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The Age of Jackson


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Title: The Age of Jackson

The Age of Jackson
  • 1824-1840

Denmark Vesey
  • In 1822 a free black tried to led a slave revolt
    in South Carolina
  • Convincing the southern states that their
    peculiar institution was in danger from
    possible slave uprising and northern criticism
  • The revolt was quickly suppressed but the fear of
    possible revolts left a legacy in the southern

Corrupt Bargain
  • The 1824 election 1. Andrew Jackson of
    Tennessee with Calhoun as vice president 2. Henry
    Clay of Kentucky 3. William H. Crawford of
    Georgia 4. John Q. Adams of Massachusetts
  • All four were Republicans
  • Jackson, who avoided all the issues, gained the
    most popular votes and the most electoral votes,
    but not the necessary majority
  • Adams was second in both balloting
  • Clay was fourth, the American System was dead

  • The 12th Amendment said the top 3 vote getters
    would be voted upon in the House
  • Crawford suffered a stroke and was basically out
    of the race
  • Clay, the Speaker of the House, had been
    eliminated so he supported Adams because he hated
  • Adams appointed Clay Secretary of State, the
    usual position before the presidency Jackson
    claimed the election had been rigged
  • No evidence was found, but the claim hurt the
    reputation of both men, but the administration
    was hampered before it started

  • Adams was very intellectual but lacked the
    ability to play the political game
  • Adams proposed new roads and canals, a national
    university, and a national observatory
  • The big issues were western land and the tariff
  • Southerners approved of the roads and canals
    because they would help commerce, but realized
    that the government would have to continue to
    collect tariffs
  • Opponents formed the National-Republicans and
    supported Jackson

Tariff of Abominations (1828)
  • By 1824 tariffs were often as high as 37, but
    manufacturers wanted more
  • Calhoun proposed a new higher tariff (45) on
    imported raw materials like wool hoping New
    Englanders would think the tariff too high and
    vote against it- thus hurting the president
  • But New Englanders passed the law
  • Southerners called it the Tariff of
  • Calhoun paid the political price for the move

The South Carolina Exposition
  • Southerners sold their products without a tariff
    but purchased products were expensive because of
    the tariff
  • In 1828 John C. Calhoun was compelled to write
    anonymously The South Carolina Exposition
    calling for a nullification of the tariff by
    southern states or face the possibility of
    secession but South Carolina was alone in the

Andrew Jackson
  • In 1828 there were 24 states and almost 13
    million people the population was doubling
    every 23 years In the election of 1828 Jackson
    was able to turn the people against Adams
  • Jackson won the popular vote and the Electoral
    College (178-83) with most support from the
    West and South
  • He portrayed himself as the Peoples President
    not an aristocrat he benefited from a
    national sense of democracy

  • He was nicknamed Old Hickoryby his men and
    although not old aristocracy he lived in a
    mansion and owned slaves
  • He was tough, from the west, a folk hero, but he
    also had tuberculosis, malaria, and severe
  • He let commoners enter the White House during the
    inauguration they broke pottery
  • Jacksons critics called it the reign of King
    Mob other simply referred to the era as the age
    of the common man

Spoils System
  • This was the first election since 1800 that a new
    party held office
  • Jackson replaced older, experienced people with
    younger more impetuous people usually friends
    or patrons
  • Jackson used the spoils system to reward people
    but often at the cost of experience and knowledge
  • However the administration would center on the
    animosity between Vice-President Calhoun and
    Secretary of State Martin Van Buren

The Eaton Affair
  • Peggy Eaton was the vivacious widow of a whose
    husband had committed suicide after learning his
    wife had had an affair with Tennessee senator
    John Eaton
  • She had married Jacksons secretary of war,
    Eaton, shortly before his appointment and quickly
    became the talk of the capital
  • Calhouns wife was particularly hurtful and
    continually snubbed Eaton at social functions
  • Some other wives were doing the same

  • Jackson felt sympathy for Peggy Eaton
  • Van Buren, a widower, did his best to make Peggy
    feel better
  • Jackson turned against Calhoun and closer towards
    Van Buren

Maysville Road
  • Calhoun supported congressional funds for
    internal improvements
  • Van Buren and Jackson had the same constitutional
    issues as Madison and Monroe
  • In 1830 the Maysville Road Bill passed Congress
  • The bill proposed the spending of funds to
    construct a road from Lexington (KY) to Maysville
    (KY) and was supported by Clay
  • The road was intended to link with the National
    Road but was vetoed as being a local project

Webster-Hayne Debate (1830)
  • The main issue of the debate was states rights
    or federal rights
  • In 1829 Senator Foot of Connecticut proposed
    (Foot Resolution) the government restrict the
    sale of public land in the west
  • Thomas Benton Hart of Missouri saw this as an
    attempt to prevent potential workers migrating
    westward and thus affecting eastern industry
  • Robert Y. Hayne of South Carolina saw the issue
    as a chance to solidify the strength of the south
    and west

