Thus the Peggy Eaton affair, the story of a woman scorned, rather than remaining a low-level scandal, altered the course of American political history, not the first time nor the last in which a woman would play that role. Some years later John Eaton died, leaving his widow a small fortune. Less than a year later he eloped to Italy with her granddaughter, and Peggy was forced to work as a dressmaker to support herself. She died in and is buried in Oak Hill Cemetery in a grave next to that of John Eaton, whose name she reclaimed.
At her funeral a large floral piece of white roses sent by President and Mrs. Rutherford B. The fact is I do not believe I ever did exactly like or dislike anybody. I think they always hated everybody I did not love and always loved everybody I did not hate. Robert E. Yet people like John Marshall felt strongly about the meaning of the Union.
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The idea of Union was very strong among Americans, especially in the North. Prior to the Civil war, the prime articulator of that idea was Daniel Webster. Asking rhetorically whose Constitution it was, Webster Stated:. The people of the United States have declared that this Constitution shall be the supreme law.
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We must either admit the proposition or dispute their authority. Rising to the full height of his oratorical power, Webster claimed at the conclusion of his lengthy address that he could not contemplate life without the Union. Standing poles apart from both was Vice President John C. Calhoun needed that position to keep strength in South Carolina, while Van Buren had a comfortable political base in New York. The fact that that Floride Calhoun, John C.
May we all remember that it can only be preserved by respecting the rights of the states and distributing equally the benefit and burden of the Union! Thereafter John C. Calhoun became the leading spokesman for the Southern states rights position. As such, his hopes for ever gaining the White House virtually disappeared. When Secretary of War John Eaton uncovered records in the war Department revealing that Calhoun had been critical of Jackson during the latter's foray in Florida in , the rift between Calhoun and Jackson became permanent.
Martin Van Buren replaced Calhoun as vice president during Jackson's second term. Under President Nicholas Biddle the Second Bank of the United States recovered from its problems associated with the Panic of and was well-managed and acted as a central bank. It monitored the lending policies of state banks which, if left unregulated, were likely to cause inflation and exaggerate business cycle swings. To some the National Bank smacked of special privilege because it held a monopoly of public funds, yet was governed by a handful of rich investors.
Jackson came into office suspicious of the Bank of the United States and made vague threats against it. With the backing of supporters in Congress, Bank President Biddle asked Congress to recharter the Bank in , four years before the old charter was due to expire. Jackson also claimed he vetoed the Bank charter because it violated equality of opportunity, and Congress upheld the veto. The Bank supporters and Jackson opponents badly misjudged both Jackson and people's attitudes toward the Bank. Biddle then used his powers as a central banker to bring on a nationwide recession, which he hoped would be blamed on Jackson.
Jackson, like Jefferson, was very hostile to banks. Banks made money by manipulation, Jackson thought. There had been early attempts to politicize the bank, and Jackson believed the pro-bank people were his political enemies. More on the Bank. The Whig party would form from the remnants of the old National Republican Party during Jackson's second term. The chief issue of the election was the National Bank, discussed above.
Jackson's opponents who sought to use the bank as an issue to unseat him found that their plan backfired. A secondary issue was Jackson's veto of the Maysville Road Bill in The bill would have provided federal funds to construct a road from Maysville to Lexington, Kentucky. He also took issue with providing funds to a private corporation:. A course of policy destined to witness events like these cannot be benefited by a legislation which tolerates a scramble for appropriations that have no relation to any general system of improvement, and whose good effects must of necessity be very limited.
Congressional opponents of the bill had included future president James K. Minor parties took some anti-Jackson votes away from Clay. Jackson and the Tariff: The Nullification Controversy. The nullification controversy of was a major milestone in the national debate over federal versus state authority. Coming at a time when agitation over slavery and other issues that tended to divide the country along sectional lines was growing, the nullification controversy brought the states rights debate into sharp focus.
