. No matter that some Indians had adopted many of the trappings of white society, Jackson considered the tribes as obstacles to the progressive spread of a superior civilization over the continent. "What good man would prefer a country covered with forests and ranged by a few thousand savages to our extensive Republic, studded with cities, towns, and prosperous farms . . . and filled with all the blessings of liberty, civilization, and religion?" he asked. When Indians also protested against leaving their traditional and sacred lands, Jackson facilely compared their fate to the experience of the highly mobile white society. "Doubtless it will be painful to leave the graves of their fathers," he acknowledged, "but what do they more than our ancestors did or than our children are now doing." Thus, if Indians assumed white ways, as had many Cherokee, Jackson disregarded it; if Indians desired to retain their traditional values, Jackson treated them as potential men on the make. Jackson was no Indian-hater, but his proposed philanthropy was virtually as damaging as outright hostility.

Efforts to make removal treaties with the Indians began as soon as Jackson took office and continued throughout his presidency. Jackson himself occasionally participated in the negotiations. The administration focused on the southern tribes, beginning in September 1830 with the Treaty of Dancing Rabbit Creek with the Choctaw, and proceeding with the Creek, Chickasaw, and, in 1835, the Cherokee. Less well known are the treaties made with the generally weaker tribes of the Old Northwest, such as the Chippewa, Ottawa, and Potawatomi. Over the period of Jackson's presidency, the United States ratified some seventy treaties, affecting approximately forty-six thousand Indians.

Jackson hoped removal would be humane, but the process was often harsh and violent. Treaties were concluded with leaders who represented only a portion of the tribe and who often benefited personally from the agreement; food and transportation for the westward journey were contracted with the lowest bidder; and those staying behind generally found themselves deprived of their landholdings and treated as second-class citizens. When Indians refused to remove or when, disappointed in their new lands, they tried to return, violence broke out. The Black Hawk War of 1832 and the Creek War and the beginning of the long and bloody Seminole War in 1835 are examples of the coercion inherent in removal. Finally, Jackson's promise of Indian self-government in the West never materialized, and federal authority remained intrusive in Indian affairs. Under pressure of a rapidly expanding agricultural and commercial frontier, Jackson's respect for states' rights and reduced federal expenditures produced an arrangement that was neither just nor humane.

Internal Improvements

Indian removal showed that Jackson's goal of assuring a virtuous yet progressive society was circumscribed by race. At the same time, he clarified other aspects of his program by reversing the trend toward expanded federal assistance for internal improvements. In his first annual message in December 1829, Jackson brought the issue to Congress' attention by announcing that many people considered previous policy unconstitutional or inexpedient. "The people expected reform, retrenchment and economy in the administration of Government," he explained privately. "This was the cry from Maine to Louisiana, and instead of these the objects of Congress, it would seem, is to make mine one of the most extravagant administrations since the commencement of the Government."

Bogged down in the Eaton affair, Indian removal, and other matters, Jackson left it to Van Buren to choose an appropriate measure to initiate his new policy. Van Buren waited until April 1830, when a Kentucky congressman introduced a bill calling upon the federal government to purchase stock in a corporation to construct a road in Kentucky from Maysville to Lexington. The Maysville Road was considered by its advocates as part of a more extensive interstate road system and, therefore, deserving of federal support. The bill readily passed the House of Representatives at the end of April, with the backing of many Jackson men. Van Buren then brought it to Jackson's attention during one of their daily horseback rides, and Jackson promptly agreed that since the road was located entirely within one state, it would serve admirably.

Rumors circulated that Jackson might veto the Maysville bill, and a group of western Democrats appealed to Representative Richard M. Johnson of Kentucky to present their case for the road. Johnson explained that the improvement was needed and that a veto would severely damage the Jackson party in Kentucky. Warming to his subject, Johnson dramatically declaimed, "General! If this hand were an anvil on which the sledge hammer of the smith was descending and a fly were to light upon it in time to receive the blow he would not crush it more effectually than you will crush your friends in Kentucky if you veto that Bill!"

Jackson rose to his feet and responded in equally fervent language, bluntly remarking that there was "no money" for the expenditures desired by the friends of internal improvements. "Are you willingare my friends willing to lay taxes to pay for internal improvements?for be assured I will not borrow a cent except in case of absolute necessity!" he heatedly proclaimed. Jackson soon ended the interview on a more amicable note, promising to examine the bill from all angles before making up his mind, but Johnson left the White House convinced that the bill was as good as dead. "Nothing less than a voice from Heaven would prevent the old man from vetoing the Bill," Johnson explained to his colleagues, and he "doubted whether that would!"

Johnson was right, for Jackson handed down his veto, rejecting the bill on grounds that were both constitutional and pragmatic. Affirming that internal improvements could be constitutionally appropriated only for purposes of national defense and national benefit, Jackson condemned the measure as "of purely local character." He also skillfully argued against the expediency of such proposals even if they fell within his constitutional rule. Recalling the American responsibility to perpetuate "the republican principle," Jackson urged lightening public burdens, ending wasteful expenditures, and eliminating the corruption and special privilege associated with government investment in private corporations.

Over the eight years of his presidency, Jackson elaborated and refined his objections to internal-improvements projects. He warned that federal involvement risked jurisdictional clashes with the states and that government investment in private transportation companies delegated public responsibilities to private agencies and led to charges of "favoritism and oppression." He also protested against the "flagicious logrolling" that encouraged inequities of burdens and benefits and was destructive of legislative harmony. Jackson was not against economic progress, but he maintained that demands for an extensive, federally sponsored system of improvements endangered republican government and distorted natural economic growth.

Internal-improvements spending did not cease during Jackson's administration. Indeed, he spent more moneyabout $10 millionthan all previous administrations combined. But given the pressure for improved communication and transportation facilities placed on all levels of government by economic expansion, evidence of Jackson's commitment to restraint can be found in the lack of new proposals emanating from his administration and the discouragement of new pet projects caused by actual or threatened vetoes. Most of the money approved by Jackson was for projects already begun under earlier administrations or involved activities and locales that were clearly under federal jurisdiction. Jackson therefore halted the drive for a national system of improvements and located the major responsibility for projects on state and local governments and on private funding.

More than the Indian removal bill, Jackson's internal-improvements policy began the process of identifying Jackson's followers with a party platform. Jackson himself broadcast the idea that his position on internal improvements was a testing ground for the emerging party divisions. "The line . . . has been fairly drew," he announced after issuing the Maysville message.

The veto also signaled a significant change in presidential power. Prior to Jackson's presidency, the veto had been resorted to only nine times, generally on grounds of unconstitutionality or to protect the executive against legislative encroachment. Jackson exercised the veto on more occasions, a total of twelve times; frequently employed the pocket veto, by which a president withholds a bill, unsigned, until Congress adjourns; and expanded the grounds for vetoing a measure. Indeed, it was the portions of Jackson's veto messages dealing with nonconstitutional matters that generally contained the most authentic examples of Jacksonian rhetoric and had the greatest popular appeal. In directing his vetoes to the people, moreover, Jackson enhanced presidential power and made the chief executive substantially the equivalent of both houses of Congress.

The Bank of the United States

Jackson's style of reaching out for political issues was never better illustrated than his attack on the Second Bank of the United States. The bank had been chartered in 1816 to restore the country to a sound fiscal condition after near financial catastrophe during the War of 1812. It was a large corporation, managed and operated under both private and public auspices. Its capital was $35 million, partly subscribed by the United States government, and it was permitted to establish branches and issue bank notes. It was a profit-making institution that also provided public services such as transferring government funds around the country and functioning as a depository for the Treasury. Although it possessed no monopoly over the money supply, it exerted great influence over the nation's financial affairs.

After a shaky start, the bank earned a reputation for fiscal responsibility under the presidency of Nicholas Biddle. It even gained considerable popularity among state bankers, who might have looked upon their giant relative as an enemy. Still, the bank's support did not run deep; Jeffersonian constitutional scruples, traditional republican anxieties, and practical objections lingered among numerous Americans who considered its monetary policies either too lenient or too restrictive and its powers a potential threat to republican government.

Foremost among the doubters was Jackson. Having once been brought to the brink of insolvency by speculative adventures, Jackson became suspicious of all banks and their paper-money issues. His opposition to the national bank, therefore, was part of a broader antibanking and hard-money perspective. "I have been opposed always to the Bank of the U.S. as well as all state Banks of paper issues, upon constitutional ground," he insisted. He also suspected that the bank had intervened in local and national elections and thereby constituted a danger to free government. Thus, when preparing his first annual message, Jackson rejected pleas that he exclude reference to the bank, responding to one worried counselor, "Oh! My friend, I am pledged against the bank."

It is unlikely that Jackson thought in terms of the immediate destruction of the Bank of the United States. Rather, he intended to curb its abuses and explore possible alternatives. In his first message, he briefly observed that the bank's charter was scheduled to expire in 1836 and that its stockholders would probably apply for a renewal. Claiming that both the constitutionality and expediency of the bank were "well questioned by a large portion of our fellow-citizens" and that the bank had failed to establish a uniform and sound currency, he tentatively suggested that Congress consider substituting an institution more closely attached to the government. A year later, he reiterated his apprehensions about the "dangers" of the bank and elaborated on his proposal for a modified national bank that would be an adjunct of the Treasury.

Yet the pace of events remained like a minuet with both sides eyeing each other warily. Jackson's new cabinet, organized in the spring of 1831, contained two highly regarded figures, Louis McLane at the Treasury Department and Edward Livingston at the State Department, who sympathized with the bank. An all-out assault would doubtless have precipitated another cabinet crisis, something Jackson could ill afford. Perhaps, too, he preferred to delay further action until after the 1832 presidential election. Whatever his reasons, Jackson's third annual message, delivered in December 1831, was more modest than his earlier ones. While affirming his continued misgivings about the bank, he ambiguously left the whole subject "to the investigation of an enlightened people and their representatives."

Jackson's moderation troubled antibank Democrats. They need not have worried, for events favored their cause. In January 1832, Biddle, acting on the unfortunate advice of political friends, submitted to Congress a memorial for renewing the bank's charter. The timing was obviously calculated to make the bank a political issue. The National Republican party had nominated Clay as its presidential candidate in December 1831, and he was eager to test Jackson's strength on this very question. The bank's transparent political design further convinced Jackson that it was indeed a "monster" that threatened to corrupt the nation. As Roger Taney, Jackson's new attorney general, explained, the bank's application meant that "the Bank says to the President, your next election is at handif you charter us, wellif not, beware of your power."

The recharter bill passed the Senate on 11 June and the House on 3 July 1832. Jackson met it with a veto that pulsed with the language of Jacksonian democracy. It pronounced the institution a private and privileged corporation whose concentration of political and economic power promoted corruption and threatened liberty. Jackson scored the bank for its "exclusive privileges," claiming that most of its stock was held by foreigners and Americans "chiefly of the richest class." He accused it of operating inequitably, particularly against the West, and of "gross abuse" of its charter. Most especially he warned that the principles embodied in the bill contravened the basic principles of republican equality. Government, Jackson proclaimed, should confine itself "to equal protection, and, as Heaven does its rains, shower its favors alike on the high and the low, the rich and the poor." It should not add "artificial distinctions" to the inevitable natural and just differences among men and "make the rich richer and the potent more powerful."

Jackson's opponents assailed the veto as "the very slang of the leveller and demagogue." They had a point. Superficially, the message implied conflict between the rich and the poor. Yet its ideas were more complex. The veto did not call for the redistribution of wealth or for class war. Instead, it blended a progressive regard for equal opportunity and "competition," with the apprehension that special privilege and monopoly promoted corruption, concentration of power, and a dangerous degree of inequality. The bank veto appealed to concerns that were both contemporary and nostalgic, as Jackson tried to reconcile an expanding and increasingly market-oriented society, of which the bank was a key agent, with the Revolution's ideal of a virtuous republic.

Inevitably, the bank became the paramount issue in the 1832 presidential election. Illustrating the rapid development of party organization during this period, the Democratic party's first national convention met in Baltimore in May 1832 and nominated Jackson and Van Buren. Although it was more fully attended than its rivals', the Democratic meeting was not the first national political convention. The previous December, the National Republicans had assembled in Baltimore to select Clay and John Sergeant of Pennsylvania as their standard-bearers. Even earlier, in September 1831, the nation's first major third party, the Anti-Masons, convened in Baltimore. This party originated in upstate New York in 1826 when an itinerant stonemason named William Morgan disappeared after threatening to publish the secrets of Freemasonry. When local Masons obstructed the investigation into Morgan's kidnapping, a storm of grassroots protest erupted in western New York and spread throughout New England, Pennsylvania, Ohio, Michigan, and other northern states. Anti-Masons soon organized politically and, inspired by moral and egalitarian ideals, advocated the eradication of the Masonic order as well as a variety of other reforms. Finding that the likely presidential contenders in 1832, Jackson and Clay, were both high-ranking Masons, Anti-Masonic leaders decided to nominate their own candidate. In September 1831, delegates from thirteen states nominated William Wirt of Maryland for president and Amos Ellmaker of Pennsylvania for vice president.

The two opposition parties proved no match against Jackson's popularity and his party's organizational efforts. During the campaign, special-edition newspapers, parades, barbecues, and rallies supplemented an extensive network of Hickory Clubs and state and local organizations. Jackson, while carefully avoiding overt efforts at soliciting votes, managed to make numerous public appearances when returning to Washington in the early fall from a summer stay in Tennessee. The campaign, therefore, advanced the movement toward a popular, voter-oriented style of politics.

Jackson won a smashing reelection victory. His estimated 55 percent of the popular vote and 219 electoral votes demonstrated his continued special appeal to the voters. In contrast, Clay received 37 percent of the popular vote and 49 electoral votes, while Wirt gained only 8 percent of the popular vote and 7 electoral votes. The Anti-Masonic party soon dissolved, its members being absorbed by both the Democratic party and the new Whig party. But there was no time to savor the triumph, for even as the results were recorded, Jackson's attention was primarily focused on South Carolina and the issue of nullification.


The nullification crisis was precipitated by South Carolina's bitterness at Jackson's failure to urge a major downward revision of tariff rates. Protective tariffs were considered unconstitutional, inexpedient, and inequitable throughout the South, but resentment was most extreme in South Carolina. There, the tariff was a great symbol of southern oppression, and nullification became the appropriate remedy. As devised by Calhoun, nullification's chief theoretician, in his Exposition (1828) and Fort Hill Address (1831), each state retained the final authority to declare federal laws unconstitutional. Acting through a convention, a state could pronounce a federal law null and void within its limits while remaining in the Union.

Jackson was a moderate on the tariff issue. He considered modest protection necessary to ensure the production of goods necessary for national defense and security, to establish a parity with European manufacturers, and to raise sufficient revenue to pay the national debt. He did not doubt the constitutionality of tariff protection. He vowed, therefore, to pursue "a middle and just course" on the tariff, a policy that was also politically expedient because of the lack of consensus among Democrats on the subject.

