Jackson e o Melhoramento Interno - História

Jackson e o Melhoramento Interno - História

O presidente Andrew Jackson estava em conflito com suas posições sobre “melhoria interna”. Ele apoiou a ideia em teoria. No entanto, Jackson questionou tanto o custo dessas melhorias, quanto se era constitucional para o governo federal apoiar a melhoria interna. No início de seu mandato, Jackson vetou um projeto de lei que autorizaria a construção do que foi chamado de “estrada de Maysville”. A Mayville Road faria parte de um sistema rodoviário nacional maior. O caminho era passar pela cidade natal de Henry Clay, um dos rivais políticos de Jackson. A localização da estrada proposta não prejudicou o entusiasmo de Jackson pelo veto. A mensagem de veto de Jackson foi ambígua o suficiente para ser bem recebida. O presidente Jackson declarou que era a favor de melhorias - mas por melhorias que fossem para o bem nacional, e não apenas para o bem setorial. Jackson também queria garantir que o governo não se tornasse muito grande. Portanto, Jackson argumentou que o envolvimento nacional em melhorias deve ser limitado.

A ambigüidade de Jackson na questão da melhoria serviu bem para ele. Ele não estabeleceu critérios claros. Assim, ele foi capaz de aprovar ou reprovar projetos com base, não apenas no bem nacional, mas sim em suas necessidades políticas da época. Apesar da inclinação de Jackson em não apoiar o envolvimento do governo federal nos projetos de melhoria interna, os projetos financiados pelo governo federal aumentaram rapidamente durante sua presidência.


Andrew Jackson e a Constituição

Em 1860, o biógrafo James Parton concluiu que Andrew Jackson era "o cidadão mais violador e obediente às leis". Tal afirmação é obviamente contraditória. No entanto, ele captura com precisão a essência do famoso ou infame Jackson. Sem dúvida, o sétimo presidente era um homem de contradições. Até hoje, os historiadores não conseguiram chegar a conclusões aceitáveis ​​sobre seu caráter ou impacto na nação. Ele foi, como Robert Remini argumentou nas páginas de mais de uma dúzia de livros, o grande líder e símbolo de uma democracia de massas florescente? Ou Jackson era apenas um valentão vaidoso, sem visão para a nação, reagindo em resposta ao seu próprio orgulho sensível, como Andrew Burstein e outros insistiram?

Há muito que se pode olhar na vida de Jackson ao tentar chegar a conclusões. Em particular, sua relação com a lei e a Constituição oferece uma janela significativa para sua visão de mundo. Seja declarar ilegalmente a lei marcial em Nova Orleans, invadir a Flórida espanhola e executar cidadãos britânicos, remover depósitos federais do Banco dos Estados Unidos ou questionar a autoridade da Suprema Corte em Worcester v. Geórgia, Jackson agiu de uma maneira que às vezes era claramente ilegal, mas amplamente saudada pelos apoiadores como sendo do melhor interesse da nação. E antes de concluirmos que esse apoio foi uma brincadeira partidária concedida por seu próprio Partido Democrata, devemos lembrar que historiadores e juristas até hoje têm lutado com o significado ideológico e constitucional mais amplo das crenças e ações de Jackson. Uma coisa é certa: Jackson não teve escrúpulos em transgredir a lei, mesmo a Constituição, quando ele acreditava que a própria sobrevivência da nação o exigia. Além disso, essa perspectiva permanece no centro do debate na América pós-11 de setembro. A questão essencial permanece: pode um líder violar a lei a fim de salvá-lo e à nação?

A fama de Andrew Jackson veio com a Batalha de New Orleans em 1814 e 1815, onde ele demoliu um experiente exército britânico sem praticamente nenhuma perda para suas tropas. A vitória lançou o general ao estrelato nacional e, finalmente, à presidência. No entanto, havia questões emergentes e constitucionalmente delicadas que turvavam sob a superfície desta vitória, nomeadamente a suspensão de Jackson do recurso de habeas corpus e a declaração da lei marcial. O primeiro foi autorizado pela Constituição, mas a Suprema Corte determinou que apenas o Congresso poderia suspender o privilégio do mandado, o que permitia a um juiz "trazer um corpo" ao tribunal, tornando assim impossível para uma autoridade de prisão (a polícia ou militar) para manter uma pessoa indefinidamente sem apresentar queixa. Jackson suspendeu o mandado de qualquer maneira e foi ainda mais longe, impondo a lei marcial, que cancelou toda a autoridade civil e colocou os militares no controle. O ato foi totalmente ilegal. Não existia nenhuma disposição na Constituição autorizando tal edital. O problema era que a lei marcial salvou Nova Orleans e a própria vitória salvou o orgulho da nação. Após vários anos de lúgubres confrontos militares durante a Guerra de 1812 e o incêndio da capital da nação no verão de 1814, ninguém, especialmente o presidente Madison, estava com vontade de investigar, muito menos castigar, o vitorioso General Jackson conduta ilegal. Assim, Jackson saiu do evento com duas convicções permanentes: uma, que a vitória e o nacionalismo gerado por ela protegeram suas ações, mesmo que ilegais, e duas, que ele poderia fazer o que quisesse se julgasse no melhor interesse da nação.

As convicções de Jackson entraram em jogo apenas três anos depois, em 1818, quando o indomável general excedeu suas ordens de proteger a fronteira da Geórgia ao cruzar para a Flórida espanhola, onde invadiu duas cidades e executou dois cidadãos britânicos por fazerem guerra aos Estados Unidos. Mais uma vez, as ações de Jackson foram questionáveis, se não totalmente ilegais. Ele basicamente fez guerra à Espanha sem a aprovação do Congresso, ultrapassou seus próprios limites como comandante e executou sumariamente dois homens, o que poderia muito bem ter incitado dificuldades legais e militares com a Grã-Bretanha e a Espanha. No entanto, a conduta de Jackson foi mais uma vez vista por muitos, incluindo ele mesmo, como uma defesa necessária da nação. Os espanhóis nada fizeram para impedir os saqueadores índios seminoles de cruzar a fronteira e atacar as fazendas americanas. As ações do general foram, portanto, justificadas como autodefesa nacional pelo Secretário de Estado John Quincy Adams, o único membro do gabinete do presidente Monroe a apoiar Jackson. Adams usou a turbulência com o incidente para convencer a Espanha de que eles deveriam vender a Flórida por meros US $ 5 milhões.

Ao contrário do uso da lei marcial por Jackson em Nova Orleans, o Congresso debateu o comportamento desonesto de Jackson na Flórida, com Henry Clay anunciando que o general era um "chefe militar" e perigoso para uma jovem república. Embora os legisladores discutissem sobre o assunto, nada de significativo resultou, exceto que Jackson se tornou uma figura cada vez mais polarizadora, principalmente por causa de suas aspirações políticas. Quando ele concorreu à presidência em 1824, os críticos desencadearam uma torrente de abusos, muitos deles focados em seus métodos ilegais. Jackson foi forçado a responder e comentou especificamente sobre suas violações da Constituição. Ele observou que alguns na nação acreditavam que ele era “um homem muito perigoso e terrível. . . . e que posso quebrar e pisotear a constituição do país, com tanta despreocupação e indiferença descuidada, como faria um de nossos caçadores do sertão, se de repente fosse colocado na Grã-Bretanha, violaria as leis de caça ”. Ele continuou, "tem sido meu destino muitas vezes ser colocado em situações de tipo crítico" que "me impuseram a necessidade de violar, ou melhor, afastar-se, da constituição do país, mas em nenhum período subsequente isso me produziu uma única pontada, acreditando como eu agora, e então acreditei, que sem ela, a segurança que nem para mim mesmo, nem para a grande causa que me foi confiada, poderia ter sido obtida. ”

A convicção ideológica de Jackson sobre a natureza flexível da lei e da Constituição em face dos perigos que confrontam a nação ainda incipiente pode ser vista em muitas batalhas Jacksonianas subsequentes. Quando o presidente Jackson confrontou o Banco dos Estados Unidos em 1832, ele o fez acreditando que era um monstro fiscal corrupto que ameaçava a segurança econômica do país. Ele não apenas vetou a recarga do Banco, que estava dentro de seu direito como presidente-executivo, mas deu um passo além ao remover os depósitos federais mesmo depois que o Congresso os considerou seguros. Jackson transferiu um secretário do Tesouro e demitiu outro para garantir a remoção dos depósitos. Suas ações eram questionáveis, senão completamente ilegais, e o Senado o censurou fazendo uma anotação em seu diário. Eles não tentaram o impeachment por falta de apoio.

