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Andrew Jackson    Read horizontally. 

 9) I WILL KILL IT!  Life got off to a difficult beginning     as Andrew lost his parents and brothers by age 14 and had to live on family charity. In 1796 as newly admitted Tennessee's first congressman lawyer Andrew Jackson arrived in Philadelphia with his pony tail wrapped in deer skin. His victories at New Orleans and in Florida over the English in the War of 1812 had made him the most idealized American since General Washington.

President John Quincy Adams1 easily lost his reelection bid to Andrew Jackson who was dead set against extending the Second Bank of the United States charter and its condescending President Nicholas Biddle. See A Brief History of U.S. Banking. Jackson felt the bank had excessive power over farmers, mechanics, and others unconnected to the eastern ' " moneyed aristocracy" '  Personal land speculation losses in Tennessee made Jackson feel that "debt, bankers, and paper money --' "ragg money" '-- were all the devil's work." He felt the bank had used its ' "golden favors " ' to help Adams be elected. Largely owned by foreigners autocracy, AJ felt the bank was corrupt.    

Biddle's First Bank of the United States had political problems from the beginning as Jefferson's battled with Hamilton over the need for a central bank. Jeffersonian anxiety about its power and lack of accountability caused Congress not to renew its charter. Then in 1816 a Second Bank of the United States with a twenty year charter was established. It was the federal government's fiscal agent. Its loans to House and Senate members by the bank gave Biddle a valuable weapon against Jackson. A confrontation between Jackson and Biddle during which the President made it clear that he thought the bank unconstitutional occurred early in Jackson's second term. See The Panic of 1825 and the Most Fantastic Financial Swindle-of-All-Time    

Editor's Note: Alexander Hamilton experienced Revolutionary War misery caused by excess currency inflation. He felt the a central bank would stop this. Jefferson and Madison who opposed the bank had not served in the war. They felt the bank better served the industrial north.  The agricultural south wanted inflation to make "real" debt payments to northern banks less painful. Politics is often local. Think QE2. and current criticism of the Federal Reserve.    

Visit Presidential Courage for Other Presidents

Jackson's Became Famous as an Indian Fighter and The a General

Treaty of Fort Jackson of 1814 saw AJ imposed tough terms on the Creek Indians. Click to enlarge all pictures. 3/5/16 Jackson's Indian Removal Act and subsequent treaties resulted in the forced removal of several Indian tribes from their traditional territories, including Trail of Tears 

The Politics

The First Bank of the United States had been instituted by Hamilton during Washington's presidency. When asked about constitutionality, Hamilton told Washington it was an implied power that was needed to accomplish a specific power granted by the constitution. Jefferson was furious as he wanted a narrow interpretation of the US Constitution but as President he would use implied power for the Louisiana Purchase. Once purchased, he got Congressional approval. Source Meacham's Thomas Jefferson Part III

Jackson lost the 1824 presidential election which went to the House because Jackson lacked an electoral college majority. Jackson insisted there was a electoral college  ' " corrupt bargain " '-- between John Quincy Adams, who became President and Henry Clay, who became Secretary of State. President Jackson blamed his wife Rachel's death a month after he won the 1828 election on election politics. Handbills had suggesting she was an  "adulteress and whore" for not having been  properly divorce when they married. As his father before him, John Adams became only the second President not to attend his successor's inaugural. See Famous Duels from American History  3/5/16

10) NOT A MAN OF FORCE  In his December of 1829 first annual message Jackson denounced the bank as unable to keep a sound currency and unconstitutional even though the Supreme court of 1819 ruled in favor of the bank. To fight Jackson Biddle enlisted friendly congressmen to make a report countering Jackson's complaints about the bank and then used Bank funds to publish the report throughout the country.

