AP American History 11/27/07 The “Champion of the Common Man” The presidents of the United States had been consistently

aristocratic upper class until the election of Andrew Jackson in 1828. Andrew Jackson was a revolutionary president who changed the government in many ways during his presidency. Depicted as a “self-made man”, Jackson exemplified republican values by restraining the centralized government and promoting the powers of the people. He strengthened the democracy by encouraging 60% of the eligible males to vote in 1828 (twice as much as in 1824) and thereby included the lower class in the voting for the first time. Through his usage of the presidential veto, Jackson strengthened the executive branch, making it equal in power to the legislative branch. Due to his background and slogans, he shaped his image as the champion of the common man and was soon idolized by the majority of middle and lower class citizens. However, in reality, Andrew Jackson was a self-centered, racist, and aggressive president who was very different from his commonly accepted and popular depiction. Although Jackson accomplished many feats during his presidency and has had a lasting influence on the government of the United States, his portrayal as the champion of the common man is rooted in myth rather than reality. Andrew Jackson’s early history and presidential campaign formed his popular image. Born in a backwoods settlement in South Carolina, Jackson grew up in poverty and joined the army during the Revolutionary War. The war took the lives of Jackson’s entire family, encouraging his nationalism, hate for other countries, and military obsessions. This hate for other countries (mainly Britain) encouraged his dislike of the aristocracy. Jackson joined the Army in 1801 and defeated the Creeks, Seminoles, and protected New Orleans from the British in the war of 1812, earning himself recognition as a national hero for his victories. Another factor in Jackson’s background that encouraged his popularity was his image as a “self-made man”. Unlike any other previous president, Jackson was from a poor, frontier family. His rise to power and wealth was due to his hard work and determination, instead of inheritance. This image increased his popularity with the common working class people of the United States, who looked up to Jackson as a role model giving them hope that they, too, could achieve wealth and power in society. Jackson used this image to encourage his

Jackson’s proclamation declared that “the national government was sovereign and indivisible. that no state could refuse to obey a law. Furthermore. and were resolved only when Clay developed a compromise tariff that gradually decreased the tariff over the course of several years. A second important issue was the re-chartering of the Second Bank of the United States. Jackson took action to weaken the bank. advocating for the rights of the lower class and thus gaining the support of a great majority of the country. declaring that military force would be used to ensure that all states obeyed the Law. the Bank of the United States was privately owed. and the Indian Removal act. South Carolina threatened to secede from the union if Jackson tried to force the state to comply. The Bank of the United States had large amounts of power over smaller State Chartered banks. In reality. who ran the national bank. and proceeded to take deposits out of the National and put them in state banks. the rechartering of the Second Bank of the United States. Jackson hired Roger Taney who agreed to carry out this order. During his administration. The Nullification Crisis was a controversial event that could have been potentially disastrous to the union. Before the expiration of its charter. Although Jackson had many bad characteristics and motives. Jackson fired two of his secretaries of treasury when they refused to carry out orders they believed would destabilize the financial system. The Nullification Crisis defined the powers of the central government more clearly. Jackson. Jackson was faced with many issues. Despite the conflicts. and not that of the nation. Tensions escalated. (Charles Wiltse.depiction as a “man of the people”. A tariff imposed in 1828 angered the South who felt the tariff would make them pay for northern industrialism. subject to the self-interest of the owners. Jackson significantly weakening the aristocracy . and served mainly to make the rich richer. The bank concentrated a large amount of the nation's financial strength into a single institution. he did complete many deeds during his term in office that made him a famous and influential president. responded with his proclamation and the Force Bill. Biddle. and they declared that states had the power to declare a law unconstitutional and nullify it if they so pleased. King Andrew 64) Jackson ended up sending several warships to South Carolina to enforce his bill. including the Nullification crisis. called in loans and raised the interest rates in response to Taney which resulted in a recession. firmly believing in the preservation of the Union and the Law. and the force bill was eventually nullified. This issue revealed Jackson’s deep dislike of the aristocracy and their power. that no state could leave the union”.