Outros conflitos legais surgiram. Jackson supostamente desafiou o Supremo Tribunal por causa Worcester v. Geórgia (1832), anunciando: "John Marshall tomou sua decisão agora, deixe-o aplicá-la." O caso girava em torno da tentativa da Geórgia de aplicar as leis estaduais às terras Cherokee. O Tribunal decidiu contra a autoridade da Geórgia para fazê-lo e Jackson, dedicado à remoção de índios, supostamente desafiou Marshall. Embora haja poucas evidências para apoiar a citação acima, certamente soa como Jackson. No entanto, o caso não exigiu nada de Jackson e foi finalmente resolvido fora do tribunal. Permaneceu o fato, entretanto, que neste caso e em McCulloch v. Maryland (1819), quando foi decidido que o Banco dos Estados Unidos era de fato constitucional, Jackson contestou a autoridade do Tribunal como árbitro final. Como presidente, Jackson acreditava que sua autoridade para julgar o que era constitucional se igualava à da Suprema Corte.

As opiniões de Jackson sobre os índios americanos também desafiaram a lei. Os tratados eram e continuam a ser acordos legais entre nações soberanas. No entanto, Jackson se recusou a acreditar que as tribos nativas americanas eram soberanas e, portanto, via os tratados indígenas como um absurdo. No final das contas, ele removeu à força várias tribos, mais notoriamente os Cherokee, de suas casas. The Trail of Tears é um dos legados mais infames de Jackson. No entanto, mesmo a remoção e as questões de soberania tribal se encaixam em um contexto mais amplo das convicções de Jackson em relação à segurança nacional e soberania do estado. A ascensão do general deveu-se ao seu sucesso como lutador indiano na fronteira. Ele sempre, e até certo ponto legitimamente, viu os índios americanos como uma séria ameaça aos colonos. Como presidente, Jackson entendeu o sentimento dos estados do sul e sua concepção de que os estados não poderiam ser erguidos dentro de estados soberanos como a Geórgia. Tudo isso, é claro, girava em torno da questão mais ampla da expropriação dos nativos americanos e de quem legitimamente possuía a terra. Essa questão ideológica - e até certo ponto legal - permanece sem solução.

Uma variedade de outros incidentes na vida e carreira de Jackson expõe a natureza de seu relacionamento com a lei e a Constituição: o fato de que ele foi um advogado que se envolveu em duelar por suas ações durante a Crise de Nulificação e seu fracasso como presidente em seguir as diretrizes federais relativas ao correio entrega de propaganda abolicionista. A maioria se encaixa em sua concepção mais ampla de dever, honra e o que era necessário para a santidade da União. A ideologia de Jackson continua tão controversa agora como era em sua época. Existem algumas respostas fáceis. No entanto, é isso que torna as opiniões e conduta de Jackson tão relevantes hoje. Quando apresentados com a história de Jackson, os alunos invariavelmente se dividem ao meio sobre se ele era justificado em sua conduta, independentemente da legalidade. Nesse sentido, Jackson continua a servir como uma importante fonte de reflexão ao considerar como a América deve e não deve agir no que diz respeito a questões de segurança nacional.

Matthew Warshauer é professor de história na Central Connecticut State University e autor de Andrew Jackson em Contexto (2009) e Andrew Jackson e a Política do Direito Marcial: Nacionalismo, Liberdades Civis e Partidarismo (2006).


Andrew Jackson - melhorias internas

A remoção dos índios mostrou que o objetivo de Jackson de assegurar uma sociedade virtuosa, mas progressista, era circunscrito pela raça. Ao mesmo tempo, ele esclareceu outros aspectos de seu programa, revertendo a tendência de expansão da assistência federal para melhorias internas. Em sua primeira mensagem anual em dezembro de 1829, Jackson trouxe a questão à atenção do Congresso, anunciando que muitas pessoas consideravam a política anterior inconstitucional ou inadequada. "O povo esperava reforma, contenção e economia na administração do governo", explicou ele em particular. "Este foi o grito do Maine à Louisiana, e em vez destes os objetos do Congresso, parece , é fazer da minha uma das administrações mais extravagantes desde o início do governo. "

Atolado no caso Eaton, remoção de índios e outros assuntos, Jackson deixou para Van Buren escolher uma medida apropriada para iniciar sua nova política. Van Buren esperou até abril de 1830, quando um congressista de Kentucky apresentou um projeto de lei pedindo ao governo federal que comprasse ações de uma corporação para construir uma estrada em Kentucky de Maysville a Lexington. A Maysville Road foi considerada por seus defensores como parte de um sistema rodoviário interestadual mais extenso e, portanto, merecedora de apoio federal. O projeto foi prontamente aprovado pela Câmara dos Representantes no final de abril, com o apoio de muitos homens de Jackson. Van Buren então chamou a atenção de Jackson durante uma de suas cavalgadas diárias, e Jackson prontamente concordou que, uma vez que a estrada estava localizada inteiramente dentro de um estado, ela serviria admiravelmente.

Circularam rumores de que Jackson poderia vetar o projeto de lei de Maysville, e um grupo de democratas ocidentais apelou ao deputado Richard M. Johnson, de Kentucky, para apresentar seu caso a favor da estrada. Johnson explicou que a melhoria era necessária e que um veto prejudicaria gravemente o partido de Jackson em Kentucky. Aproximando-se do assunto, Johnson declamava dramaticamente: "General! Se esta mão fosse uma bigorna sobre a qual a marreta do ferreiro estava descendo e uma mosca pousasse sobre ela a tempo de receber o golpe, ele não a esmagaria com mais eficácia do que você vai esmagar seus amigos em Kentucky se vetar esse Bill! "

Jackson levantou-se e respondeu em linguagem igualmente fervorosa, observando sem rodeios que "não havia dinheiro" para as despesas desejadas pelos amigos de melhorias internas. "Você está disposto - meus amigos estão dispostos a cobrar impostos para pagar por melhorias internas? - ter certeza de que não vou pedir um centavo emprestado, exceto em caso de absoluta necessidade!" ele proclamou acaloradamente. Jackson logo encerrou a entrevista com uma nota mais amigável, prometendo examinar o projeto de todos os ângulos antes de se decidir, mas Johnson deixou a Casa Branca convencido de que o projeto estava praticamente morto. "Nada menos do que uma voz do céu impediria o velho de vetar o projeto de lei", explicou Johnson a seus colegas, e ele "duvidou que isso acontecesse!"

Johnson estava certo, pois Jackson proferiu seu veto, rejeitando o projeto por motivos que eram constitucionais e pragmáticos. Afirmando que as melhorias internas poderiam ser constitucionalmente apropriadas apenas para fins de defesa nacional e benefício nacional, Jackson condenou a medida como "de caráter puramente local". Ele também argumentou habilmente contra a conveniência de tais propostas, mesmo que elas se enquadrassem em sua regra constitucional. Recordando a responsabilidade americana de perpetuar "o princípio republicano", Jackson recomendou diminuir os encargos públicos, acabar com gastos desnecessários e eliminar a corrupção e o privilégio especial associado ao investimento do governo em empresas privadas.

Ao longo dos oito anos de sua presidência, Jackson elaborou e refinou suas objeções aos projetos de melhorias internas. Ele advertiu que o envolvimento federal gerava o risco de choques jurisdicionais com os estados e que o investimento do governo em empresas privadas de transporte delegava responsabilidades públicas a agências privadas e gerava acusações de "favoritismo e opressão". Ele também protestou contra o "flagicious logrolling" que encorajava injustiças de encargos e benefícios e era destrutivo para a harmonia legislativa. Jackson não era contra o progresso econômico, mas sustentava que as demandas por um extenso sistema de melhorias patrocinado pelo governo federal colocava em perigo o governo republicano e distorcia o crescimento econômico natural.