As for nullification, Jackson's contempt was un-reserved. He declared it an "abominable doctrine" that struck at the very roots of the Union, which he considered "perpetual," and it violated the principle of majority rule. He distinguished nullification from traditional states' rights principles. States' rights "will preserve the union of the states," Jackson explained, but nullification "will dissolve the Union."

In the spring of 1831, nullifier leaders went on the offensive. They organized themselves to take control of South Carolina and issued increasingly hostile attacks against the tariff and the administration. When Congress assembled in December, Jackson tried to defuse the controversy by recommending that tariff rates be lowered. Certainly pressure from South Carolina forced his hand on this matter, but tariff reform also comported with his evolving program. The approaching end of the national debt made excessive rates appear to be a special privilege of manufacturers, at the expense of ordinary citizens. High tariffs also provoked sectional strife and undermined "liberty and the general good."

Congress responded with a reform tariff in 1832, returning schedules to approximately what they had been in 1824. The measure was unacceptable to nullifiers, however, who won more than two-thirds of the seats in the South Carolina legislature the following October and called a state convention. Meeting in Charleston on 19 November 1832, the delegates approved the Ordinance of Nullification, which declared that the tariffs of 1828 and 1832 were null and void and that after 1 February 1833 it would be illegal to enforce the payment of import duties within the limits of South Carolina. The convention further warned that any use of force against the state would provide grounds for secession.

Jackson viewed the situation as grave. He regarded the nullifiers as reckless and disappointed demagogues who sought to ride to power on the ruin of the nation. Republican government was always susceptible to subversion from within, and the nullifiers seemed hell-bent on a separation of the Union. Jackson therefore developed a strategy designed to avoid provoking war while isolating and intimidating South Carolina. He sent arms and equipment to the loyal Unionists in the state, readied the army and navy, orchestrated expressions of patriotism throughout the nation, and promised prompt federal military intervention if nullifiers resisted federal laws and over-awed South Carolina loyalists.

When Congress convened in December 1832, Jackson made a new conciliatory gesture by announcing his commitment to further tariff reform. Yet it seems unlikely that he had much confidence that this would placate South Carolina. Instead, he probably hoped to isolate the state from southern moderates, who would now have little reason to sympathize with extremism.

Indeed, to show his determination to hold fast against nullification, Jackson issued the Nullification Proclamation on 10 December. Composed with the assistance of Kendall, Blair, and especially Secretary of State Edward Livingston, whom Jackson charged to use his "best flight of eloquence," the proclamation pronounced nullification "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." He urged South Carolinians to retrace their steps and called upon all Americans to give their undivided support to the Union and "to inspire new confidence in republican institutions."

Led by Van Buren's followers, moderates in Congress sought to end the conflict by supporting a lower tariff bill introduced by Gulian C. Verplanck of New York. But to Jackson the situation remained critical, and on 16 January he sent Congress a message, informing it of South Carolina's actions and requesting explicit confirmation of his right to employ state militias and federal forces against the dissidents.

The resulting Force Bill, as it became known, received bipartisan supportits floor manager in the Senate was Daniel Websterand though many southerners disliked the measure, its passage was all but assured from the time it was introduced. Jackson considered the act necessary to "show to the world" that the United States was prepared "to crush in an instant" rebellion and treason. At the same time, he made no effort on behalf of the Verplanck bill, preferring to postpone tariff revision until nullification was put down.

Prospects for compromise brightened considerably toward the end of January 1833, when a public meeting in Charleston resolved to delay nullification until Congress completed deliberations on tariff reform. A few weeks later, Clay and Calhoun made public their agreement to underwrite a compromise tariff that would provide a face-saving retreat for the nullifiers. The Clay tariff proposal sacrificed the principle of tariff protection for time, by slowly bringing rates down to a revenue standard. Jackson conspicuously refused to shift his priorities by making Clay's bill an administration measure. But most legislators considered the Compromise Tariff of 1833 as essential as the Force Bill, and by the beginning of March, both proposals had passed Congress. Significantly, Jackson signed the Force Bill first, declaring that it gave "the death blow" to nullification.

The threat to the Union was over, and most Americans breathed a sigh of relief. Yet there were those who, like Jackson, had doubts that the new tariff would bring enduring sectional peace. In the spring of 1833, when some nullifiers denounced the new tariff and called for continued and unceasing efforts to protect the South and slavery from prejudicial legislation, Jackson predicted that the nullifiers, having failed to break up the Union on the tariff issue, would now grasp "the negro, or slavery question" as their "next pretext." Additional signs of restiveness in the South were evident among many Democrats, who considered Jackson an unreliable guardian of states' rights.

Even so, the nation had weathered the storm. Jackson had vindicated the Union, demonstrated that states' rights principles were compatible with nationalism, and displayed remarkable skill in wielding presidential power. One leading Democrat remarked at this time, "He is a much abler man than I thought him. One of those naturally great minds which seem ordinary except when the fitting emergency arises."

Shortly afterward, in June 1833, Jackson departed from Washington on a tour of the East Coast, providing himself with a refreshing break from the recent arduous responsibilities of office and permitting the country to renew its commitment to the Union through patriotic celebration. The response in Baltimore, Philadelphia, New York, Boston, and elsewhere was magnificent. The enthusiasm was genuine and almost universal. In Cambridge, Jackson was awarded an honorary degree of doctor of laws from Harvard. When Adams complained about this debasement of Harvard's reputation, he was met with a telling response from the president of Harvard: "As the people have twice decided that this man knows law enough to be their ruler, it is not for Harvard College to maintain that they are mistaken." But Jackson was compelled to cut short his itinerary when he collapsed from fatigue and bleeding from the lungs. He was taken by steamer back to Washington, where his life remained in danger for two days, before he rallied.

Removal of Deposits

Even as the tour proceeded, Jackson was deeply immersed in politics, for the issue of the Bank of the United States again pressed upon his attention. The bank's charter continued in effect until 1836 and then permitted the institution two years more to wind up its affairs, during which time it could try to reverse its fate. Indeed, Jackson thought there was sufficient evidence that Biddle would neither acknowledge defeat nor work harmoniously with the government. He alleged that since the veto, Biddle had circulated propaganda for the bank, aided Clay's presidential campaign, and mismanaged bank funds.

Equally ominous, the recent alliance of Clay and Calhoun gave new life to the opposition, which, Jackson predicted, would seek recharter as the centerpiece of a system of expanded governmental powers. He considered the situation a "crisis," and he determined to remove the government's deposits from the bank, relying instead on a system of selected state banks, called pet banks. In preparation, he shuffled his cabinet personnel, shifting the conservative McLane from the Treasury Department to the State Department and appointing the Pennsylvanian William Duane to replace McLane.

Throughout the summer of 1833, Jackson confronted evidence of serious resistance to removal from probank Democrats, cabinet members, and even good friends like Van Buren and Ritchie. At the end of July, he fled the sultry capital for his Virginia vacation resort at the Rip Raps to ponder the situation. As the steamboat conveyed the party down the Chesapeake, an incident occurred that showed Jackson's unflagging self-assurance. The Chesapeake waves were unusually high, seemingly endangering the old vessel and its occupants. An aged passenger exhibited a good deal of alarm, but Jackson retained his composure. "You are uneasy," Jackson said to the gentleman. "You never sailed with me before, I see."

Deciding to put to rest further discussion of his intentions, Jackson returned to Washington, called his cabinet together, and explained that there could now be "no excuse for further delay." Though most cabinet members swung reluctantly to his side, Duane stubbornly resisted issuing the order changing the government's depository. Jackson, who regarded Duane as "either the weakest mortal, or the most strange composition I have ever met with," fired him and replaced him with Roger Taney. On 25 September, Taney ordered that as of 1 October, future government revenue be placed in state banks.

The removal order set off a last, mighty struggle with the Bank of the United States. Biddle retaliated by turning the screws on the economy, reducing loans, calling in debts, and curtailing other activities. "This worthy President thinks that because he has scalped Indians and imprisoned Judges he is to have his way with the Bank. He is mistaken," Biddle fumed.

At the same time, opposition leaders, who were beginning to adopt the name Whig, denounced Jackson. "Executive usurpation," they cried, trying to undermine Jackson's popular appeal. During the so-called Panic Session of Congress, Senate Whigs managed to pass two resolutions in February and March 1834, rejecting Taney's reasons for removing the deposits and censuring Jackson's actions as "not conferred by the Constitution and laws."

As economic distress spread throughout the country, many Jacksonians hesitated. But Jackson refused to bend or to lose control of the situation. "Go to Nicholas Biddle," he told complaining delegations seeking redress. The president also turned the tables on the Senate by issuing a "Protest" detailing its own transgressions and disregard of constitutional procedures.

The tide of events soon turned in Jackson's favor. In February 1834, Pennsylvania's governor, George Wolf, turned against the bank, and in Congress the president's backers counterattacked. Finally, on 4 April 1834, after prolonged debate, House Democrats passed four resolutions that sustained both the bank veto and the removal of the deposits. Having failed to alter Jackson's policy, the bank's directors voted in July to end the contraction.

Jackson had once again prevailed. "Biddled, Diddled, and Undone" was the epitaph for the bank penned by one Democratic editor. To be sure, Jackson lost some supporters over the removal issue, mostly among southern states' rights radicals, who used the question of "executive usurpation" as a pretext for joining the Whig party. But like other Jackson policies, removal clarified party lines and firmed the commitment of those who remained loyal.

Destroying the national bank was one thing, but assuring the nation a stable and secure monetary system was another. Following removal, therefore, Jackson began his campaign to reform banking abuses. His administration's fondness for hard moneygold and silveris probably the most difficult of all Jackson measures for twentieth-century Americans to understand. In an era when banking was virtually unregulated and an expanding economy fueled demands for more and more credit, paper money was an obvious target for reformers, who held it responsible for a cruel economic cycle of booms and busts. They also complained that it sapped public virtue by encouraging speculation, robbing "honest labor" of its earnings, and making "knaves rich, powerful and dangerous." Attacks against excessive paper issues reflected concern for actual banking abuses as well as anxiety and, for some, resistance to the onrushing Market Revolution.

Administration efforts to encourage what the Globe called "Jackson money" only partially succeeded. Congress revalued gold in 1834, but the precious metal never became a circulating medium for ordinary commercial transactions. Moreover, Congress dragged its feet for two years before imposing restraints on small bills, so that Treasury Secretary Levi Woodbury, who succeeded Taney, was compelled to take action on his own authority. In April 1835, he ordered that after 30 November the pet banks refuse bank notes under $5 for payment of government dues. In early 1836 the ban was extended to cover notes under $10.

During his second administration, Jackson also turned his attention to the issue of a successor who would perpetuate his program and party. Van Buren had long been his choice, and in the summer of 1834, Jackson informed Van Buren that he was insisting that party leaders take a stand against the Bank of the United States, national banks in general, "and in favor of you." Van Buren, however, had drawbacks. As a northerner, he was suspect to many southerners, and his reputation for political scheming left a trail of political resentment. Rebellion against a Van Buren succession flared throughout the South and consolidated behind the candidacy of a slaveholding Tennessean, Senator Hugh Lawson White.

In order to unite the party behind Van Buren, Jackson urged that a national convention meet early. In response to the administration's call, delegates convened in Baltimore on 20 May 1835 and nominated Van Buren, along with the popular Kentucky military hero and senator Richard M. Johnson. Johnson's earlier open relationship with a mulatto woman and his two daughters by her stirred resistance among many southern Jacksonians who preferred Virginia's William C. Rives for the vice presidency. But Jackson's fiat went forth, and Johnson won the necessary two-thirds vote.


Southern apprehensiveness about the Van Buren-Johnson ticket becomes more understandable in light of renewed northern antislavery activity at this time. Jackson's presidency coincided with the formation of state and national antislavery societies, the publication of William Lloyd Garrison's Liberator, and the expansion of abolitionist efforts to awaken the nation's conscience. Although abolitionists focused primarily on nonpolitical tactics, their activities inevitably intruded into politics. During the last two years of the Jackson administration, therefore, the slavery issue was reintroduced to American politics for the first time since the fiery Missouri debates of 18191821.

In the summer of 1835, shortly after the Democratic convention adjourned, antislavery forces organized a campaign to distribute propaganda tracts through the mails to the South. The southern response was predictable. Southern state legislatures passed laws to keep out such "incendiary literature," and many southern postmasters refused to deliver abolitionist mail. At Charleston, South Carolina, on 29 July, a mob of some three hundred incensed citizens stormed the post office to seize abolitionist material. Although persuaded to disperse, a few Carolinians returned that night and took possession of the literature, which they burned the following evening on the Charleston parade grounds.

The Jackson administration's handling of this controversy has generally been interpreted as evidence of its southern orientation. According to one account, the Democratic party's pro-South and pro-slavery bias was the "darker side to Jacksonian Democracy." The Jackson administration certainly was hostile to abolitionism and any efforts to disturb the South's "peculiar institution." It showed a continuing solicitude for southern opinion and interests, and it embraced the racial tenets of "herrenvolk democracy," which affirmed the equality of whites and their superiority over non-whites. Jackson himself was a substantial planter, owning many slaves, and while he insisted that they be treated "humanely," he showed no disposition to disturb the legal and constitutional arrangements that maintained the slave system. Yet Jackson's position on the slavery issue was more complex than this.

The Democratic party was a national organization, and northern attitudes about slavery and civil liberties had to be given weight. Moreover, Jackson's denunciation of abolitionism did not signify that he considered slavery a positive or permanent good. Rather, he thought that by maintaining sectional calm, Providence would, in time, somehow eradicate the evil. Indeed, he generally perceived the growing slavery controversy as artificial and political, with both abolitionists and southern extremists seeking to divide the Union to serve their separate ends. The permanency of the Union and the American experiment in liberty went hand in hand; both were directly threatened by agitation over slavery. And so, too, was the Democratic party. The administration therefore sought to put a damper on the slavery issue by placating southern worries while resisting extreme proslavery demands.

With Jackson vacationing in Virginia, the administration's initial response to the mails controversy fell to the recently appointed postmaster general, Amos Kendall. Seeking to intercept the mails with as little noise and difficulty as possible, Kendall adopted an evasive strategy of refusing officially to sanction the action of local postmasters who detained the mail, but also declining to order it delivered. He thus left postmasters to their own discretion.

Upon learning of the situation in Charleston, Jackson angrily denounced the abolitionists as "monsters" and suggested that those who subscribed to the papers have their names recorded by the postmaster and exposed in the public newspapers. Yet Jackson did not justify mob action or the complete interdiction of abolitionist mailings. He denounced the "spirit of mob-law" as evidenced in Charleston and thought that the instigators should be "checked and punished." Reminding Kendall that federal officials had "no power to prohibit anything from being transported in the mails that is authorized by the law," he suggested that the papers be delivered only to those who were "really subscribers."

The mails controversy became a leading question when Congress convened in December 1835. In his annual message, Jackson noted the "painful excitement" caused by the abolitionist tracts and recommended that Congress prohibit their circulation in the South. His proposal prompted a heated debate in the Senate when Calhoun objected to giving Congress power to exclude material. Such authority, Calhoun alleged, would equally permit the federal government to "open the gates to the flood of incendiary publications."