The root of the problem of protective tariffs is that they are almost by definition designed to assist certain segments of the economy. In the era in question, the country was distinctly divided along economic lines. Because a large percentage of Southern capital was put into land, cotton, and slaves, less capital was available for industrial for manufacturing enterprises, since in that volatile period in history they such investments were far riskier than cotton, the prime resource of the booming textile industry.
But because the cotton South did not produce much in the way of farm equipment, tools or other manufactured goods, they were dependent upon manufactured goods produced mostly in the north or in foreign countries. High protective tariffs on manufactured goods, designed to aid American manufacturing, had the effect of raising prices on goods purchased throughout the country, but needed most heavily in South. Support for manufacturing interests was strong in the North, where the population had grown faster, meaning that there were more members in the House of Representatives from the North than from the South.
Thus high protective tariffs were regularly passed. In Andrew Jackson's supporters proposed a very high tariff bill that would allow Jackson to look friendly toward manufacturing in the North, while in the South his supporters could claim that the proposed tariff was so high that it would never pass, and that they therefore had nothing to worry about.
But then the tariff did pass after all. Vice President John C. South Carolina's ordinance placed the state on a collision course with President Andrew Jackson. Although Jackson was from Tennessee, and thus a Southerner and slave owner , he was still much more a nationalist than an advocate of states' rights.
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.
Congress supported Jackson by passing a Force Bill which explicitly authorized him to use whatever force was necessary to enforce the law in South Carolina. The Force Bill was more symbolic than real, as Jackson already had authority to enforce the law under the Constitution. Meanwhile, Henry Clay set about getting a compromise tariff through Congress, and South Carolina, realizing that support for its position was weak, and not willing to push the fight any further, relented and repealed its Ordinance of Nullification. But then as slap in the face to President Jackson, it nullified the Force Bill, which was of no consequence since the bill had become moot upon South Carolina's repeal of the Ordinance of Nullification.
Larger Meaning of the Nullification Crisis. The nullification controversy is important because of its focus on the issue of states' rights.
Most historians believe that behind South Carolina's nullification of the tariff was a deeper concern over the slavery question. The abolitionist movement was gathering steam, and there was fear throughout the South that somehow the federal government might move to abolish slavery. Nullification of the tariff then was seen by some as a test case as to whether or not nullification was viable. President Jackson's reaction and the support from Congress suggested that nullification could not be sustained. The next logical step, therefore, in opposing federal authority within a state was the act of secession.
It is worth reading South Carolina's Ordinance of Nullification and Andrew Jackson's proclamation to understand the depth of the arguments on both sides. Jackson's argument carried the day, but for many Southerners the issue of states' rights was still an open question. See Appendix.
Cherokee Indian Removal. Without much doubt the ugliest event in the Jackson years was the removal of the Cherokee Indians from Georgia to reservations located west of the Mississippi River. Andrew Jackson had built much of his reputation as an Indian fighter during the Creek Wars, but historians have not called him an Indian hater. He respected Indians as worthy enemies, but when the state of Georgia clashed with the Cherokee, there was little doubt that Jackson would come down on the side of Georgia. The Cherokee had previously been recognized as a nation with laws and customs of their own.
They had done much to try to accommodate themselves to the white culture, even translating the New Testament into the Cherokee language. But an Georgia law declared that the state had jurisdiction over Indian Territory, and when gold was discovered on Indian land, and Indians sought legal relief to hold onto their property, and the issue came to the Supreme Court in Worcester v. The Supreme Court said that Georgia laws had no force on Cherokee land, but sent no marshals to Georgia to enforce their decision.
Still trying to hold onto their land the Cherokee again sought legal relief and brought the case of Cherokee Nation vs.
Georgia to the Supreme Court. Chief Justice Marshall clearly sympathized with the Cherokee position:. A people once numerous, powerful, and truly independent, found by our ancestors in the quiet and uncontrolled possession of an ample domain, gradually sinking beneath our superior policy, our arts, and our arms, have yielded their lands by successive treaties, each of which contains a solemn guarantee of the residue, until they retain no more of their formerly extensive territory than is deemed necessary to their comfortable subsistence.
