Andrew Jackson was arrogant and ruthless. He was given the nickname Old Hickory from his troop in the military. He stood firm and fought side by side with his soldiers. Being a strong individual he fought for what he believed was right for the country. He didn’t back down from anything.
Nullification Crisis began with the tariff tax. Southerners were upset because they were going to have to pay more for goods while the Northerners were excited because this would bring them more money because they were manufacturing states. Southern states also were scared that the government would threaten their institution of slavery. South Carolina was so upset that they said that they were not going to be charged more and said no to the tariff tax. Andrew Jackson was against the tariff tax himself, however took it as a blow against our nation. He felt that the southern states were going against the unity of our nation and what they stood for. This outraged him and he threatened military force. He rejected the nullification and convinced Congress to pass a bill to allow him to send military to enforce the tariffs. South Carolina changed their minds and backed down. However this caused states to unite and start thinking about succeeding.
Eaton Affair was also known as the Petticoat Affair. Jackson asked John Eaton to serve as his secretary of war. John Eaton had been accused of having an affair with Margaret O’Neale Timberlake which he later married. Washington’s elite women were appalled by this scandal. They wanted nothing to do with her for the fear of being associated with her would ruin their reputation. These women had their own code of conduct. They were to be feminine and sexually moral. This scandal affected this elite Washington society. Jackson was outraged and said “I did not come here to make a cabinet for the ladies of this place.” He also said that he “had rather have live vermin on my back than the tongue of one of these Washington women on my reputation.” He blamed Calhoun’s wife of causing problems because Calhoun’s wife shunned Margaret. This caused Jackson to call a meeting with his cabinet in which four members of the cabinet resigned.
“Andrew Jackson waged a war against the Bank of the United States.” He didn’t trust Northern business and money interests. The Second Bank of the U.S. was in Philadelphia. The purpose of this bank was to stabilize the economy. This bank was blamed for the Panic of 1819 by lending irresponsibly and then by stockpiling gold to save itself. When they did this it put smaller banks in jeopardy. He took this struggle as personal and said “the bank is trying to kill me, but I will kill it.” Congress tried to reauthorize the bank in 1832 but Jackson vetoed the bill. He said the bank was unconstitutional and “dangerous to the liberties of the people.” Jackson felt that the rich stockholders were getting richer at the expense of everyone else. Jackson directed his cabinet to not do business with these banks.
American Indians controlled a lot of land east and the majority of land west of the Mississippi River. They were considered savages not being able to be civilized and they were not considered common people. Jackson wanted them out of Florida and surrounding states. This was considered good farm land and they had military plans for the state. This territory was believed to be extremely important for economic growth. The removal of the American Indians had been discussed before. Jackson said, “It [speedy removal] will place a dense and civilized population in large tracts of country now occupied by a few savage hunters.” The Indian Removal Act in 1830 gave the president power start treaty negotiations. These negotiations would give American Indians land in the West if they gave up their land east of the Mississippi. Jackson tried to make it look like it was in the best interest of the American Indians when in fact he just wanted them gone. The Cherokee fought back in court. The Supreme Court ruled in favor of the Cherokee. The court said it was unconstitutional to take their land away. Jackson violated the constitution and ignored the Supreme Court. He thought that the best thing for the country was to drive them out.
The Trail of Tears was tragic. A quarter of the American Indians lost their lives in the forced voyage to their new lands. The government sent the military down to remove them and marched them across the U.S. to Oklahoma. Starvation and diseases killed so many innocent American Indians. They were promised that these lands and would not be taken away. The westward expansion of white people took that promise away.
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