Os gastos com melhorias internas não cessaram durante a administração de Jackson. Na verdade, ele gastou mais dinheiro - cerca de US $ 10 milhões - do que todas as administrações anteriores juntas. Mas, dada a pressão por melhores meios de comunicação e transporte colocados em todos os níveis de governo pela expansão econômica, a evidência do compromisso de Jackson com a contenção pode ser encontrada na falta de novas propostas emanadas de sua administração e no desencorajamento de novos projetos de estimação causados ​​por ameaças de vetos. A maior parte do dinheiro aprovado por Jackson foi para projetos já iniciados sob administrações anteriores ou atividades e locais envolvidos que estavam claramente sob jurisdição federal. Jackson, portanto, interrompeu a busca por um sistema nacional de melhorias e localizou a principal responsabilidade pelos projetos nos governos estaduais e locais e no financiamento privado.

Mais do que o projeto de remoção de índios, a política de melhorias internas de Jackson deu início ao processo de identificação dos seguidores de Jackson com uma plataforma partidária. O próprio Jackson divulgou a ideia de que sua posição sobre melhorias internas era um campo de teste para as divisões emergentes do partido. "A linha ... foi bastante traçada", anunciou ele após emitir a mensagem de Maysville.

O veto também sinalizou uma mudança significativa no poder presidencial. Antes da presidência de Jackson, o veto havia sido recorrido apenas nove vezes, geralmente por motivos de inconstitucionalidade ou para proteger o Executivo contra invasões legislativas. Jackson exerceu o veto em mais ocasiões, um total de doze vezes frequentemente empregou o veto de bolso, pelo qual um presidente retém um projeto de lei, não assinado, até que o Congresso suspenda e amplie os motivos para vetar uma medida. Na verdade, foram as partes das mensagens de veto de Jackson que tratam de questões não constitucionais que geralmente continham os exemplos mais autênticos da retórica jacksoniana e tinham o maior apelo popular. Além disso, ao dirigir seus vetos ao povo, Jackson aumentou o poder presidencial e tornou o chefe do Executivo substancialmente o equivalente a ambas as casas do Congresso.


Governos estaduais assumem o controle

Com o governo federal temporariamente fora de cena, os governos estaduais pegaram a tocha de melhorias internas. Nova York foi o primeiro estado a empreender um grande projeto de melhoria interna com seus próprios fundos públicos. Em 1817, a legislatura autorizou a construção do Canal Erie, que ia do Rio Hudson até Buffalo, no Lago Erie, sob o olhar atento do governador do estado, DeWitt Clinton. Os críticos do plano pensaram que ele nunca teria sucesso e se referiram ao projeto como "O grande fosso de Clinton". Mas em 1825, apenas oito anos após o início dos trabalhos no projeto, o Canal Erie foi concluído. Os frutos do esforço foram impressionantes e imediatos. No primeiro ano de operação, as receitas de pedágio no Canal Erie ultrapassaram os juros anuais da dívida de construção do estado, já que o tráfego na melhoria variou de frete pesado, incluindo madeira e trigo, a pequenos objetos de valor manufaturados para passageiros que utilizam o canal para transporte rápido e lazer. Em 1837, as receitas do Canal Erie apagaram completamente a dívida de construção de Nova York - apenas doze anos após o início da operação. A hidrovia encurtou consideravelmente o tempo e as despesas necessárias para o transporte de mercadorias a granel e de alto valor e também abriu efetivamente os condados ocidentais de Nova York para o desenvolvimento das crescentes cidades de Buffalo, Syracuse e Rochester, todas prosperando com a fronteira com o Canal Erie. Além disso, como um projeto de obras públicas construído pelo governo do estado de Nova York, o Canal Erie demonstrou o benefício potencial que uma rede de melhoria interna financiada pelo estado poderia fornecer.

Muitos estados se apressaram em copiar o sucesso de Nova York com o Canal Erie. Durante a década de 1820, o estado da Virgínia assumiu o projeto do Rio James e do Canal Kanawha, que foi projetado para cruzar as montanhas e enriquecer os condados do interior ao longo do caminho. Em 1826, a Pensilvânia decidiu construir um sistema estadual de canais troncais e ramificados, comumente conhecido como Obras Estaduais. Até mesmo estados a oeste das Montanhas Apalaches, como Ohio, Indiana e Illinois, apressaram-se em construir seus próprios sistemas e, durante a década de 1830, uma explosão de canais atingiu os Estados Unidos. Mas, tão rapidamente quanto muitos desses projetos foram iniciados, eles começaram a ver os retornos decrescentes. Como muitos projetos de canais foram inspirados mais por expedientes políticos do que por uma perspectiva real de maior eficiência econômica, eles perderam dinheiro.

Além de construir essas estradas, os estados também fretaram empresas de transporte que forneceram recursos para outros empreendimentos. Provavelmente, o exemplo mais famoso disso é a ferrovia de Baltimore e Ohio. Em 1827, um grupo de comerciantes de Baltimore se reuniu para discutir ideias sobre uma linha central de melhorias para Maryland. Eles analisaram o caso de Nova York e Pensilvânia ao norte e da Virgínia ao sul e viram que todos esses estados estavam planejando enormes sistemas de canais para ajudar no desenvolvimento de seus condados do interior. Visto que Maryland não tinha um sistema fluvial considerável para expandir como o rio Hudson em Nova York ou o rio James na Virgínia, eles decidiram experimentar um novo meio de transporte conhecido como ferrovia. Esses comerciantes solicitaram ao legislativo um alvará e, em fevereiro de 1827, a ferrovia de Baltimore e Ohio foi criada com um capital social de $ 3 milhões. Mas, mais importante, das trinta mil ações da empresa de US $ 100, o estado subscreveu dez mil, por US $ 1 milhão. Em troca dos direitos de domínio eminente e isenção de tributação, a legislatura de Maryland recebeu o direito de definir taxas de passageiros e frete. As ferrovias, assim como as rodovias, seriam construídas por empresas privadas, mas geralmente com apoio financeiro público limitado.


Jacksonian Democracy

Um conceito ambíguo e controverso, Jacksonian Democracy no sentido mais estrito refere-se simplesmente à ascendência de Andrew Jackson e do Partido Democrata após 1828. Mais vagamente, alude a toda a gama de reformas democráticas que ocorreram ao lado do triunfo de Jacksonianos & # x2019 & # x2014de expansão o sufrágio à reestruturação das instituições federais. De outro ângulo, no entanto, o jacksonianismo aparece como um impulso político ligado à escravidão, a subjugação dos nativos americanos e a celebração da supremacia branca & # x2014 tanto que alguns estudiosos rejeitaram a frase & # x201CJacksonian Democracy & # x201D como uma contradição em termos .

Esse revisionismo tendencioso pode fornecer um corretivo útil para avaliações entusiásticas mais antigas, mas não consegue capturar uma tragédia histórica maior: a Jacksonian Democracy foi um movimento democrático autêntico, dedicado a ideais igualitários poderosos, às vezes radicais & # x2014, mas principalmente para homens brancos.

Social e intelectualmente, o movimento jacksoniano representou não a insurgência de uma classe ou região específica, mas uma coalizão nacional diversa, às vezes irritada. Suas origens remontam às agitações democráticas da Revolução Americana, aos Antifederalistas das décadas de 1780 e 1790 e aos Republicanos Democráticos Jeffersonianos. Mais diretamente, surgiu das profundas mudanças sociais e econômicas do início do século XIX.

Historiadores recentes analisaram essas mudanças em termos de uma revolução de mercado. No Nordeste e no Velho Noroeste, as melhorias rápidas nos transportes e a imigração aceleraram o colapso de uma economia artesanal e camponesa mais velha e sua substituição pela agricultura de safra comercial e manufatura capitalista. No Sul, o boom do algodão reviveu uma economia escravista da plantation em decadência, que se espalhou para ocupar as melhores terras da região. No Ocidente, a apreensão de terras de nativos americanos e hispânicos mestiços abriu novas áreas para colonização e cultivo de brancos & # x2014 e para especulação.

Nem todos se beneficiaram igualmente com a revolução do mercado, muito menos aqueles não-brancos para quem ela foi um desastre absoluto. O jacksonianismo, entretanto, cresceria diretamente das tensões que gerou na sociedade branca. Agricultores hipotecados e um proletariado emergente no Nordeste, não proprietários de escravos no Sul, arrendatários e aspirantes a lavradores no Ocidente & # x2014 todos tinham motivos para pensar que a expansão do comércio e do capitalismo traria não oportunidades ilimitadas, mas novas formas de dependência. E em todas as partes do país, alguns dos empresários emergentes da revolução de mercado suspeitaram que as elites mais antigas bloqueariam seu caminho e moldariam o desenvolvimento econômico de acordo com suas necessidades.