  • If the southern states supported the western
    states they could create an alliance against the
    powerful northern states
  • Hayne said the policy which favored one section
    of the country over another section endangered
    the Union
  • Daniel Webster of Massachusetts defended the
    federal government by stating that Hayne had
    misunderstood the policy and that it certainly
    did not favor one section over another
  • Hayne was now forced to defend the issue of
    states rights

  • Hayne used the Virginia and Kentucky Resolutions
    (1798) and the Hartford Convention as examples of
    states rights
  • He argued that the Union was a compact and the
    federal government should work for the states
  • Webster responded with a nationalistic view of
    the Constitution. If a single state could
    nullify a law the Union would be a rope of sand
  • The Constitution created the Supreme Court to
    make decisions of constitutionality
  • A state could not nullify a law nor could that
    state leave the Union
  • The Foot Resolution was defeated

  • Jackson said nothing on the issue until the
    Jefferson Day Dinner in Washington
  • Jackson made the toast, The Union It must be
  • Calhoun made the next toast and promoted states
  • About the same time Jackson saw old reports from
    Calhoun (when he was Secretary of State) that
    wanted to punish Jackson for his actions in
  • By 1831 Jackson had removed all the supporters of
    Calhoun from his cabinet

The 1832 Election
  • Jackson agreed to run again in 1832 with Van
    Buren as his vice-president
  • South Carolinians still wanted lower tariffs and
    when the tariff of 1832 was passed they gained
    some relief, but the tariffs on cottons, woolens,
    and iron remained high
  • The South Carolina legislature became a
    battleground between the nullification supporters
    and the Unionists
  • The state adopted the Ordinance of Nullification

Ordinance of Nullification
  • The Ordinance repudiated the Tariffs of 1828 and
    1832 as unconstitutional
  • The state selected Hayne as governor and Calhoun
    to replace him as senator
  • Calhoun resigned as vice-president to defend
  • Jackson stood firm and issued the Nullification
    Proclamation which declared that one state would
    not be allowed to dissolve the Union
  • Federal troops were sent to Charleston

Force Bill (1833)
  • Nullifiers mobilized the militia
  • In 1833 the president requested the Force Bill
    authorizing the army to use force against the
    state of South Carolina to enforce federal laws
  • Henry Clay arranged for Congress to cut the
    tariff on cotton in half by 1842
  • In March the president signed the compromise
    tariff and the Force Bill South Carolina
    rescinded the nullification of the tariffs and
    nullified the Force Bill (token gesture of

Indian Removal Act (1830)
  • Jackson believed the Indians were savages and the
    country was better without them
  • In 1828 Jackson stated the Indians would be
    humanely moved to the west of the Mississippi and
    resettled in the Great American Desert
  • In 1830 Congress approved the move
  • In 1832 Chief Black Hawk led the Sauk and Fox
    tribes against the resettlement program
  • The Illinois militia massacred women and children
    as they fled Jeff Davis and Abe Lincoln were

Indian Policy
  • In the south the Seminoles and Creek put up stiff
  • In 1837 their leader Osceola was captured under a
    flag of truce and died in a federal prison
  • By 1842 most resistance had ended

The Trail of Tears
  • In 1827 the Cherokee adopted a Constitution that
    said they were not subject to another other state
    or nation
  • Georgia responded by passing a law saying that by
    1830 the Cherokee would be subject to state law
  • In 1831 in the Cherokee Nation vs. Georgia
    Marshall ruled the court lacked jurisdiction
    because the Cherokee were a domestic nation and
    they had a right to their land

  • Jackson did not care what Marshall decreed
  • The Cherokees gave up their land for other land
    in the Indian Territory, 5 million, and travel
  • In 1838 12,000 Indians set out on the Trail of
  • Only 8,000 survived the march to Oklahoma

The Bank
  • The other big election issue in 1832 was the
    re-chartering of the Bank of the United States
  • Jackson opposed the Bank, but under Nicholas
    Biddle the Bank had done well and prospered
  • The Bank was due to be re-chartered in 1836, but
    Biddle could not afford to wait
  • In 1832 both Houses passed a new charter but
    without enough votes to prevent a veto
  • Jackson vetoed the legislation

Election 1832
  • 1832 was the first time for a third-party
  • The Anti-Masonic party was aimed at creating a
  • The Anti-Masonic party was first to hold a
    national nominating convention and the first to
    announce a platform
  • The party nominated William Wirt of Maryland
  • The other parties soon copied the convention
  • The National-Republicans nominated Henry Clay

  • The Democratic Party (dropped the Republican)
    endorsed Jackson
  • Without a platform the Jackson won easily
  • Wirt only carried Vermont
  • South Carolina gave her votes to the governor of
  • Jackson saw victory as a mandate against the
    National Bank
  • Jackson called the Bank the hydra of corruption
    and claimed federal deposits were not safe
  • Jackson focused on removing federal deposits from
    the Bank