To preserve this remnant the present application is made. Unfortunately, Marshall took an uncharacteristically strict view of the Constitution and claimed that the Cherokee did not have the legal right to sue in the United States Supreme Court:. If it be true that wrongs have been inflicted and that still greater are to be apprehended, this is not the tribunal which can redress the past or prevent the future. Since there was no other court save that of public opinion and humanity, in which the Cherokee would similarly have enjoyed little success in those times, the Cherokee were eventually forced to leave Georgia and settle in Indian country, now the state of Oklahoma.
Provisions for the Indians en route were scant, and weather conditions including frozen rivers led to the death of many along the way. Some of the tribes resisted, and fighting occurred from time to time, but the majority of the Cherokee and other tribes were settled, much against their will, in the trans-Mississippi territory.
President Jackson was concerned about the rapid expansion of the nation westward, which would obviously bring about more contact with Indians. The Indian Removal Act of May 28, , justified the removal policy, and Jackson set forth his position on the issues in his message to Congress of December 6, White inhabitants of Georgia were particularly anxious to have the Cherokees removed from the state because gold had been discovered on tribal lands.
Violence was commonplace in Georgia, and in all likelihood, a portion of the tribe would have been decimated if they had not been removed. President Jackson continue to spar with opponents in Congress throughout his second term. In , feeling that he had a mandate to deal with the bank as a result of his reelection in , Jackson ordered the secretary of the treasury to announce that public funds would no longer be deposited in the Bank of the United States. By the end of , 23 state banks had been designated as depositories of federal funds, and the first funds had been transferred to a bank in Philadelphia.
In a specie circular was issued directing that only gold silver and a limited amount of paper would be accepted for the payment of purchases of public lands. Jackson's bank policies eventually contributed to the panic of Foreign Affairs under Jackson. Through a series of negotiations Jackson had improved trade relations with Great Britain during his first term. Jackson then began to pursue negotiations regarding claims against France left over from the period before the war of The French government agreed to pay 25 million francs against those claims, but when the French government failed to make good on those payments, Jackson threatened reprisals against French property.
Jackson's blustery language offended the French and eventually all outstanding matters with Great Britain and France were settled for the time being. Events in Texas which will be covered in a later chapter also got the attention of Jackson's administration, and when the independent Republic of Texas made overtures about joining the United States, Jackson demurred, fearing war with Mexico.
In addition, Democrats were in favor of the Jeffersonian concept of free public education, an idea that was spreading across the nation, far ahead of most of the rest of the world. As the first of several presidents and presidential candidates from New York, and the first of Dutch descent, Martin Van Buren had the misfortune to be inaugurated at just about the time when the Panic of set in. Problems had begun with the decrease in land sales brought about by the specie circular, and real estate troubles were followed by problems with stocks and commodity prices, especially cotton in the South.
An acute banking crisis, also resulting from policies of the Jackson administration, caused bank failures and other economic problems. As generally happens in times of economic depression, the incumbent party was assigned the blame, whether properly or not. Abolitionist sentiment had begun around and was getting stronger by the time and Van Buren became president.
Although Clay was still a powerful figure, the convention nominated William Henry Harrison and John Tyler as its candidates. Their chief unifying position was still opposition to the Democrats, and Harrison's popularity was based upon his winning the Battle of Tippecanoe.
The campaign soon degenerated into a mud slinging contest in which wild charges were flung in all directions. The only mature element of the campaign was the fact that two organized political parties were vying against each other. Vice President John Tyler succeeded to the presidency, the first vice president to move up to the White House upon the death of a president. As always, literature on this era of American history is plentiful. The spirit of an age sometimes descends to future generations in the form of a man.
The recent biography by H. Brands is a superb account of Jackson's life and accomplishments. Robert V. They viewed a central government as the enemy of individual liberty and they believed that government intervention in the economy benefited special-interest groups and created corporate monopolies that favored the rich. They sought to restore the independence of the individual—the artisan and the ordinary farmer—by ending federal support of banks and corporations and restricting the use of paper currency.
