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Andrew Jackson

Andrew Jackson was the seventh president of the United

States. He is known for founding the Democratic Party and for his
support of individual liberty.
Any man worth his salt will stick up for what he believes right, but it
takes a slightly better man to acknowledge instantly and without
reservation that he is in error. Andrew Jackson
Andrew Jackson was born on March 15, 1767, in the
Waxhaws region between North Carolina and South Carolina. A lawyer
and a landowner, he became a national war hero after defeating the
British in New Orleans during the War of 1812. Jackson was elected the
seventh president of the United States in 1828. Known as the "people's
president," Jackson destroyed the National Bank, founded the
Democratic Party and is known for his support of individual liberty. He
died on June 8, 1845.
Early Life
Andrew Jackson was born on March 15, 1767, to Andrew and
Elizabeth Hutchinson Jackson, Scots-Irish colonists who emigrated from
Ireland in 1765. Though his birthplace is presumed to have been at one
of his uncles' houses in the Waxhaws region that straddles North
Carolina and South Carolina, the exact location is unknownJackson's
mother was making a trip across the Appalachian Mountains after
burying her husband, who died three weeks before his son was born.
Growing up in that area, Jackson received an erratic education. At age
13, he joined a local militia and served as a courier during the
Revolutionary War. His older brother, Hugh, died in the Battle of Stono
Ferry in 1779, and Andrew and his brother Robert were captured by the
British. While in captivity the brothers contracted smallpox, from which
Robert did not recover. A few days after the brothers were released by
British authorities, Robert died. Not long after his brother's death, in
November 1779, Jackson's mother died of cholera. At the age of 14, he
was orphaned. Raised by his uncles, Jackson began studying law in
Salisbury, North Carolina, in his late teens. In 1787, he was admitted to
the bar and became a lawyer in Jonesborough, an area that is now part of
In 1796, Jackson was a member of the convention that
established the Tennessee Constitution and, that same year, was elected
Tennessee's first representative in the U.S. House of Representative. He
was elected to the Senate the following year, but resigned after serving
only eight months. In 1798, Jackson was elected a judge of the
Tennessee Supreme Court, serving in that position until 1804. In
addition to being a lawyer, politician and judge, Jackson was a
landowner and a merchant. In 1804, he acquired an expansive plantation
in Davidson County, Tennessee (near Nashville), called the Hermitage.
He grew cotton, cultivated by a number of slaves, and soon became a
member of the planting elite.
Military Career
Jackson was appointed commander of the Tennessee militia in
1801. During the War of 1812 he led his troops to victory against the
Creek Indians at Horseshoe Bend, killing some 800 warriors and
procuring 20 million acres of land in present-day Georgia and Alabama.
After this military success, Jackson was appointed major general. After
leading 5,000 soldiers in the defeat of 7,500 British in New Orleans, on
January 8, 1815, Jackson was dubbed a national hero. He received the
thanks of Congress and a gold medal. He was also popular among his
troops, who said that Jackson was "as tough as old hickory wood" on the
battlefield, earning him the nickname "Old Hickory." During the First
Seminole War, in 1817, Jackson and his troops captured Pensacola,
Florida (then a Spanish territory), and overthrew West Florida Governor
Jos Masot, who had been secretly assisting the Indians in the war. Spain
later ceded Florida to the United States by the Adams-Onis Treaty, and
Jackson was named Florida's military governor, a post that he held from
March 1821 to December 1821.
Political Success
In 1822, Jackson was re-elected to the U.S. Senate, and in
1824, state factions rallied around him and a Pennsylvania convention
nominated him for the U.S. presidency. Though Jackson was the most
popular candidate, he lost the election when the House of
Representatives chose his opponent, John Quincy Adams. The decision,
an alleged deal to give Adams the election in exchange for Henry Clay's
secretary of state seat, became known as the Corrupt Bargain. The
negative reaction to the House's decision resulted in Jackson's
renomination for the presidency in 1825, three years before the next
election. It also split the Democratic-Republican Party in two. Jackson
won the presidential election of 1828 by a landslide, with John C.
Calhoun as his vice-presidential running mate. Jackson's opponents
nicknamed him "jackass,' a moniker that Jackson took a liking toso
much that he decided to use the symbol of a donkey to represent himself.
Though the use of that symbol died out, it would later become the
emblem of the new Democratic Party. Jackson was the first president to
invite the public to attend the inauguration ball at the White House,
which quickly earned him popularity. The crowd that arrived was so
large that furniture and dishes were broken as people jostled one another
to get a look at the president. The event earned Jackson the nickname
"King Mob."
U.S. Presidency
Jackson did not submit to Congress in policy-making, but was
the first president to assume command with his power to veto. He
believed in giving the power to elect the president and vice president to
the American people by abolishing the electoral college, garnering him
the nickname the "people's president." He also implemented the theory
of rotation in office, which became known as the spoils system. Perhaps
his greatest feat as president, Jackson became involved in a battle with
the Second Bank of the United States, a theoretically private corporation
that actually served as a government-sponsored monopoly. Jackson
openly displayed his hostility toward the bank, vetoing its re-charter bill
and charging it with disproportionate economic privilege. The American
public supported his views on the issue, and in 1832, Jackson won his
re-election campaign against Henry Clay; he won his second term with
56 percent of the popular vote, and nearly five times as many electoral
votes. Despite his popularity and success, Jackson's presidency was not
without its controversies. One particularly troubling aspect of it was his
dealings with Native Americans: Though Jackson had negotiated treaties
and removal policies long before his presidency, historians often lay
blame with him for sufferings such as the Trail of Tears, the forced
relocation westward of an estimated 15,000 Cherokee Indians.
Personal Life
When Jackson arrived in Nashville in 1788, he met Rachel
Donelson Robards, who, at the time, was unhappily married to but
separated from Captain Lewis Robards. Rachel and Jackson married
before her divorce was officially completea fact that was later brought
to light during Jackson's first presidential campaign, garnering
accusations of bigamy by the press. Jackson's willingness to engage his
and his wife's many attackers earned him a reputation as a quarrelsome
man. During one incident, Jackson even challenged one accuser, Charles
Dickinson, to a duel, and won. The Jacksons had three adopted sons:
Theodore, an Indian orphan; Andrew Jackson Jr., the son of Rachel's
brother Severn Donelson; and Lyncoya, a Creek Indian orphan. On
December 22, 1828, two months before Jackson's presidential
inauguration, Rachel died of a heart attack. She was buried two days
later, on Christmas Eve. After completing his second term in the White
House, Jackson returned to the Hermitage, where he died of lead
poisoning caused by two bullets that had remained in his chest for
several years on June 8, 1845, at the age of 78. Jackson continues to be
widely regarded as one of the most influential U.S. presidents in history,
as well as one of the most aggressive and controversial. His ardent
support of individual liberty effected political and governmental change,
including many prominent and lasting national policies.
Andrew Jackson
More nearly than any of his predecessors, Andrew Jackson
was elected by popular vote; as President he sought to act as the direct
representative of the common man. Born in a backwoods settlement in
the Carolinas in 1767, he received sporadic education. But in his late
teens he read law for about two years, and he became an outstanding
young lawyer in Tennessee. Fiercely jealous of his honor, he engaged in
brawls, and in a duel killed a man who cast an unjustified slur on his
wife Rachel. Jackson prospered sufficiently to buy slaves and to build a
mansion, the Hermitage, near Nashville. He was the first man elected
from Tennessee to the House of Representatives, and he served briefly in
the Senate. A major general in the War of 1812, Jackson became a
national hero when he defeated the British at New Orleans. In 1824
some state political factions rallied around Jackson; by 1828 enough had
joined "Old Hickory" to win numerous state elections and control of the
Federal administration in Washington.
In his first Annual Message to Congress, Jackson
recommended eliminating the Electoral College. He also tried to
democratize Federal officeholding. Already state machines were being
built on patronage, and a New York Senator openly proclaimed "that to
the victors belong the spoils. . . . " Jackson took a milder view. Decrying
officeholders who seemed to enjoy life tenure, he believed Government
duties could be "so plain and simple" that offices should rotate among
deserving applicants.
As national politics polarized around Jackson and his
opposition, two parties grew out of the old Republican Party--the
Democratic Republicans, or Democrats, adhering to Jackson; and the
National Republicans, or Whigs, opposing him. Henry Clay, Daniel
Webster, and other Whig leaders proclaimed themselves defenders of
popular liberties against the usurpation of Jackson. Hostile cartoonists
portrayed him as King Andrew I. Behind their accusations lay the fact
that Jackson, unlike previous Presidents, did not defer to Congress in
policy-making but used his power of the veto and his party leadership to
assume command. The greatest party battle centered around the Second
Bank of the United States, a private corporation but virtually a
Government-sponsored monopoly. When Jackson appeared hostile
toward it, the Bank threw its power against him.
Clay and Webster, who had acted as attorneys for the Bank,
led the fight for its recharter in Congress. "The bank," Jackson told
Martin Van Buren, "is trying to kill me, but I will kill it!" Jackson, in
vetoing the recharter bill, charged the Bank with undue economic
privilege. His views won approval from the American electorate; in 1832
he polled more than 56 percent of the popular vote and almost five times
as many electoral votes as Clay. Jackson met head-on the challenge of
John C. Calhoun, leader of forces trying to rid themselves of a high
protective tariff. When South Carolina undertook to nullify the tariff,
Jackson ordered armed forces to Charleston and privately threatened to
hang Calhoun. Violence seemed imminent until Clay negotiated a
compromise: tariffs were lowered and South Carolina dropped
In January of 1832, while the President was dining with
friends at the White House, someone whispered to him that the Senate
had rejected the nomination of Martin Van Buren as Minister to
England. Jackson jumped to his feet and exclaimed, "By the Eternal! I'll
smash them!" So he did. His favorite, Van Buren, became Vice
President, and succeeded to the Presidency when "Old Hickory" retired
to the Hermitage, where he died in June 1845.
Presidency 18291837 (J acksonian democracy)
The Jackson Cabinet
President Andrew Jackson 18291837
Vice President John C. Calhoun 18291832
None 18321833
Martin Van Buren 18331837
Secretary of State Martin Van Buren 18291831
Edward Livingston 18311833
Louis McLane 18331834
John Forsyth 18341837
Secretary of Treasury Samuel D. Ingham 18291831
Louis McLane 18311833
William J. Duane 1833
Roger B. Taney 18331834
Levi Woodbury 18341837
Secretary of War John H. Eaton 18291831
Lewis Cass 18311836
Attorney General John M. Berrien 18291831
Roger B. Taney 18311833
Benjamin F. Butler 18331837
Postmaster General William T. Barry 18291835
Amos Kendall 18351837
Secretary of the Navy John Branch 18291831
Levi Woodbury 18311834
Mahlon Dickerson 18341837
Federal debt
In January 1835, Jackson paid off the entire national debt, the
only time in U.S. history that has been accomplished. However, this
accomplishment was short lived. A severe depression from 1837 to 1844
caused the national debt to increase to over $3.3 million by January 1,

