In honor of Andrew Jackson being taken off the front of the $20 and replaced with Harriet Tubman, I’ve decided to post an essay that was previously on my former site about how Andrew Jackson is not a “Democratic” President to remembered in a positive way.
Was Andrew Jackson a truly “democratic” president?
Andrew Jackson, the seventh president of the United States, is one of the more controversial figures in American History when it comes to his administration and policies. He was the first person from the West (as he was born in Nashville, Tennessee) to be elected as a member of the senate and, later, a president of United States. He gained popularity due to his status as a war hero at the Battle of New Orleans in the war of 1812 against British soldiers.
He destroyed the charter of the Bank of the United States by abusing his veto power. Labeled “King Andrew I” by a majority of the population at the time, Jackson ruled the country the way he saw fit and oftentimes ignored the Senate through his abuse of veto.
He is, in many opinions, one of the worst presidents of American history due to the sheer qualities of his presidency. A slave owner, an advocate for slavery itself, and behind the immoral and practical genocide of the Native American tribes, Andrew Jackson was a rather heavy-handed and cold-hearted President. But, we don’t recall him in general history as this. We remember him as a ‘war hero’, a man who beat his failed assassin to death with his cane. We remember a cruel bastard as “America’s Badass”.
The question is asked if Andrew Jackson, the first “Democrat” to hold the office of presidency, was truly “democratic.” The answer is simple: no, he was not.
He violated the constitution by over-riding the Supreme Court’s decision not to throw out the Cherokee from Georgia. He purposely abused his veto power and overstepped the constitutional boundaries of his office. He had no concern for human rights, hence throwing out all the Cherokee tribes from Georgia and saying “they are not really a nation” and they are “savages”.
Even though he allowed all people to vote, the Natives were not given that right. Democracy itself is a system of government by the whole population or all the eligible members of the state. Typically through elected representatives, or treating people with equality. Not letting the Natives vote was obviously democratic or treating humans with equality. Jackson also didn’t represent power to all people, including many so-called “equal” men and women. In addition, the removal of the one thousand Seminoles, Choctaw, Creek, Chickasaw, and Cherokee Indians forced out of their property near the Mississippi River wasn’t really democratic either.
Jackson also started something called the “Spoil System”. The Spoil System means to hire and fire federal workers. When Jackson was the president, he fired about 20% of the working officials and put in the people that helped him get elected during 1828. The meaning of the system was to give appointive jobs to loyal members of the party in power. Jackson rearranged the system of office because he thought it would cause less corruption. If you think the Spoil System wasn’t democratic, wait until you hear about the National Bank that Jackson vetoed.
The so-called Jacksonian Revolution created more wealthy Jacksonians than the ones they deposed. The “spoils system” which he introduced eliminated all the seasoned and experienced politicians and replaced them with illiterate farmers who had no political experience whatsoever just so he could gain their support (farmers made up 90% of the population) or he rewarded these offices to his friends who had supported his campaign.
Jackson vetoed the Second National Bank. The bank’s main goal was to fulfill the country’s financial needs. He vetoed the bank because he thought it had too much power and he didn’t trust it because he thought people like Henry Clay would be corrupt and rebellious. In 1833, Jackson finally opposed the bank by vetoing its constitution. He also threatened to withdraw the U.S. funds towards the bank.
By doing this, he destroyed the national bank for personal issues, quoting, “The Bank is trying to kill me, but I will kill it”. Once again he overstepped his boundaries and broke constitutional law in his own personal favor and at the dismay of the American people.
Even Thomas Jefferson, the author of declaration of Independence and one of the most influential of founding fathers to date, said “He is the most unfit man to be the president.” A man who ignored Congress, abused his right to veto law, caused massive genocide across American soils, and refused to allow a national bank to form: this is the first “Democratic” President the states saw, and this is what an entire political platform was based upon.
“I am much alarmed at the prospect of seeing General Jackson become President. He is one of the most unfit men I know of for such a place. He has very little respect for laws or Constitutions. When I was President of the Senate he was a Senator; and he could never speak on account of the rashness of his feelings. I have seen him attempt it repeatedly, and as often choke with rage. His passions are no doubt cooler now…but he is a dangerous man.” — Thomas Jefferson
A man oftentimes compared to monarchy, and a man who didn’t agree with true equality. We see these issues today in modern politics, with politicians claiming that poor people are “savages” and that “they breed”, much like Andrew Jackson thought of the Native Americans back in the 1800s.