Contrary to his predecessors, Andrew Jackson has been listed as an immediate peoples’ representative that submitted to the will of the people (Cheathem & Mancall, 2008). The Jacksonian presidency stood out as the one that welcomed the rise of a two-party democracy and the coming of the professional politician. This paper explores some of the key policy elements that amplify the Jacksonian political reign to help assess his role in the making of the U.S. politics. In this discussion, the paper ventures into assessing significant policy themes that distinguishes Andrew Jackson’s two-time presidency, including the nullification, the Bank war, the removal of the Indian, and the spoils systems.
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The significance of the 1828 election
The election of 1828 that saw Jackson ascend to power as the U.S. president remains critical in the political history of the United States of America. According to political analysts, the 1828 U.S. elections were referred to as the emergence of the common man where an average white American was an equal personality to occupy the high office (Cheathem & Mancall, 2008). Changes in the voting procedures, qualifications, and inclusivity and the rise of the common man’ distinguish the 1828 U.S election from the rest of the periods in the history of the nation (Rhodes, 2009).
In a nutshell, the 1828 election brought about revolution in the nation’s political system that strengthened the executive powers of the sitting president (Cheathem & Mancall, 2008). Both traditional and modern political analysts have referred to the 1828 elections as the period that ushered in a shift of power bargain to the voter. In addition, regionalism and the emergence of modern democracy defined the Jacksonian electioneering period. Although some critics have latched his presidency, many observers still view him as the source of America’s advanced democracy.
Jacksonian symbolism and policies
The Spoils system
Jackson’s appointment of principal federal office holders and state officials is one of the themes that sparked sharp debates within the context of American politics. The move to replace the existing federal officeholders with his own supporters under the guise of providing an opportunity for all Americans was dubbed as the spoils system. Although Jackson’s appointments expressed contempt for the knowledge and trust in the people, some analysts argued that Jackson acted to eliminate the entrenched bureaucracy in the federal offices (Rhodes, 2009).
However, opponents argued that Jackson’s appointments were not from the American common men, but resembled the preceding political, social, and economic elite class (Cheathem & Mancall, 2008). While it may be argued that Jackson restored democratic governance through rotational appointments, technocrats suggested that rotational work polices were only meant to satisfy political wills and could not yield efficiency in government.
The Bank War
The U.S. second bank under the presidency of Nicholas Biddle performed well and controlled the lending of other states’ banks. The bank acted as the country’s central bank that served to regulate the banking sector. However, Jackson viewed the functioning of the bank as unconstitutional arguing for its killing.’ His opposition to the bank can be traced from the fact that the supporters of the bank used the issue to undermine his popularity (Rhodes, 2009).
Although the senate passed the bill that sought to re-charter the bank, Jackson vetoed the bill arguing that it was a monopoly with many foreigners who were determined to control the U.S. banking sector. His reelection in 1832 gave him the opportunity to push for the destruction of the bank insisting that it violated the fundamental principles of democracy and equality. His direction saw the withdrawal of all federal funds, which were deposited in other state banks (“pet banks”) contrary to the Supreme Court’s ruling (Rhodes, 2009).
The Nullification Controversy
The process of nullification of 1832 occupied a substantial space in the nation’s debate that concerned the opposition between the federal versus the state authority (Rhodes, 2009). This came at a time when opposition to slavery and other divisive events were under sharp focus. Opponents to protective tariffs argued that they were potentially responsible for dividing the country on economic lines (Rhodes, 2009).
The southern states viewed this as a move to undermine their development in favor of the Northern industrial and manufacturing industry. The defiance of the tariffs by the Southern Carolina state sparked a fierce reaction from Jackson terming it as treasonous. The passage of “Ordinance of Nullification” meant that the tariffs were unenforceable and unpermitted in the South Carolina State. Many scholars argued that Jackson stood out as the protector of the law when he introduced “force Bill” to sustain federal authority.
The Indian Removals
The removal of the Indians from the mainstream Georgia to reservations of the trans-Mississippi west was one of the awkward events in Jackson’s presidency (French, 2007). These events altered Jackson’s reputation as the fighter of the Indian human rights during the Greek Wars and painting him as a separatist. Although the move was viewed as one aimed at maintaining the American sovereignty, it presented Jackson as an extremist politician because of his outright defiance of the Court’s ruling extremist southerners (French, 2007).
Cheathem, M. R., & Mancall, P. C. (2008). Jacksonian and Antebellum Age: People and Perspectives.New York, NY: ABC-CLIO.
French, L. F. (2007). Legislating Indian Country: Significant Milestones in Transforming Tribalism. New York, NY: Peter Lang.
Rhodes, J. F. (2009). History of the United States: From the Compromise of 1850 to the Mckinley-Bryan Campaign of 1896. New York, NY: Cosimo, Inc.