Calhoun urged that state law, not Congress, be the arbiter of what was incendiary, and in February 1836, he reported a bill declaring it unlawful for postmasters in states and territories to receive and put into the mail any material "touching" the subject of slavery that was addressed to any area where such material was prohibited. Not everyone found Calhoun's distinction clear. At least one key Jacksonian asserted that Calhoun's bill was actually an administration measure because it ultimately relied upon federal authority to enforce the ban.

Northern Whigs led the opposition to Calhoun's bill, protesting that it violated freedom of the press. Significantly, a number of loyal Jacksonians, including Thomas Hart Benton of Missouri and John Niles of Connecticut, also considered the proposal "preposterous and mischievous." After considerable discussion and revision, the bill barely survived a test vote in the Senate on 2 June when a tie was broken by Vice President Van Buren. It then failed on a final vote when enough northern Democrats combined with northern and borderstate Whigs to defeat it. The tally was more sectional than partisan, indicating how slavery jeopardized party unity. Eventually, toward the end of the session, the Senate approved a Post Office Department reorganization plan that explicitly forbade postmasters from detaining the mail. But southern state laws remained on the books, and federal law became, in the words of one historian, "largely a dead letter in the South."

Although Congress had failed to adopt his recommendation, it is hard to think that Jackson was disappointed by this course of events. The mails controversy subsided as southern states quietly nullified federal law without resorting to federal legislation that many northerners found objectionable. The Democratic party's position was to muffle rather than inflame the slavery issue, and the Globe, after blaming defeat for the mails bill on the Whigs, let the subject rest.

A second slavery question proved more nettle-some to the Jackson administration. This was the antislavery campaign to petition Congress for the abolition of the slave trade and slavery in the District of Columbia and in federal territories. The trouble erupted early in the session when, on 18 December 1835, South Carolina congressman James Henry Hammond announced that he "could not sit there and see the rights of the southern people assaulted day after day, by the ignorant fanatics from whom these memorials proceed." He demanded that the petitions not be received by the House.

Hammond's action precipitated a bitter debate that, in one form or another, lasted a decade. Southern radicals like Hammond intended from the outset to use the petitions as a way of ascertaining northern attitudes toward slavery and to establish the principle that slavery lay entirely outside of congressional authority. Aside from the Vermont abolitionist congressman William Slade, no northerners spoke in favor of the prayers of the petitions. Instead, northern spokesmen defended the right to have antislavery memorials respectfully received and handled. Northern Whigs again led the defense of the right of reception, but they were joined by a number of prominent Jacksonians like Samuel Beardsley of New York, who warned that northern freemen would not tolerate having their petitions forbidden or treated with scorn.

As in the mails controversy, Jacksonians tried to "sink the irritating topic into instant insignificance." After weeks of speeches and political maneuvering, Democrats eventually rallied behind a resolution offered by Henry L. Pinckney of South Carolina, calling for a select committee to deal with the materials. Southern radicals were furious that Pinckney had seemingly conceded the power of the House to act upon the subject of slavery at all. But the resolution passed the House handily, with the overwhelming majority of Democrats, particularly from the North, in support.

In May 1836, Pinckney presented his commit-tee's report to the House. Denouncing the "sickly sentimentality" of antislavery reformers, it proposed resolutions denying constitutional authority to interfere with slavery in the states; declaring that Congress "ought not" to interfere with slavery in the nation's capital; and, finally, tabling with no further action, and without printing or referral, all petitions and other material relating to the subject of slavery or its abolition. The last resolution was the famous "gag rule."

As expected, Pinckney's motions were condemned by some as an invasion of southern rights and by others as a violation of the right of petition. In order to prevent the discord from getting out of control, Jacksonian leaders quickly cut off debate by moving the previous question and rushing a vote on the resolutions. All passed easily, and the slavery issue in Congress was temporarily held in abeyance under the combined restraints of party loyalty and the gag rule.

But the controversy over petitions continued to agitate national politics, in part because the gag rule provided a concrete and attractive target for antislavery advocates who linked their cause to the broader one of civil liberties. Annual debates over the gag rule strained the Democratic party, whose members were torn between sectional allegiance and party loyalty. In 1844 enough northern Democrats refused to go along with their southern colleagues, and the gag rule died. Jackson deplored the increased sectional bitterness that marked national politics during his presidency. He urged Americans to remember that the foundations of the Constitution and the Union were laid in the "affections of the people" and in their "fraternal attachment" as members of one political family. His sentiments were heartfelt, but time would demonstrate that his appeals for moderation, for unionism, and for patience in awaiting Providence's will were ineffectual nostrums for the great moral and legal issues posed by slavery.

While the slavery controversy agitated political waters, Jackson also found rough sailing in his campaign to reform banking excesses and the nation's money supply. Although the deposit system was generally performing well, serious problems were becoming evident. The country was in the midst of an inflationary surge propelled by an influx of silver and by overbanking and speculation, and the pet banks were doing their share in dangerously expanding credit. These conditions produced a surplus of tariff and land revenues, which accumulated in the pets. Other institutions resented the pets' access to federal funds and demanded a portion.

As a result, when the administration proposed a measure to regulate the pet banks, Congress severely modified it. The resulting Deposit Act of 1836 was a multipurposed affair. It provided some needed restrictions on small paper bills but also limited the amount of federal money that could be held in each pet bank. The effect was to increase radically the number of pets and sacrifice control over the deposit system.

Even more objectionable to Jackson was a provision that distributed the surplus federal revenue to the states. Jackson had once supported distribution, though only under certain conditions, but he now considered the measure unconstitutional and inexpedient. It made the states dependent on the federal government for revenue, encouraged speculation and excessive paper issues, and created pressures on Congress to raise the tariff to replace the lost money. Indeed, he considered this measure so harmful that he actually prepared a veto. Only after Congress made federal funds a deposit subject to recall, rather than an outright grant, did he reluctantly sign the bill.

Jackson's approval was clearly motivated by practical concerns. In an election year, Democrats rivaled Whigs in promising states the benefits of the surplus, and a presidential veto would have damaged Van Buren's prospects. Besides, distribution was simply the price that Jackson had to pay for getting some degree of bank regulation.

In the aftermath of the bill's passage, Jackson made it evident that his signature spelled no retreat from his hard-money policy. In July 1836, he issued the Specie Circular, which directed government agents to receive only gold and silver in payment for public lands after December 1836, a measure designed to diminish land speculation and to "preserve the deposit banks" by increasing the specie backing of bank notes. The Specie Circular generated a storm of protest; Congress passed a bill at the close of Jackson's presidency repealing it, but Jackson pocket vetoed the bill. "I have the great republican principles to sustain, the constitution to preserve, protect and defend, and the most vital principle of it is the currency, and I have to maintain a consistency of character in all my acts to make my administration beneficial to republicanism," he explained.

Jackson's banking and currency program must receive mixed grades. The pet-bank system aggravated the inflationary pressures of the mid-1830s and contributed to the inevitable Panic of 1837, shortly after Jackson left office. His efforts to regulate and reform bank paper had only a modest effect in controlling speculation and bringing about economic stability.

Criticism of Jackson's program should be balanced by the realization that economic fluctuations are international in scope and that the federal government had only a limited ability to shape the course of economic affairs. It is doubtful the boom-and-bust cycle of the 1830s would have been avoided if Jackson had rechartered the national bank. Moreover, Jackson should be credited for the social and moral considerations that inspired his actions. He perceived, if only dimly, that the rapid changes associated with the Market Revolution undermined traditional values and relationships, and jeopardized the rough equality of condition that underpinned a republican society. His warnings about concentrations of political and economic power and about the debilitating effects of corruption have become part of the American reform tradition.

Foreign Affairs

The spring of 1836 brought one clear-cut triumph for the president: the successful conclusion of a settlement with France over spoliation claims dating from the Napoleonic era. When Jackson took office, negotiations with France had reached a "hopeless" condition, according to Secretary of State Van Buren. Jackson informed Congress in his first annual message that he intended to break the logjam.

Jackson's minister to France, William C. Rives, prodded and flattered the reluctant French government into signing a treaty in July 1831. By its terms, France agreed to pay the United States 25 million francs, and in return, the United States paid a small sum to extinguish French claims against the American government and reduced the duties on French wines. Jackson happily announced the settlement the following December and submitted the treaty for ratification; it was approved unanimously.

Celebration proved premature when France, embroiled in financial and political difficulties, refused to appropriate money to implement the treaty. At first, Jackson accepted the word of the king and his ministers that the fault lay in the French Chamber of Deputies. But by the summer of 1834, his confidence in the king diminished too, and in October he began talking about taking "strong measures."

Jackson labored with more than usual attention over the foreign affairs section of his December 1834 message to Congress. One evening, he was brought the page proofs as revised by Secretary of State John Forsyth. Donelson began to read them while Jackson paced the floor, pipe in hand. When Donelson seemed to slur over a key passage dealing with France, Jackson paused. "Read that again, sir," he said. Donelson repeated the words more distinctly. "That, sir, is not my language," Jackson exclaimed, striking out the unauthorized revisions and writing his own original phrasing.

The message was direct and to the point. It recapitulated the history of the negotiations and, while disclaiming any desire to intimidate or threaten France, recommended that Congress authorize reprisals against French property. The statement temporarily worsened relations with France, and there was talk of war when the French government recalled its minister. Yet neither side acted precipitately. In France, Minister Edward Livingston explained that Jackson's message was intended to heal the diplomatic breach, not insult the French. Somewhat mollified, the Chamber of Deputies soon appropriated money to pay the claims but attached a proviso that no money should be paid until France received a satisfactory explanation of the language in Jackson's message.

Jackson refused to concede any point of honor. In his message of December 1835 and in a special message the following January, he decried the right of any foreign power to dictate the language used by a president. He would issue, he said, no "servile" apology. Jackson also called for commercial retaliation if France continued to refuse payment. But Jackson, too, carefully avoided provocation by reaffirming his peaceful purposes and reiterating his good opinion of the French people.

Though matters remained in a precarious condition for some weeks, the issue was soon resolved. In February 1836, Great Britain offered to mediate the dispute, and France quickly accepted the accommodating portions of Jackson's December message as a satisfactory explanation. In May, Jackson announced to Congress the termination of the controversy, along with the information that the first four installments of the debt had been paid.

The resolution of the French crisis was only one of Jackson's diplomatic accomplishments. Contrary to popular notions, Jackson actually devoted considerable energy to foreign affairs. About one-third of his annual messages related to foreign policy. Skillfully combining energy, bluster, tact, and patience, Jackson set a course to expand American commerce, resolve long-standing claims, restore American prestige, and enlarge America's territorial boundaries.

As a result of Jackson's leadership, the United States achieved a number of diplomatic triumphs, in addition to the agreement with France. These included the settlement of spoliation claims against Denmark, Portugal, and Spain and trade agreements with Russia, Spain, Turkey, Great Britain, and Siam. The treaty with Great Britain reopened American trade with the British West Indies, while the agreement with Siam was the first between the United States and an Asiatic nation. Partly owing to these diplomatic initiatives, American exports increased more than 75 percent and imports grew 250 percent during Jackson's presidency.

Jackson was not entirely successful in foreign affairs. Missions to China and Japan accomplished nothing, and efforts to dislodge Great Britain's position in South America failed. Most conspicuous, Jackson's attempt to acquire Texas fell short. For years, he had considered Texas essential to the security of the Southwest, and as president, he was willing to spend $5 million to purchase it. He even countenanced the scheming and shady operations of his representative in Mexico, Colonel Anthony Butler, who at one point, for example, proposed that he head a military occupation of Texas. Jackson endorsed the letter "A. Butler: What a scamp," yet he delayed replacing Butler with a more respectable agent until near the end of his presidency.

By that time, events in Texas made further diplomatic efforts impossible. In 1835 fighting broke out between the American settlers and the Mexican government, and by the spring of 1836, the Texans had routed the Mexican army and were appealing to Jackson for recognition and annexation. Despite his desire for Texas, Jackson proceeded cautiously. In part, he was unconvinced that Texas could maintain independence against Mexican military strength. Even more worrisome were possible domestic repercussions, since antislavery forces were already making Texas a slavery and sectional issue. Annexation would further strain national loyalties, divide the Democratic party, and jeopardize Van Buren's election chances.

Jackson therefore rejected annexation and left the initiative for recognition to Congress. Not until 3 March 1837, after Van Buren's election had been safely decided and after Congress had led the way with appropriate resolutions, did Jackson nominate a chargé d'affaires to the Republic of Texas. It was one of his last acts as president. He had not achieved complete success in the Southwest, but he had managed to bring closer to fulfillment his objective of expanding and securing American boundaries in that region.

By the time Jackson retired from the White House, he had significantly altered the office of the president and the course of American history. In expanding the veto power, basing his authority on the will of the people, and intervening in legislative matters, he dramatically enhanced the chief executive's political and legislative powers. The president was now the focal point of national politics.

Jackson also advanced the formation of the Democratic party and, with it, the second American party system. Not only did he encourage the development of such organizational devices as the national convention, but his program and principles became the dividing line that separated Americans into opposing political camps. By the end of his second term, the country had two national political parties, each extending its structure deep into the electorate. This new political system had a distinctly more voter-oriented and democratic style than the previous one. Jackson was by no means exclusively responsible for these changes, but by bringing the presidency and national politics closer to the electorate, he contributed significantly.

Finally, Jackson stamped on the Democratic party a commitment to the principles of limited government, equality, and public virtue as the basis of a healthy republic. Sensing that progress toward a market-oriented society posed dangers to free institutions, Jackson attacked privileged monopolies, paper-money banking, speculation, excessive government expenditures, burdensome taxation, and consolidated power as diseases that sapped republican government and public virtue. He sought to revitalize Jeffersonian principles as a way of reconciling desirable economic advances with the republican ideals of the past.

To be sure, key elements of Jackson's program, such as Indian removal and the gag rule, revealed that his egalitarian rhetoric applied only to whites. Yet in an important way, Jackson succeeded in delineating the conflict between democratic equality and economic development, and he made the kind of defiant effort to reconcile these forces that one would expect of Andrew Jackson.


Jackson was almost seventy years old when he retired to the Hermitage. He found comfort in the presence of his family and relations, particularly the children of his adopted son, Andrew Jackson, Jr. The Hermitage again became a seat of hospitality for friends, as well as a shrine to the Democratic faithful who made pilgrimages to visit the General. Jackson gave careful attention to his plantation, which had been poorly managed by Andrew, Jr., in his absence. He also put his religious house in order when, in 1838, he joined the Presbyterian Church. His religious affirmation was not followed by a noticeable decrease in the number or intensity of epithets he hurled at opponents.

