Andrew Jackson was the seventh president of the United States of America. He ruled the nation from 1829-1837 and is regarded one of the top fifteen presidents in American history. This paper will explain why I think Andrew Jackson is rated among the top fifteen presidents of the United States. It will focus on the Jacksonian democracy, the spoils system, Indian Removal, the Nullification crisis, and the War on the Bank.
During his reign, Andrew Jackson established a political movement known as Jacksonian democracy. The main aim of the movement was to end control of government by the elites and to encourage citizens to participate in government. The movement also demanded that State Judges be elected. Andrew Jackson rewrote many laws in the constitution and it was during his reign did the country see the right to take part in an election expanded to include all white men.
When he was elected president, he executed the theory of rotation of office. He believed that this system would curb corrupt bureaucracy. He gave many posts and replaced many federal workers to party loyalists and friends. This acted as the foundation for the spoil system where people were rewarded for their efforts in helping win an election (MacDonald, 1906).
The war of the Bank is the name given to the disagreement over the “Second Bank of the United States” (Henretta, Edwards & Self, 2011).Since the bank was privately owned, Jackson viewed it as a monopoly and in 1832; he barred the renewal of its license. Andrew Jackson before being president had witnessed firsthand how bank treated indebted people.
He had gone through the troubles imposed by the bank whereby property and valuable goods were often repossessed by the bank. According to Jackson, banks were unfair and while addressing the congress, he declared, “Some of the powers and privileges possessed by the existing bank are unauthorized by the Constitution” (Henretta, Edwards & Self, 2011). His opposition to the bank was considered a wise and constitutional move in making America a great nation.
During his presidency, there emerged the nullification crisis where South Carolina claimed the right to nullify the tariff legislation made in 1828. South Carolina also threatened to nullify any Federal law that it viewed was against its interest.
Jackson vowed to send forces to South Carolina and in 1832; he made his famous speech. he said, ” I consider, then, the power to annul a law of the United States, assumed by one State, incompatible with the existence of the Union, contradicted expressly by the letter Of the Constitution, unauthorized by its spirit, inconsistent with every principle on which it was founded, and destructive of the great object for which it was formed.” (Clark & Remini, 2009).
He then asked Congress to pass the force bill, which allowed him to use military force on any state wishing to secede. South Carolina agreed to a reduced tariff and this helped to prevent war and secession (Freehling, 1966).
Indian removal was a policy made by Andrew Jackson, which involved transferring Native Americans from the eastern part of the Mississippi River to the west side. Before he was elected president, he had negotiated various treaties aimed at removing the natives from their lands. In his first message to congress on December 8 1829, he said:
This emigration should be voluntary, for it would be as cruel as unjust to compel the aborigines to abandon the graves of their fathers and seek a home in a distant land. But they should be distinctly informed that if they remain within the limits of the States they must be subject to their laws. In return for their obedience as individuals they will without doubt be protected in the enjoyment of those possessions, which they have improved, by their industry (Clark & Remini, 2009).
In 1830, Jackson implemented the Indian Removal act, which though did not allow the relocation of the native tribes, allowed him to negotiate on treaties of land exchange with other tribes in the United States (Foreman, 1972). During his administration more than 45000 natives were forced out of their homes and this period is considered as one of the darkest times in America because many natives were killed during the Trail of Tears.
Based on the above presidential achievements of Andrew Jackson, I would assign him grade “B” since he was very instrumental in shaping the history of the country. Although he averted secession by South Carolina, he failed miserably to protect the local natives and relocated them away from their ancestral lands.
Clark, W. K., & Remini, R. V (2009). Andrew Jackson Great Generals. Basingstoke : Palgrave Macmillan.
Foreman, G. (1972). Indian removal: the emigration of the Five Civilized Tribes of Indians. Okla: University of Oklahoma Press.
Freehling, W. (1966). Prelude to Civil War: the nullification controversy in South Carolina. London: Harper Publishers.
Henretta, A., Edwards, R., & Self, O. (2011). America’s History. New York: Bedford Martins.
MacDonald, W. (1906). Jacksonian Democracy. London: Harper Publishers.