Historum - History Forums  

Go Back   Historum - History Forums > World History Forum > American History
Register Forums Blogs Social Groups Mark Forums Read

American History American History Forum - United States, Canada, Mexico, Central and South America


Reply
 
LinkBack Thread Tools Display Modes
Old March 19th, 2012, 07:15 PM   #1
Citizen
 
Joined: Mar 2012
From: Maryland, USA
Posts: 10
Jacksonian Democracy, its Legacy, and how that Legacy is Affected by Indian Removal


This is a forum essentially about Andrew Jackson, and, to a somewhat lesser extent, James Polk. Both men ratically changed the office of president by expanding the president's power. They went to ridiculous lengths to get what they wanted, often disregarding the opinions of the other branches of government to do so. However Jackson and Polk always justified this with the belief that their actions were for the greater good, with intent to improve life for the common man, the frontiersman, the farmer, and certainly not the aristocrats of society. Given how these two men nearly abused the presidency, Jackson more so, is it ridiculous that they are often in the top 5 or 10 greatest presidents ever?

If not, how would we judge Andrew Jackson then? Jackson was a president who believed he was helping to improve the life for the common man. In South Carolina in the famed Nullification Crisis, Jackson made sure that all citizens paid their taxes of the Tariff of Abominations regardless of the fact that it immediately favored New England. Was this really helping the common man? Or was this show of force simply intended to keep order?

How can Jackson's handling of the Second National Bank be interpreted? Jackson destroyed the bank because it was directly related to his political rival Henry Clay. These types of actions for political reasons does not make Jackson seem like he was improving life. However in doing so Jackson managed to pay off all US debts for the only time in history, and thus he helped the economy short-term. The new question arises of whether the hyper inflation caused by the state banks can be attributed to Jackson or if Jackson's plans were simply not excecuted properly. This, of course, created an economic slump in 1839.

Last, Native American affairs are often discussed but not fully thought through. Jackson's forced eviction of the Cherokee tribe was awful, but many people actually underestimate it. Twenty years prior to the forced migration, Jackson had collaberated with the Natives in a war effort against an Indian tribe known as the Red Sticks. Jackson ended up forcing the migration of the very people who trusted him, betraying them. Was Jackson doing a terrible thing by forcing the migration of thousands of natives? Or was this very migration inevitable, and should Jackson be excused because of the time period, in which almost all citizens thought of natives as barbaric?

Personally, I believe that Andrew Jackson was a great president because of what he did to keep the country under control and doing what he thought was right for the common man, as opposed to the previous administration of John Quincy Adams, who did simply as the aristocrats wanted.

However my views are obviously controversial and I would love to hear other opinions on the matter.
DPNorman is offline  
Remove Ads
Old March 30th, 2012, 07:31 PM   #2
Citizen
 
Joined: Mar 2012
Posts: 8

Great topic and post. I agree somewhat, although I probably would have cast my vote for Clay.

Jackson deserves to be "near great" because he was "a man of action," as all of our greatest presidents were (Lincoln, FDR etc.) However, I am split over some of his decisions as president and would not rank him as elite.

Nullification - dealt with effectively, strong show of will and need to preserve the union, prevented CW. However, the Tariff should have never been that high to begin with - Jackson should have known that. Seems to me that this was a very personal war against Calhoun, Jackson was lucky Clay came to the rescue.

Bank - Huge mistake. BUS should have been reformed, not destroyed. Another personal war, this time against Clay and Biddle. I understand why Jackson though the bank was corrupt - it no doubt inserted itself into politics and pushed for its own selfish and greedy gains. To destroy the bank was foolish though and his pet banks are the reason for the recessions that followed.

Indian Removal - extremely complex and controversial. I believe Jackson made the right call in theory - however, the process in which the removal was carried out was an atrocity.

Jackson was a strong executive, but the fallout of his presidency was severe (his successors are the proof) - The seeds of sectional crisis were born, economic crisis etc. Had Clay been elected in 1832, I believe the US as a nation would have been more united, prosperous, industrial, stable, and CW could have been averted.
NJKid is offline  
Old March 30th, 2012, 08:34 PM   #3

tjadams's Avatar
Epicurean
 
Joined: Mar 2009
From: Texas
Posts: 25,362
Blog Entries: 6

I feel there is a light dusting of too much patriotism around both men to be judge fairly.
Polk started a war to grab the land he felt the US had to have to expand to the other
coast. And naturally all that land would be stocked with the farmer who would transform
the land into white America and prosper.
Jackson too wanted to shove out any and all opposition to his plans as well of getting more land to feed the insatiable hunger of more land, more land that the Americans could see facing them.
No nation or people was going to deny what God and country deemed.
When things work, the presidents are heroes and everyone can sit back in the comfy chair and and pontificate about how great the men were or how a few of their actions were bad and a few of their actions were good.
Had the plans of either of these men gone bad and settled into years of quagmire warfare with Americans lives piling up and the costs growing by the year, then those presidents would have the label of 'bad' presidents who were controlled by outside or personal influences. Winning is the WD-40 of stopping the squeaky cog of criticism.
tjadams is offline  
Old March 30th, 2012, 08:39 PM   #4

spellbanisher's Avatar
Incorrigible Recluse
 
Joined: Mar 2011
From: The Celestial Plain
Posts: 4,135
Blog Entries: 21

In Age of Betrayal, Jack Beatty highlights some of the changes that Jackson inspired during the 1830s.

One of the things Jackson paved the way for was the rise of modern private corporation. Before the 1830s corporations were very limited in what they could do; they were often given licenses to perform specific services, such as administer education, maintain roads and turnpikes, and sell one commodity. They had limited lifespans, in most states were forbidden to make political contributions, and had maximum caps on capitalization.

