Andrew Jackson: Accomplishments And Dilemmas

Andrew Jackson had many accomplishments throughout his life such as creating the democratic party and as a general in the War of 1812. Even though he had these achievements, he is well-known mostly for his time in office. During Jackson’s presidency, there were many controversies that had a very powerful impact on U.S. history such as Patronage, The Nullification Crisis, The Bank War, and the Removal of Indians.

Jackson wanted power for his followers and himself, so he decided to do that with patronage. Patronage is when you help a politician in their campaign and in return you get awarded a government job. Jackson knew if he won he would have control of the government because he would hire his followers also known as the Jacksonians to be around him. By doing this, it caused the use of patronage to be used more in politics. Although Jackson had fired most of the officials, he could not get rid of John C. Calhoun who was a former senator for South Carolina who believed in state rights. Both of them were always in disagreements which caused The Nullification Crisis.

In 1819, there was a panic that affected most American Farmers who bought their land by making payments. Many of these farmers could not afford to make the payments, so they asked their state officials for help. This made people realize that the government needed to do more for their people. In 1828, when Jackson got elected many Americans were still worried about what would happen to the economy especially South Carolinians because of the tariff they have on their goods. During the elections, Jackson created a tariff that was absurd but was created just to create a stir. This tariff was called the “Tariff of Abominations” and was surprisingly passed which made even some of his own supporters angry and made the South become outraged. They turned to their legislature who created a document called the “South Carolina Exposition” which created the term Nullification. It was established to be able to give the people a say in their state’s rights. Although South Carolina created this concept, they didn’t start to use it until 1832. Jackson was furious with the idea of nullification because it made his authority over the government seem weak. Later that year, he created the Proclamation of Nullification which indicated that no states had the freedom to disregard federal laws. Jackson grew more furious day by day, so his followers that were in Congress passed a bill known as the “Force Bill’ in 1833 that would allow the president to use the army to stop an uprising. That same day, Calhoun decided it was best to back away from the situation to stop more problems from erupting. This made Jackson feel even more powerful about his nationalism.

Even though Jackson had strong beliefs towards nationalism, it would later result in him bringing down the Second Bank of the United States causing The Bank War. In the beginning, the Bank helped the economy become stronger due to the impact of the War of 1812, however, this came to an end in 1819. They started making people pay the loans they took out, but many of them couldn’t pay them. Most of them ended up in prison while others were faced with bankruptcy. In 1823, Nicholas Biddle took control of the bank and believed Jackson was against his bank because he had once lost all his money in a bank. In 1832, Biddle and Jackson started a conflict when Bibble wanted to prolong the bank’s contract. Jackson saw this as a problem because he thought Bibble was trying to create trouble in the upcoming election. Although Congress knew Jackson was against Bibble, they decided to renew the bank’s contract. He decided to veto the charter and gave a reason as to why he choose to. He stated that the bank was only trying to hurt the Americans who were poor. At the end of 1832 when Jackson was reelected, he wanted the bank to go down and it eventually did in 1836 when its contract ended. Even though this is what Jackson had wanted, he did not think it would actually happen. He had deposited money into different accounts in different states which were all owned by his followers. With the downfall of The Second Bank, many state banks started growing due to the absence of a central bank. Many of these banks started counterfeiting money which had no value, but the only people who knew were people of wealth.

Despite all the chaos that was going on, Americans continued their journey towards the west where the land was fertile and could go on for miles. However, Indians were still known to live in these areas. In 1830, Congress passed the “Indian Removal Act” which gave the government the ability to trade land west of the Mississippi River and power to move the Indians further west. Most Indian nations did not want to move and the Cherokee resisted the move the most. They had a hard time adjusting because they had always had to adapt to the American way. Eventually, they decided to embrace the way the American government was and accepted the rules such as property and owning slaves, however, this all came to a halt when gold was discovered in Georgia. People who lived in the state wanted to get rid of the Cherokee’s who lived there and the only way to do that would be to take away their property rights. In 1832, The Cherokee’s decided to sue the Georgians in court also known as “Worcester v. Georgia”. Despite the Cherokee’s win, the government stated that if they wanted the land, they would have to create a treaty. Many of the Indians were outraged and violence increased, so a small portion of the Cherokee Indians signed the treaty for it to stop. Although the treaty was signed, the violence didn’t end, Cherokee peacemakers were killed because they were seen as enemies. In 1838, after an American general decided to step down due to this ongoing issue, General Winfield Scott made the Cherokee Indians travel from Georgia to Oklahoma known as the “Trail of Tears”.

The history of the United States as we know it today was shaped by the actions taken by our past government leaders. Many of those actions although controversial, were done in the belief of benefiting the country. Andrew Jackson was a strong believer in individual rights and thought what he was doing was best for the country. Despite the many dilemmas the country was put through during Jackson’s presidency, he helped shape the United States to what we are today.