Andrew Jackson: a Hero

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Andrew Jackson was a war hero, served as a general in the United States military, and was elected as the seventh president of the United States. In what is known as the Jacksonian Era, Andrew Jackson was praised by some and hated by others. Despite these views, multiple decisions and events led to a controversial presidency. In what started even before he was elected as president, I will cover the major issues that led to such a debatable presidency.

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Right around the time of Jacksons election majority of the states had not only allowed more people to vote, but more common people to vote. This was in favor of Jackson who fit the picture, noting his decorated and humble background. Jackson won the election by a pretty good margin in what seemed like a controversial election as well. This advantage Jackson held during the election also translated to his presidency where his goal was to raise the working class of white men. Although this goal sounded great it did not include African Americans, women or Native Americans, and can be seen throughout his presidency.

In 1830 an act known as the Indian Removal Act was debated by congress which forced Indians to move in exchange for the land they were currently inhabiting. Before this time a lot of Indians were either sent away or destroyed and the Indians that were left were located in states in the south. Jackson previously fought as a general and led against many Indians. This translated to his presidency where he forced remaining Indians onto Federal grounds and dismissing all previous agreements. Jackson put this at the top of his agenda as this act satisfied many white Americans and in 5 years 46,000 of the 74,000 were already moved west of the Mississippi in what is now Oklahoma. During this time many Indians were angry at this movement but were too weak to defend themselves. A few on the other hand did what they could to prevent this act from taking place. This resistance was known as the Black Hawk War, where many women and children were massacred. Many of the resistances resulted in many casualties and ultimately their leader being captured.

The Cherokees after resisting, decided to sign a treaty which gave up their 100 million acres of 32 million acres in what is now Oklahoma. The Trail of Tears is what the Cherokees had to endure, and it involved an eight-hundred-mile trek to their destination. This event was heavily debated then, and now can be seen as one of the most controversial events in history. This heated debate all boils down to rights. Those removing the Indians believe they are doing a good thing by giving them the ability to live the way they wanted. On the contrary, those opposed believe they are violating the Indians rights. Despite opinion, Andrew Jacksons decision is one of the many reasons his presidency can be seen as questionable (Shi).

Another very controversial topic is the Bank war. Andrew Jackson saw many things wrong with the government and the U.S. Bank was among them. Jackson believed for a long time that the banks were thieves and assumed they had too much power over the people. A lot of the common people agreed with him on this matter which disfavored the wealthy. Jackson also believed that these banks held too much power over the economy who were only looking out for themselves. The U.S. bank controlled the flow of silver and gold, and Jackson despised their ability to adjust the value. The president went head to head with Nicholas Biddle who led the United States Bank. During this heated value, what became clear was Jacksons lack of knowledge of the banks purpose. With the economy expanding the national bank ensured stability and controlled the pace of expansion. Renewal of the charter wasn’t due till the end of Jackson second term if he in fact ran again, but Biddle wanted to get ahead. Biddle reached out to Congress and they passed an early charter bill, thinking the president wouldn’t veto the bill. Despite those thoughts, Jackson vetoed the bill causing uproar around the nation. In turn Biddle reacted and decided to punish the common man and reward the wealthy, planting the seeds for a national financial crisis (Shi).

Looking at Jacksons’ initial actions showed Americans how strong and forceful he was as a president. His actions might even show how he abused the power of the president. Another event that is still controversial to this very day is the nullification crisis. It all began with a high tax on imported goods, and southerners felt as if it only benefited the north. The southerners turned to a man by the name of John C. Calhoun and the labeled this issue the Tariff of Abominations. Calhoun held a pretty firm position stating that the states who created the union should have a say in the laws that are created by the union. Therefore, if the south had something wrong with the tax on imported goods, they should be able to nullify the law. Jackson argued stating that if states had the ability to pick and choose the laws they would abide by, everyone would have their own law creating chaos. One supporter that disagreed with nullification was Senator Robert Hayne who got his point across in powerful speech and attracted many men to his side (Richardson).

Jacksons position seemed to fluctuate when political leaders threatened to nullify federal laws they did not like. Seeing his background as a southern slaveholder, people assumed he would support nullification. But this was quickly seen untrue when many other laws were threatened. To secure his position as president a second time Jackson met with congress to propose a compromise. This new tariff reduced everything except the items that mattered to the Southerners. South Carolina then threatened to secede if they were forced to abide by the tariffs. In a speech Jackson denounced their leader Calhoun saying that nullification will lead to war and even treason. This is exactly led to and to the sides were ready to battle. The president was authorized to use force to make the laws were in place and South and those opposed soon backed down. A compromise was quickly met which would slowly reduce tariffs, but this reduction was all both sides needed to reach peace. In 1833 a compromise tariff arrived which pleased both sides and war was avoided (Shi).

With all this in mind it safe to say Andrew Jackson left behind a very controversial legacy. Jackson was a strong supporter of slavery and had no problem removing Indians from the very place they called home. Looking at his actions it seemed as if the president was willing to do anything to make sure white Americans were satisfied. Whether it be removing Indians in the Indian Removal Act or conflict with the U.S. Bank, Andrew Jacksons actions seemed to benefit not the people, but his people.

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Andrew Jackson: A Hero. (2020, Jan 10). Retrieved December 1, 2022 , from

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