Na década de 1820, essas tensões geraram uma crise multifacetada de fé política. Para a frustração tanto dos homens que se faziam por conta própria quanto dos plebeus, certas suposições republicanas elitistas do século XVIII permaneceram fortes, especialmente nos estados do litoral, determinando que o governo fosse deixado para uma aristocracia natural de cavalheiros virtuosos e proprietários. Simultaneamente, algumas das formas emergentes do capitalismo do século XIX & # x2014 corporações licenciadas, bancos comerciais e outras instituições privadas & # x2014 pressagiaram a consolidação de um novo tipo de aristocracia endinheirada. E cada vez mais após a Guerra de 1812, a política governamental parecia combinar o pior do antigo e do novo, favorecendo os tipos de formas de desenvolvimento econômico centralizadas, amplas e construcionistas que muitos pensavam que ajudariam os homens de meios estabelecidos enquanto aprofundavam as desigualdades entre brancos. Numerosos eventos durante e após a erroneamente chamada Era de Bons Sentimentos & # x2014 entre eles as decisões neo-federalistas de John Marshall & # x2019s Suprema Corte, os efeitos devastadores do pânico de 1819, o lançamento de John Quincy Adams & # x2019s e Henry Clay & # x2019s nos Estados Unidos O System & # x2014 confirmou uma impressão crescente de que o poder estava fluindo continuamente para as mãos de uma pequena minoria autoconfiante.

As curas propostas para essa doença incluíam mais democracia e um redirecionamento da política econômica. Nos estados mais antigos, os reformadores lutaram para reduzir ou abolir os requisitos de propriedade para votação e posse de cargos e para igualar a representação. Uma nova geração de políticos rompeu com o velho animus republicano contra os partidos políticos de massa. Os trabalhadores urbanos formaram movimentos trabalhistas e exigiram reformas políticas. Os sulistas buscavam tarifas baixas, maior respeito pelos direitos dos estados e um retorno ao construcionismo estrito. Os ocidentais clamavam por mais terras mais baratas e por alívio de credores, especuladores e banqueiros (acima de tudo, o odiado Segundo Banco dos Estados Unidos).

Alguns estudiosos confundiram o fato de que tanto dessa fermentação acabou por se fundir por trás de Andrew Jackson & # x2014, um ex-especulador de terras, oponente da isenção de dívidas e fervoroso nacionalista do tempo de guerra. Por volta de 1820, no entanto, as experiências de negócios pessoais de Jackson há muito alteraram suas opiniões sobre especulação e papel-moeda, deixando-o eternamente desconfiado do sistema de crédito em geral e dos bancos em particular. Sua carreira como lutador indiano e conquistador dos britânicos fez dele um herói popular, especialmente entre os colonos famintos por terras. Seu entusiasmo pelos programas nacionalistas havia diminuído depois de 1815, à medida que as ameaças estrangeiras diminuíam e as dificuldades econômicas se multiplicavam. Acima de tudo, Jackson, com suas próprias origens miseráveis, resumia o desprezo pelo antigo elitismo republicano, com sua deferência hierárquica e sua cautela com a democracia popular.

Depois de perder a eleição presidencial & # x201Ccorrupta & # x201D de 1824, Jackson expandiu sua base política no baixo e no meio-sul, reunindo muitos fios de descontentamento de todo o país. Mas ao desafiar com sucesso o presidente John Quincy Adams em 1828, os apoiadores de Jackson & # x2019s jogaram principalmente em sua imagem como um guerreiro viril, enquadrando a competição como uma entre Adams que sabia escrever e Jackson que sabia lutar. Só depois de tomar o poder o Jacksonian Democracy refinou sua política e ideologia. Dessa autodefinição surgiu uma mudança fundamental nos termos do debate político nacional.

O impulso político básico dos jacksonianos, tanto em Washington quanto nos estados, era livrar o governo dos preconceitos de classe e desmantelar os motores de cima para baixo, impulsionados pelo crédito, da revolução do mercado. A guerra no Segundo Banco dos Estados Unidos e as iniciativas subsequentes de dinheiro forte deram o tom & # x2014 um esforço inflexível para remover as mãos de alguns banqueiros privados ricos e não eleitos das alavancas da economia do país. Sob os jacksonianos, as melhorias internas patrocinadas pelo governo geralmente caíram em desgraça, com o fundamento de que eram expansões desnecessárias do poder centralizado, benéficas principalmente para homens com conexões. Os jacksonianos defenderam a rotação no cargo como solvente para o elitismo arraigado. Para ajudar os agricultores e plantadores pressionados, eles perseguiram um programa implacável (alguns dizem inconstitucional) de remoção de índios, enquanto apoiavam os preços baratos da terra e os direitos de preempção dos colonos.

Em torno dessas políticas, os líderes jacksonianos construíram uma ideologia democrática voltada principalmente para os eleitores que se sentiram prejudicados ou isolados da revolução de mercado. Atualizando as peças mais democráticas do legado republicano, eles postularam que nenhuma república poderia sobreviver por muito tempo sem uma cidadania de homens economicamente independentes. Infelizmente, eles afirmavam, esse estado de independência republicana era extremamente frágil. De acordo com os jacksonianos, toda a história humana envolveu uma luta entre poucos e muitos, instigada por uma minoria gananciosa de riqueza e privilégio que esperava explorar a vasta maioria. E essa luta, eles declararam, estava por trás dos principais problemas da época, à medida que a & # x201Riqueza associada & # x201D da América buscava aumentar seu domínio.

As melhores armas do povo eram direitos iguais e governo limitado, garantindo que as classes já ricas e favorecidas não se enriquecessem ainda mais comandando, ampliando e saqueando as instituições públicas. Mais amplamente, os jacksonianos proclamaram uma cultura política baseada na igualdade dos homens brancos, contrastando-se com outros movimentos de reforma autodenominados. O nativismo, por exemplo, os atingiu como uma manifestação odiosa do puritanismo elitista. Os sabatistas, os defensores da temperança e outros aspirantes a elevadores morais, eles insistiam, não deveriam impor retidão aos outros. Beyond position-taking, the Jacksonians propounded a social vision in which any white man would have the chance to secure his economic independence, would be free to live as he saw fit, under a system of laws and representative government utterly cleansed of privilege.

As Jacksonian leaders developed these arguments, they roused a noisy opposition—some of it coming from elements of the coalition that originally elected Jackson president. Reactionary southern planters, centered in South Carolina, worried that the Jacksonians’ egalitarianism might endanger their own prerogatives𠅊nd perhaps the institution of slavery—if southern nonslaveholders carried them too far. They also feared that Jackson, their supposed champion, lacked sufficient vigilance in protecting their interests�rs that provoked the nullification crisis in 1832-1833 and Jackson’s crushing of extremist threats to federal authority. A broader southern opposition emerged in the late 1830s, mainly among wealthy planters alienated by the disastrous panic of 1837 and suspicious of Jackson’s successor, the Yankee Martin Van Buren. In the rest of the country, meanwhile, the Jacksonian leadership’s continuing hard-money, antibank campaigns offended more conservative men—the so-called Bank Democrats—who, whatever their displeasure with the Second Bank of the United States, did not want to see the entire paper money credit system dramatically curtailed.

The oppositionist core, however, came from a cross-class coalition, strongest in rapidly commercializing areas, that viewed the market revolution as the embodiment of civilized progress. Far from pitting the few against the many, oppositionists argued, carefully guided economic growth would provide more for everyone. Government encouragement—in the form of tariffs, internal improvements, a strong national bank, and aid to a wide range of benevolent institutions—was essential to that growth. Powerfully influenced by the evangelical Second Great Awakening, core oppositionists saw in moral reform not a threat to individual independence but an idealistic cooperative effort to relieve human degradation and further expand the store of national wealth. Eager to build up the country as it already existed, they were cool to territorial expansion. Angered by Jackson’s large claims for presidential power and rotation in office, they charged that the Jacksonians had brought corruption and executive tyranny, not democracy. Above all, they believed that personal rectitude and industriousness, not alleged political inequalities, dictated men’s failures or successes. The Jacksonians, with their spurious class rhetoric, menaced that natural harmony of interests between rich and poor which, if only left alone, would eventually bring widespread prosperity.