and it has not been paid in full since.
Electoral College
Jackson repeatedly called for the abolition of the Electoral
College by constitutional amendment in his annual messages to
Congress as President. In his third annual message to Congress, he
expressed the view "I have heretofore recommended amendments of
the Federal Constitution giving the election of President and Vice-
President to the people and limiting the service of the former to a single
term. So important do I consider these changes in our fundamental law
that I cannot, in accordance with my sense of duty, omit to press them
upon the consideration of a new Congress."
Spoils system
When Jackson became President, he implemented the theory
of rotation in office for political appointments, declaring it "a leading
principle in the republican creed"; many of the individuals in
government offices were holdovers from the Presidency of George
Washington, whom Jackson thought were corrupt. He noted, "In a
country where offices are created solely for the benefit of the people no
one man has any more intrinsic right to official station than another." He
believed that rotation in office would prevent the development of a
corrupt bureaucracy. In practice, this would have meant the continuation
of the patronage system by replacing federal employees with friends or
party loyalists. By the end of his first four years, Jackson had dismissed
nearly 20% of the Federal employees who were working at the start of
his first term, replacing them with political appointees from his party.
This resulted in the appointment of many functionaries who had no
training or experience in the fields for which they were now responsible
for administering.
"Jackson used his image and personal power to buttress the
developing party system by rewarding loyal followers of his Democratic
Party with presidential appointments ... for example (Jackson) was once
asked to give a post-mastership to a soldier who had lost his leg on the
battlefield and needed the job to support his family ... Jackson
responded: 'If he lost his leg fighting for his country, that is ... enough
for me.'" Excerpt from American Government: Continuity and
Change (2006), p. 293
While Jackson did not start the "spoils system", the political
realities of Washington did in the end force him to encourage its growth
despite personal reservations.
Opposition to the National Bank
The Second Bank of the United States was authorized for a 20-
year period during James Madison's tenure in 1816. In 1832, the issue
materialized as part of a campaign strategy orchestrated by Henry
Clay that ultimately failed, but signaled the end for the bank four years
before it was necessary, the bank applied for a re-charter. Jackson vetoed
the bill. In Jackson's veto message, he conceded that a national bank may
be "convenient", it is "subversive of the rights of the States, and
dangerous to the liberties of the people." He went on to call the bank a
"monopoly" that hindered the common man, whom he strived to
represent as president. Moreover, Jackson thought America should be an
"agricultural republic", and that the bank hindered that notion, as it
favored northeastern states over southern and western ones, and that it
"improved the fortunes of commercial and industrial businesses at the
expense of farmers and laborers."
In 1833, Jackson removed federal deposits from the bank,
whose money-lending functions were taken over by the legions of local
and state banks that materialized across America, thus drastically
increasing credit and speculation. Three years later, Jackson issued the
Specie Circular, an executive order that required buyers of government
lands to pay in "specie" (gold or silver coins). The result was a great
demand for specie, which many banks did not have enough of to
exchange for their notes, causing the Panic of 1837, which threw the
national economy into a deep depression. It took years for the economy
to recover from the damage; however the bulk of the damage was
blamed on Martin Van Buren, who took office in 1837. notes,
Basically the trouble was the 19th-century cyclical economy of
"boom and bust," which was following its regular pattern, but Jackson's
financial measures contributed to the crash. His destruction of the
Second Bank of the United States had removed restrictions upon the
inflationary practices of some state banks; wild speculation in lands,
based on easy bank credit, had swept the West. To end this speculation,
Jackson in 1836 had issued a Specie Circular requiring that lands be
purchased with hard money--gold or silver. In 1837 the panic began.
Hundreds of banks and businesses failed. Thousands lost their lands. For
about five years the United States was wracked by the worst depression
thus far in its history. official biography of Martin
Van Buren. The U.S. Senate censured Jackson on March 28, 1834, for
his action in removing U.S. funds from the Bank of the United States.
The censure was a political maneuver spearheaded by Jackson-rival
Senator Henry Clay, which served only to perpetuate the animosity
between him and Jackson. During the proceedings preceding the
censure, Jackson called Clay "reckless and as full of fury as a drunken
man in a brothel", and the issue was highly divisive within the Senate,
however the censure was approved 2620 on March 28. When the
Jacksonians had a majority in the Senate, the censure was expunged after
years of effort by Jackson supporters, led by Thomas Hart Benton, who
though he had once shot Jackson in a street fight, eventually became an
ardent supporter of the president.
Nullification crisis
Another notable crisis during Jackson's period of office was
the "Nullification Crisis", or "secession crisis", of 1828 1832, which
merged issues of sectional strife with disagreements over tariffs. Critics
alleged that high tariffs (the "Tariff of Abominations") on imports of
common manufactured goods made in Europe made those goods more
expensive than ones from the northern U.S., raising the prices paid by
planters in the South. Southern politicians argued that tariffs benefited
northern industrialists at the expense of southern farmers. The issue
came to a head when Vice President Calhoun, in the South Carolina
Exposition and Protest of 1828, supported the claim of his home
state, South Carolina, that it had the right to "nullify"declare void
the tariff legislation of 1828, and more generally the right of a state to
nullify any Federal laws that went against its interests. Particularly
notable was an incident at the April 13, 1830, Jefferson Day dinner,
involving after-dinner toasts. Robert Hayne began by toasting to "The
Union of the States, and the Sovereignty of the States". Jackson then
rose, and in a booming voice added "Our federal Union: It must be
preserved!" a clear challenge to Calhoun. Calhoun clarified his
position by responding "The Union: Next to our Liberty, the dearest!"
Jackson's alliance with Calhoun was further strained by what
became known as the Petticoat affair; Floride Calhoun, the Vice
President's wife, led several other Cabinet members and their wives in
the social ostracism of Secretary of War John H. Eaton and his
wife, Margaret O'Neill Eaton. Jackson asked Congress to pass a "Force
Bill" explicitly authorizing the use of military force to enforce the tariff,
but its passage was delayed until protectionists led by Clay agreed to a
reduced Compromise Tariff. The Force Bill and Compromise Tariff
passed on March 1, 1833, and Jackson signed both. The South Carolina
Convention then met and rescinded its nullification ordinance. The Force
Bill became moot because it was no longer needed. On May 1, 1833,
Jackson wrote, "the tariff was only the pretext, and disunion
and southern confederacy the real object. The next pretext will be the
negro, or slavery question."
Indian removal
Perhaps the most controversial aspect of Jackson's presidency
was his Indian policy. Jackson was a major advocate of a policy known
as Indian removal. Jackson had been negotiating and implementing
treaties and removal policies with Indian leaders for years before his
election as president. Many tribes and portions of tribes had been
removed to Arkansas Territory and further west of the Mississippi River
with different degrees of acquiescence on the part of the Indians.
Further, many white Americans advocated total extermination of the
"savages", particularly those who had experienced frontier wars.
Violence, both on the part of the white settlers and the Indians, had been
increasing in recent decades as white settlers were pushing further west.
In his December 8, 1829, First Annual Message to Congress, Jackson
This emigration should be voluntary, for it would be as cruel
as unjust to compel the aborigines to abandon the graves of their fathers
and seek a home in a distant land. But they should be distinctly informed
that if they remain within the limits of the States they must be subject to
their laws. In return for their obedience as individuals they will without
doubt be protected in the enjoyment of those possessions which they
have improved by their industry.
Before his election as president, Jackson had been involved
with the issue of Indian removal. The relocation of the Indians to west of
the Mississippi River had been a major part of his political agenda in
both the 1824 and 1828 presidential elections. In 1830, congress passed
the Indian Removal Act, and Jackson signed it into law. The Act
authorized the President to negotiate treaties to buy tribal lands in the
east in exchange for lands further west, outside of existing U.S. state
borders. In any case, Jackson used the Georgia crisis to pressure
Cherokee leaders to sign a removal treaty. A small faction of Cherokees
led by John Ridge negotiated the Treaty of New Echota with Jackson's
representatives. Ridge was not a recognized leader of the Cherokee
Nation, and this document was rejected by most Cherokees as
illegitimate. Over 15,000 Cherokees signed a petition in protest of the
proposed removal; the list was ignored by the Supreme Court and the
U.S. Congress, in part due to delays and timing. The treaty was enforced
by Jackson's successor, Van Buren, who ordered 7,000 armed troops to
remove the Cherokees. Due to the infighting between political factions,
many Cherokees thought their appeals were still being considered until
troops arrived. This abrupt and forced removal resulted in the deaths of
over 4,000 Cherokees on the "Trail of Tears".
By the 1830s, under constant pressure from settlers, each of
the five southern tribes had ceded most of its lands, but sizable self-
government groups lived in Georgia, Alabama, Mississippi, and Florida.
All of these (except the Seminoles) had moved far in the coexistence
with whites, and they resisted suggestions that they should voluntarily
