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Andrew Jackson Essay, Research Paper

Andrew Jackson

Like any hall of fame, its inductees are the best in whatever they do, from

baseball or football to something like being President. If you are a member of any hall of

fame (including the one for the Presidents), it means that you have done something

special or have a certain quality about yourself that makes you worthy to be in a hall of

fame. My nominee for the Presidents hall of Fame is our seventh President of the

United States, Andrew Jackson. I’ll go over his presidency, focusing on both the highs

and the lows of his two terms in office, from 1829-1837. The issues that I’ll focus on are

states’ rights, nullification, the tariff, the spoils system, Indian removal and banking

policies; these controversies brought forth strong rivalry over his years of president. He

was known for his iron will and fiery personality, and strong use of the powers of his

office that made his years of presidency to be known as the “Age of Jackson.”

Andrew Jackson was born on March 15, 1767, in a settlement on the border of

North and South Carolina. He was orphaned at age 14. After studying law and

becoming a member of the Bar in North Carolina later he moved to Nashville

Tennessee. Their he became a member of a powerful political faction led by William

Blount. He was married in 1791 to Rachel Donelson Robards, and later remarried to

him due to a legal mistake in her prior divorce in 1794.

Jackson served as delegate to Tenn. in the 1796 Constitutional convention and a

congressman for a year (from 1796-97). He was elected senator in 1797, but financial

problems forced him to resign and return to Tennessee in less than a year. Later he

served as a Tennessee superior court judge for six years starting in 1798. In 1804 he

retired from the bench and moved to Nashville and devoted time to business ventures

and his plantation. At this time his political career looked over.

In 1814 Jackson was a Major General in the Tennessee Militia, here he was

ordered to march against the Creek Indians (who were pro-British in the war of 1812).

His goal was achieved at Horseshoe Bend in March of 1814. Eventually he forced All

Indians from the area. His victory’s impressed some people in Washington and Jackson

was put in command of the defense of New Orleans. This show of American strength

made Americans feel proud after a war filled with military defeats. Jackson was given

the nickname “Old Hickory”, and was treated as a national hero. In 1817 he was

ordered against the Seminole Indians. He pushed them back into Spanish Florida and

executed two British subjects. Jackson instead that his actions were with approval of

the Monroe administration. His actions helped to acquire the Florida territory, and he

became a provisional governor of Florida that same year.

In 1822 the Tennessee Legislature nominated him for president and the following

year he was elected the U.S. senate. He also nearly won the presidential campaign of

1824 however as a result of the “corrupt bargain” with Henry Clay. Over the next four

years the current administration built a strong political machine with nationalistic policies

and a lack of concern of states rights. In 1828 through a campaign filled with mud

slinging on both sides, Andrew Jackson became the seventh President to the United

States.

Instead of the normal cabinet made up by the president, he relied more on an

informal group of newspaper writers and northern politicians who had worked for his

election. I believe that this made him more in contact with the people of the United

States, more in contact with the public opinion and feelings toward national issues.

President Jackson developed the system of “rotation in office.” This was used to

protect the American people from a development of a long-standing political group by

removing long-term office holders. His enemies accused him of corruption of civil

service for political reasons. However, I think that it was used to insure loyalty of the

people in his administration.

States rights played an important part in Jackson’s policy’s as president. In the

case of the Cherokee Indians vs. The State of Georgia, two Supreme Court decisions in

1831 and 1832 upholding the rights of the Cherokee nation over the State of Georgia

who had wanted to destroy Cherokee jurisdiction on it’s land because gold had been

found on it, and the state seeing the Indians as tenants on state land decided to “kick

them out”. Chief Justice John Marshall ruled that Georgia had no jurisdiction to interfere

with the rights of the Cherokee and removal of them would violate treaties between them

and the U.S. Government. However, Jackson, not liking these decisions was reported

of saying “John Marshall has made his decision, now let him enforce it.” It seems to me

like a slap in Justice Marshall’s face, that Jackson was and always will be an Indian

fighter. I think he just liked pushing around the Indians because he new that whatever

resistance they had was no match for the U.S. army. To emphasize his point, in 1838

(one year after Jackson left office), a unite of federal troops rounded up the 15,000

Cherokee who resisted relocation and remained in Georgia and during the cold and rain

of winter forced them to march to their lands in the west, this was known as the “Trail of

Tears” since about 25% of the people died in route of either disease, starvation, and

exposure to the cold. Even though Jackson wasn’t in office at the time and is not a part

of his presidency, his effluence still existed through his predecessor, Martin Van Burin.

The question of the tariff was a major controversy in the United States around the

years of his Presidency and his strong support for a unified nation oven states rights

would hold the country together in this national crisis. Jackson had promised the south

a reduction in duties to levels established in 1828, which were acceptable to southerners

as opposed to the higher rates since then. In 1832 his administration only sliced away a

little bit of the duties, not close to what the south expected he would do. In retaliation of

this insulting lack of concern of the South’s voice in government, South Carolina acting

on the doctrine of Nullification which stated that the union was made up of the states

and that the states had the right to null or void a law if they didn’t agree with it, declared

the federal tariff laws of 1828 and 1832 invalid and prohibited collection of tariff’s after

February first of 1833. Jackson’s response to this came on his Nullification

Proclamation on December 10, 1832. He declared his intent to enforce the law and was

willing to seek and agreement in a lowering of tariff’s. In 1833 congress passed a

compromise bill which set a new tariff, when the other southern states accepted the new

tariff the threat of S. Carolina breaking away form the union was brought to a “happy”

end.

The Second Bank of the United States was not made into an issue of his election

in 1828 by Jackson. However he decided the bank, which is not a government bank,

but chartered by it in 1826, had failed to provide a stable currency, and had favored the

Northern states, and few loans were granted to run. When you gave this project, I

though Jackson was a mean tempered Indian fighter who found his way to office

because he took over Florida and defended New Orleans Successfully. But I grew to

learn that he was really a great president and did a lot for the presidency of the United

States of America.

The Nomination of Andrew Jackson to the “Presidents Hall of Fame.”

Brian Weber

December 8, 1995


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