Friend of the Bank Senator Henry Clay was chosen to oppose Jackson's 1832 reelection. "While a member of the House, Clay had been a well-paid director and council for the Bank. He now claimed ' "no connection " 'with the Bank for a decade, but in fact, Biddle had just given him a quit five-thousand dollars."  Before the election and thinking Jackson's  reelection would result in a veto, Biddle ask Congress for an early charter renewal. Jackson vetoed the renewal bill. See 1792. Bank of the United States check signed by John Jacob Astor. Click to enlarge

Biddle had not given up on a charter renewal of the bank. He called for a run on moneyed institution to cause a shortage of funds and an outcry for a new charter. Jackson countered with a plan to move all federal funds from the Bank to "pet banks". But William Duane at Treasury refused because Biddle would crush the use of pet banks. Jackson's Cabinet sided with Duane and when Duane refused to resign, Jackson fired him. Think President Truman fires General Douglas MacArthur. When no one seriously objected, the power of the President was again enhanced.

When the deposits were pulled, the "Boston Post said Jackson was like Jesus expelling the money-changers from the temple."  Biddle tightened credit hoping to excite the public. This caused distress among New York merchants who went to the White House and complained. At one point Jackson said "Go to the monster!... Go to Nicholas Biddle! We have no money here..,. Biddle has all the money."  Biddle's efforts resulted in a March 28, 1834 Senate censure of President Jackson. Led by Clay, the Whigs began blocking all Jackson's governing efforts. When Biddle refused to let Jackson withdrew pension funds, Jackson stopped paying pensions and told veterans to blame Biddle's bank and the Whigs who defend it. In November the voters turned the Whigs out. Biddle opened a new bank but that didn't go well and when sued by bank shareholders he escaped with an immense fortune to his home in the country. He beat criminal indictment but was dead by fifty-eight. See The man on the twenty-dollar bill and the panic of 1837

"Jackson's audacity [in firing Secretary of the Treasury Duane] who had refused to remove government deposits from the Bank of the US gave later Presidents more power. Had he not redefined the veto and broadened expectations of what Presidents owed the people, American's future would have been very different." This democratic cartoon from 1833 shows Jackson destroying the bank with the approval of an Uncle Sam like figure to the far right and annoyance of the bank's President shown as the Devil. WIKIPEDIA Click to enlarge

11) I WAS BORN FOR THE STORM  "Before Independence Day, 1832, the Senate and House voted to renew the charter of the Second Bank of the "United State."  Most of Jackson's cabinet was against a clash with Biddle so he got help from his wordsmith-tactician Amos Kendall to help with the fight. Amos became a member of what became known as the President's  "Kitchen Cabinet  and drafted most of Jackson's hellfire message that vetoed the Bank's renewal. Jackson's veto was sustained. Few Presidents before him vetoed bills and he was the first to do so simply because he did not like it. Neither the Senate the House got the two-thirds votes necessary to overturn Jackson's bank charter renewal veto. Biddle "flung open the cash draws" to stop the President's 1832 reelection, but Jackson and Van Buren with 55% of the vote easily beat Clay. As Jackson predicted Clay would not do well west of the mountains and south of the Potomac where Clay only won home state Kentucky. 

1 From the 2007 first edition 2. Table, column and row titles, and name abbreviations are by W. Antoniotti
3. Editor's addition  4. Editor's Note: Washington's fears of political though logical were avoided as US Undergoes the First Peaceful 1800Transfer of a Democratic System from Turning Points in American History Notes from A Great Course audio by E. O'Donnell

4. Help in keeping track of presidential elections, they happen on even numbered decades as Lincoln was elected in 1860, Kennedy, 1960. For more on Washington see Don't Know Much About History Chapter 3 on Growth of a Nation from the Creation of the Constitution to Manifest Destiny and Meacham's Thomas Jefferson. PART VII reviewing Jefferson as opposition to the Federalists of Hamilton and Adams.
Editor's notes: 1) Presidents elected on even decades like 1980, 2000, off year elections of 1992, 2014...2) Pictures are from Wikipedia and the Internet can often be enlarged with a click.3) Editorial comments are in red font.


More on Andrew Jackson
1) From a Constitution to Manifest Destiny
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Taken from
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2) Thomas Jefferson: The Art of Power by Jon Meacham

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