remove themselves. Their nonviolent methods earned them the title
the Five Civilized Tribes. More than 45,000 American Indians were
relocated to the West during Jackson's administration. A few Cherokees
escaped forced relocation, or walked back afterwards, escaping to the
high Smoky Mountains along the North Carolina and Tennessee border.
Jackson's administration bought about 100 million acres (400,000 km)
of Indian land for about $68 million and 32 million acres (130,000 km)
of western land.
Attack and assassination attempt
The first presidential attack was against Jackson. Jackson
ordered the dismissal of Robert B. Randolph from the Navy for
embezzlement. On May 6, 1833, Jackson sailed on USS Cygnet to
Fredericksburg, Virginia, where he was to lay the cornerstone on a
monument near the grave of Mary Ball Washington, George
Washington's mother. During a stopover near Alexandria, Randolph
appeared and struck the President. He fled the scene chased by several
members of Jackson's party, including the well-known writer
Washington Irving. Jackson decided not to press charges. On January 30,
1835, what is believed to be the first attempt to kill a sitting President of
the United States occurred just outside the United States Capitol. When
Jackson was leaving through the East Portico after the funeral of South
Carolina Representative Warren R. Davis, Richard Lawrence, an
unemployed housepainter from England, aimed a pistol at Jackson,
which misfired. Lawrence pulled out a second pistol, which also
misfired. Historians believe the humid weather contributed to the double
misfiring. Lawrence was restrained, and legend says that Jackson
attacked Lawrence with his cane. Others present, including David
Crockett, restrained and disarmed Lawrence.
Lawrence told doctors later his reasons for the shooting. He
blamed Jackson for the loss of his job. He claimed that with the
President dead, "money would be more plenty" (a reference to Jackson's
struggle with the Bank of the United States) and that he "could not rise
until the President fell". Finally, he told his interrogators that he was a
deposed English Kingspecifically, Richard III, dead since 1485and
that Jackson was his clerk. He was deemed insane and institutionalized.
Judicial appointments
In total Jackson appointed 24 federal judges: six Justices to
the Supreme Court of the United States and eighteen judges to
the United States district courts.
Supreme Court appointments
John McLean 1830.
Henry Baldwin 1830.
James Moore Wayne 1835.
Roger Brooke Taney (Chief Justice) 1836.
Philip Pendleton Barbour 1836.
John Catron 1837.
Major Supreme Court cases
Cherokee Nation v. Georgia 1831.
Worcester v. Georgia 1832.
Charles River Bridge v. Warren Bridge 1837.
States admitted to the Union
Arkansas June 15, 1836.
Michigan January 26, 1837.
On the last day of the presidency, Jackson admitted that he had
but two regrets, that he "had been unable to shoot Henry Clay or to hang
John C. Calhoun."
Family and personal life
Shortly after Jackson first arrived in Nashville in 1788, he
lived as a boarder with Rachel Stockley Donelson, the widow of John
Donelson. Here Jackson became acquainted with their daughter, Rachel
Donelson Robards. At the time, Rachel was in an unhappy marriage with
Captain Lewis Robards; he was subject to fits of jealous rage. The two
were separated in 1790. According to Jackson, he married Rachel after
hearing that Robards had obtained a divorce. However, the divorce had
never been completed, making Rachel's marriage to Jackson bigamous
and therefore invalid. After the divorce was officially completed, Rachel
and Jackson remarried in 1794. To complicate matters further, evidence
shows that Rachel had been living with Jackson and referred to herself
as Mrs. Jackson before the petition for divorce was ever made. It was not
uncommon on the frontier for relationships to be formed and dissolved
unofficially, as long as they were recognized by the community. The
controversy surrounding their marriage remained a sore point for
Jackson, who deeply resented attacks on his wife's honor. By May 1806,
Charles Dickinson had published an attack on Jackson in the local
newspaper, and it resulted in a written challenge from Jackson to a duel.
Since Dickinson was considered an expert shot, Jackson determined it
would be best to let Dickinson turn and fire first, hoping that his aim
might be spoiled in his quickness; Jackson would wait and take careful
aim at Dickinson. Dickinson did fire first, hitting Jackson in the chest.
Under the rules of dueling, Dickinson had to remain still as Jackson took
aim and shot and killed him. However, the bullet that struck Jackson was
so close to his heart that it could never be safely removed. Jackson's
behavior in the duel outraged men of honor in Tennessee, who called it a
brutal, cold-blooded killing and saddled Jackson with a reputation as a
fearful, violent, vengeful man. He became a social outcast.
Rachel died of a heart attack on December 22, 1828, two
weeks after her husband's victory in the election and two months before
Jackson took office as President. Jackson described her symptoms as
"excruciating pain in the left shoulder, arm, and breast." After struggling
for three days, Rachel finally died; so great was her husband's love that
Jackson had to be pulled from her so the undertaker could prepare the
body. She had been under extreme stress during the election, and she
never did well when Jackson was away at war or work. Jackson
blamed John Quincy Adams for Rachel's death because the Whig
campaign of 1828 had repeatedly attacked the circumstances for
Jackson's wedding to Rachel. He felt that this had hastened her death and
never forgave Adams. Jackson's quick temper was notorious. Brands
says,"His audacity on behalf of the people earned him enemies who
slandered him and defamed even his wife, Rachel. He dueled in her
defense and his own, suffering grievous wounds that left him with bullet
fragments lodged about his body." However, Remini is of the opinion
that Jackson was often in control of his rage, and used it (and his
fearsome reputation) as a tool to get what he wanted in his public and
private affairs.
Jackson had three adopted sons: Theodore, an Indian about
whom little is known, Andrew Jackson Jr., the son of Rachel's brother
Severn Donelson, and Lyncoya, a Creek Indian orphan adopted by
Jackson after the Creek War. Lyncoya died of tuberculosis in 1828, at
the age of sixteen. The Jacksons also acted as guardians for eight other
children. John Samuel Donelson, Daniel Smith Donelson and Andrew
Jackson Donelson were the sons of Rachel's brother Samuel Donelson,
who died in 1804. Andrew Jackson Hutchings was Rachel's orphaned
grandnephew. Caroline Butler, Eliza Butler, Edward Butler, and
Anthony Butler were the orphaned children of Edward Butler, a family
friend. They came to live with the Jacksons after the death of their
father. The widower Jackson invited Rachel's niece Emily Donelson to
serve as host at the White House. Emily was married to Andrew Jackson
Donelson, who acted as Jackson's private secretary and in 1856 would
run for Vice President on the American Party ticket. The relationship
between the President and Emily became strained during the Petticoat
affair, and the two became estranged for over a year. They eventually
reconciled and she resumed her duties as White House host. Sarah Yorke
Jackson, the wife of Andrew Jackson Jr., became cohost of the White
House in 1834. It was the only time in history when two women
simultaneously acted as unofficial First Lady. Sarah took over all hosting
duties after Emily died from tuberculosis in 1836. Jackson used Rip
Raps as a retreat, visiting between August 19, 1829 through August 16,
1835. Jackson remained influential in both national and state politics
after retiring to The Hermitage in 1837. Jackson remained a firm
advocate of the federal union of the states, and rejected any talk of
secession. "I will die with the Union", he always insisted.
Jackson was a lean figure standing at 6 feet, 1 inch (1.85 m)
tall, and weighing between 130 and 140 pounds (64 kg) on average.
Jackson also had an unruly shock of red hair, which had completely
grayed by the time he became president at age 61. He had penetrating
deep blue eyes. Jackson was one of the more sickly presidents, suffering
from chronic headaches, abdominal pains, and a hacking cough, caused
by a musket ball in his lung that was never removed, that often brought
up blood and sometimes made his whole body shake. About a year after
retiring the presidency, Jackson became a member of the First
Presbyterian Church in Nashville. He died at The Hermitage on June 8,
1845, at the age of 78, of chronic tuberculosis, dropsy, and heart failure.
According to a primary source newspaper account from the Boon Lick
Times read, "(he) fainted whilst being removed from his chair to the bed
... but he subsequently revived ... Gen. Jackson died at the Hermitage at
6 o'clock P.M. on Sunday the 8th instance. When the messenger finally
came, the old soldier, patriot and Christian was looking out for his
approach. He is gone, but his memory lives, and will continue to live."
Jackson was a Freemason, having been initiated at Masonic
Lodge, Harmony No. 1 in Tennessee; he also participated in chartering
several other lodges in Tennessee. He was the only U.S. president to
have been a Grandmaster of a State Lodge until Harry S. Truman in
1945. His Masonic apron is on display in the Tennessee State Museum.
An obelisk and bronze Masonic plaque decorate his tomb at The
Hermitage. In his will, Jackson left his entire estate to his adopted son,
Andrew Jackson Jr., except for specifically enumerated items that were
left to various other friends and family members.
Born in poverty, Andrew Jackson (1767-1845) had become a
wealthy Tennessee lawyer and rising young politician by 1812, when
war broke out between the United States and Britain. His leadership in
that conflict earned Jackson national fame as a military hero, and he
would become Americas most influentialand polarizingpolitical
figure during the 1820s and 1830s. After narrowly losing to John Quincy
Adams in the contentious 1824 presidential election, Jackson returned
four years later to win redemption, soundly defeating Adams and
becoming the nations seventh president (1829-1837). As Americas
political party system developed, Jackson became the leader of the new
Democratic Party. A supporter of states rights and slaverys extension
into the new western territories, he opposed the Whig Party and
Congress on polarizing issues such as the Bank of the United States. For
some, his legacy is tarnished by his role in the forced relocation of
Native American tribes living east of the Mississippi.