By 1840, both the Jacksonian Democracy and its opposite (now organized as the Whig party) had built formidable national followings and had turned politics into a debate over the market revolution itself. Yet less than a decade later, sectional contests linked to slavery promised to drown out that debate and fracture both major parties. In large measure, that turnabout derived from the racial exclusiveness of the Jacksonians’ democratic vision.

The Jacksonian mainstream, so insistent on the equality of white men, took racism for granted. To be sure, there were key radical exceptions—people like Frances Wright and Robert Dale Owen—who were drawn to the Democracy’s cause. North and South, the democratic reforms achieved by plebeian whites𠅎specially those respecting voting and representation�me at the direct expense of free blacks. Although informed by constitutional principles and genuine paternalist concern, the Jacksonian rationale for territorial expansion assumed that Indians (and, in some areas, Hispanics) were lesser peoples. As for slavery, the Jacksonians were determined, on both practical and ideological grounds, to keep the issue out of national affairs. Few mainstream Jacksonians had moral qualms about black enslavement or any desire to meddle with it where it existed. More important, they believed that the mounting antislavery agitation would distract attention from the artificial inequalities among white men and upset the party’s delicate intersectional alliances. Deep down, many suspected that the slavery issue was but a smokescreen thrown up by disgruntled elitists looking to regain the initiative from the real people’s cause.

Through the 1830s and 1840s, the mainstream Jacksonian leadership, correctly confident that their views matched those of the white majority, fought to keep the United States a democracy free from the slavery question𠅌ondemning abolitionists as fomenters of rebellion, curtailing abolitionist mail campaigns, enforcing the congressional gag rule that squelched debate on abolitionist petitions, while fending off the more extremist proslavery southerners. In all of this fighting, however, the Jacksonians also began to run afoul of their professions about white egalitarianism. Opposing antislavery was one thing silencing the heretics with gag rules amounted to tampering with white people’s equal rights. More important, Jacksonian proexpansionism—what one friendly periodical, the Democratic Review boosted as “manifest destiny”—only intensified sectional rifts. Slaveholders, quite naturally, thought they were entitled to see as much new territory as legally possible opened up to slavery. But that prospect appalled northern whites who had hoped to settle in lily white areas, untroubled by that peculiar institution whose presence (they believed) would degrade the status of white free labor.

It would take until the 1850s before these contradictions fully unraveled the Jacksonian coalition. But as early as the mid-1840s, during the debates over Texas annexation, the Mexican War, and the Wilmot Proviso, sectional cleavages had grown ominous. The presidential candidacy of Martin Van Buren on the Free-Soil ticket in 1848𠅊 protest against growing southern power within the Democracy𠅊mply symbolized northern Democratic alienation. Southern slaveholder Democrats, for their part, began to wonder if anything short of positive federal protection for slavery would spell doom for their class𠅊nd the white man’s republic. In the middle remained a battered Jacksonian mainstream, ever hopeful that by raising the old issues, avoiding slavery, and resorting to the language of popular sovereignty, the party and the nation might be held together. Led by men like Stephen A. Douglas, these mainstream compromisers held sway into the mid-1850s, but at the cost of constant appeasement of southern concerns, further exacerbating sectional turmoil. Jacksonian Democracy was buried at Fort Sumter, but it had died many years earlier.


24e. Jackson vs. Clay and Calhoun


Andrew Jackson viewed Henry Clay, the Great Compromiser, as opportunistic, ambitious, and untrustworthy.

Henry Clay was viewed by Jackson as politically untrustworthy, an opportunistic, ambitious and self-aggrandizing man. He believed that Clay would compromise the essentials of American republican democracy to advance his own self-serving objectives. Jackson also developed a political rivalry with his Vice-President, John C. Calhoun. Throughout his term, Jackson waged political and personal war with these men, defeating Clay in the Presidential election of 1832 and leading Calhoun to resign as Vice-President.

Jackson's personal animosity towards Clay seems to have originated in 1819, when Clay denounced Jackson for his unauthorized invasion of Spanish West Florida in the previous year. Clay was also instrumental in John Quincy Adams's winning the Presidency from Jackson in 1824, when neither man had a majority and the election was thrown into the House of Representatives. Adams' appointment of Clay as Secretary of State confirmed Jackson's opinion that the Presidential election has been thrown to Adams as part of a corrupt and unprincipled bargain.

Clay was called The Great Compromiser , and served in the Congress starting in 1806. He had a grand strategic vision called the American System. This was a federal government initiative to foster national growth though protective tariffs, internal improvements and the Bank of the United States. Clay was unswerving in his support for internal improvements, which primarily meant federally funded roads and canals. Jackson believed the American System to be unconstitutional &mdash could federal funds be used to build roads? He vetoed the Maysville Road Bill , Clay's attempt to fund internal improvements. His veto of the Bank Recharter Bill drove the two further apart.


Calhoun and Jackson held separate views on many issues, including states' rights.

Jackson's personal animosity for Calhoun seems to have had its origin in the Washington "social scene" of the time. Jackson's feelings were inflamed by the Mrs. Calhoun's treatment of Peggy, wife of Jackson's Secretary of War, John Eaton . Mrs. Calhoun and other wives and daughters of several cabinet officers refused to attend social gatherings and state dinners to which Mrs. Eaton had been invited because they considered her of a lower social station and gossiped about her private life. Jackson, reminded of how rudely his own wife Rachel was treated, defended Mrs. Eaton.

Many political issues separated Jackson from Calhoun, his Vice President. One was the issue of states rights. Hoping for sympathy from President Jackson, Calhoun and the other states-rights party members sought to trap Jackson into a pro-states-rights public pronouncement at a Jefferson birthday celebration in April 1832. Some of the guests gave toasts which sought to establish a connection between a states-rights view of government and nullification. Finally, Jackson's turn to give a toast came, and he rose and challenged those present, " Our Federal Union &mdash It must be preserved ." Calhoun then rose and stated, "The Union &mdash next to our liberty, the most dear!" Jackson had humiliated Calhoun in public. The nullification crisis that would follow served as the last straw. Jackson proved that he was unafraid to stare down his enemies, no matter what position they might hold.


Andrew Jackson: Domestic Affairs

Jackson entered the White House with an uncertain policy agenda beyond a vague craving for "reform" (or revenge) and a determination to settle relationships between the states and the Indian tribes within their borders. On these two matters he moved quickly and decisively.

During the campaign, Jackson had charged the Adams bureaucracy with fraud and with working against his election. As President, he initiated sweeping removals among highranking government officials—Washington bureau chiefs, land and customs officers, and federal marshals and attorneys. Jackson claimed to be purging the corruption, laxity, and arrogance that came with long tenure, and restoring the opportunity for government service to the citizenry at large through "rotation in office." But haste and gullibility did much to confuse his purpose.

Under the guise of reform, many offices were doled out as rewards for political services. Newspaper editors who had championed Jackson's cause, some of them very unsavory characters, came in for special favor. His most appalling appointee was an old army comrade and political sycophant named Samuel Swartwout. Against all advice, Jackson made him collector of the New York City customhouse, where the government collected nearly half its annual revenue. In 1838, Swartwout absconded with more than $1 million, a staggering sum for that day. Jackson denied that political criteria motivated his appointments, claiming honesty and efficiency as his only goals. Yet he accepted an officeholder's support for Adams as evidence of unfitness, and in choosing replacements he relied exclusively on recommendations from his own partisans. A Jackson senator from New York, William L. Marcy, defended Jackson's removals by proclaiming frankly in 1832 that in politics as in war, "to the victor belong the spoils of the enemy." Jackson was never so candid—or so cynical. Creating the "spoils system" of partisan manipulation of the patronage was not his conscious intention. Still, it was his doing.

Indian Removal

Indian nations had been largely erased or removed from the northeastern United States by the time Jackson became President. But in the southwest, the Cherokees, Chickasaws, Choctaws, and Creeks still occupied large portions of Georgia, Alabama, Mississippi, and Tennessee. For many years, Jackson had protested the practice of treating with Indian tribes as if they were foreign nations. Jackson did not hate Indians as a race. He was friendly with many individual Indians and had taken home an Indian orphan from the Creek campaign to raise in his household as a companion to his adopted son. But Jackson did believe that Indian civilization was lower than that of whites, and that for their own survival, tribes who were pressed by white settlement must assimilate as individuals or remove to the west out of harm's way. Confident that he could judge the Indians' true welfare better than they, Jackson, when employed as an Indian negotiator in his army years, had often used threats and bribery to procure cessions of land. Formalities notwithstanding, he regarded tribes resident within the states not as independent sovereign entities but as wards of the government and tenants-at-will.