But problems also plagued Jackson's retirement. His health, always precarious, deteriorated, leaving him increasingly weak and feeble. He suffered from tuberculosis and dropsy, complaining of headaches, coughing, and swelling. Yet Jackson carried on, giving credit for his continued life to the restorative powers of Matchless Sanative, a cough medicine that he claimed made "a new man" of him. Most likely it was Jackson's will and spirit, not Matchless Sanative or the ministrations of physicians, that held death at bay.

Equally worrisome were the debts that cast a shadow over the Hermitage. They were almost entirely the result of his adopted son's bad business judgment and immaturity. Jackson assumed these obligations, selling land and borrowing money, using the valuable Hermitage as collateral. His indebtedness eventually ran to over $25,000, and the Hermit-age began to look neglected.

Ever a politician, Jackson continued his involvement in public affairs. The Panic of 1837 brought hard times until the early 1840s. Whigs and conservative Democrats blamed Jackson's banking and hard-money policy, and urged Van Buren to repudiate the Specie Circular. Jackson responded by denouncing the "perfidy and treachery" of the banks, and he pressed Van Buren to hold firm on the circular. When Van Buren refused to rescind the order and recommended to Congress an independent treasury system by which the government would divorce itself from banks and place its funds in separate repositories, Jackson fully approved. His endorsement strengthened Democratic resolve to pass the so-called divorce bill in 1840.

Jackson also took a keen interest in Van Buren's reelection campaign of 1840. He roundly condemned the Whig party's log-cabin and hard-cider tactics as "an attempt to degrade our republican system," and he even stumped for Van Buren in western Tennessee. When the Whig ticket of William Henry Harrison and John Tyler won, Jackson's spirits temporarily sagged, but they quickly revived as he urged Democrats to unite around Van Buren.

Jackson's greatest influence on public affairs during his post-White House years came after Tyler assumed the presidency following Harrison's sudden death. When Tyler made the annexation of Texas a leading administration measure, Jackson bent his energies toward its accomplishment. Although the Texas issue had volatile political and sectional overtones, Jackson focused only on what he deemed "national" considerations, particularly the benefits of checking English influence over Texas and securing American borders.

Jackson's enthusiasm for expansion strained his political relationship with Van Buren, Thomas Hart Benton, and other Democrats who balked at immediate annexation. But Jackson would not relent; he was "for the annexation regardless of all consequences." In April 1844, Van Buren published a letter opposing immediate annexation, and Jackson reluctantly and painfully withdrew his support and advocated the nomination of "an annexation man." He worked behind the scenes to push the candidacy of his fellow Tennessean James K. Polk, who eventually emerged with the Democratic presidential nomination in 1844.

Increasingly weak and debilitated, Jackson summoned up his reserves of strength to promote Polk's election, scrawling letters of advice and encouragement to party leaders and helping to secure Tyler's withdrawal as an independent candidate. He called Polk's victory "glorious," and when news of the Democratic triumph was followed at the end of February 1845 by word that Congress had passed a joint resolution annexing Texas, Jackson rejoiced. In May he advised the newly inaugurated "Young Hickory" also to uphold American claims to Oregon. "No temporising with Britain on this subject now, temporising will not do," he counseled.

The strong words belied the physical deterioration that had set in. "I am I may say a perfect Jelly from the toes to the upper part of my abdome [sic ]," he informed Blair toward the end of May. Surgery on 2 June brought only temporary relief from the drop-sy, and on Sunday, 8 June, Jackson died. He was seventy-eight years old. In accordance with his "republican feelings and principles," he was buried two days later alongside his wife in the Hermitage garden after a service that was as simple as possible. There were nationwide ceremonies in honor of Jackson, and while a few embittered partisans refused to attend, most Americans genuinely sorrowed at the passing of a man who, for half a century, had shaped the nation's destiny.


A short, highly interpretive biography of Andrew Jackson emphasizing his psychological impulses is James C. Curtis, Andrew Jackson and the Search for Vindication (Boston, 1976). The best modern biography of Jackson is a three-volume work by Robert V. Remini: Andrew Jackson and the Course of American Empire, 17671821 (New York, 1977), Andrew Jackson and the Course of American Freedom, 18221832 (New York, 1981), and Andrew Jackson and the Course of American Democracy, 18331845 (New York, 1984). On the influence of republican ideology on Jackson's presidency, consult Richard B. Latner, The Presidency of Andrew Jackson: White House Politics, 18291837 (Athens, Ga., 1979), and Harry L. Watson, Liberty and Power: The Politics of Jacksonian America (New York, 1990). For a different view of Jackson's presidency, see Donald B. Cole, The Presidency of Andrew Jackson (Lawrence, Kans., 1993). Drew R. McCoy, The Elusive Republic: Political Economy in Jeffersonian America (Chapel Hill, N.C., 1980), explains the complexity of republican thinking in an earlier era.

Historians have long debated the meaning of Jacksonian politics. Marvin Meyers, The Jacksonian Persuasion: Politics and Belief (Stanford, Calif., 1957), is in many respects the most successful interpretation of Jacksonianism. Arthur M. Schlesinger, Jr., The Age of Jackson (Boston, 1945), still offers a vivid portrait of the democratic qualities of Jacksonian politics. Charles Sellers, The Market Revolution: Jacksonian America, 18151846 (New York, 1991), is a learned and comprehensive account of Jacksonian America's confrontation with the market revolution.

On the political issues of Jackson's presidency, Matthew A. Crenson, The Federal Machine: Beginnings of Bureaucracy in Jacksonian America (Baltimore, 1975), places Jackson's administrative actions in a broad social framework. Daniel Feller, The Public Lands in Jacksonian Politics (Madison, Wis., 1984), thoroughly examines the political and sectional dimensions of this issue. On Indian policy, Michael Paul Rogin, Fathers and Children: Andrew Jackson and the Subjugation of the American Indian (New York, 1975), is both insightful and controversial in its psychological orientation. Ronald N. Satz, American Indian Policy in the Jacksonian Era (Lincoln, Nebr., 1974), is an excellent analysis of the many aspects of Indian removal. Anthony F. C. Wallace, The Long, Bitter Trail: Andrew Jackson and the Indians (New York, 1993), provides a brief and useful introduction to the process of Indian removal.

Jackson's banking and financial policy is critically examined in Bray Hammond, Banks and Politics in America: From the Revolution to the Civil War (Princeton, N.J., 1957). John M. McFaul, The Politics of Jacksonian Finance (Ithaca, N.Y., 1972), is more favorable to Jackson, while Peter Temin, The Jacksonian Economy (New York, 1969), places economic events in an international and theoretical context. William W. Freehling, Prelude to Civil War: The Nullification Controversy in South Carolina, 18161836 (New York, 1966), is a model historical study of this crisis. Richard E. Ellis's excellent study, The Union at Risk: Jacksonian Democracy, States' Rights, and the Nullification Crisis (New York, 1987), argues the strength of nullification. Daniel Walker Howe, The Political Culture of the American Whigs (Chicago, 1979), perceptively explores the values and thinking of the Whig opposition, while Merrill D. Peterson, The Great Triumvirate: Webster, Clay, and Calhoun (New York, 1987), contains a wealth of information about Jackson's leading opponents.

Two essays that argue that Jackson and the Democratic party tilted toward the South and slavery are Richard H. Brown, "The Missouri Crisis, Slavery, and the Politics of Jacksonianism," in South Atlantic Quarterly 65 (1966), and Leonard L. Richards, "The Jacksonians and Slavery," in Lewis Perry and Michael Fellman, eds., Antislavery Reconsidered: New Perspectives on the Abolitionists (Baton Rouge, La., 1979). Robert V. Remini, The Legacy of Andrew Jackson: Essays on Democracy, Indian Removal, and Slavery (Baton Rouge, La., 1988), provides a useful correction to this view. Russel B. Nye, Fettered Freedom: Civil Liberties and the Slavery Controversy, 18301860, rev. ed. (East Lansing, Mich., 1964), remains an excellent study of the mail and petition controversies as well as other slavery-related issues. William W. Freehling, The Road to Disunion: Secessionists at Bay, 17761854 (New York, 1990), contains numerous insights about slavery and politics. Two other studies of southern locales show how Jacksonian politics operated on a smaller scale: J. Mills Thornton III, Politics and Power in a Slave Society: Alabama, 18001860 (Baton Rouge, La., 1978), and Harry L. Watson, Jacksonian Politics and Community Conflict: The Emergence of the Second American Party System in Cumberland County, North Carolina (Baton Rouge, La., 1981).

Jackson's foreign policy receives careful attention in John M. Belohlavek, "Let the Eagle Soar!": The Foreign Policy of Andrew Jackson (Lincoln, Nebr., 1985). Also useful are William H. Goetzmann, When the Eagle Screamed: The Romantic Horizon in American Diplomacy, 18001860 (New York, 1966), and Paul A. Varg, United States Foreign Relations: 18201860 (East Lansing, Mich., 1979).

Recent works include Robert V. Remini, Andrew Jackson and His Indian Wars (New York, 2001).

Further reference sources can be found in Robert V. Remini and Robert O. Rupp, Andrew Jackson: A Bibliography (Westport, Conn., 1991).

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Andrew Jackson

Andrew Jackson

Andrew Jackson (1767-1845), seventh president of the United States, symbolized the democratic advances of his time. His actions strengthened the power of the presidential office in American government.

When Andrew Jackson emerged on the national scene, the United States was undergoing profound social and economic changes as the new, postrevolutionary generation pushed forward in search of material gain and political power. Jackson was a classic example of the self-made man who rose from a log cabin to the White House, and he came to represent the aspirations of the ordinary citizen struggling to achieve wealth and status. He symbolized the "rise of the common man." So total was his identification with this period of American history that the years between 1828 and 1848 are frequently designated the "Age of Jackson."

Andrew Jackson was born on March 15, 1767, in Waxhaw country, which straddles North and South Carolina. His father, who died shortly before Andrew's birth, had come with his wife to America from Ireland in 1765. Andrew attended several academies in the Waxhaw settlement, but his education was spotty and he never developed a taste for learning.

After the outbreak of the American Revolution, Jackson, barely 13 years old, served as an orderly to Col. William Richardson. Following one engagement, Jackson and his brother were captured by the British and taken to a prison camp. When Jackson refused to clean an officer's boots, the officer slashed him with a sword, leaving a permanent scar on his forehead and left hand. Jackson was the only member of his family to survive the war, and it is generally believed that his harsh, adventuresome, early life developed his strong, aggressive qualities of leadership, his violent temper, and his need for intense loyalty from friends.

After the war Jackson drifted from one occupation to another and from one relative to another. He squandered a small inheritance and for a time lived a wild, undisciplined life that gave free rein to his passionate nature. He developed lifelong interests in horse racing and cock-fighting and frequently indulged in outrageous practical jokes. Standing just over 6 feet tall, with long, sharp, bony features lighted by intense blue eyes, Jackson presented an imposing figure that gave every impression of a will and need to command.

After learning the saddler's trade, Jackson tried school-teaching for a season or two, then left in 1784 for Salisbury, N. C., where he studied law in a local office. Three years later, licensed to practice law in North Carolina, he migrated to the western district that eventually became Tennessee. Appointed public prosecutor for the district, he took up residence in Nashville. A successful prosecutor and lawyer, he was particularly useful to creditors who had trouble collecting debts. Since money was scarce in the West, he accepted land in payment for his services and within 10 years became one of the most important landowners in Tennessee. Unfortunately his speculations in land failed, and he spiraled deeply into debt, a misadventure that left him with lasting monetary prejudices. He came to condemn credit because it encouraged speculation and indebtedness. He distrusted the note-issuing, credit-producing aspects of banking and abhorred paper money. He regarded hard money—specie—as the only legitimate means by which honest men could engage in business transactions.

While Jackson was emerging as an important citizen by virtue of his land holdings, he also achieved social status by marrying Rachel Donelson, the daughter of one of the region's original settlers. The Jacksons had no children of their own, but they adopted one of Rachel's nephews and named him Andrew Jackson, Jr.

When Congress created the Southwest Territory in 1790, Jackson was appointed an attorney general for the Mero District and judge advocate of the Davidson County militia. In 1796 the northern portion of the territory held a constitutional convention to petition Congress for admission as a state to the Union. Jackson attended the convention as a delegate from his county. Although he played a modest part in the proceedings, one tradition does credit him with suggesting the name of the state: Tennessee, derived from the name of a Cherokee Indian chief.

In 1796, with the admission of Tennessee as the sixteenth state of the Union, Jackson was elected to its sole seat in the U.S. House of Representatives. His voting record revealed strong nationalistic tendencies. The following year he was elected U.S. senator but he soon resigned to become judge of the Superior Court of Tennessee. His decisions as judge were described by one man as "short, untechnical, unlearned, sometimes ungrammatical, and generally right." He resigned from the bench in 1804 to devote himself exclusively to his plantation, where he later built a graceful mansion called the "Hermitage," and to his other business enterprises, including boatbuilding, horse breeding, and storekeeping.

Military Career

By the beginning of the War of 1812, Jackson had achieved the rank of major general of the Tennessee militia. He and his militia were directed to subdue the Creek Indians in Alabama who had massacred white settlers at Ft. Mims. At the Battle of Horseshoe Bend (1814) Jackson inflicted such a decisive defeat that the Creek's power to wage war was permanently broken. During this engagement Jackson's men acknowledged his toughness and indomitable will by calling him "Old Hickory."

When the U.S. government heard rumors of an impending British penetration of the South through one of the ports on the Gulf of Mexico, Jackson was ordered to block the invasion. Supposing that New Orleans was the likeliest point of attack, he established a triple line of defense south of the city. After several minor skirmishes and an artillery bombardment, the British attacked in force on Jan. 8, 1815, and were decisively defeated. Over 2,000 British soldiers, including their commanding general, perished in the battle, while only 13 Americans were killed. It was a stupendous victory. Jackson became a national hero overnight, for he had infused Americans with confidence in their ability to defend their new liberty.

Florida Territory

When the war ended, Jackson returned to his plantation. However, he soon resumed military duty to subdue Indian raids along the southern frontier emanating from Spanish Florida. In a series of rapid moves he invaded Florida, subdued the Seminole Indians, extinguished Spanish authority, and executed two British subjects for inciting Indian attacks. Despite an international furor over this invasion, President James Monroe defended Jackson's actions and prevailed upon Spain to sell Florida to the United States for $5 million. Jackson served as governor of the Florida Territory briefly, but he was highhanded, was antagonistic to the Spanish, and tried to exercise absolute authority. He quit in disgust after serving only a few months.

These exploits served to increase Jackson's popularity throughout the country, alerting his friends in Tennessee to the possibility of making him a presidential candidate. First, he was elected to the U.S. Senate in October 1823. Then, the following year four candidates sought the presidency, each representing a different section of the country: Jackson of Tennessee, William H. Crawford of Georgia, John Quincy Adams of Massachusetts, and Henry Clay of Kentucky. In the election Jackson won the highest plurality of popular and electoral votes, but because he did not have the constitutionally mandated majority of electoral votes, the issue of selecting the president went to the House of Representatives. Here, on the first ballot, John Quincy Adams was chosen president. Adams's subsequent selection of Clay as his secretary of state convinced Jackson that a "bargain" had been concluded between the two to "fix" the election and cheat him of the presidency. For the next 4 years Jackson's friends battered the Adams administration with the accusation of a "corrupt bargain." In the election of 1828 Jackson won an overwhelming victory. During the campaign Martin Van Buren of New York and John C. Calhoun of South Carolina joined forces behind Jackson, and out of this coalition emerged the Democratic party. Supporters of Adams and Clay were now called National Republicans.