Andrew Jackson was born on March 15, 1767, in the
Waxhaws region on the border of North and South Carolina. The exact
location of his birth is uncertain, and both states have claimed him as a
native son; Jackson himself maintained he was from South Carolina. The
son of Irish immigrants, Jackson received little formal schooling. The
British invaded the Carolinas in 1780-1781, and Jacksons mother and
two brothers died during the conflict, leaving him with a lifelong
hostility toward Great Britain.
Did You Know?
During their invasion of the western Carolinas in 1780-1781, British
soldiers took the young Andrew Jackson prisoner. When Jackson
refused to shine one officer's boots, the officer struck him across the
face with a saber, leaving lasting scars.

Jackson read law in his late teens and earned admission to
the North Carolina bar in 1787. He soon moved west of the
Appalachians to the region that would soon become the state
of Tennessee, and began working as a prosecuting attorney in the
settlement that became Nashville. He later set up his own private
practice and met and married Rachel (Donelson) Robards, the daughter
of a local colonel. Jackson grew prosperous enough to build a mansion,
the Hermitage, near Nashville, and to buy slaves. In 1796, Jackson
joined a convention charged with drafting the new Tennessee state
constitution and became the first man to be elected to the U.S. House of
Representatives from Tennessee. Though he declined to seek reelection
and returned home in March 1797, he was almost immediately elected to
the U.S. Senate. Jackson resigned a year later and was elected judge of
Tennessees superior court. He was later chosen to head the state militia,
a position he held when war broke out with Great Britain in 1812.