  • Jackson removed Secretary of the Treasury McLane
    from the cabinet for disagreeing and replaced him
    with Attorney-General Roger Taney who shared
    Jacksons fear of the Bank
  • Taney started putting federal money in state
    banks or pet banks as they became known
  • Biddle tried to stop the moves and show how
    important the Bank was by stopping loans
  • However Biddle started a spree of wild
    speculation and the opening of wildcat banks with
    little or no worth
  • Jackson instructed the Treasury to issue the
    Specie Circular allowing only hard currency for
    land contributing to the Panic of 1837

  • Jacksons opponents joined together to form the
    Whigs because it symbolized an anti-monarchy
    movement. Many people now referred to Jackson as
    King Andrew I
  • The first signs of political power came when
    Clay, Calhoun, and Webster all joined forces in
    1834 to challenge Jacksons banking policies
  • They were conservatives who wanted internal
    improvements and a market economy

Election of 1836
  • Jackson selected Martin Van Buren as his
  • Many believed this was simply Jacksons attempts
    to serve a third term
  • The Whigs were unable to nominate a single
    candidate and instead nominated several based on
    region hoping to send the election to the House,
    where they might have a chance
  • Van Buren, the Little Magician barely won in
    the popular vote, but comfortably in the
    Electoral vote (170-124)

Martin Van Buren
  • Van Buren was of Dutch ancestry and the first
    president born in the United States
  • He was so skilled at politics that he earned the
    nickname Little Magician
  • Much of his success was owed to his association
    with Jackson and when he took office it appeared
    as if Jackson had remove the two biggest problems
    the bank and nullification
  • But Jacksons economic policies also caused the
    Panic of 1837

Panic of 1837
  • The British economy in the 1830s witnessed a
    severe downturn the price of cotton dropped
  • British bankers cut back on investing in America
  • A failure of the wheat crop in 1836 caused many
    farmers to liquidate
  • Pet banks simply went out of business
  • Nearly one-third of the workforce was unemployed
  • The Whigs proposed higher tariffs and an
    expansion of credit, but Jacksons policy was to
    leave the economy alone

  • Van Buren did not believe he was responsible for
    fixing the problem, but he did create the
    Divorce Bill
  • He tried to divorce the government from banking
    by creating an independent treasury
  • The plan was to keep government money safe and at
    the same time reducing the available credit
  • Even supporters did not fully endorse the idea
  • The plan passed in 1840, was repealed in 1841 by
    the Whigs after the election, reenacted in 1846
    and eventually became part of the Federal Reserve
    System in the early twentieth century

  • As Americans looked for land they were drawn to
    Texas which belonged to Spain
  • The land had been given to Spain by the United
    States as part of the 1819 agreement to acquire
  • In 1823 the Mexican government allowed Stephen
    Austin to take 300 families to settle the area
    but there were certain rules the settlers had to
  • The Americans basically ignored these requirements

  • Adventurers like Davy Crockett and Jim Bowie went
    to Texas along with Sam Houston
  • The settlers soon conflicted with the Mexican
    authorities over slavery, religion, and states
    rights (Mexico had ended slavery in 1830)
  • In 1833 Austin went to Mexico City to meet with
    the dictator General Santa Anna, who threw Austin
    in jail for eight months
  • In 1835 Santa Anna marched his army into Texas to
    suppress the troublemakers
  • In 1836 Texas declared independence and names
    Houston commander-in-chief
  • The Mexicans trapped over 100 Texans led by
    William Travis, at the Alamo in San Antonio

  • All the Texans including Bowie and Crockett were
    killed in the battle
  • Houston took what was left of the Texas army and
  • Months later at San Jacinto the Texans surprised
    the Mexican army and in a matter of minutes
    completely defeated the Mexicans
  • Santa Anna was captured and he signed two
    treaties a) the Mexican army would withdrew from
    Texas b) the Rio Grande was the southwestern
    border of Texas
  • When he was released he repudiated the treaties

  • Public opinion in America favored the Texans but
    the government could not open support the
  • In 1837 the Texas government petitioned for
    annexation into the Union, but the request was
    rejected because of the slavery question
  • To admit Texas was to increase slavery

Election of 1840
  • Van Buren was the Democratic candidate. The
    Whigs united and nominated William Henry Harrison
    from Ohio John Tyler of Virginia was his
    running mate
  • The Whigs published no platform
  • A Democratic editor published a story saying
    Harrison was too old and he should retire to a
    log cabin and a barrel of old cider
  • Portraying Harrison as a poor western farmer
    alienated western farmers who turned to the Whigs
  • The Whigs adopted the idea of a hard working
    honest farmer as symbols for their campaign

  • The slogan Tippecanoe and Tyler too quickly
    gained momentum
  • Harrison barely won the popular vote but easily
    won the electoral vote (234-60)
  • 31 days after the inauguration Harrison died of
    pneumonia- the shortest presidential term
  • Clearly the people had chosen democracy over
    aristocracy and from 1840 onward politicians
    would have to solicit the support of the masses
  • Also by 1840 there were two very distinct
    political parties

  • Democrats supported states rights federal
  • Whigs supported National bank Protective
    tariffs Internal improvements (later the
    abolition of slavery)