Andrew Jackson: Tyrant or Democrat?
Andrew Jackson was the seventh President of the United States of America. Administration of Andrew Jackson seems to be rather controversial issue and a matter for debates. Nevertheless, I think that Andrew Jackson tried to become a President, though, instead, appeared to be tyrant. However, he realized himself that he was more suited for army, not presidency. Once he noticed: “I know what I am fit for. I can command a body of men in a rough way; but I am not fit to be President”. And I am pretty sure that he appeared to be right. Moreover, during his presidency he proved to tyrannical and selfish ruler: “I cannot be intimidated from doing that which my judgment and conscience tell me is right by any earthly power”.
Politicians and historians claim that Andrew Jackson didn’t put the top priority to the needs and interests of the nation because he searched for self-perfection and self-achievement. Firstly, Jackson announced that he was President for common people meaning that he was willing to improve the welfare of the nation, though his actions often contradicted his words spoken. For example, being a President Jackson often ignored and fully neglected the judicial branch of the government stating that they were unable to honestly interpret laws. Therefore, he decided to make executive branch more powerful and it appeared to above the limits mentioned in the US Constitution.
Further, Jackson was noted to be uneducated, unintelligent and rude person and this fact may explain his tyrannical power and policy. Despite the fact that he tended to develop democracy by implementing new suffrage, he lacked shrewdness and proper education to realize the primary needs of the country. There was an idea that Jackson’s tyrannical behavior was caused by his youth and personal life. Nevertheless, Andrew Jackson significantly differs from well-educated and intelligent ex-presidents of the country. And this difference, in my opinion, didn’t serve for better.
Speaking about his personal life, Jackson always said: “Heaven will be no heaven to me if I do not meet my wife there”. Despite Jackson had matured by the beginning of the 19th century, he remained hot-tempered and inpatient. His desire was to command army again because he felt bored with politics and leading farm life. He was the commander of a group in Mississippi.
However, Jackson was sent back because the government became anxious about his actions; Jackson found new rival in new place. As a result, few men were involved in shooting and Jackson was wounded. Despite doctor’s warnings about amputation, Jackson decided to live with a bullet. Actually, I think that these facts were the main cause of his steel character and ruling. Apparently, Jackson’s past strongly influenced his administration and political behavior and presidency. Jackson was rather stubborn and he hated his rivals and the British. However, Jackson’s main rival was john Quincy Adams because of political elections took place in 1824. Jackson accused Adams and Clay to be “a corrupt bargain”. As a result elections were lost, though Jackson though that he was the real winner.
In four years new elections took place and they differed from the previous one. This election campaign was more personal rather than political. Jackson was told to be the first candidate to become the seventh President of the country. Jackson’s rival though that Jackson’s presidency would bring vulgarity in the parliament and the White House. Historians say that political campaign of 1828 was one of the most offensive bringing everlasting changes into the presidential elections. The National Republicans (Adam’s followers) published a filthy and hatful report about Jackson’s family: “General Jackson’s mother was a common prostitute brought to this country by British soldiers! She afterward married a mulatto man, with whom she had several children, of which number General Jackson is one!!”
Adams and his followers did their best not to allow Jackson to become President, though he successfully won the elections with three times more votes that his rivals. Thus, Andrew Jackson became the seventh US President. However, from the very beginning he proved to be bad leader when he decided to use Spoils System, “which is where his put his friends into his Cabinet”. During Inauguration he noticed: “In the performance of a task thus generally delineated I shall endeavor to select men whose diligence and talents will insure in their respective stations able and faithful cooperation”. This phrase illustrates that Jackson preferred to lie from the very start because, despite his announcements, his close friends were put in his office to significantly outweigh the Democrats. He didn’t tend to make two parties equal. If Jackson were true Democrat, he would, certainly, support equality between parties because the first sign of democracy is legal existence of opposition in the country and tendencies to cooperate with it. Instead, Jackson tried his best not to provide the loosing party with opportunities and rights.
Jackson thought he was the only right person and, therefore, he failed to show himself as a good leader and as a President. For example, it is necessary to mention that bank War when Andrew Jackson was the only one to blame for destroying of the national bank. According to the evidence, he was more concerned with personal feelings than with common sense and critical thinking. The main reason was that he hated the national bank of the country long before he became a President. In the end of the 18th century, Jackson lost money because of the national bank. In those times he was a wealthy land entrepreneur. During his presidency, he refused to privilege the national bank in 1832. Nevertheless, the Congress passed the low to re-charter the bank, though Jackson claimed that such actions were against the Constitution “when it had already been declared constitutional by the Marshall in 1819 during the McCulloch vs. Maryland case”. This veto was the first in long series of other vetoes of the executive branch.
In 1832 Jackson won the elections for the second time. The National Republicans tried to put a veto on Jackson, though they failed to succeed. During the second Inauguration Jackson announced for the second time: “So many events have occurred within the last four years which have necessarily called forth- sometimes under circumstances the most delicate and painful- my views of the principles and policy which ought to be pursued by the General Government that I need on this occasion but allude to a few leading considerations connected with some of them”. In such a way Jackson thought he was able to overpower others in the country. Jackson’s second term of Presidency was marked by a series of problems which he failed to solve. For example, Andrew Jackson forced the Congress to pass the Tariff of Abomination. Thus, Jackson proved that he didn’t afraid of abusing power. Moreover, he though that he had the highest power in the government and the country. Therefore, he had all rights to force the Congress to pass necessary bills and acts, as he argued. Jackson didn’t listen to views or ideas of others.
The most awful and tyrannical thing that Jackson did was the removal of Cherokee Indians. I think that Andrew Jack was filled with prejudice and was racist in certain way. As historians say, “This was a foolish move on Jackson’s part because his reputation rested upon his cold-blooded slaughter of Native Americans at the Battle of Horseshoe Bend, where Jackson’s militia killed over 800 Creeks, shooting them down “like dogs”, in the Creek War of 1814”. Actually, Jackson intensified the conflict between the Indians and Americans by invading their lands. Jackson ignored the decision of the Supreme Court and gathered large army to oust the Indians from their houses and to make them move westward. Such behavior could hardly be called democratic.
In conclusion, it is necessary to outline once more that Jackson always abused his power, exceeded set limits and rights, allowed personal emotions to be over the common sense. Actually, his presidency left a negative trace for the US people who argued that Jackson was egocentric and selfish person thinking only about his interests and priorities. Nation was left in confusion and misunderstanding.
- Cayton, A., Perry, E. I. & Winkler, A.M. (1995). American Pathways to the Present. Needham. USA: Prentice Hall.
- Jackson, Andrew. (1989).“First Inaugural Address”. Inaugural Addresses of the Presidents of the United States: p.3
- Jackson, Andrew. (1989).“Second Inaugural Address”. Inaugural Addresses of the Presidents of the United States: p.2
- Zinn, Howard. (1999).As Long as the Grass Grows or Water Runs: A Peoples History of the United States: 1492 to Present. New York City: Harper Collins.