Andrew Jackson 3 Essay, Research Paper
Andrew Jackson was not plainly a common man or an aristocrat. He was in fact a combination of the two. Because he came into popularity on the frontier and was not of aristocratic decent he is often considered to be a common man. However, many facts about his life do not coincide with this stereotype. From the beginning of his career in Tennessee, he considered himself an aristocrat. As a result his tastes, manners and life style were shaped accordingly. Although he considered himself, an aristocrat he was similar to the common man in that he could not spell and he lacked education and culture. However, this was not unusual of aristocrats from the southwest region. Many of them were not born aristocrats but merely rose from middle or lower class migrants who had prospered. Jackson was one of these self-made aristocrats, a blend of pioneer and aristocrat. Jackson began his life as a commoner who after losing all of his family began studying law. In his early twenties Jackson came to Tennessee where he established himself as a lawyer. Being on of only two lawyers in his town, he gained wealth. After buying both land and slaves with his new wealth, he began to strengthen his position with the self-made aristocrats in his area. Soon with newfound political offices, he became a prominent member of the western aristocrats and consequently he became a first-generation aristocrat.
Jackson s loathing of Eastern Money Power and the national bank began in 1796 with one incident that had a disastrous effect upon Jackson s fortunes. This event sewed in him his dislike of Eastern Money Power and paper money system. Jackson had accepted notes from David Allison as payment for land that Jackson had sold him. Jackson then used those notes to buy supplies that he was going to use to open a general-merchandise store. When Allison s notes were defaulted, Jackson was held accountable for the merchandise he had bought. As a result, he was put into great debt that took him years to pay off. Then again, with the panic of 1819 his resentment towards the “Eastern Money Power” and national bank grew. During this time, an ensuing depression fell hard upon the people of the west and south, including Jackson who had regained his financial footing. The depression was the result of rapid expansion, speculation, and wildcat banking. In the west men had placed all their resources into reckless buying of land. The banks that had overextended themselves were forced to press their debtors to repay their loans. Through the process of foreclosure, banks and particularly the national bank became absentee owners of Western and Southern property. Jackson who lived in the west saw what was happening and consequently his resentment towards the national bank grew. Jackson also loathed the national bank for economic as well as political reasons. He thought the law that had created the bank was unconstitutional. He criticized the bank for failing to establish a “uniform and sound” currency. Jackson favored a “hard money” policy that was based strictly on currency, or gold and silver. Jackson also attacked the bank as a monopoly. He said its vast powers threatened democratic government because it meddled in politics. All the events that Jackson experienced along with his personal feelings helped him to make the decision to veto the bill that would charter the national bank for an additional term
In the early 1820 s Jackson s military career had ended and there began talk of electing him as President. In 1824, the presidential election took place. Four candidates all from the same party were running against each other because during this time we became primarily a single party system. The candidates included Andrew Jackson, John Quincy Adams, Henry Clay, and William H. Crawford. Although Andrew Jackson proved to be the favorite, no one person gained a majority. Consequently, the election went to the House of Representatives. During this time Clay had withdrawn himself from the presidential race and had thrown his support towards Adams. After being elected, President John Quincy Adams appointed Henry Clay as the Secretary of State. This act by Adams and Clay enraged Jackson and his followers and became known as the corrupt bargain. This would haunt Adams for years.
Jackson s war against the national bank during his first administration, resulted in mostly negative effects. However, he did have one positive effect from his battle with the national bank. After pursuing the bank war to completion Jackson found defeat in victory. During his second term, Jackson decided to remove all federal funds from the national bank. In response to this action Biddle, the head of the national bank, brought about a short-lived but severe depression. He achieved this through the restriction of credit. However, this ended once the business community rebelled. Biddle s intentions were to force Jackson to return the funds to the national bank. Once the depression ended an inflationary movement began. This was the result of Jackson depositing federal funds from the national bank into several dozen state banks. These banks used their new resources to start a credit boom, which broke disastrously in 1837. By destroying the national bank Jackson had removed the only restraint on the wildcatters, and by removing the funds he placed capital in the hands of inflationists. Although Jackson s plan to get rid of the national bank had many negatives, it did have one positive result. By removing the national bank, he had removed a great threat to democratic government. The national bank could no longer use its strength to effect government. Jackson s war with the national bank ended in failure. He inadvertently caused two depressions and made our money system worse than when he first took office.