Andrew Jackson, who served as a major general in the War of
1812, commanded U.S. forces in a five-month campaign against the
Creek Indians, allies of the British. After that campaign ended in a
decisive American victory in the Battle of Tohopeka (or Horseshoe
Bend) in Alabama in mid-1814, Jackson led American forces to victory
over the British in the Battle of New Orleans (January 1815). The win,
which occurred after the War of 1812 officially ended but before news
of the Treaty of Ghent had reached Washington, elevated Jackson to the
status of national war hero. In 1817, acting as commander of the armys
southern district, Jackson ordered an invasion of Florida. After his forces
captured Spanish posts at St. Marks and Pensacola, he claimed the
surrounding land for the United States. The Spanish government
vehemently protested, and Jacksons actions sparked a heated debate in
Washington. Though many argued for Jacksons censure, Secretary of
State John Quincy Adams defended the generals actions, and in the end
they helped speed the American acquisition of Florida in 1821.
Jacksons popularity led to suggestions that he run for president. At first
he professed no interest in the office, but by 1824 his boosters had
rallied enough support to get him a nomination as well as a seat in the
U.S. Senate. In a five-way race, Jackson won the popular vote, but for
the first time in history no candidate received a majority of electoral
votes. The House of Representatives was charged with deciding between
the three leading candidates: Jackson, Adams and Secretary of the
Treasury William H. Crawford. Critically ill after a stroke, Crawford
was essentially out, and Speaker of the House Henry Clay (who had
finished fourth) threw his support behind Adams, who later made Clay
his secretary of state. Jacksons supporters raged against what they
called the corrupt bargain between Clay and Adams, and Jackson
himself resigned from the Senate.

Andrew Jackson won redemption four years later in an
election that was characterized to an unusual degree by negative
personal attacks. Jackson and his wife were accused of adultery on the
basis that Rachel had not been legally divorced from her first husband
when she married Jackson. Shortly after his victory in 1828, the shy and
pious Rachel died at the Hermitage; Jackson apparently believed the
negative attacks had hastened her death. The Jacksons did not have any
children but were close to their nephews and nieces, and one niece,
Emily Donelson, would serve as Jacksons hostess in the White House.
Jackson was the nations first frontier president, and his election marked
a turning point in American politics, as the center of political power
shifted from East to West. Old Hickory was an undoubtedly strong
personality, and his supporters and opponents would shape themselves
into two emerging political parties: The pro-Jacksonites became the
Democrats (formally Democrat-Republicans) and the anti-Jacksonites
(led by Clay and Daniel Webster) were known as the Whig Party.
Jackson made it clear that he was the absolute ruler of his
administrations policy, and he did not defer to Congress or hesitate to
use his presidential veto power. For their part, the Whigs claimed to be
defending popular liberties against the autocratic Jackson, who was
referred to in negative cartoons as King Andrew I.


A major battle between the two emerging political parties
involved the Bank of the United States, the charter of which was due to
expire in 1832. Andrew Jackson and his supporters opposed the bank,
seeing it as a privileged institution and the enemy of the common
people; meanwhile, Clay and Webster led the argument in Congress for
its re-charter. In July, Jackson vetoed the re-charter, charging that the
bank constituted the prostration of our Government to the advancement
of the few at the expense of the many. Despite the controversial veto,
Jackson won reelection easily over Clay, with more than 56 percent of
the popular vote and five times more electoral votes. Though in principle
Jackson supported states rights, he confronted the issue head-on in his
battle against the South Carolina legislature, led by the formidable
Senator John C. Calhoun. In 1832, South Carolina adopted a resolution
declaring federal tariffs passed in 1828 and 1832 null and void and
prohibiting their enforcement within state boundaries. While urging
Congress to lower the high tariffs, Jackson sought and obtained the
authority to order federal armed forces to South Carolina to enforce
federal laws. Violence seemed imminent, but South Carolina backed
down, and Jackson earned credit for preserving the Union in its greatest
moment of crisis to that date.