Jackson declared that “it is to be regretted that the rich and powerful too often bend the acts of government to their selfish purposes”.and their monopolistic hold over wealth and power. Inflation and depression resulted. The “people were led as they had not been before by visions of money making…a violent. Jackson relocated 45. each of the events reveals the truth about the character of Andrew Jackson. The Jacksonians 417) Because of these circumstances. and was hateful towards the very British aristocracy due to the pain he had suffered at the hands of the British. which resulted in cleared land for settlement and expansion into the west. brought balance to the central government and set up a standard for presidential practice. there were many negative effects of the veto. his actions used to accomplish these successes reveal his shady and real character. and therefore was . Jackson ignored their rights and previous treaties and sent them on the “Trail of Tears”. resulting in the death of thousands of them. In his veto message. Despite his many accomplishments during his presidency. oblivious to his flawed and twisted character. Other important feats that Jackson accomplished during his presidency include the elimination of the Nation’s Debt and his use of the spoil system. and “the millionaires created by the so-called Jacksonian revolution of “agrarians” against “capitalists” … were richer than those they dispossessed. A highly controversial aspect of Jackson’s presidency. However. the “self-made man” image portrayed by Andrew Jackson quickly inspired most of the power-crazy people to idolize him. Jackson was bitter about losing his fortune to the bank. (Bray Hammond. aggressive.(Andrew Jackson’s veto message) This statement revealed his strong determination of “kill” the corrupt power and wealth system. economic individualism became established”. Bray Hammond goes on to say that “envy and acquisitiveness…were their real motives” in destroying the bank. taking steps that had been previously untaken by the presidents. While the vetoing of the national bank helped weaken the aristocracy and helped poor farmers. and laissez faire. unlike previous presidents. Andrew Jackson revolutionized the Government of the United States during his term as president and has had a lasting affect on the government to this day. A final important event that took place during Jackson’s presidency was the Indian Removal Act.000 Indians to reserves farther north. they were more numerous. The period before Jackson’s presidency was marked by an increase in productivity and business as a result of the industrial revolution. they were quite as ruthless. after destroying the monopolies…produced far greater ones” (Bray Hammond 428). Jackson’s use of the presidential veto.

slaves. Jackson responded by sending over warships to subdue them by force and declared the force bill. Furthermore. Andrew Jackson is viewed as a “champion of the common man”. Although Jackson’s presidency radically changed the American party system and government. and his racism was shown in his treatment of the Indians and his slaves. Jackson was a self-interested. Jackson’s treatment of the Indians revealed his racism. and therefore his treatment of the Indians. and racist president. His self-interest was apparent in his vetoing of the national bank. and women was cruel.biased in his determination to kill it. Jackson’s declaration “destroyed…the whole theory of state rights” and “civil war became inevitable” (King Andrew 64). In reality. (Source 4) Jackson’s ruthlessness in battle revealed his true character. Jackson’s rash and aggressive actions increased the tensions between the North and South. basically declaring himself above the basic laws of a democracy. . Jackson’s veto of the national bank was rooted in motives that were not strictly for the good of the common man. Jackson “illegally tried. in reality however his actions as president were conducted under the influence of his own biased and corrupt character. and the firing of his secretaries of treasury for not obeying his orders. The nullification crisis showed the aggressive and violent side of Jackson. Finally. his image as a national hero after his military exploits was tainted by his violence towards his enemies. Jackson’s image as a champion of the common man was rooted in myth and misperceptions. the nullification act. and then captured and executed two British subjects who had been supplying and advising the Indians”. The popularity he needed to be elected technically did not depend on his popularity with those who could not vote for him. which was overlooked by most. aggressive. When faced with the conflicts from South Carolina. Jackson revealed his aggression in his military procedures.

233. The American People.com/biographies/Andrew/Jackson+number+of +voters+increased+jackson+andrew+wiki&hl=en&ct=clnk&cd=8&gl=us>. This source brought more analysis of Jackson's character and deeds.169. New York: Longman. "The Jacksonians. Nash. This Website was useful for factual information about Andrew Jackson and his presidency." 21 Nov. Bray. Gary. It was a good source for views showed Jacksons bad side.Bibliography Hammond. Wiltse.focusdep. This reading had a lot of information about the vetoing of the national bank and the era before Jackson and during his presidency. This reading has great points about the nullification crisis and its affect on the United States. . This textbook was used to check the accuracy of information about events attained from other sources before quoting them." 416-440. "Andrew Jackson Biography. 2007 <http://64. Hofstadter." The American Political Tradition: 57-86. Charles M. Richard.104/search? q=cache:ZLhTbWaF1VwJ:www. "King Andrew. "Andrew Jackson and the Rise of Liberal Capitalism. 1998." 62-71. and Julie Jeffrey.

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