"Old Hickory" as President

Jackson's presidential inauguration demonstrated the beginning of a new political age as thousands of people swarmed into Washington to witness the outdoor inauguration, then poured through the White House to congratulate their hero, nearly wrecking the building in the process. Jackson appointed many second-rate men to his Cabinet, with the exception of Martin Van Buren, his secretary of state.

An initial estrangement between Jackson and his vice president, John C. Calhoun, soon grew worse because of their obvious disagreement over the important constitutional question of the nature of the Union. During a Senate debate between Daniel Webster of Massachusetts and Robert Y. Hayne of South Carolina, Hayne articulated Calhoun's doctrine of nullification (that is, the right of a state to nullify any objectionable Federal law). Although Jackson was politically conservative and a strong advocate of states' rights, he was also intensely nationalistic, and he regarded nullification as an abomination. At a dinner commemorating Thomas Jefferson's birthday, Jackson found the opportunity to express his feelings. When called upon to deliver a toast, he is said to have looked straight at Calhoun and said, "Our Federal Union. It must be preserved."

The final break between Jackson and Calhoun occurred when it was disclosed that, earlier, as secretary of war in James Monroe's Cabinet, Calhoun had sought to censure Jackson for his invasion of Florida. In self-defense, Calhoun gave his side of the controversy in a newspaper statement and ended by arguing that Van Buren had deliberately sought his downfall in order to eliminate him as a presidential rival. Van Buren there-upon resigned from the Cabinet, thus forcing the resignation of the remaining members, which gave Jackson the opportunity of reconstituting his Cabinet and ridding himself of Calhoun's friends. Later, however, when Jackson made Van Buren U.S. minister to Great Britain, confirmation of this appointment resulted in a tie vote in the Senate, and Calhoun, as vice president, gained a measure of revenge by voting against it. This action prompted Jackson to insist on Van Buren as his vice-presidential running mate in the next election.

Bank War

The presidential contest of 1832 involved not only personal vindication for Van Buren but also the important political issue of the national bank. The issue developed because of Jackson's prejudice against paper money and banks and because of his contention that the Second Bank of the United States (established in 1816) was not only unconstitutional but had failed to establish a sound and uniform currency. Moreover, he suspected the Bank of improper interference in the political process. Jackson had informed the Bank's president, Nicholas Biddle, of his displeasure in his first message to Congress back in December 1829. Following this, Biddle, at the urging of Henry Clay and other National Republicans, asked Congress for a recharter of the Bank 4 years before it came due. In this way the issue could be submitted to the people during the 1832 election if Jackson blocked the recharter.

Although the bank bill passed Congress rather handily, Jackson vetoed it in a strong message that lamented how "the rich and powerful too often bend the acts of government to their selfish purposes." This veto message broadened presidential power because it went beyond strictly constitutional reasons in faulting the bill. By citing social, political, and economic reasons, Jackson went beyond what all his predecessors had considered the limit of the presidential veto power.

In the 1832 election Henry Clay, running against Jackson on the bank issue, was decisively defeated. Jackson interpreted his reelection as a mandate to destroy the Bank of the United States. He therefore directed his secretary of the Treasury to remove Federal deposits and place them in selected state banks (called pet banks). Biddle counterattacked by a severe contraction of credit that produced a brief financial panic during the winter of 1833/1834. But Jackson held his ground, Biddle was finally forced to relax the pressure, and the Bank of the United States eventually collapsed. With the dispersal of government money among state banks and, later, with the distribution of surplus Federal funds to individual states, the nation entered a period of steep inflation. Jackson unsuccessfully tried to halt the inflation by issuing the Specie Circular (1836), which directed specie payments in the purchase of public land.

At the beginning of his second term, Jackson informed Congress of his intention to pay off the national debt. This goal was achieved on Jan. 1, 1835, thanks to income the Federal government received from land sales and tariff revenues. Jackson also advocated a policy of "rotation" with respect to Federal offices. In a democratic country, he declared, "no one man has any more intrinsic right to official station than another." He was accused of inaugurating the spoils system, but this was unfair for, actually, he removed only a modest number of officeholders. Jackson also advocated moving Native Americans west of the Mississippi River as the most humane policy the government could pursue in dealing with the Native American problem. Consequently he signed over 90 treaties with various tribes, in which lands owned by Native Americans within the existing states were exchanged for new lands in the open West. Jackson's veto of the Maysville Road Bill as an unwarranted exercise of Federal authority was widely interpreted as an expression of his opposition to Federal aid for public works.

Nullification Ordinance

Jackson also sought to modify tariff rates because they provoked sectional controversy. The North advocated high protective rates, but the South considered them a way of subsidizing northern manufacturers at the expense of southern and western purchasers. With the passage of the Tariff of 1832, South Carolina reacted violently by invoking Calhoun's doctrine of nullification. At a special convention in November 1832, South Carolina adopted the Ordinance of Nullification, declaring the tariffs of 1828 and 1832 null and void and warning the Federal government that if force were used to execute the law, the state would secede from the Union. In response to this threat, Jackson issued the Proclamation to the People of South Carolina that blended warning with entreaty, demand with understanding. "The laws of the United States must be executed," he said. "Those who told you that you might peaceably prevent their execution deceived you…. Disunion by armed force is treason."

Meanwhile a compromise tariff was hurried through Congress to reduce the rates schedule over a 10-year period, while another bill was passed giving Jackson permission to use the military to force South Carolina to obey the laws. The state chose to accept the compromise tariff and repealed its nullification ordinance, thereby averting a national crisis. Jackson's actions during the controversy were masterful. Through the careful use of presidential powers, by rallying the public to his side, alerting the military, and offering compromise while preparing for possible hostilities, he preserved the Union and upheld the supremacy of Federal law.

Foreign Affairs

Jackson also exercised forceful leadership in his relations with foreign nations, and he scored a number of notable diplomatic victories. He obtained favorable treaties with Turkey, Cochin China, and Siam (the first United States treaties with Asiatic powers), and he was also able to reopen American trade with the British West Indies. Furthermore, he forced France into agreeing to pay the debts owed to American citizens for the destruction of American property during the Napoleonic Wars. However, when the French chamber of deputies failed to appropriate the money to pay the debt, Jackson asked Congress to permit reprisals against French property in the United States. The French interpreted this as a deliberate insult, and for a time war between the two countries seemed unavoidable. The French demanded an apology, which Jackson refused to give, although in a message to Congress he denied any intention "to menace or insult" the French government. France chose to accept Jackson's disclaimer as an apology and forthwith paid the debt; thus hostilities were avoided.

At the end of his two terms in office, having participated in the inauguration of his successor, Martin Van Buren, Jackson retired to his plantation. He continued to keep his hand in national politics until his death on June 8, 1845.

Further Reading

The most scholarly, but not the most interesting, study of Jackson's life is John Spencer Bassett, The Life of Andrew Jackson (2 vols., 1911; new ed. 1916). More colorful is Marquis James, The Life of Andrew Jackson (1938), but its analysis of Jackson's character is superficial. James Parton, Life of Andrew Jackson (3 vols., 1860), is old but extremely valuable, particularly since it was researched among many people who actually knew Jackson. A brief biography is Robert V. Remini, Andrew Jackson (1966).

Arthur M. Schlesinger, Jr., is generally sympathetic to Jackson in The Age of Jackson (1945), while Glyndon G. Van Deusen in The Jacksonian Era (1959) and Edward Pessen in JacksonianAmerica (1969) are more critical. See also Harold Coffin Syrett, Andrew Jackson: His Contributions to the American Tradition (1953), and Leonard D. White, The Jacksonians: A Study in Administrative History, 1829-1861 (1954). For the elections of 1828 and 1832 see Arthur M. Schlesinger, Jr., ed., History of American Presidential Elections, vol. 1 (1971). □

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Jackson, Andrew 1963-

Jackson, Andrew 1963-


Born September 11, 1963, in Newmarket, Ontario, Canada; father, a military chaplain; mother, a high school music teacher. Education: Studied at Canada's National Theatre School, Banff School of Fine Arts, McMaster University, CAST Canada, and York University.


Publicist—Bill Wanstrom, Wanstrom and Associates, 970 Queens St. E., Suite 98154, Toronto, Ontario, Canada M4M 1J8.


Actor and voice performer. Spent four years at Stratford Festival, Stratford, Ontario, Canada, 1987-90. Appeared in commercials for Crispy Crunch Light chocolate bars and Saturn automobiles; actor or voice performer for dozens of other commercials. Also worked as casting director.


American Federation of Television and Radio Artists, Screen Actors Guild, Alliance of Canadian Cinema, Television, and Radio Artists, Canadian Actors' Equity Association, Union of British Columbia Performers.

Awards, Honors:

Jean A. Chalmers Award, most promising newcomer, Stratford Festival, 1987, for Troilus and Cressida; Cabbagetown Short Film and Video Festival Award, best actor, 2007, for My Father's an Actor.


Television Appearances; Series:

Dr. Stephen Hamill, All My Children, ABC, 1991-93.

Joen Futing, Family Passions (also known as Macht der leidenschaft), CTV, 1993.

Opening credits narrator, Earth: Final Conflict (also known as EFC, Gene Roddenberry's "Earth: Final Conflict," Invasion planete Terre, and Mission Erde: Sie sind unter uns), syndicated, between 1997 and 2002.

Vanaver Mainwairing, a recurring role, Wind at My Back, CBC, 2000-2001.

Danny Hullstrom, a recurring role, The Collector, City TV, between 2004 and 2006.

Television Appearances; Miniseries:

Dirk Von Schelburg, The Last Don II (also known as Mario Puzo's "The Last Don II"), CBS, 1998.

Kevin, Cover Me, CBC, 1999.

Buddy Parker, "High Hopes," Taken (also known as Steven Spielberg Presents "Taken"), Sci-Fi Channel, 2002.

Walt Ashley, Category 6: Day of Destruction, CBS, 2004.

Morgan, Steklo (also known as Glass), 2005.

Johnson, Sea-Wolf, 2008.

Roger Deakins, XIII, NBC, 2008.

Television Appearances; Movies:

Mr. Battering Ram, Peeping Tom, Comedy Central, 1991.

Barry, Twists of Terror (also known as Primal Scream), Showtime, 1996.

Sixty-Six, Specimen, Sci-Fi Channel, 1996.

Boris Kalichoff, Breach of Faith: Family of Cops II (also known as Family of Cops II), CBS, 1997.

Paul O'Neill, Joe Torre: Curveballs along the Way, Showtime, 1997.

Don Tragle, Blackjack (also known as John Woo's "Blackjack"), USA Network, 1998.

Sergeant Andrew Scott/GR 13, Universal Soldier: Brothers in Arms, Showtime, 1998.

Ryan Steele, Catch a Falling Star, CBS, 2000.

Officer John McCrane, Scared Silent, Lifetime, 2002.

Adam Hamilton, Deadly Betrayal (also known as Tahison mortelle), Lifetime, 2002.

Adam Ruane, My Brother's Keeper (also known as Brother's Keeper), USA Network, 2002.

Nick Whitehall, We'll Meet Again (also known as Mary Higgins Clark's "We'll Meet Again" and Mary Higgins Clark: Nous nous reverrons), PAX, 2002.

Guy Mabley, Try Seventeen (also known as All I Want), Starz, 2002.

Elton, The Book of Ruth, CBS, 2004.

Master Burton, Merlin's Apprentice (also known as Merlin), Hallmark Channel, 2006.

Television Appearances; Pilots:

Raymond Mitchell, Bermuda Grace, NBC, 1993.

Adam, Adam II, and Jake Adaman, Millennium Man (also known as No Escape—Der Kampf mit der bestieu), UPN, 1999.

Jonathan Clayton, Tarzan, The WB, 2003.

Television Appearances; Specials:

Balthazar, The Comedy of Errors, Arts and Entertainment, 1989.

Television Appearances; Episodic:

Parks, "The Initiation," Alfred Hitchcock Presents, NBC, 1987.

General Lafayette, "The Charnel Pit," Friday the 13th (also known as Friday's Curse and Friday the 13th: The Series), syndicated, 1990.

Title role, "Michael Carew," Top Cops, CBS, 1991.

Pallin Wolf, "Darkness," Highlander (also known as Highlander: The Series), syndicated, 1993.

Acton, "Rebellion," Lonesome Dove: The Series, syndicated, c. 1994.

Chris Joworski, "Play: Parts 1 & 2," Sirens, syndicated, 1994.

Hogan, "North," Due South (also known as Direction: Sud), CBS, 1995.

Blade, "Eye of the Dragon," F/X: The Series, syndicated, 1996.

Frank Kelterbourne, "Possession/Man out of Time," Psi Factor: Chronicles of the Paranormal, syndicated, 1996.

Goliath, "Davey and the Mermaid," The Road to Avonlea (also known as Avonlea and Tales from Avonlea), The Disney Channel, 1996.

The Dynamite Kid, "The Champ," Wind at My Back, CBC, 1997.

Tucker Ricks, "Kennedy Gets a Ride," Fast Track, Showtime, 1997.

Darryl Keenan, "Crime & Punishment," Highlander: The Raven (also known as L'immortelle), syndicated, 1998.

Luc Cassoulet, "The Family Trust," Arli$$, HBO, 1998.

Jaridian, "Between Heaven and Hell," Earth: Final Conflict (also known as EFC, Gene Roddenberry's "Earth: Final Conflict," Invasion planete Terre, and Mission Erde: Sie sind unter uns), syndicated, 1999.

Jaridian, "Gauntlet," Earth: Final Conflict (also known as EFC, Gene Roddenberry's "Earth: Final Conflict," Invasion planete Terre, and Mission Erde: Sie sind unter uns), syndicated, 1999.

Nicholas, "That 70s Episode," Charmed, The WB, 1999.

Colonel Miller, "Fallen Angels" (premiere episode), Amazon (also known as Peter Benchley's "Amazon" and Amazonas—Gefangene des dschungels), syndicated, 1999.

Boris, "Commie Dawkins," Big Wolf on Campus (also known as Le loup-garou du campus), Fox Family Channel, 2000.

Supreme High Councilor Per'sus, "Divide and Conquer," Stargate SG-1 (also known as La porte des etoiles), Showtime, 2000.

Richard Ellis, "Fifty Three Percent Solution," Beggars and Choosers, Showtime, 2000.

Davis, "Legacy," First Wave, Sci-Fi Channel, 2001.

Gniknod, "Confrontation in the Constellation," Los Luchadores, Fox, 2001.

James F. Marshall III, "Payback," Wind at My Back, CBC, 2001.

