AndrewJackson was President of the United States from 1829-1837, during the time ofhis presidency Andrew Jackson created a legacy that carried long into thefuture, and made a lasting impact on American politics. Jackson’s presidency was not only highly controversial,but reconstructed what it meant to be President of the United States of America.
“More than nearly all hispredecessors, Andrew Jackson was elected by popular vote; as president, hesought to act as the direct representative of the common man” (whitehouse.govn.d.
), Jackson had a huge following, but he also had a large amount of peoplewho opposed him. The split between these people formed President Jackson’sDemocratic Party, whose members supported President Jackson, while his opponentsbecame members of the Whig Party. The Democratic party is one of the two mainpartisan groups of America today. “Jackson made it clear that he was the absolute ruler ofhis administration’s policy, and he did not defer to Congress or hesitate touse his presidential veto power” (history.com n.d.
). During his tenure, Jacksonvetoed more bills than any of the presidents before him. His opposition, namelythose belonging to the Whig Party, thought this to be an abuse and overstep ofhis presidential power, but what President Jackson successfully did was makeexecutive power on an equal level to that of Congress. The most devastating ofPresident Jackson’s veto’s, was against a bill proposing the recharter of the SecondNational Bank in 1832. President Jacksondid not trust the current banking system, and hoped to make reform for thebetter of the regular people so that it would not only be the wealthy who wouldbenefit. The economy was in danger, as money was being lent out easily, causinginflation. President Jackson required that any land bought be paid for in goldor silver, rather than by use of loan.
President Jackson also used his power totake all federal money out of the national bank and into state banks. Thisapproach was successful for only a short amount of time, and he is the onlypresident to date that successfully eliminated national debt. However, hisbattle against the bank brought only trouble, and it wouldn’t be long beforethe nation’s economy suffered deeply. State banks soon practiced the same policiesand behaviors that President Jackson had been weary of from the National Bank,and while these banking systems were successful for a short time, they wouldsoon collapse, leading to the Panic of 1837. President Jackson’s “Indian RemovalAct” came to be on the uglier side of United States History. In 1830 Presidentproposed the Indian Removal Act to Congress, this act allocated the governmentto “negotiate” with the Natives to leave their land and relocate to territoriesto the west of Mississippi. Natives were threatened, intimidated and bribed in orderto agree to be removed from their landso white settlers could continue expanding.
“In general terms, Jackson’s government succeeded. By the endof his presidency, he had signed into law almost seventy removal treaties, theresult of which was to move nearly 50,000 eastern Indians to Indian Territory”(history.state.gov n.d). The Cherokee were forced out of their land, and had nochoice but to set out on foot for Oklahoma. Nearly a third of their population diminishedalong the way.
In 1835, President Jackson negotiated the Treaty of New Echotawith the Cherokee Indians, who had otherwise been struggling with the idea ofbeing relocated, and weren’t as readily prepared to negotiate. The IndianRemoval process continued on past President Jackson’s tenure and into PresidentVan Buren’s term as well. Thousands of Native Americans lost their lives duringthis tragic time in history. This is known today as the Trail of Tears, and isan event that is still incredibly looked down upon, and Native Americans arestill paid reparations for these crimes in modern times.
Andrew Jackson’s tenure lasted eightyears, and as President he implemented many changes into how executive powercould be applied. The early foundations and constructs of our modern-daypolitics definitely have the influence from President Jackson’s actions. Heleaves behind a legacy that is coated in both tragedy and accomplishments.