In contrast to his strong stand against South Carolina, Andrew
Jackson took no action after Georgia claimed millions of acres of land
that had been guaranteed to the Cherokee Indians under federal law, and
he declined to enforce a U.S. Supreme Court ruling that Georgia had no
authority over Native American tribal lands. In 1835, the Cherokees
signed a treaty giving up their land in exchange for territory west
of Arkansas, where in 1838 some 15,000 would head on foot along the
so-called Trail of Tears. The relocation resulted in the deaths of
thousands. In the 1836 election, Jacksons chosen successor Martin Van
Buren defeated Whig candidate William Henry Harrison, and Old
Hickory left the White House even more popular than when he had
entered it. Jacksons success seemed to have vindicated the still-new
democratic experiment, and his supporters had built a well-organized
Democratic Party that would become a formidable force in American
politics. After leaving office, Jackson retired to the Hermitage, where he
died in June 1845. James Garfield is best known as the 20th president of
the United States. He was assassinated after only a few months in office.

Spoils system
In the politics of the United States, a spoils system (also
known as a patronage system) is a practice where a political party, after
winning an election, gives government jobs to its supporters, friends and
relatives as a reward for working toward victory, and as an incentive to
keep working for the party as opposed to a merit system, where
offices are awarded on the basis of some measure of merit, independent
of political activity. The term was derived from the phrase "to the victor
belong the spoils" by New York Senator William L. Marcy, referring to
the victory of the Jackson Democrats in the election of 1828, with the
term spoils meaning goods or benefits taken from the loser in a
competition, election or military victory. Similar spoils systems are
common in other nations that traditionally have been based on tribal
organization or other kinship groups and localism in general.
Before March 8, 1829, moderation had prevailed in the
transfer of political power from one presidency to another.
President Andrew Jackson's inauguration signaled a sharp departure
from past presidencies. An unruly mob of office seekers made something
of a shambles of the March inauguration, and though some tried to
explain this as democratic enthusiasm, the real truth was Jackson
supporters had been lavished with promises of positions in return for
political support. These promises were honored by an astonishing
number of removals after Jackson assumed power. Fully 919 officials
were removed from government positions, amounting to nearly 10
percent of all government postings. The Jackson administration
attempted to explain this unprecedented purge as reform, or constructive
turnover, aimed at creating a more efficient system where the chain of
command of public employees all obeyed the higher entities of
government. The hardest changed organization within the federal
government proved to be the post office. The post office was the largest
department in the federal government, and had even more personnel than
the war department. In one year 423 postmasters were deprived of their
positions, most with extensive records of good service.
Less obvious than the incompetence and/or indolence of many
of its political appointees was the spoil system's propensity for also
corrupting or installing already corrupt public officials. An early and
glaring example of the perfidy that was associated with the spoils system
is the matter of Clerk of the U.S. House of Representatives (1843-
1845) Caleb J. McNulty's alleged embezzlement of U.S. House funds, or
what then former U.S. President and sitting Whig Party U.S.
Representative John Quincy Adams called a " memorable
development of Democratic defalcation."
By the late 1860s, citizens began demanding civil service
reform. Running under the Liberal Republican Party in 1872, they were
soundly defeated by Ulysses S. Grant. After the assassination of James
A. Garfield by a rejected office-seeker in 1881, the calls for civil service
reform intensified. Moderation of the spoils system at the federal level
came with the passage of the Pendleton Act in 1883, which created a
bipartisan Civil Service Commission to evaluate job candidates on a
nonpartisan merit basis. While few jobs were covered under the law
initially, the law allowed the President to transfer jobs and their current
holders into the system, thus giving the holder a permanent job. The
Pendleton Act's reach was expanded as the two main political parties
alternated control of the White House every election between 1884 and
1896. After each election the outgoing President applied the Pendleton
Act to jobs held by his political supporters. By 1900, most federal jobs
were handled through civil service and the spoils system was limited
only to very senior positions. The separation between the political
activity and the civil service was made stronger with the Hatch Act of
1939 which prohibited federal employees from engaging in many
political activities. The spoils system survived much longer in many
states, counties and municipalities, such as the Tammany Hall ring,
which survived well into the 1930s when New York City are formed its
own civil service. Illinois modernized its bureaucracy in 1917
under Frank Lowden, but Chicago held on to patronage in city
government until the city agreed to end the practice in the Shakman
Decrees of 1972 and 1983. Modern variations on the spoils system are
often described as the political machine.
The Spoils System was the name given to the practice of
hiring and firing federal workers when presidential administrations
changed in the 19th century. The practice began during the
administration of President Andrew Jackson, who took office in 1829.
Jackson supporters portrayed it as a necessary and overdue effort at
reforming the federal government. Jackson's political opponents had a
very different interpretation, as they considered his method to be a
corrupt use of political patronage. And the term Spoils System was
intended to be a derogatory nickname. The phrase came from a speech
by Senator William L. Marcy of New York. While defending the actions
of the Jackson administration in a speech in the U.S. Senate, Marcy said,
"To the victors belong the spoils."

The Spoils System Was Intended As a Reform

When Andrew Jackson took office in March 1829, after the
bruising election of 1828, he was determined to change the way the
federal government operated. And, as might be expected, he ran into
considerable opposition. Jackson believed that federal employees were
blocking some of his initiatives, and he instituted an official program of
rotating people out of federal jobs and replacing them with employees
loyal to the administration. Other administrations going back to that
of George Washington had hired loyalists, but under Jackson the purging
of people thought to be political opponents became official policy. To
Jackson and his supporters, such changes were good policy. There were
stories circulated claiming elderly men who were no longer able to
perform their jobs were still filling positions to which they had been
appointed by George Washington nearly 40 years earlier.