Jaridian, "The Art of War," Earth: Final Conflict (also known as EFC, Gene Roddenberry's "Earth: Final Conflict," Invasion planete Terre, and Mission Erde: Sie sind unter uns), syndicated, 2002.

Ray Wallace, "Duplicity," Smallville (also known as Smallville Beginnings and Smallville: Superman the Early Years), The WB, 2002.

Jeff Hawkins, "Bob & Carol & Len & Ali," Cold Squad, CTV, 2003.

Danny Taylor, "Evaluate This," Doc, PAC, 2003.

Lipp-Sett, "Double or Nothingness," Andromeda (also known as Gene Roddenberry's "Andromeda"), syndicated, 2003.

Urban Rush, 2003, 2005, 2006.

Kevin Duffman, "Girl Who Signed Wolf," Sue Thomas: F.B.Eye, PAX, 2003.

Kevin Duffman, "Bad Hair Day," Sue Thomas: F.B.Eye, PAX, 2004.

Lipp-Sett, "The Torment, the Release," Andromeda (also known as Gene Roddenberry's "Andromeda"), syndicated, 2004.

Walter Bradford, "The Best Laid Plans," Life as We Know It, ABC, 2004.

Walter Bradford, "Partly Cloudy, Chance of Sex," Life as We Know It, ABC, 2004.

Walter Bradford, "Secrets & Lies," Life as We Know It, ABC, 2004.

Himself, "White Wine, Cigars, Cake Mixes, Highlights," The Shopping Bags, 2004.

Tim Vogel, "Extreme Aggressor," Criminal Minds, CBS, 2005.

Tomas Bukowski, Terminal City, CBC, three episodes, 2005.

Oliver Beckman, "Five Little Indians," The Evidence, ABC, 2006.

Cyrus Reynolds, "Memory Serves," Kyle XY, ABC Family Channel, 2006.

Cyrus Reynolds, "Overheard," Kyle XY, ABC Family Channel, 2006.

Cyrus Reynolds, "Endgame," Kyle XY, ABC Family Channel, 2006.

David Wright, "Duelling Hotties," Hank William's First Nation, 2006.

Voice of Von Faustien, "Von Faustien," Di-Gata Defenders (also known as Di-Gata, les defenseurs), 2007.

Doug O'Connell, "Ambush," The Dead Zone (also known as Stephen King's "Dead Zone"), USA Network, 2007.

The Art of Building Bodies, 2008.

Guest on Canadian talk shows.

Television Work; Episodic:

Additional voices, "Other Victories," Beast Wars: Transformers (animated; also known as Beasties, Beasties: Transformers, and Transformers: Beast Wars), 1999.

Film Appearances:

Corky, State Park (also known as Heavy Metal Summer), Atlantic Releasing, 1990.

Donald, Red Blooded American Girl, Prism Pictures, 1990.

Title role, Shadow Builder (also known as Bram Stoker's "Shadowbuilder"), Sterling Home Entertainment, 1997.

Voices of Romeo and old stage actor, Pippi Longstocking (also known as Pippi Laangstrump and Pippi Langstrumpf), 1997.

Billy, Held Up, Trimark Pictures, 1999.

Malcolm, Bombmakers (short film), Lucky Bastard Films, 2002.

C. Klein, Fade to Black (short film), Herbal T Joint Productions, 2002.

Voices of mental patients, Sound of Pain (short film), Last Breath Films, 2002.

George, The Sea (short film), Palm Pictures, 2003.

Andrew, Conception (short film), CineClix Distribution, 2004.

Man in car, Scooby Doo 2: Monsters Unleashed, Warner Bros., 2004.

Father, My Father's an Actor (short film), 2004.

Ives, Edison (also known as Edison Force), Nu Image Films, 2005.

Ian, Sandcastle, Crazy 8s Film, 2006.

Dr. Parker Wickson, Seed, Universal Home Entertainment, 2007.

Stage Appearances:

Ed, Goose Spit, Great Canadian Theatre Company, Ottawa, Ontario, Canada, 1987.

Apporodorus, Caesar and Cleopatra, Citadel Theatre, Edmonton, Alberta, Canada, 1994.

Christian, Cyrano de Bergerac, Citadel Theatre, 1994.

Messenger and first soldier, Beatrice & Benedict (opera), O'Keefe Centre, Hummingbird Centre for the Arts, Toronto, Ontario, 1997.

Nick, Homeward Bound, Neptune Theatre, Halifax, Nova Scotia, Canada, 2001.

Appeared as understudy for Yasha, The Cherry Orchard, as Balthazar, The Comedy of Errors, as understudy for Krogstad, The Doll's House, as the actor, Intimate Admiration, as Octavius Caesar, Julius Caesar, as servant and understudy for Scandal, Love for Love, as Prince of Aragon, The Merchant of Venice, as Slender, The Merry Wives of Windsor, as messenger, Murder in the Cathedral, as Aschew and understudy for Lacey, The Shoemaker's Holiday, in multiple roles, The Three Musketeers, as Chiron, Titus Andronicus, as Aneas and understudy for Ulysses, Troilus and Cressida, and as outlaw and understudy for Valentine, The Two Gentlemen of Verona, all Stratford Festival, Stratford, Ontario, Canada; appeared as Chet, As Is, Shaw Festival, Niagara on the Lake, Ontario, Canada; as Lennox and understudy for Malcolm, Macbeth, Skylight Theatre; as Clintandre, The Misanthrope, Banff Centre, Banff, Alberta, Canada; as Wickham in Pride and Prejudice, Royal Alexandra Theatre, Toronto, Ontario, Canada; and as singer and dancer, That's Entertainment, Canterbury Theatre; appeared in productions of Manitoba Theatre Centre, Winnipeg, Manitoba, Canada, and Theatre Calgary, Calgary, Alberta.



Voice of Hatu for English version, Shotoku taishi (also known as Prince Shotoku), 2001.

Video Games:

Voices of Incredible Hulk and Thanos of Titan, Marvel Super Heroes, 1995.

Voice of Dr. Bruce Banner/Incredible Hulk, Marvel Super Heroes vs. Street Fighter, 1997.

Voice of Incredible Hulk, Marvel vs. Capcom: Clash of the Super Heroes, 1998.

Voices of Lark and warrior, Devil Kings, Capcom Entertainment, 2005.



Dialogue for voice actors, Sound of Pain (short film), Last Breath Films, 2002.


The 2003 film Conception was based on a story by Jackson.



Soap Opera Weekly, December 14, 2004, pp. 4, 36.

TV Zone, April, 2007, p. 58.

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Jackson, Andrew

Andrew Jackson

Born: March 15, 1767
Waxhaw, South Carolina
Died: June 8, 1845
Nashville, Tennessee

American president and lawyer

Andrew Jackson (17671845) was the seventh president of the United States. He symbolized the democratic advances of his time, while strengthening the power of the presidential office in American government.

A young soldier

Andrew Jackson was born on March 15, 1767, in Waxhaw country, which is now part of North and South Carolina. His father, who died shortly before Andrew's birth, had come with his wife to America from Ireland in 1765. Andrew attended several academies in the Waxhaw settlement, but his education was incomplete and he never developed a taste for learning.

After the outbreak of the American Revolution (177583), where the American colonies fought to break away from British rule, Jackson, barely thirteen years old, served as an orderly (an attendant). Following a battle, Jackson and his brother were captured by the British and taken to a prison camp. When Jackson refused to clean an officer's boots, the officer slashed him with a sword, leaving a permanent scar on his forehead and left hand. Jackson was the only member of his family to survive the war. Many believe that his harsh, adventuresome, early life developed his strong, aggressive qualities of leadership, his violent temper, and his need for intense loyalty from friends.

Lawyer and politician

After the war Jackson drifted from one job to another and from one relative to another. He wasted a small inheritance and for a time lived a wild and undisciplined life. Then, in 1784 Jackson left for Salisbury, North Carolina, where he studied law in a local office. Three years later, after earning his law license, he moved to the western district that eventually became Tennessee. Living in Nashville, Tennessee, Jackson soon became a distinguished lawyer. Within ten years he became one of the most important landowners in the state. He also achieved social status by marrying Rachel Donelson (17671828), the daughter of one of the region's original settlers.

In 1796 Jackson represented his county when the Southwest Territory (areas west of the Mississippi River) petitioned Congress for admission as a state to the Union, as the United States was known. Although he played a modest, or small, part in the proceedings, one tradition does credit him with suggesting the name of the new state: Tennessee, taken from the name of a Cherokee Indian chief.

After Tennessee was admitted as the sixteenth state of the Union, Jackson was elected to its only seat in Congress. The following year he became judge of the Superior Court of Tennessee. He resigned from the bench in 1804 to devote himself to his plantation, where he later built a graceful mansion called the "Hermitage."

Military career

Jackson's life would change when, once again, war erupted between America and Great Britain in the War of 1812 (181215). Jackson had achieved the rank of major general (an officer in the military who is above a brigadier general) of the Tennessee militia (a small military force that is not part of the regular army). He and his militia were ordered to overpower the Creek Indians in Alabama, who had massacred white settlers at Fort Mims. At the Battle of Horseshoe Bend (1814) Jackson dealt the Creek a crushing defeat. During this battle Jackson's men recognized his toughness and strong will by nicknaming him "Old Hickory."

When the U.S. government heard rumors of a British attack of the South through one of the ports on the Gulf of Mexico, Jackson was ordered to block the invasion. The British attacked on January 8, 1815, and were easily defeated. More than two thousand British soldiers were killed, while only thirteen Americans were lost in battle. Jackson became a national hero overnight, for he had given Americans confidence in their ability to defend their new freedom.

When the war ended, Jackson returned to his plantation. However, he soon resumed military duty to successfully overpower Indian forces along the southern frontier of Spanish Florida. After President James Monroe (17581831) purchased Florida from Spain for $5 million, Jackson served as governor of the Florida Territory. He quit after serving only a few months.

Running for president

His accomplishments served to increase Jackson's popularity throughout the country. Meanwhile his friends in Tennessee began talking about the possibility of making him a presidential candidate. First, he was elected to the U.S. Senate in October 1823.

The following year, four candidates sought the presidency, each representing a different section of the country: Jackson of Tennessee, William H. Crawford (17721834) of Georgia, John Quincy Adams (17671848) of Massachusetts, and Henry Clay (17771852) of Kentucky. It was a close election, and the House of Representatives had to decide the winner. When John Quincy Adams was chosen president, Jackson was convinced the election was fixed and that there was a "bargain" between Adams and Clay. For the next four years Jackson's supporters attacked the Adams administration with the accusation of a "corrupt bargain."

"Old Hickory" as president

In the election of 1828 Jackson won an overwhelming victory. During the campaign, Martin Van Buren (17821862) of New York and John C. Calhoun (17821850) of South Carolina joined forces behind Jackson. Jackson and his supporters soon became known as the Democratic Party. Supporters of Adams and Clay were now called National Republicans.

Relations between President Jackson and Vice President Calhoun soon turned sour. The two argued over the important constitutional question of the nature of the Union. Calhoun strongly believed in a state's doctrine (official statement) of nullification, or the right of a state to undo any federal law that disagreed with the state's views. Jackson strongly believed nullification was wrong and could weaken the Union. Calhoun wound up resigning before the end of his term.

Reelection and the bank war

The presidential contest of 1832 revolved around the important political issue of the national bank, or the bank controlled by the national government. Jackson believed the Second Bank of the United States (established in 1816) was unconstitutional, or that it disagreed with the nation's rules. Also, Jackson maintained that the Bank had failed to establish a sound and uniform currency, or money that could be used across the country.

When the Bank applied to Congress to continue its work, Jackson vetoed (rejected) the bill. Although the bill would pass in the end, Jackson sent a strong message by saying how "the rich and powerful too often bend the acts of government to their selfish purposes." With this message Jackson broadened presidential power by giving social, political, and economic reasons for vetoing the bill.

A second term

In the 1832 presidential election Jackson and vice presidential candidate Van Buren defeated Henry Clay. Jackson then informed Congress of his intention to pay off the national debt. This goal was achieved on January 1, 1835, thanks to income the federal government received from land sales and tariffs (import taxes).

Jackson supported a policy of "rotation" with respect to Federal offices. He declared that no one man has more right to office than any other man. Jackson also supported moving Native Americans west of the Mississippi River as the most humane, or fair, policy the government could pursue in dealing with the Native Americans. Jackson signed more than ninety treaties with various tribes, in which lands owned by Native Americans within the existing states, were exchanged for new lands in the open West.

Nullification ordinance

Another issue in Jackson's second term was that of tarriffs. The North called for high rates, but the South considered them a way of financially supporting northern manufacturers at the expense of southern businesses. With the passage of the Tariff of 1832, which reduced the import taxes but not enough to satisfy southern states, South Carolina reacted violently. The state called on Calhoun's doctrine of nullification and soon declared the tariffs of 1828 and 1832 null and void. The state then warned the federal government that if force were used to execute the law, the state would secede, or withdraw membership, from the Union. Jackson would not back down, and threatened the state with treason, or a high crime against one's country.

A compromise tariff was soon hurried through Congress. Jackson had avoided a national crisis, and his actions during the controversy were masterful. Through the careful use of presidential powers and compromise, he preserved the Union and upheld the power of federal law.

At the end of his two terms in office, having participated in the inauguration of his successor, Martin Van Buren, Jackson retired to his plantation. He continued to keep his hand in national politics until his death on June 8, 1845.

For More Information

Booraem, Hendrik. Young Hickory: The Making of Andrew Jackson. Dallas: Taylor, 2001.

Collier, Christopher, and James Lincoln Collier. Andrew Jackson's America, 18241850. New York: Benchmark Books, 1999.

Judson, Karen. Andrew Jackson. Hillsdale, NJ: Enslow, 1997.

Meltzer, Milton. Andrew Jackson: And His America. New York: Franklin Watts, 1993.

Remini, Robert V. The Life of Andrew Jackson. New York: Harper, 1988.

Whitelaw, Nancy. Andrew Jackson: Frontier President. Greensboro, NC: Morgan Reynolds, 2001.

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Jackson, Andrew


Andrew Jackson (17671845), the seventh President of the United States, grew to adulthood and public prominence as the emerging nation was undergoing profound social and economic changes. In the wake of those changes Jackson worried about the central government's propensity toward abuse of power and the accumulation of power in the hand of a small political and economic elite. As president, Jackson remained a strident and popular spokesperson for majority rule in the United States. He did, however, exert the power of the presidency over other government branches far more than any president before him, leading to charges that he was primarily interested in personal power. He was denounced as a fraud and an opportunist who nearly wrecked the credit and currency systems of the United States. But Jackson also took issue with members of the privileged elite who sought to use the government for their own selfish purposes and thereby endanger the integrity of democracy in the United States. For many in the United States Jackson came to symbolize the democratic advances of his time.