Jackson of course attacked the Bank of the United States, noting that "The rich and powerful too often bend the acts of government to their selfish purposes...many of our rich men have not been content with equal protection and equal benefits, but have besought to make themselves richer by act of Congress." However, his critique would be carried further by public figures.

For instance, in 1835 Thomas Hart Benton said to a Cincinnati audience that "The states abound with other monopolies just as much at war with the Rights of the People as that great [bank of the United States] one was...Chartered companies, with exclusive and extraordinary privileges, are the legislative evil and opprobrium of the age in which we live."

Furthermore, William Leggett argued that "By a general law of incorporation the goods effects of private corporations would be secured, and all the evils avoided..."

Beatty goes to write
Quote:
Starting with Connecticut in 1837 and New York a decade later, states enacted the spirit of Jacksonian reform by replacing special legislative charters with general incorporation laws that treated "the act of incorporation as nothing more than a mere license to exist" and a cheap one at that...no longer did corporations have to serve a public purpose. Any enterprise satisfying minimal capital requirements could incorporate, even for exclusively "private" ends.
spellbanisher is offline  
Old March 31st, 2012, 05:06 AM   #5

Rongo's Avatar
Historian
 
Joined: Dec 2011
From: Ohio
Posts: 5,683

Quote:
Originally Posted by DPNorman View Post
Given how these two men nearly abused the presidency, Jackson more so, is it ridiculous that they are often in the top 5 or 10 greatest presidents ever?
Historically, I think historians have rated the Presidents in terms of their strength - i.e. their effectiveness in accomplishing their agenda. In terms of that, both would rank as great Presidents. Historians have shied away from judging Presidents on whether their agendas were "good" or "bad", because it's a subjective matter and because values change over time. With controversial figures like Jackson and Polk, you could never have a consensus, and they could easily range from top of the top, to bottom of the bottom.

Personally speaking, Jackson is near the bottom of my list and Polk is in the bottom half.
Rongo is offline  
Old March 31st, 2012, 06:55 AM   #6

unclefred's Avatar
The Snub Nosed Truth
 
Joined: Dec 2010
From: Oregon coastal mountains
Posts: 6,711
Blog Entries: 33

Both achieved greatness and their very large contributions to Americas development are the reasons why. They are rightly esteemed, and their flaws are rightly acknowledged as well.
unclefred is offline  
Old March 31st, 2012, 08:04 AM   #7
Jedi Knight
 
Joined: Nov 2010
From: Indiana
Posts: 6,091

Andrew Jackson is thought of, by some, as one of the worse presidents because of his part in the Indian removal. The question is, since the Indians would have stood in the way of Clay's internal improvement, would Henry Clay have done any different? As for the Panic of 1837, blaming Jackson totally disregards the important effects of international trade on the panic. Jackson did not cause the Panic of 1837. On the other side, Jackson's handling of the Nulification Crisis saved the Union. If Lincoln had shown the same firmness he may have prevented the Civil War.
Mike McClure is offline  
Old March 31st, 2012, 08:11 AM   #8

spellbanisher's Avatar
Incorrigible Recluse
 
Joined: Mar 2011
From: The Celestial Plain
Posts: 4,135
Blog Entries: 21

Quote:
Originally Posted by Mike McClure View Post
. On the other side, Jackson's handling of the Nulification Crisis saved the Union. If Lincoln had shown the same firmness he may have prevented the Civil War.
The Union was never threatened by the nullification crisis.The nullification crisis was a South Carolina issue, whereas seven states had already seceded before Lincoln even took office.

Last edited by spellbanisher; March 31st, 2012 at 08:30 AM.
spellbanisher is offline  
Old March 31st, 2012, 08:35 AM   #9
Jedi Knight
 
Joined: Nov 2010
From: Indiana
Posts: 6,091

Quote:
Originally Posted by spellbanisher View Post
Well that's certainly a stretch. The nullification crisis was contained to South Carolina, whereas seven states had already seceded before Lincoln even took office.
Both crisis' started in South Carolina, but more important, secession happened in anticipation of what they thought Lincoln would do. What would they have anticipated if Jackson was about to become president
Mike McClure is offline  
Old March 31st, 2012, 08:45 AM   #10

spellbanisher's Avatar
Incorrigible Recluse
 
Joined: Mar 2011
From: The Celestial Plain
Posts: 4,135
Blog Entries: 21

Quote:
Originally Posted by Mike McClure View Post
Both crisis' started in South Carolina, but more important, secession happened in anticipation of what they thought Lincoln would do. What would they have anticipated if Jackson was about to become president
A key difference is that though most southern states didn't like the tariff, it was not an issue they were willing to secede over like slavery. Even with the tariff the south still produced 70 to 80 percent of the western worlds cotton. To put it in another way, the tariff had little effect on the demand for southern cotton. But a large part of South Carolina's economy was based on rice production, the demand of which was significantly hurt by the tariff.
spellbanisher is offline  
Reply

  Historum > World History Forum > American History

Tags
andrew jackson, jacksonian democracy, james polk, nullification crisis, trail of tears



Search tags for this page
Thread Tools
Display Modes


Similar Threads
Thread Thread Starter Forum Replies Last Post
The Legacy of the Third Crusade DreamWeaver Medieval and Byzantine History 4 August 21st, 2011 03:32 PM
Greek or Egyptian Legacy? Satuf Ancient History 15 April 24th, 2010 12:31 PM

Copyright © 2006-2013 Historum. All rights reserved.