The inherent conflict between tribal and state authority came to a head just as Jackson assumed office. The Cherokee nation had acquired many of the attributes of white civilization, including a written language, a newspaper, and a constitution of government. Under its treaties with the federal government, the tribe claimed sovereign authority over its territory in Georgia and adjoining states. Georgia, Alabama, and Mississippi countered by asserting state jurisdiction over their Indian domains.

Jackson backed the states. He maintained that the federal government had no right to defend the Cherokees against Georgia's encroachments. If the Indians wished to maintain their tribal government and landownership, they must remove beyond the existing states. To facilitate the removal, Jackson induced Congress in 1830 to pass a bill empowering him to lay off new Indian homelands west of the Mississippi, exchange them for current tribal holdings, purchase the Indians' capital improvements, and pay the costs of their westward transportation. This Indian Removal Act was the only major piece of legislation passed at Jackson's behest in his eight years as President.

Indian removal was so important to Jackson that he returned to Tennessee to conduct the first negotiations in person. He gave the Indians a simple alternative: submit to state authority or emigrate beyond the Mississippi. Offered generous aid on one hand and the threat of subjugation on the other, the Chickasaws and Choctaws submitted readily, the Creeks under duress. Only the Cherokees resisted to the bitter end. Tentatively in Cherokee Nation v. Georgia in 1831 and more forcefully in Worcester v. Georgia the next year, the Supreme Court upheld the tribes' independence from state authority. But these legal victories pointed out no practical course of resistance for the tribe to take. Tacitly encouraged by Jackson, Georgia ignored the rulings. Jackson cultivated a minority faction within the tribe, and signed a removal treaty with them in 1835. Though the vast majority of Cherokees rejected the treaty, those who refused to remove under its terms were finally rounded up and transplanted westward by military force in 1838, under Jackson's successor Martin Van Buren. The Cherokees' sufferings in this forced exodus became notorious as the "Trail of Tears."

Meanwhile, dozens of removal treaties closed out pockets of Indian settlement in other states and territories east of the Mississippi. A short military campaign on the upper Mississippi quelled resistance by Black Hawk's band of Sacs and Foxes in 1832, and in 1835 a long and bloody war to subdue the Seminoles in Florida began. Most of the tribes went without force.

Given the coercion that produced them, most of the removal treaties were fair and even generous. Their execution was miserable. Generally the treaties promised fair payment for the Indians' land and goods, safe transportation to the West and sustenance upon arrival, and protection for the property of those who chose to remain behind under state jurisdiction. These safeguards collapsed under pressure from corrupt contractors, unscrupulous traders, and white trespassers backed by state authority. Jackson's desire to economize and avoid trouble with the state governments further undercut federal efforts to protect the tribes. For this record he bore ultimate responsibility. Jackson did not countenance the abuses, but he did ignore them. Though usually a stickler for the precise letter of formal obligations, he made promises to the Indians that the government did not and perhaps could not fulfill.

The American System and the Maysville Road Veto

When Jackson took office, the leading controversies in Congress concerned the "American System" of economic development policies propounded by Henry Clay and furthered by the previous Adams administration. As a senator in 1824, Jackson had backed the System's twin pillars of a protective tariff to foster domestic industry and federal subsidies for transportation projects (known as "internal improvements"). These policies were especially popular in the country's mid-section, from Pennsylvania west through Ohio to Indiana, Illinois, and Missouri. They were widely hated in much of the South, where they were regarded as devices to siphon wealth from cotton planters to northern manufacturers.

Many Americans judged the American System by its impact on their local interests. Jackson had supported it on national grounds, as a means to build the country's strength and secure its economic independence. Poor transportation in particular had hamstrung the American military effort in the War of 1812. But the unseemly scramble in Congress for favors and subsidies and the rising sectional acrimony over the tariff during the Adams presidency turned Jackson against the System. As a nationalist, he deplored sectional wrangling that threatened disunion, and he came to see protective tariffs and transportation subsidies as vehicles for corruption and for the advancement of special privilege.

Jackson announced his new policy by vetoing a bill to aid the Maysville Road in Kentucky in 1830. A string of similar vetoes followed, essentially halting federal internal improvement spending. Reversing himself on the tariff, Jackson renounced protection in 1831 and endorsed a reduction in rates. Invoking Jeffersonian precedent, he urged a return to simple, frugal, minimal government.

At the same time, Jackson reproved the increasingly strident Southern sectional opposition to the tariff headed by his own vice president, John C. Calhoun of South Carolina. Radical South Carolinians blamed the tariff for all their economic woes and misfortunes. They denounced it as an unconstitutional exercise of congressional power, a measure to illegitimately channel wealth from South to North under the guise of an import tax. Drawing on the Virginia and Kentucky resolutions against the Alien and Sedition Acts in 1798, Calhoun fashioned an argument that an individual state, acting through a formal convention, could interpose its authority to declare null and void any federal law that it deemed to violate the Constitution. Jackson thought this nullification doctrine treasonous and absurd. At a political dinner in 1830 he stamped his disapproval on it by staring at Calhoun and toasting, "Our federal Union: It must be preserved."

The Eaton Affair

Jackson was already becoming estranged from Calhoun over a simmering Washington scandal. Jackson's secretary of war, John Henry Eaton, was an old army comrade, Jackson's his campaign biographer, and a Tennessee neighbor. He was the President's one personal confidante in a cabinet made up of near-strangers. Just before the inauguration, Eaton had married Margaret O'Neale Timberlake, the vivacious daughter of a Washington hotelier. Scandalous stories circulated about "Peggy" O'Neale, whose first husband, a purser in the Navy, had died abroad under mysterious circumstances not long before her marriage to Eaton. Rumor said that he committed suicide over her dalliance with Eaton. Cabinet wives, including Calhoun's wife Floride, regarded Peggy with abhorrence and conspicuously shunned her.

In the snubbing of Mrs. Eaton, Jackson saw the kind of vicious persecution that he believed had hounded his own Rachel to her death. He also believed he spied a plot to drive out Eaton from his cabinet, isolate him among strangers, and control his administration. The master of the plot, Jackson came to decide, was Calhoun. He was also shown evidence that during the controversy over his Florida incursion back in 1818, Calhoun had criticized him in Monroe's cabinet while publicly posturing as his defender. Jackson now accused Calhoun of treachery, initiating an angry correspondence that ended with the severing of social relations between the two.

The Eaton scandal cleaved Jackson's own household. His niece, White House hostess Emily Tennessee Donelson, refused to associate with Mrs. Eaton, and Emily's husband, Jackson's nephew and private secretary Andrew Jackson Donelson, backed her up. The one cabinet officer who stood apart from the snubbing was a man with no wife to contend with—Secretary of State Martin Van Buren of New York, a widower. Jackson was drawn to Van Buren both by his courtliness to Peggy Eaton and his policy views. Van Buren wished to return to the minimalist, strict constructionist governing philosophy of the old Jeffersonian party. In practical political terms, he sought to rebuild the coalition of "planters and plain republicans"—put concretely, an alliance of the South with New York and Pennsylvania—that had sustained Jefferson. Van Buren opposed the American System, but on broad philosophical rather than narrow sectional grounds.

As Jackson separated from Calhoun, he became more intimate with Van Buren. By 1831, the Eaton imbroglio threatened to paralyze the administration. Eaton and Van Buren created a way out: they resigned, giving Jackson an occasion to demand the resignations of the other secretaries and appoint a whole new cabinet. To reward Van Buren, Jackson named him as minister to Great Britain, the highest post in the American diplomatic service. The nomination came before the Senate, where Vice-President Calhoun, on an arranged tie vote, cast the deciding vote against it. Van Buren, who had already assumed his station abroad, came home as a political martyr, Jackson's choice for vice-president in 1832, and his heir apparent to the presidency.

The Nullification Crisis and the Compromise of 1833

As Van Buren rose and Calhoun fell, the tariff controversy mounted to a crisis. Congress passed a new tariff in 1832 that reduced some rates but continued the protectionist principle. Some Southerners claimed this as a sign of progress, but South Carolinians saw it as reason to abandon hope in Washington. In November, a state convention declared the tariff unconstitutional and hence null and void. South Carolina's legislature followed up with measures to block the collection of federal custom revenues at the state's ports and to defend the state with arms against federal incursion.