Andrew Jackson was born in March 1767, in a log cabin, the son of poor Scotch-Irish immigrants. He was orphaned at age 14 and spent his adolescence with his aunt in the frontier areas of the Carolinas. Jackson drifted from one job to another, squandered a small inheritance, and developed a lifelong interest in horseracing and cockfighting. His education was spotty and he never appeared to develop an affinity for formal learning.

In 1784, at the age of 17, Jackson moved to Salisbury, North Carolina, to study law. He worked as a clerk for two years, copying legal documents, running errands, cleaning the office, and reading law books. He finished his law training in the office of Colonel John Stakes, and in 1787 he became an attorney in North Carolina.

Shortly after his law training ended, Jackson moved to the territory that would become Tennessee, and he
was appointed the area's attorney general. While in this position Jackson bolstered his income by selling land to new settlers. He also built a mansion in Nashville called the Hermitage. Later, when Tennessee became the sixteenth state, Jackson represented the state in Congress, but he resigned after only two years in order to be a judge on the superior court of Tennessee.

When the War of 1812 (18121814) broke out against Great Britain, Jackson was dispatched by the governor of Tennessee to fight with the Tennessee militia against Creek Indians, who had used the war as an opportunity to attack the Southern frontier. Although he lacked military training and experience, Jackson soon became an excellent general. His leadership qualities emerged and he was highly regarded by other soldiers who gave him the nickname "Old Hickory" as a sign of respect. After leading a spectacular victory over a British invasion of New Orleans, Louisiana, in 1815, Jackson instantly became a national celebrity.

Distinguished as a popular military hero, Jackson was encouraged by his friends to bid for the U.S. presidency. After the War of 1812 ended, however, Jackson only briefly returned to Tennessee before resuming his military position in order to subdue raids carried out by Native Americans from Spanish Florida. After a series of controversial military moves made by Jackson, including the capture of Spanish cities, the United States and Spain negotiated their disputes, and the United States acquired land that would eventually become Florida. In 1821 Jackson become provisional governor of the new territory of Florida, but resigned from the position after only four months.

Upon returning to his home in Tennessee, Jackson was pushed once again to campaign for the presidency. Though he made an unsuccessful presidential run in 1824, losing to John Quincy Adams (18251829), Jackson ran again in 1828 and won the presidency at age 61. He rewarded many of his supporters with government jobsthen a common practice in state governments, but essentially new to the federal government. This so-called "spoils system"where elected officials employed their friends as pay-off for campaign supporttended to guarantee that no appointed federal employee would have a lifetime "right" to his or her job. Jackson believed that this system of replacing staff made the government more democratic.

Jackson's administration was marked by his fight against the Second Bank of the United States, which was a federally chartered institution where government funds were kept. The Bank of the United States used these funds to pay the government's bills, but also to give loans to the public and other banks. It was not directly regulated by the government, but rather led by a board of shareholders, with Nicholas Biddle (17861844) as its head. Jackson disliked the bank for economic and political reasons. He felt that its shareholders used the bank's control of much of the money supply to benefit themselves. Jackson also distrusted the issuance of bank notes, which in his own experience led to excessive borrowing and debt. Like many other Americans, Jackson distrusted credit and banks in general, and favored the strict use of specie (coined precious metals).

When the Bank of the United States' charter was brought up for renewal in 1832, Jackson vetoed it. He criticized the bank for failing to establish a "uniform and sound" currency, and began to deposit government funds in other banks. Many of the leaders in the Senate opposed Jackson, and his position on the bank. Nevertheless, Jackson's successful veto of the rechartering of the bank in 1832 was arguably a major reason for his re-election to a second presidential term that same year.

Over the course of its remaining four years of existence, the Second Bank of the United States tried to use its power to force a reconsideration of its charter. It issued far more loans than it could support, helping to trigger a wave of real estate speculation on the frontier. Disturbed, Jackson issued the Specie Circular in 1836. The circular required that all purchases of frontier land, which was owned by the government, be paid for with specie. This stopped the speculation, but also bankrupted many investors who lacked sufficient specie to pay their obligations and helped to trigger a major depression.

Jackson's policy of fiscal restraint helped him accomplish one of his most cherished objectives during his second term: full payment of the national debt. This was the only time up to that point in U.S. history when the nation was free of debt and it was one of Jackson's proudest accomplishments.

As Jackson proceeded through his second term, he frequently used his executive power to veto proposed Congressional legislation. He believed that the president had the right to annul what he deemed harmful to the public interest, a departure from earlier presidents who only vetoed bills they thought were unconstitutional. Using his veto power creatively, Jackson vastly expanded presidential executive power in government.

Also during his second term, a concept called "Jacksonian democracy" emerged as Jackson developed and popularized his own notion of essential democratic elements. He preached about the importance of equality, freedom, and majority rule, and advocated a limited government, fiscal restraint, laissez-faire economics, and support of the individual states in their constitutional sphere of activity.

Throughout his political career Jackson was both a beloved and much-hated figure. During many reform periods in U.S. history Jackson was seen as a hero, and Jacksonian democracy was extolled as one of the great advances in the development of popular government. Yet Jackson was also denounced as a person out for his own political advantage, who mesmerized the public with populist rhetoric and behaved like an autocrat in his role as president.

When Jackson's friend Martin Van Buren (18371841) was elected president in 1836, Jackson retired to the Tennessee mansion, the Hermitage. He remained politically active until his death, at the age of 78, in 1845.

See also: Bank of the United States (Second National Bank), National Debt, Spoils System, War of 1812


Bugg, James L. Jacksonian Democracy: Myth or Reality. New York: Holt, Rinehart and Winston, 1962.

Remini, Robert V. Andrew Jackson and the Bank War: A Study in the Growth of Presidential Power. New York: Norton, 1967.

Schlesinger, Arthur M. The Age of Jackson. New York: Book Find Club, 1946.

Sellers, Charles, ed. Andrew Jackson: A Profile. New York: Hill and Wang, 1971.

Terrin, Peter. The Jacksonian Economy. New York: Norton, 1969.

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Jackson, Andrew

Andrew Jackson, 1767–1845, 7th President of the United States (1829–37), b. Waxhaw settlement on the border of South Carolina and North Carolina (both states claim him).

Early Career

A child of the backwoods, he was left an orphan at 14. His long military career began in 1781, when he fought against the British in a skirmish at Hanging Rock. He and his brother were captured and imprisoned at Camden, S.C. After studying law at Salisbury, N.C., he was admitted to the bar in 1787 and practiced in the vicinity until he was appointed solicitor for the western district of North Carolina (now Tennessee).

In 1788 he moved west to Nashville. He was prosperous in his law practice and in land speculation until the Panic of 1795 struck, leaving him with little more than his estate, the Hermitage. There, he built (1819–31) a home, on which he lived as a cotton planter during the intervals of his political career. The house, a handsome example of a Tennessee planter's home, with a fine formal garden, was constructed of bricks made on the estate. Jackson married Rachel Donelson before she had secured a legal divorce from her first husband, and though the ceremony was later repeated, his enemies made capital of the circumstance.

He rose in politics, was a member of the convention that drafted the Tennessee Constitution, and was elected (1796) as the sole member from the new state in the U.S. House of Representatives. The next year when his political chief, William Blount, was expelled from the Senate, Jackson resigned and, to vindicate his party, ran for the vacant seat. He won, but in 1798 he resigned. From 1798 to 1804 he served notably as judge of the Tennessee superior court.

War Hero

In the War of 1812 Jackson defeated the Creek warriors, tacit allies of the British, at Horseshoe Bend, Ala. (Mar., 1814) after a strenuous campaign and won the rank of major general in the U.S. army. He was given command of an expedition to defend New Orleans against the British. The decisive victory gained there over seasoned British troops under Gen. Edward Pakenham, though it came after peace had already been signed in Europe, made Jackson the war's one great military hero.

In 1818 he was sent to take reprisals against the Seminole, who were raiding settlements near the Florida border, but, misinterpreting orders, he crossed the boundary line, captured Pensacola, and executed two British subjects as punishment for their stirring up the Native Americans. He thus involved the United States in serious trouble with both Spain and Great Britain. John Q. Adams, then Secretary of State, was the only cabinet member to defend him, but the conduct of Old Hickory, as Jackson was called by his admirers, pleased the people of the West. He moved on to the national scene as the standard-bearer of one wing of the old Republican party.


Jackson rode on a wave of popularity that almost took him into the presidency in the election of 1824. The vote was split with Henry Clay, John Quincy Adams, and William H. Crawford, and when the election was decided in the House of Representatives, Clay threw his influence to Adams, and Adams became President.

By the time of the election of 1828, Jackson's cause was more assured. John C. Calhoun, who was the candidate for Vice President with Jackson, brought most of Crawford's former following to Jackson, while Martin Van Buren and the Albany Regency swung liberal-controlled New York state to him. The result was a sweeping victory; Jackson polled four times the popular vote that he had received in 1824. His inauguration brought the "rabble" into the White House, to the distaste of the established families.

There was a strong element of personalism in the rule of the hotheaded Jackson, and the Kitchen Cabinet—a small group of favorite advisers—was powerful. Vigorous publicity and violent journalistic attacks on anti-Jacksonians were ably handled by such men as the elder Francis P. Blair, Duff Green, and Amos Kendall. Party loyalty was intense, and party members were rewarded with government posts in what came to be known as the spoils system. Personal relationships were of utmost importance, and the social slights suffered by the wife of Secretary of War John H. Eaton (see O'Neill, Margaret) helped to break up the cabinet.

Calhoun's antagonism was more fundamental, however. Calhoun and the South generally felt threatened by the protective tariff that favored the industrial East, and Calhoun evolved the doctrine of nullification and resigned from the vice presidency. Jackson stood firmly for the Union and had the Force Bill of 1833 (see force bill) passed to coerce South Carolina into accepting the federal tariff, but a compromise tariff was rushed through and the affair ended. Jackson, on the other hand, took the part of Georgia in its insistence on states' rights and the privilege of ousting the Cherokee; he refused to aid in enforcing the Supreme Court's decision against Georgia, and the tribe was removed.

More important than the estrangement of Calhoun was Jackson's long fight against the Bank of the United States. Although its charter did not expire until 1836, Henry Clay succeeded in having a bill to recharter it passed in 1832, thus bringing the issue into the 1832 presidential election. Jackson vetoed the measure, and the powerful interests of the bank were joined with the other opponents of Jackson in a bitter struggle with the antibank Jacksonians.

Jackson in the election of 1832 triumphed over Clay. His second administration—more bitterly resented by his enemies than the first—was dominated by the bank issue. Jackson promptly removed the funds from the bank and put them in chosen state banks (the "pet banks" ). Secretary of Treasury Louis McLane refused to make the transfer as did his successor W. J. Duane, but Roger B. Taney agreed with Jackson's views and made the transfer (see also Independent Treasury System).

Jackson was a firm believer in a specie basis for currency, and the Specie Circular in 1836, which stipulated that all public lands must be paid for in specie, broke the speculation boom in Western lands, cast suspicion on many of the bank notes in circulation, and hastened the Panic of 1837. The panic, which had some of its roots in earlier crop failures and in overextended speculation, was a factor in the administration of Martin Van Buren, who was Jackson's choice and a successful candidate for the presidency in 1836.


Jackson retired to the Hermitage and lived out his life there. He was still despised as a high-handed and capricious dictator by his enemies and revered as a forceful democratic leader by his followers. Although he was known as a frontiersman, Jackson was personally dignified, courteous, and gentlemanly—with a devotion to the "gentleman's code" that led him to fight several duels.

Jacksonian Democracy

The greatest popular hero of his time, a man of action, and an expansionist, Jackson was associated with the movement toward increased popular participation in government. He was regarded by many as the symbol of the democratic feelings of the time, and later generations were to speak of Jacksonian democracy. Although in broadest terms this movement often attacked citadels of privilege or monopoly and sought to broaden opportunities in many areas of life, there has been much dispute among historians over its essential social nature. At one time it was characterized as being rooted in the democratic nature of the frontier. Later historians pointed to the workers of the eastern cities as the defining element in the Jacksonian political coalition. More recently the older interpretations have been challenged by those seeing the age as one that primarily offered new opportunities to the middle class—an era of liberal capitalism. Jackson had appeal for the farmer, for the artisan, and for the small-business ower; he was viewed with suspicion and fear by people of established position, who considered him a dangerous upstart.


See biographies by M. James (2 vol., 1933–37, repr. 1968), H. Syrett (1953, repr. 1971), J. W. Ward (1955, repr. 1962), R. V. Remini (3 vol., 1977–84), and H. W. Brands (2005); A. M. Schlesinger, Jr., The Age of Jackson (1945); G. G. Van Deusen, The Jacksonian Era (1959, repr. 1963); R. V. Remini, Andrew Jackson and the Bank War (1967), and ed., The Age of Jackson (1972); R. Latner, The Presidency of Andrew Jackson (1979); A. Burstein, The Passions of Andrew Jackson (2003); J. Meacham, American Lion: Andrew Jackson in the White House (2008); D. S. Reynolds, Waking Giant: America in the Age of Jackson (2008).

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Jackson, Andrew (1767-1845)

Andrew Jackson (1767-1845)


Seventh president of the united states

Background. Andrew Jacksons parents migrated to South Carolina from northern Ireland in 1765, two years before Jacksons birth. His father died just before Andrew was born, and the family moved in with relatives. He began life in humble circumstances, was educated briefly in a local school, and joined in the American Revolution before he reached his teens. By the time he was fourteen, the war had claimed the lives of his brothers and mother, leaving Andrew the familys lone survivor. After the Revolution he decided to study law and in 1788 moved west to Nashville to seek his fortune. Although his resources were limited, he enjoyed the gentlemanly pursuits of horse racing, dueling, and hunting. In Nashville he met and married Rachel Donelson Robards; the couple later discovered that Robardss divorce decree ending her first marriage had not been officially granted until two years after her marriage to Jackson. They promptly remarried after the divorce, but the circumstances caused a lifelong scandal.

Politician. Jackson prospered from his law practice and land speculation, purchasing his estate, The Hermitage, in 1795. He served as a delegate to Tennessees state constitutional convention and opposed amendments that would have required religious oaths for officials. After admission Tennesseans elected Jackson to the United States House of Representatives. He returned to become the major general of the Tennessee militia and played the role of a southern gentleman, planting cotton, managing slaves, and racing horses.

General. The War of 1812 made Jackson a hero. Called on to subdue Indians threatening the old Southwest, Jackson won the Battle of Horseshoe Bend in March 1814. For this he was commissioned a major general of the United States and successfully defended New Orleans against the British with a few thousand western volunteers, French settlers, African slaves, and pirates. The victory cemented his military reputation. In 1818 President James Monroe sent Jackson to protect American settlers from Seminoles operating out of Spanish Florida. Jackson exceeded his orders and invaded the territory, attacking several villages and forts, and hanging two British citizens who had supplied the Native Americans. His actions almost led to war with Spain and Britain, but they were popular in the West, and after Spain ceded Florida to the United States, Monroe offered Jackson the territorial governorship.