The Spoils System Was Denounced as Corruption

Jackson's policy of replacing federal employees was bitterly
denounced by his political opponents. His political ally (and future
president) Martin Van Buren was at times credited with having created
the policy, as his New York political machine, known as the Albany
Regency, had operated in similar fashion. Published reports in the 19th
century claimed that Jackson's policy accounted for nearly 700
government officers losing their jobs in 1829, the first year of his
presidency. In July 1829 there was a newspaper report claiming the mass
firings of federal employees actually affected the economy of the city of
Washington, with merchants unable to sell goods. All that may have
been exaggerated, but there is no doubt that Jackson's policy was
controversial. In January 1832 Jackson's perennial enemy, Henry Clay,
assailed Senator Marcy of New York in a Senate debate, accusing the
loyal Jacksonian of bringing corrupt practices from the New York
political machine to Washington. In his exasperated retort to Clay,
Marcy defended the Albany Regency, declaring: "They see nothing
wrong in the rule that to the victors belong the spoils." The phrase
became notorious. Jackson's opponents cited it often as an example of
blatant corruption which rewarded political supporters with federal jobs.
The Spoils System Was Reformed In the 1880s
Presidents who took office after Jackson all followed the
practice of doling out federal jobs to political supporters. There are many
stories, for instance, of President Lincoln, at the height of the Civil War,
being annoyed by officer-seekers who would come to the White House
to plead for jobs. The Spoils System was criticized for decades, but what
led to reforming it was a tragedy in the summer of 1881, the shooting of
President James Garfield by a disappointed and deranged office-seeker.
Garfield died on September 19, 1881, 11 weeks after being shot by
Charles Guiteau at a Washington, D.C. train station. The shooting of
President Garfield helped inspire the Pendleton Civil Service Reform
Act, which created civil servants, federal workers who were not hired or
fired as a result of politics.

Senator William Marcy, Who Helped Coined the Phrase "Spoils
Senator Marcy of New York, whose quote became famous,
was unfairly vilified, according to his political supporters. Marcy did not
intend his comment to be an arrogant defense of corrupt practices, which
is how it has often been portrayed. Incidentally, Marcy had been a hero
in the War of 1812, and served as governor of New York for 12 years
after briefly serving in the U.S. Senate. He later served as the secretary
of war under President James K. Polk. Marcy later helped negotiate the
Gadsden Purchase while serving as secretary of state under President
Franklin Pierce. Mount Marcy, the highest point in New York State, is
named for him. Despite a long and distinguished government career,
William Marcy is best remembered for inadvertently giving the Spoils
System its notorious name.
Also Known As: Political patronage


A brave man is a man who dares to look the Devil in the face and tell him
he is a devil. James Garfield

James Garfield was born in Orange Township, Ohio, on
November 19, 1831. Garfield rose from humble beginnings to serve as a
college president, a nine-time congressman, and military general before
his election to the United States presidency in 1881. As the 20th U.S.
president, Garfield's agenda of civil service reform and civil rights was
cut short when he was shot by a disgruntled office seeker in July 1881.

Early Life
James Abram Garfield was born on November 19, 1831, in a
log cabin in Orange Township, Ohio. Garfield's father, a wrestler, died
when Garfield was an infant. Garfield excelled in academics, particularly
Latin and Greek. From 1851 to 1854, he attended the Western Reserve
Eclectic Institute (later renamed Hiram College), and later enrolled at
Williams College. After completing his studies, Garfield returned to the
Eclectic Institute as an instructor and administrator. In his spare time, he
spoke publicly in support of the Republican Party and abolition. On
November 11, 1858, Garfield married Lucretia Rudolph, a former pupil.
They ultimately had seven children. In 1859, Garfield began to study
law. At the same time, he embarked on a career in politics. He was
elected to the Ohio State Senate in 1859, serving until 1861.

Civil War and Congressional Career
In the summer of 1861, Garfield was commissioned a
lieutenant colonel in the Union Army. Later that year, he was promoted
to the rank of brigadier general, commanding a brigade at the Battle of
Shiloh in 1862. Garfield's political career continued during wartime. In
October 1862, he won a seat in Congress, representing Ohio's 19th
Congressional District. After the election, Garfield relocated to
Washington, where he developed a close alliance with Treasury
Secretary Salmon P. Chase. Garfield became a member of the Radical
Republicans, led by Chase, and found himself frustrated by moderates
including Abraham Lincoln. Garfield not only favored abolition, but also
believed that the leaders of the rebellion had forfeited their constitutional
rights. He supported the confiscation of southern plantations and the
punishment of rebellion leaders. Following President Lincoln's
assassination, Garfield attempted to ameliorate the strife between his
own Radical Republicans and the new president, Andrew Johnson.
When Johnson undermined the Freedman's Bureau, however, Garfield
rejoined the Radicals, subsequently supporting Johnson's impeachment.

Garfield was nominated as the Republican candidate for the
presidency in 1880 as a compromise. The deeply divided convention
nominated Chester A. Arthur, a Stalwart Republican, for the vice
presidency. Garfield and Arthur were elected to office over Democratic
candidate Winfield S. Hancock. Office-seekers besieged Garfield
immediately following his election, convincing the new president of the
importance of civil service reform. During his limited time in office,
Garfield managed to initiate reform of the Post Office Department, and
to reassert the superiority of the office of the president over the U.S.
Senate on the issue of executive appointments. Garfield also pledged to
commit himself to the cause of civil rights. He recommended a universal
education system funded by the federal government, in part to empower
African Americans. He also appointed several former slaves, including
Frederick Douglass, to prominent government positions.

James Garfield
As the last of the log cabin Presidents, James A. Garfield
attacked political corruption and won back for the Presidency a measure
of prestige it had lost during the Reconstruction period. He was born in
Cuyahoga County, Ohio, in 1831. Fatherless at two, he later drove canal
boat teams, somehow earning enough money for an education. He was
graduated from Williams College in Massachusetts in 1856, and he
returned to the Western Reserve Eclectic Institute (later Hiram College)
in Ohio as a classics professor. Within a year he was made its president.
Garfield was elected to the Ohio Senate in 1859 as a
Republican. During the secession crisis, he advocated coercing the
seceding states back into the Union. In 1862, when Union military
victories had been few, he successfully led a brigade at Middle Creek,
Kentucky, against Confederate troops. At 31, Garfield became a
brigadier general, two years later a major general of volunteers.
Meanwhile, in 1862, Ohioans elected him to Congress. President
Lincoln persuaded him to resign his commission: It was easier to find
major generals than to obtain effective Republicans for Congress.
Garfield repeatedly won re-election for 18 years, and became the leading
Republican in the House. At the 1880 Republican Convention, Garfield
failed to win the Presidential nomination for his friend John Sherman.
Finally, on the 36th ballot, Garfield himself became the "dark horse"
nominee. By a margin of only 10,000 popular votes, Garfield defeated
the Democratic nominee, Gen. Winfield Scott Hancock.
As President, Garfield strengthened Federal authority over the
New York Customs House, stronghold of Senator Roscoe Conkling,
who was leader of the Stalwart Republicans and dispenser of patronage
in New York. When Garfield submitted to the Senate a list of
appointments including many of Conkling's friends, he named
Conkling's arch-rival William H. Robertson to run the Customs House.
Conkling contested the nomination, tried to persuade the Senate to block
it, and appealed to the Republican caucus to compel its withdrawal. But
Garfield would not submit: "This...will settle the question whether the
President is registering clerk of the Senate or the Executive of the United
States.... shall the principal port of entry ... be under the control of the
administration or under the local control of a factional senator."
Conkling maneuvered to have the Senate confirm Garfield's uncontested
nominations and adjourn without acting on Robertson. Garfield
countered by withdrawing all nominations except Robertson's; the
Senators would have to confirm him or sacrifice all the appointments of
Conkling's friends. In a final desperate move, Conkling and his fellow-
Senator from New York resigned, confident that their legislature would
vindicate their stand and re-elect them. Instead, the legislature elected
two other men; the Senate confirmed Robertson. Garfield's victory was
In foreign affairs, Garfield's Secretary of State invited all
American republics to a conference to meet in Washington in 1882. But
the conference never took place. On July 2, 1881, in a Washington
railroad station, an embittered attorney who had sought a consular post
shot the President. Mortally wounded, Garfield lay in the White House
for weeks. Alexander Graham Bell, inventor of the telephone, tried
unsuccessfully to find the bullet with an induction-balance electrical
device which he had designed. On September 6, Garfield was taken to
the New Jersey seaside. For a few days he seemed to be recuperating,
but on September 19, 1881, he died from an infection and internal