Jackson responded on two fronts. He urged Congress to reduce the tariff further, but he also asked for strengthened authority to enforce the revenue laws. Privately, and perhaps for calculated political effect, he talked about marching an army into South Carolina and hanging Calhoun. In December, he issued a ringing official proclamation against nullification. Drafted largely by Secretary of State Edward Livingston, the document questioned Carolinians' obsession with the tariff, reminded them of their patriotic heritage, eviscerated the constitutional theory behind nullification, and warned against taking this fatal step: "Be not deceived by names. Disunion by armed force is treason. Are you really ready to incur its guilt?"While Jackson thundered, Congress scrambled for a solution that would avoid civil war. Henry Clay, leader of the congressional opposition to Jackson and stalwart of the American System, joined in odd alliance with John C. Calhoun, who had resigned his lame-duck vice-presidency for a seat in the Senate. They fashioned a bill to reduce the tariff in a series of stages over nine years. Early in 1833, Congress passed this Compromise Tariff and also a "force bill" to enforce the revenue laws. Though the Clay-Calhoun forces sought to deny Jackson credit for the settlement, he was fully satisfied with the result. South Carolina, claiming victory, rescinded its nullification of the tariff but nullified the force bill in a final gesture of principled defiance. The Compromise of 1833 brought an end to tariff agitation until the 1840s. First with internal improvements, then with the tariff, the American System had been essentially stymied.

The Bank Veto

The congressional Clay-Calhoun alliance foreshadowed a convergence of all Jackson's enemies into a new opposition party. The issue that sealed this coalition, solidified Jackson's own following, and dominated his second term as President was the Second Bank of the United States.

The Bank of the United States was a quasi-public corporation chartered by Congress to manage the federal government's finances and provide a sound national currency. Headquartered in Philadelphia with branches throughout the states, it was the country's only truly national financial institution. The federal government owned one-fifth of the stock and the President of the United States appointed one-fifth of the directors. Like other banks chartered by state legislatures, the Bank lent for profit and issued paper currency backed by specie reserves. Its notes were federal legal tender. By law, it was also the federal government's own banker, arranging its loans and storing, transferring, and disbursing its funds. The Bank's national reach and official status gave it enormous leverage over the state banks and over the country's supply of money and credit.

The original Bank of the United States was chartered in 1791 at the urging of Secretary of the Treasury Alexander Hamilton. Opposition to it was one of the founding tenets of the Jeffersonian Democratic-Republican party. That party allowed the Bank to expire when its twenty-year charter ran out in 1811. But the government's financial misadventures in the War of 1812 forced a reconsideration. In 1816, Congress chartered the Second Bank, again for twenty years.

Imprudent lending and corrupt management brought the Second Bank into deep disrepute during the speculative boom-and-bust cycle that culminated in the Panic of 1819. Calls arose for revocation of the charter. But the astute stewardship of new Bank president Nicholas Biddle did much to repair its reputation in the 1820s. By 1828, when Jackson was first elected, the Bank had ceased to be controversial. Indeed, most informed observers deemed it indispensable.

Startling his own supporters, Jackson attacked the Bank in his very first message to Congress in 1829. Biddle attempted to conciliate him, but Jackson's opposition to renewing the charter seemed immovable. He was convinced that the Bank was not only unconstitutional—as Jefferson and his followers had long maintained—but that its concentrated financial power represented a dire threat to popular liberty.

Under the advice of Senators Henry Clay and Daniel Webster, Biddle sought a congressional recharter in 1832. They calculated that Jackson would not dare issue a veto on the eve of the election if he did, they would make an issue of it in the campaign. The recharter bill duly passed Congress and on July 10, Jackson vetoed it.

The veto message was one of the defining documents of Jackson's presidency. Clearly intended for the public eye, parts of it read more like a political manifesto than a communication to Congress. Jackson recited his constitutional objections and introduced some dubious economic arguments, chiefly aimed at foreign ownership of Bank stock. But the crux of the message was its attack on the special privilege enjoyed by private stockholders in a government-chartered corporation. Jackson laid out an essentially laissez-faire vision of government as a neutral arbiter, phrased in a resonant populism:"It is to be regretted that the rich and powerful too often bend the acts of government to their selfish purposes. Distinctions in society will always exist under every just government. Equality of talents, of education, or of wealth can not be produced by human institutions. In the full enjoyment of the gifts of Heaven and the fruits of superior industry, economy, and virtue, every man is equally entitled to protection by law but when the laws undertake to add to these natural and just advantages artificial distinctions, to grant titles, gratuities, and exclusive privileges, to make the rich richer and the potent more powerful, the humble members of society—the farmers, mechanics, and laborers--who have neither the time nor the means of securing like favors to themselves, have a right to complain of the injustice of their Government. There are no necessary evils in government. Its evils exist only in its abuses. If it would confine itself to equal protection, and, as Heaven does its rains, shower its favors alike on the high and the low, the rich and the poor, it would be an unqualified blessing."

Though some original Jackson men were flabbergasted and outraged at his turn against the Bank, the veto held up in Congress. It became the prime issue in the ensuing presidential campaign, with both sides distributing copies of Jackson's message. Jackson read his re-election as a mandate to pursue his attack on the Bank further.

Removal of the Deposits

As soon as the nullification crisis was resolved, Jackson took his next step. The Bank's open involvement in the presidential campaign convinced him more than ever of its inherent corruption. To draw its fangs until its charter ran out in 1836, he determined to withdraw the federal government's own deposits from the Bank and place them in selected state-chartered banks.

This was a maneuver requiring some delicacy. Under the charter, the secretary of the treasury, not the President, had authority to remove the deposits. He had also to explain his reasons to Congress, where the House of Representatives had just voted by a two-to-one margin that the deposits should stay where they were. Jackson canvassed his cabinet on removal. Most of them opposed it, but he got the support and arguments he needed from Attorney General Roger Taney. Jackson drew up a paper explaining his decision, read it to the cabinet, and ordered Treasury Secretary William John Duane to execute the removal. To Jackson's astonishment, Duane refused. He also refused to resign, so Jackson fired him and put Taney in his place. Taney ordered the removal, which was largely complete by the time Congress convened in December 1833.

Even many congressional foes of the Bank could not countenance Jackson's proceedings against it. He had defied Congress's intent, rode roughshod over the treasury secretary's statutory control over the public purse, and removed the public funds from the lawfully authorized, responsible hands of the Bank of the United States to an untried, unregulated, and perhaps wholly irresponsible collection of state banks. To many, Jackson seemed to regard himself as above the law.

Fortunately for Jackson, Bank president Nicholas Biddle over-reacted and played into his hands. Regarding the removal of deposits as a declaration of open war, Biddle determined to force a recharter by creating a financial panic. Loss of the deposits required some curtailment of the Bank's loans, but Biddle carried the contraction further than was necessary in a deliberate effort to squeeze businessmen into demanding a recharter. This manipulation of credit for political ends served only to discredit the Bank and to vindicate Jackson's strictures against it.

Congress did not even consider recharter, but it did lash out at Jackson. Clay men and Southern anti-tariffites could not agree on the American System they could not all agree on rechartering the Bank but they could unite in their outrage at Jackson's high-handed proceedings against it. In the 1833-1834 session, Jackson's congressional foes converged to form a new party. They took the name of Whigs, borrowed from Revolutionary-era American and British opponents of royal prerogative.

Whigs held a majority in the Senate. They rejected Jackson's nominees for government directors of the Bank of the United States, rejected Taney as secretary of the treasury, and in March 1834, adopted a resolution of censure against Jackson himself for assuming "authority and power not conferred by the Constitution and laws, but in derogation of both." Jackson protested the censure, arguing that the Senate had adopted the moral equivalent of an impeachment conviction without formal charges, without a trial, and without the necessary two-thirds vote. Led by Thomas Hart Benton, Jackson's defenders mounted a crusade to expunge the censure from the Senate journal. They succeeded in 1837, at the end of Jackson's presidency, after Democrats finally won majority control of the Senate.

Hard Money

The Bank, defeated, retired from the fray after the 1834 session. When its charter expired it accepted a new one from Pennsylvania and continued to operate as a state institution. Meanwhile, the state banks, cut loose from central restraint and gorged with federal funds, went on a lending spree that helped fuel a speculative boom in western lands. Everything came crashing down in the Panic of 1837, which broke just as Jackson retired from office. The ensuing depression plagued Martin Van Buren's presidency and lingered on into the 1840s.