Jackson vetoed more legislation than all previous presidents combined. The long-term effect was to create the modern strong presidency. Reformers eager to turn their programs into legislation called for a more active government. However, Democrats tended to oppose programs like educational reform and the establishment of a public education system. For instance, they believed that public schools restricted individual liberty by interfering with parental responsibility and undermined freedom of religion by replacing church schools.
Jackson looked at the Indian question in terms of military and legal policy, not as a problem due to their race. Among the leading followers was Stephen A. Douglas , senator from Illinois, who was the key player in the passage of the compromise of , and was a leading contender for the Democratic presidential nomination. According to his biographer Robert W. Douglas was preeminently a Jacksonian, and his adherence to the tenants of what became known as Jacksonian democracy grew as his own career developed.
Popular rule, or what he called would later call popular sovereignty, lay at the base of his political structure. Like most Jacksonians, Douglas believed that the people spoke through the majority, that the majority will was the expression of the popular will. Jackson fulfilled his promise of broadening the influence of the citizenry in government, although not without vehement controversy over his methods. Jacksonian policies included ending the bank of the United States, expanding westward and removing American Indians from the Southeast.
Jackson was denounced as a tyrant by opponents on both ends of the political spectrum such as Henry Clay and John C. This led to the rise of the Whig Party. Jackson created a spoils system to clear out elected officials in government of an opposing party and replace them with his supporters as a reward for their electioneering.
With Congress controlled by his enemies, Jackson relied heavily on the power of the veto to block their moves. One of the most important of these was the Maysville Road veto in A part of Clay's American System , the bill would have allowed for federal funding of a project to construct a road linking Lexington and the Ohio River, the entirety of which would be in the state of Kentucky, Clay's home state.
His primary objection was based on the local nature of the project. He argued it was not the federal government's job to fund projects of such a local nature and or those lacking a connection to the nation as a whole. The debates in Congress reflected two competing visions of federalism. The Jacksonians saw the union strictly as the cooperative aggregation of the individual states, while the Whigs saw the entire nation as a distinct entity. Carl Lane argues "securing national debt freedom was a core element of Jacksonian democracy.
What became of Jacksonian Democracy, according to Sean Wilentz was diffusion. Many ex-Jacksonians turned their crusade against the Money Power into one against the Slave Power and became Republicans. He points to the struggle over the Wilmot Proviso of , the Free Soil Party revolt of , and the mass defections from the Democrats in over the Kansas—Nebraska Act.
Taney endorsed slavery through the Dred Scott decision. Southern Jacksonians overwhelmingly endorsed secession in , apart from a few opponents led by Andrew Johnson. In the North, Jacksonians Stephen A. Van Buren was defeated in the next election by William Henry Harrison. Harrison died just 30 days into his term and his Vice President John Tyler quickly reached accommodation with the Jacksonians. Tyler was then succeeded by James K.
Polk , a Jacksonian who won the election of with Jackson's endorsement. Finally, Andrew Johnson , who had been a strong supporter of Jackson, became President following the assassination of Abraham Lincoln in , but by then Jacksonian democracy had been pushed off the stage of American politics. From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia. Jacksonian Democrats. Politics of United States Political parties Elections. Democracy and Trust. Cambridge University Press.
Remini The Life of Andrew Jackson. The Protective Tariff. Schlesinger, Jr. In North Carolina was the last state to end the practice. Tax-paying qualifications were also gone in all but a few states by the Civil War, but they survived into the 20th century in Pennsylvania and Rhode Island. Heidler and Jeanne T. Heidler, Manifest Destiny Greenwood Press, White, "William Leggett: Jacksonian editorialist as classical liberal political economist. Urofsky The American Presidents: Critical Essays. Wadsworth, Cengage Learning. Shade, "The Second Party System". Lee Benson A People and a Nation, Volume I: to Cengage Learning.
Journal of American History. Transaction Publishers. Stephen A. University of Illinois Press. European Contributions to American Studies. Polk: Life in Brief". Miller Center. Archived from the original on June 13, Retrieved June 16, History of the United States.