Power of the purse
The power of the purse is the ability of one group
to manipulate and control the actions of another group by withholding
funding, or putting stipulations on the use of funds. The power of the
purse can be used positively (e.g. awarding extra funding to programs
that reach certain benchmarks) or negatively (e.g. removing funding for
a department or program, effectively eliminating it). The power of the
purse is most often utilized by forces within a government that do not
have direct executive power, but have control over budgets and taxation.
In colonial Canada, the fight for "responsible government" in
the 1840s centered on question of whether or elected parliaments or
appointed governors would have control over the purse strings,
mirroring earlier fights between parliament and the crown in Britain.
After confederation, the phrase "power of the purse" took on a particular
meaning. It now primarily refers to the federal government's superior
tax-raising abilities compared to the provinces, and the consequent
ability of the federal government to compel provincial governments to
adopt certain policies in exchange for transfer payments. Most famously,
the Canada Health Act sets rules that provinces adhere to receive health
transfers (the largest such transfers). Opponents of this arrangement refer
to this situation as the "fiscal imbalance", while other argue for the
federal government's role in setting minimum standards for social
programs in Canada.
United Kingdom
The power of the purse's earliest examples in a modern sense
is by the English Parliament, which was given the exclusive power to
levy taxes and thus could control the nation's cash flow. Through this
power, Parliament slowly subverted the executive strength of the
crown; King Charles II was limited in his powers to engage in various
war efforts by a refusal by Parliament to levy further taxes and his
inability to secure loans from foreign nations, making him much less
United States
In the federal government of the United States, the power of
the purse is vested in the Congress as laid down in the Constitution of
the United States, Article I, Section 9, Clause 7 (the Appropriations
Clause) and Article I, Section 8, Clause 1 (the Taxing and Spending
Clause). The power of the purse plays a critical role in the relationship of
the United States Congress and the President of the United States, and
has been the main historic tool by which Congress can limit executive
power. One of the most prominent examples is the Foreign Assistance
Act of 1974, which eliminated all military funding for the government
of South Vietnam and thereby ended the Vietnam War. Other recent
examples include limitations on military funding placed on Ronald
Reagan by Congress, which led to the withdrawal of United States
Marines from Lebanon. The power of the purse in military affairs was
famously subverted during the Iran-Contra scandal in the 1980s.
Congress denied further aid to the Contras in Nicaragua. Unwilling to
accept the will of Congress, members of the Reagan administration
solicited private donations, set up elaborate corporate schemes and
brokered illegal arms deals with Iran in order to generate unofficial
funds that could not be regulated by Congress. More recently, budget
limitations and using the power of the purse formed a controversial part
of discussion regarding Congressional opposition to the Iraq War. On
March 23, 2007, the U.S. House of Representatives passed a
supplemental war budget that imposed a timeline on the presence of
American combat troops in Iraq, but the legislation was not passed.
The power of the purse has also been used to compel the U.S.
states to pass laws, in cases where Congress does not have the desire
or constitutional power to make it a federal matter. The most well-
known example of this is regarding the drinking age, where Congress
passed a law to withhold 10% of federal funds for highways in any state
that did not raise the age to 21. The law was upheld by the U.S. Supreme
Court in the South Dakota v. Dole case. Congress was not allowed to
change the drinking age directly because the 21st Amendment (which
ended Prohibition in the U.S.) gave control of alcohol to the states. In
2009, Congress considered similar legislation regarding texting while
driving. This power was curtailed somewhat in a case regarding the
Affordable Care Act, in which the Supreme Court ruled in June 2012
that the law's withholding of all existing Medicaid funding for states that
failed or refused to expand their Medicaid programs to cover the
uninsured poor was "unduly coercive", despite the fact that the federal
government would pay the entirety of the states' expansion for the first
years, and 90% thereafter. It was left unclear what percentage would be
considered acceptable.
Other uses
The chairperson of a legislative committee may refuse to give
funding to a senator or other delegate or representative, or deny his or
her appropriations bill or amendment a vote, because he or she refused to
support a bill which the chairperson wanted (a tit-for-tat retaliation).
While typically applied to "pork barrel" spending for special interests, it
may also block funding for genuine needs of a constituency or the
general public. The administration or student government at a college or
university may revoke some or even all funding for a student
newspaper or student radio station, because it has printed or aired
an editorial or a news article or segment critical of it. This is also an
example of censorship.
Department of Budget and Management
Formed April 25, 1936
Headquarters General Solano Street, San Miguel, Manila
Annual budget 997 million (2014)
Florencio Abad, Secretary
The Department of Budget and Management of the
Republic of the Philippines (DBM) (Filipino: Kagawaran ng
Pagbabadyet at Pamamahala) is an executive body under the Office of
the President of the Philippines. It is responsible for the sound and
efficient use of government resources for national development and also
as an instrument for the meeting of national socio-economic and political
development goals. The current Secretary of Budget and Management
appointed by President Benigno Aquino III is Florencio Abad. The
department has four Undersecretaries and four assistant secretaries.
At the beginning of the 20th century, the Second Philippine
Commission, acting as a legislative body, enacted appropriations
measures for the annual expenditures of the government. This was in
accordance with the Philippine Bill of 1902, which decreed that
disbursements from the National Treasury were to be authorized only in
pursuance of appropriations made by law. With the passage of the Jones
Law in 1916, the Philippine Legislature was set up with two chambers:
the Philippine Senate and the House of Representative. The Governor-
General was to submit, within 10 days of the opening of the Legislature's
regular session, the annual budget. Two years later, the Council of the
State was formed to prepare the budget that the Governor-General was
required to submit to the Philippine Legislature. A Budget Office was
formed to assist in the preparation, enactment and implementation of
such appropriations made by law. Four divisions made up the Office: A
Budget Division took charge of agency regular budgets; an Expense-
Central Division took care of special budgets; a Service Inspection
Division screened appointments and requests for the creation of
positions; and an Administrative Division handled routine administrative