Jackson's unsatisfactory experiment with the state banks helped drive his economic thinking toward more radical extremes. He renounced all banknote currency and demanded a return to the "hard money" of gold and silver. To that end, and to curb rampant speculation, he ordered the issuance of a "Specie Circular" in 1836 requiring payment in coin for western public lands. By the end of his presidency he was attacking all chartered corporations, including manufacturing concerns, turnpike and canal companies, and especially banks, as instruments of aristocratic privilege and engines of oppression. His Farewell Address in 1837, drafted largely by Taney, warned of an insidious "money power" that threatened to subvert American liberty.

Slavery and Abolition

During Jackson's presidency, the momentous question of slavery intruded forcefully into politics. Northern evangelical opponents of slavery known as abolitionists organized and began to bombard the nation and Congress with pleas and petitions to rid the republic of this great wrong. Defenders of slavery responded with denunciations and with violence. They demanded in the interest of public safety that criticism of slavery be not only answered, but silenced. Some, especially the South Carolina nullifiers, linked abolitionism to the tariff as part of a systematic campaign of Northern sectional oppression against the South.

There is nothing to show that Jackson ever pondered slavery as a fundamental moral question. Such thinking was not in his character: he was a man of action, not of philosophy. He grew up with the institution of slavery and accepted it uncritically. Like his neighbors, he bought and sold slaves and used them to work his plantation and wait on his needs. Jackson reacted to the abolitionist controversy in purely political terms. He perceived it as a threat to sectional harmony and to his own national Democratic party, and on that ground he condemned the agitation of both sides.

During Jackson's administration, Congress began adopting annual "gag rules" to keep discussion of abolition petitions off the House and Senate floor. In 1835, abolitionists sent thousands of antislavery tracts through the mails directly to southern clergy, officials, and prominent citizens. Many of these were never delivered, intercepted by southern postmasters or by angry mobs. Jackson and Postmaster General Amos Kendall approved their action. Jackson recommended federal suppression of "incendiary publications" and damned the abolitionists' "wicked attempts" to incite a slave rebellion. His Farewell Address in 1837 warned of the dangers of sectional fanaticism, both northern and southern.


Public

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How do I obtain a copy of my State of Michigan Immunization Record?

Your Doctor or your Local Health Department can print an Official State of Michigan Immunization Record for you. Alternately, you can request your record by mail/fax using this form. International requests deve include an email address. We cannot fax or phone internationally.


Jackson vs. Calhoun--Part 1

It has been rare in American political history for presidents and vice-presidents not to get along or like each other, but it has happened. John Adams and Thomas Jefferson, Dwight Eisenhower and Richard Nixon, and John Kennedy and Lyndon Johnson are three pairs that come immediately to mind. However, the most contentious relationship between a chief executive and his backup might be the pair of President Andrew Jackson and Vice-president John C. Calhoun.

Jackson was a self-made man from the backwoods of Tennessee and a military hero. In 1828, he was elected president on a platform of political and financial reform and of protecting states' rights. Calhoun hailed from South Carolina aristocracy and would do anything to protect and defend his native state.

The relationship between Jackson and Calhoun got off to a bad start when shortly after the inaugural in 1829, Calhoun's wife, Flordie, refused to entertain or otherwise acknowledge Peggy Eaton, the wife of John Eaton. Eaton was a senator from Tennessee and a good friend of Jackson whom Jackson appointed as Secretary of War. Peggy Eaton's first husband, a sailor named Timberlake, died while on a Mediterranean cruise -- an assignment Eaton, as Secretary of War, had arranged. It is unclear whether Timberlake died of natural causes or whether he committed suicide upon learning of the affair between Eaton and Peggy, but the fact that he had been assigned to the cruise by the Secretary of War to get him out of the way was scandalous. What made matters worse, John and Peggy lived together while Timberlake was at sea and married just a short time after the sailor's death.

This behavior from a woman was absolutely unacceptable to Flordie Calhoun, so Flordie refused to invite her to the grand social functions a vice-president's wife was obliged to hold for the Washington elite. Flordie's actions caused many of the other wives of cabinet officials to follow suit.

This snub of Jackson's friend infuriated the President, especially after the ugly rumors that had been spread about him and his wife, Rachel, during the previous presidential campaign. A chill developed between Jackson and Calhoun, and Eaton eventually resigned his position in 1831. However, several years later, Jackson appointed Eaton governor of the Territory of Florida.

On the political front, Jackson and Calhoun sparred over internal improvements and states' rights. On the issue of internal improvements, Calhoun supported the use of federal monies to be used for the building of roads, canals, and anything else that would help link the different parts of the country, especially for the benefit of trade and commerce that may help South Carolina.

Jackson, on the other hand, while supporting some improvements with federal money, was strongly influenced by the opponents of internal improvements, especially by his Secretary of State, Martin van Buren. When Congress sent the Maysville Road Bill to Jackson for signing, a bill that would have had the Federal Government buying stock in a private company in Kentucky, Jackson vetoed it instead. His reason was simple and sound: since the Maysville Road Bill allocated money for a project that was solely in the state of Kentucky, and therefore would not benefit any state other than Kentucky, Jackson could not support it. He pulled out the veto stamp and used it.

In his veto message, Jackson said that since monies appropriated by Congress for the general good "have always been under the control of the general principle that the works which might be thus aided should be 'of a general, not local, national, not State,' character[,]" it would not be proper to pass the Maysville Road Bill. He further stated that since all the money would go to a project that was "exclusively within the limits of a State" it would set a bad precedent that "would of necessity lead to the subversion of the federal system&hellip."

But differences over social etiquette and pork barrel projects would be nothing compared to the fight in which Jackson and Calhoun were about to engage.


Elektratig


Having read several books with a Whig orientation recently, I thought that I needed to balance the scales by reading something with a Jacksonian emphasis. Looking over my library, I decided I should re-read Richard Ellis’s The Union at Risk: Jacksonian Democracy, States’ Rights and the Nullification Crisis. I read the book about three years ago and remember liking it a lot at the same time, I was pretty sure that I had read it too early and without adequate background, and that a lot of it had gone over my head.

Although I am now only 35 or so pages in, I already know that I was right. In the opening pages alone, Professor Ellis briefly delivers insightful analyses of a number of issues including: the different “flavors” (my term) of states’ rights, and why traditional states’ righters could be adamantly opposed to nullification and secession, in theory as well as in practice procedural details concerning the Cherokee Indian cases ( Cherokee Nation v. Georgia and Worcester v. Georgia ) that explain why Andrew Jackson was not put in a position in which he had to choose between enforcing or not enforcing the Supreme Court’s order and the pre-history, as it were, of Andrew Jackson’s mixed feelings and mixed signals concerning the Second Bank of the United States before Henry Clay and Nicholas Biddle openly allied and pushed re-charter in 1832.

For purposes of this post, however, let me highlight one other topic that Professor Ellis raises: Jackson’s approach to internal improvements. The opening chapter contains the best analysis of the issue that I have seen.

Jackson famously vetoed the Maysville Road bill in 1830, denouncing federal funding of projects deemed to be local as unconstitutional. Critics have asserted that Jackson’s veto was arbitrary and based on spite (against Henry Clay), citing the fact that “the federal government spent more money on internal improvements during Jackson’s two administrations than during all the previous administrations combined.”

In just a couple of pages, Professor Ellis convincingly rebuts the charge and argues that Jackson’s “internal improvements policy appears to have been both effective and fairly consistent.” Among other things, Ellis dissects Jackson’s veto messages, which drew careful distinctions among different kinds of improvements. Funding for roads and canals, to which Jackson applied a more stringent test, was (with two exceptions I won’t go into here) largely confined to projects in the territories and the District of Columbia.

Jackson’s veto messages, in contrast, indicate that he believed that maritime projects were more likely to warrant federal involvement. Consistente com este entendimento declarado, & # 8220 [o] maior e mais frequente gasto [federal]. . . foi sobre faróis e melhorias em rios e portos. & # 8221 Além disso, o professor Ellis aponta que os preços subiram mais de 50% durante o período de 1834-1837, portanto, comparar os gastos em dólares brutos com os de anos anteriores é enganoso.


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