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American Lion: Andrew Jackson in the White House

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American Lion: Andrew Jackson in the White House

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Andrew Jackson (1826 -- 1834) --- Served for two terms. He was born in Tennessee and was a key figure in the Battle of New Orleans, which was an outcome from the War of 1812. They called him "Old Hickory" because he was rough on Indians -- the Cherokee especially. The Indians had to be exiled and one of the sad moments in history for the Indians is called the "Trail of Tears."

Jackson said that treaties made with the Indians were not valid and could be broken. It was impossible for the white man and the red man to live peaceably. In Missouri they had to leave and the Choctaw were exiled, too.

Jackson was recognized and honored as a general in the military because of his skill and prowess as a military leader.

Andrew Donelson married his daughter Emily. Rachel was childless and Andrew was adopted from a close relative that had twins. Rachel had been married before to a naval officer named Timberlake. He was jealous of her because she was much younger and vivacious. When Andrew Jackson met her, she was still married since the divorce had not been finalized. When Jackson ran for president, John Quincy Adams tried to downgrade his character by attacking his wife of 40 years as an adulterous and a bigamist, which was considered a capital sin, if not a cardinal sin.

Rachel Jackson died soon after the election of a heart attack. She had been greatly vexed by the rumors and salacious slander mongering of the day. Andrew Jackson was absolutely devastated. He could hardly enjoy his residence at the White House because the rest of his family lived at his Heritage plantation in Tennessee. His first vice president was Clay and the second was Martin Van Buren. Eventually, Andrew and Emily Donelson moved into the White House, as did the Eaton's (Margaret and Secretary of War). People heard stories about Margaret Eaton and began questioning her loyalty to her husband, but Andrew Jackson supported them and their reputations. The men in Jackson's cabinet were not as gracious toward the Eaton scandal and shunned them from Washington social circles.

It was a time when federalism was replaced by the political system of democratic and republican parties. Also the issue of nullification came to the forefront especially with the Southern states and especially with South Carolina.

Andrew Donelson and his wife Emily lived in the White House, and their family grew while Jackson was president.

Another particular issue during the Jackson presidency was the issue of the Second Bank of the United States, the country's national bank. On September 10, 1833, President Andrew Jackson announced that the government would no longer use the Second Bank of the United States. He then used his executive power to remove all federal funds from the bank, in the final salvo of what is referred to as the "Bank War."

A national bank had first been created by George Washington and Alexander Hamilton in 1791 to serve as a central repository for federal funds. The Second Bank of the United States was founded in 1816; five years after this first bank's charter had expired. Traditionally, the bank had been run by a board of directors with ties to industry and manufacturing, and therefore was biased toward the urban and industrial northern states. Jackson, the epitome of the frontiersman, resented the bank's lack of funding for expansion into the unsettled Western territories. Jackson also objected to the bank's unusual political and economic power and to the lack of congressional oversight over its business dealings.

Jackson, known as obstinate and brutish but a man of the common people, called for an investigation into the bank's policies and political agenda as soon as he settled in to the White House in March 1829. To Jackson, the bank symbolized how a privileged class of businessmen oppressed the will of the common people of America. He made clear that he planned to challenge the constitutionality of the bank, much to the horror of its supporters. In response, the director of the bank, Nicholas Biddle, flexed his own political power, turning to members of Congress, including the powerful Kentucky Senator Henry Clay and leading businessmen sympathetic to the bank, to fight Jackson.

Later that year, Jackson presented his case against the bank in a speech to Congress; to his chagrin, its members generally agreed that the bank was indeed constitutional. Still, controversy over the bank lingered for the next three years. In 1932, the divisiveness led to a split in Jackson's cabinet and, that same year, the obstinate president vetoed an attempt by Congress to draw up a new charter for the bank. All of this took place during Jackson's bid for re-election; the bank's future was the focal point of a bitter political campaign between the Democratic incumbent Jackson and his opponent Henry Clay. Jackson's promises to empower the "common man" of America appealed to the voters and paved the way for his victory. He felt he had received a mandate from the public to close the bank once and for all, despite Congress' objections. Biddle vowed to continue to fight the president, saying that "just because he has scalped Indians and imprisoned Judges [does not mean] he is to have his way with the bank."

On September 10, 1833, Jackson removed all federal funds from the Second Bank of the U.S., redistributing them to various state banks, which were popularly known as "pet banks." In addition, he announced that deposits to the bank would not be accepted after October 1. Finally, Jackson had succeeded in destroying the bank; its charter officially expired in 1836.

Jackson did not emerge unscathed from the scandal. In 1834, Congress censured Jackson for what they viewed as his abuse of presidential power during the Bank War. - This Day in History

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