When Jackson was twelve years old, he was captured by a British soldier during the Revolutionary War and was slashed by a sword above the eye which left a scar that stayed there for the rest of his life. He also fought in the War of 1812 in the Battle of New Orleans. With all of this experience, Jackson decided to run for office in the presidential election of 1824. Unfortunately, Jackson won the popular vote, but it did not count and he lost. Jackson lost even though he was clearly the more liked candidate. In spite of his initial failure, Jackson was not a quitter and won the election of 1828 and reelection in 1832. As president, he was very effective.
After being inaugurated, Jackson threw a huge party at the White House. Some attendees stated that the party was, in fact, so lit that they threw furniture out the window and broke very old china from George Washington. Jackson later became known as a Democrat and is recognized as the founder of the party. Being the shrewd politician that he was, President Jackson used many unorthodox tactics including the Spoils System. This is the idea of hiring and firing often to prevent a lot of power from going to those other than oneself. Andrew Jackson fired almost everyone he was allowed to when he got into office. He kept the flow going and always kept his cabinet on their toes. This is one similarity between Jackson and President Trump. He also had a kitchen cabinet, a group consisting of his closest, most reliable friends. These were the people that he turned to for advice instead of his actual presidential cabinet. The only downside to this is that he would only hear what he wants, but it did give him reassurance on stances. Meaning, if he wasn’t very sure on his position on a topic, his kitchen cabinet could help him to be more confident on the issue. Jackson was not a calm man. He had an awful, unpredictable temperament. He often dueled with people that insulted him or his wife. He famously said, “I was born for a storm, and a calm does not suit me.”
Jackson is well-known for his using of vetos. He vetoed more bills than all six presidents before him combined. The past president vetoed ten in total whereas Jackson vetoed twelve. Although effective, vetoing, at the time, was a debatable power. For example, Jackson repealed the Maysville Road bill which would have allowed the federal government to buy a stake in the Maysville, Washington, Paris, and Lexington Turnpike Road Company. Jackson thought that this was none of the government’s business and that it could be harmful to the national debt. Not only did Jackson veto bills he disagreed with, but also those he straight up did not like. For instance, when Henry Clay proposed his three-legged American system which enforced a tariff, created the national bank, and provided federal funding for “internal improvements”, Jackson said “no” because he very much disliked Henry Clay.
During the beginning of Andrew Jackson’s second term, there was the Nullification Crisis. This occured when South Carolina declared that the federal tariffs of 1828 and 1832 were unconstitutional and thus were null and void in the boundaries of the state. Jackson’s Vice President, John C. Calhoun, was another one of Jackson’s numerous. Calhoun, a South Carolinian himself, disagreed with the president’s proposed resolution for South Carolina. They also had many disagreements prior, but this was one of their larger ones. Eventually, Calhoun resigned because of Andrew Jackson’s threats and joined Congress where he felt he could fight Jackson’s policy propositions.
Jackson’s most controversial yet very effective order was the Indian Removal Act. This is considered by the overwhelming majority of historians to be in the bottom five worst acts ever signed. In 1830, there were 125,000 Native Americans living in the south. Jackson bought out this land so White people could grow cotton in the land owned by the Natives. Jackson forced these Native Americans into a small, Indian territory across the Mississippi River in Oklahoma. This removal relocation is known as “The Trail of Tears” because of the amount of death and suffering endured by those involved. Although the relocation was successful, it was a repulsive and crude act. Andrew Jackson could’ve done better.
Because of Jackson’s deep hatred for Henry Clay, Jackson opposed everything proposed by him. The national bank was no exception. It is incredibly ironic that Jackson opposed a national banking system and yet he is the face of the 20 dollar bill. Jackson viewed banks as a corrupt government system. “I have always been afraid of banks,” Jackson said. As a huge advocate of hard coin and trade, it is not that unbelievable that Jackson would disagree. Jackson decided to veto the bill in 1832 that would continue the bank because he felt that the monopoly would hurt the middle and lower classes. To show how much he hated the national Bank, while sick, he said to Vice President, Martin Van Buren,“The bank is trying to kill me Mr. Van Buren, but I will kill it.”
Jackson was an incredibly effective president just not the best, nicest, or predictable. He used unorthodox, slightly improper ways to achieve what he felt was best for the country at the time. The people of his time clearly liked him, proven by the amount of support he got, especially from the southerners and lower classmen. Although an effective president, he is considered to be one of the worst human beings of all-time.
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