Candidate. Like all good republicans, Jackson denied that he aspired to higher office, but when the legislatures of Tennessee and Pennsylvania passed resolutions favoring his presidential candidacy in 1824, he did not resist. Claiming he could not ignore the perples decision, Jackson ran and won 99 electoral votes and more than 150, 000 popular votes but lost the election in the House of Representatives. The alleged corrupt bargain of John Quincy Adams and Henry Clay outraged Jacksons supporters, and the general almost immediately began running for the next presidential election. He organized his followers and built up a grass-roots movement that swept him into office in 1828, in a campaign filled with mud-slinging and personal insults. Adamss supporters not only targeted Jacksons reputation as a gambler and duelist but also attacked his relationship with Rachel and accused the two of bigamy, charges which Jackson believed led to her death in December 1828.

Presidency. Jacksons raucous inaugural celebration was for many a symbol of a change of power from the political elite to the common people. Once in office Jackson revolutionized the presidency. Previously, presidents generally stood above the people and parties. Jackson, however, was a peoples candidate. He frequently went over the heads of Congress and communicated directly with the people, to explain and gather popular support for his actions, as he did during the Bank War. Jackson also was the first president to accept political parties, though he belived that his party was the only legitimate one.

Strict Construction. Before his election Jackson seemed not to have been an ideologue. As a westerner he was generally inclined toward banks, paper money, and internal improvements, which he supported in the Senate as late as 1823. During his presidency, however, he turned to strict construction of the Constitution. When in 1830 Congress passed an internal improvement bill to fund the Maysville Road in Kentucky, Jackson vetoed it, suggesting that however necessary such an improvement might be, it remained a local matter that should be paid for locally, by the state of Kentucky, rather than the federal government. He likewise spent much of his presidency fighting (successfully) against the Second Bank of the United States, which he considered an unconstitutional concentration of power.

Union. Though Jackson believed in small government, his brand of strict construction included the free use of government power to reduce corruption and other sources of power that infringed on the peoples liberty. In addition to fueling his fight against the bank, this ideology led Jackson to resist any attempts by states to usurp the powers of the federal government, lest the states then oppress their people. The most obvious case was South Carolinas attempt to nullify the federal tariff of 1828. Led by Vice President John C. Calhoun, South Carolina developed a theory that the Constitution was a compact between the states, not the people, and that the states could thus choose unilaterally to disregard federal laws within their borders. Jackson was aware of Calhouns ideas; at an 1830 Jefferson Day celebration, in Calhouns presence, Jackson had challenged him by proposing the toast, Our Federal Union, it must be preserved. When South Carolina called a nullification convention and voided the 1828 tariff, as well as an 1832 tariff, Jackson had Congress respond with a Force Bill, giving him the authority to use federal troops to collect the tariff in South Carolina. Jackson also threatened personally to lead federal troops into the state and hang any traitors who refused to abide by federal law. The crisis passed when Henry Clay and Calhoun worked out a compromise tariff in 1833.

Later Life. Jacksons actions as president helped solidify party lines and brought a new party system into being. Jackson retired in 1837 to The Hermitage, leaving the presidency to his chosen successor, Martin Van Buren. His economic policies helped bring about a serious financial panic in 1837, which Van Buren was left to manage. Jackson died in 1845 and was buried in a garden plot next to Rachel.


Robert V. Remini, Andrew Jackson and the Course of American Empire, 17671821 (New York: Harper & Row, 1977);

Remini, Andrew Jackson and the Course of American Freedom, 18221832 (New York: Harper & Row, 1981).

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Jackson, Andrew


Andrew Jackson achieved prominence as a frontiersman, jurist, and military hero, and as seventh president of the United States. His two administrations, famous for ideologies labeled Jacksonian Democracy, encouraged participation in government by the people, particularly the middle class.

Jackson was born March 15, 1767, in Waxhaw, South Carolina. In 1781, Jackson entered the military, fought in the Revolutionary War, and was subsequently taken prisoner and incarcerated at Camden, South Carolina. After his release, he pursued legal studies in North Carolina and was admitted to the bar of that state in 1787.

Jackson relocated to Nashville in 1788 and established a successful law practice. Three years later, he married Rachel Donelson. When it was subsequently discovered that Mrs. Jackson was not legally divorced from her previous husband, Jackson remarried her in 1794 after her divorce became final. His enemies, however, used the scandal to their advantage.

Jackson began his public service career in 1791 and performed the duties of prosecuting attorney for the Southwest Territory. He attended the Tennessee constitutional convention in 1796 and entered the federal government system in that same year.

As a member of the U.S. House of Representatives, Jackson represented Tennessee for a year before filling the vacant position of senator from Tennessee in the U.S. Senate during 1797 and 1798.

Jackson embarked on the judicial phase of his career in 1798, presiding as judge of the Tennessee Superior Court until 1804.

During the war of 1812, Jackson returned to the military and was victorious at the Horseshoe Bend battle in 1814. He conquered the British at New Orleans at the close of the war, which resulted in national recognition as a war hero.

In 1818, Jackson was involved in a military incident that almost catapulted the United States into another war with Great Britain and Spain. Dispatched to the Florida border to quell Seminole Indian uprisings, Jackson misunderstood his orders, took control of the Spanish possession of Pensacola, and killed two British subjects responsible for inciting the Indians. Spain and Great Britain were in an uproar over the incident, but Secretary of State john quincy adams supported Jackson. The incident added to Jackson's popularity as a rugged hero.

Jackson sought the office of president of the United States in 1824 against henry clay, John Quincy Adams, and William Crawford. No single candidate received a majority of electoral votes, and the House of Representatives decided the election in favor of Adams. Four years later, Jackson defeated the incumbent Adams and began the first of two terms as chief executive.

"Every man who has been in office a few years believes he has a life estateinit, a vested right. This is not the principle of our government. It is rotation of office that will perpetuate our liberty."
—Andrew Jackson

During his first administration, Jackson relied on a group of informal advisers known as

the Kitchen Cabinet. The unofficial members included journalists and politicians, as opposed to the formal cabinet members traditionally involved in policymaking. He also initiated the spoils system, rewarding dutiful and faithful party members with government appointments, regardless of their qualifications for the positions. Many of Jackson's intimate associations did not include members from the traditional families associated with politics, and public dissatisfaction came to a head with the marriage of his Secretary of War John Eaton to the provincial Margaret O'Neill. The social politics employed by cabinet members and their wives, particularly Vice President and Mrs. john c. calhoun, caused much upheaval in the Jackson cabinet, and the eventual resignation of Eaton.

Calhoun and Jackson disagreed again in 1832 over a protective tariff, which Calhoun believed was not beneficial to the South. Calhoun initiated the policy of nullification, by which a state could judge a federal regulation null and void and, therefore, refuse to comply with it if the state believed the regulation to be adverse to the tenets of the Constitution. Calhoun resigned from the office of vice president after South Carolina adopted the nullification policy against the tariff act, and Jackson requested the enactment of the Force Bill from Congress to authorize his use of militia, if necessary, to enforce federal law. The Force Bill proved to be solely a strong threat, because Jackson sympathized with the South and advocated the drafting of a tariff compromise. Henry Clay was instrumental in the creation of this agreement, which appeased South Carolina.

The most significant issue during Jackson's term was the controversy over the bank of the united states. The bank became a topic in the 1832 presidential campaign and continued into the second administration of the victorious Jackson.

The charter of the bank expired in 1836, but Henry Clay encouraged the passage of a bill to secure its recharter in 1832. Jackson was against the powerful bank and overruled the recharter. He proceeded to transfer federal funds from the bank to selected state banks, called "pet banks," which significantly diminished the power of the bank. Secretary of Treasury Louis McLane refused to remove the funds and was dismissed; similarly, the new treasury secretary, W. J. Duane, also refused. Jackson replaced him with

roger b. taney, who supported Jackson's views and complied with his wishes. In response to this loyalty, Jackson subsequently nominated Taney as a U.S. Supreme Court justice in 1836.

In 1836, Jackson faced another financial crisis. He issued the Specie Circular of 1836, which declared that all payments for public property must be made in gold or silver, as opposed to the previous use of paper currency. This proclamation precipitated the economic panic of 1837, which ended Jackson's second term and extended into the new presidential administration of martin van buren.

Jackson spent his remaining years in retirement at his estate in Tennessee, "The Hermitage," where he died on June 8, 1845.

further readings

Ellis, Richard E. 2003. Andrew Jackson. Washington, D.C.: CQ Press.

Magliocca, Gerard N. 1999. "Veto! The Jacksonian Revolution in Constitutional Law." Nebraska Law Review 78 (spring): 205–65.

Remini, Robert V. 1998. Andrew Jackson. Baltimore: Johns Hopkins Univ. Press.

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Jackson, Andrew (1767-1845)

Andrew Jackson (1767-1845)


General, governor, and president of the united states

Symbol . Even before he became the nations seventh president, Andrew Jackson was a living, breathing symbol of the West. As a youth fighting in the Revolutionary War, a frontier lawyer and jurist, a plantation parvenu, a military leader, and, finally, as president, Jacksons life had a tremendous effect on the nations Westward expansion.

Planter-Politician . Born in the North Carolina backcountry to a family of Irish immigrants, Jacksons childhood was interrupted by the American Revolution. Although he was only thirteen, he was captured and imprisoned by the British; all but one member of his immediate family died from war-related causes. With no family to turn to, the ambitious and troubled Jackson decided to study law and move to North Carolinas western district (now Tennessee). The rough-hewn lawyer made friends quickly and began a political career as a delegate to Tennessees constitutional convention and the new states first elected congressman. He even served for a few months as a U.S. senator before returning home to take a seat on the state supreme court. By 1800 the young jurist had purchased several slaves and a plantation near the bustling town of Nashville.

Military Career. Jacksons true calling was the military. As commander of a group of Tennessee volunteers in the war of 1812, he decimated the Creek Indians in Mississippi. Promoted into the regular army, Jackson led a much larger force against the British at the Battle of New Orleans in 1815, an engagement fought after a peace treaty was signed in Europe. Jackson emerged as the wars greatest hero. Three years later he invaded Florida to chastise the Seminoles. Despite significant controversy over his actions therehe ordered the execution of two British subjects suspected of aiding the IndiansPresident James Monroe named Jackson military governor of Florida in 1821.

Old Hickory. The governors reputation as an opponent of British tyranny and as a soldier who helped open millions of acres of Indian lands to white settlement made him a popular man (to many whites) in the West, a region of growing political importance in the 1820s. After a brief return to the Senate, Jackson, known as Old Hickory, ran for president in 1824. With tremendous Western support, he won a popular plurality but fell short of the majority necessary to claim victory. As mandated by the Constitution, the election was thrown into the House of Representatives, where Jackson lost the election to John Quincy Adams. Claiming publicly that the election was stolen from him as the result of a corrupt bargain, Jackson and his supporters built a massive coalition of Western expansionists, Southern slaveholders and Northern farmers and artisans. He won the election of 1828 in a landslide.

An Eventful Presidency . As president, Jackson held himself up as an opponent of established wealth, federally backed internal improvements, and moral reforms such as abolitionism. He also pursued a program that ruthlessly forced removal of Indians from east of the Mississippi to less-fertile land the federal government labeled Indian territory. Although Jackson refused to annex the Republic of Texas in 1836 for fear of igniting the slavery issue, he squarely set the nation on a course of geographic expansion. His career and rise to power in many ways exemplified and gave shape to the history of westward expansion in the United States.


Robert V. Remini, Andrew Jackson and the Course of American Democracy, 18331845 (New York: Harper & Row, 1984);

Remini, Andrew Jackson and the Course of American Freedom, 1822-1832 (New York: Harper & Row, 1981);

Remini, Andrew Jackson and the Course of Empire, 1767-1821 (New York: Harper & Row, 1977).

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Jackson, Andrew

Jackson, Andrew (1767–1845), War of 1812 general and seventh president of the United States.Jackson first experienced war at thirteen, fighting in the Battle of Hanging Rock, South Carolina (6 August 1780). Subsequently captured, he remained uncooperative and was slashed by a British officer, creating an antipathy as permanent as the scar on his face. Jackson's entire family perished in the Revolutionary War.

In 1788, Jackson moved to western North Carolina (now Tennessee), where he served as a field‐grade officer in the Tennessee militia and was elected, 1802, as major general—a post considered second only to that of the governor. In 1813, he commanded the Tennessee troops sent to subdue the Creeks in present‐day Alabama. After several minor victories that significantly weakened the Indians, Jackson delivered a devastating blow at the Battle of Horseshoe Bend, 27–28 March 1814.

Thereafter, Jackson was given a major generalship in the U.S. Army and put in charge of the Gulf Coast region. He seized Spanish Pensacola in the fall of 1814 and then marched to New Orleans to counter a British invasion. After a series of largely successful preliminary engagements, on 8 January 1815 he and his troops won the main Battle of New Orleans, one of the severest defeats ever suffered by a British army. Jackson emerged a national hero.

Retaining his major generalship after the war, Jackson in 1818 pursued Indians into Spanish Florida and again occupied Pensacola. The Monroe administration reluctantly supported him, using the conquest to force Spain to sell the Floridas to the United States. Jackson resigned his commission in 1821. Except while acting as commander in chief during his presidency, he never held another command.

Jackson was a superb general. Although unschooled in theory, he was a competent tactician and strategist. He thoroughly prepared for battle and acted quickly and resourcefully to take the war to the enemy and to catch him by surprise. Among his greatest assets as a leader was an indomitable will, which earned him the nickname “Old Hickory” in 1813 when he continued to campaign despite a nearly crippling case of dysentery. He expected the same devotion to duty from others. During the War of 1812, he sanctioned the hanging of seven militiamen for disobedience or desertion, and jailed several New Orleans officials (including a federal judge) who challenged his decision to continue martial law after the British had left. Jackson often inspired fierce loyalty in officers and enlisted men alike; even his critics followed him into battle, if only because they feared him more than the enemy.

Jackson was the first westerner to become a national military hero. Like few of his contemporaries, he demonstrated a talent for commanding militia and volunteers no less than regulars, and showed equal skill in conducting conventional operations against European regulars and unconventional warfare against Indians.
[See also Commander in Chief, President as; Native American Wars: Wars Between Native Americans and Europeans and Euro‐Americans; Seminole Wars.]


Robert V. Remini , Andrew Jackson, 3 vols., 1977–84.

Donald R. Hickey

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Jackson, Andrew

Jackson, Andrew (1767–1845) Seventh US president (1829–37). Jackson became a national hero in the War of 1812 when he defeated the British at New Orleans (1815). Jackson's popular appeal narrowly failed to defeat John Quincy Adams in the 1824 presidential election. His supporters built the basis of the new Democratic Party and Jackson was elected with John C. Calhoun as his vice president in 1828. Jackson faced staunch opposition from the establishment and set up a spoils system of political appointments. Calhoun resigned over the nullification issue, and Jackson faced further conflict over states' rights, the expansion of the frontier and the tariff. His second term (1832–37) was marked by his trenchant opposition to the Bank of the United States.

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