Andrew Jackson, the only US President to be veteran of revolutionary war and war of 1812, was the 7th President of America as a result of elections of 1828.
Andrew Jackson, the only US President to be veteran of revolutionary war and war of 1812, was the 7th President of America as a result of elections of 1828. He remained the president of US for two terms i.e. from 1828-1837. During this period, with his unique policies and style of governance, he became one of the strongest American Presidents in history.
Andrew Jackson First in many Ways:
Though Andrew Jackson was the 7th American president but he was first in a number of ways. He was the first president of America who did not come from aristocracy, he was the first one to introduce the concept of Spoil System, he was the first to use the “kitchen cabinet”, he was the first to make his vice-president resign and last but not the least which makes him a modern, wise and strong president was that he the first one to use pocket veto to kill congressional bill. A bill fails to become a law if the congress adjourns (cut short by ten days) and the president does not sign the bill in question.
Salient features of his rule, depicting his modern and strong approach towards running the government, are as follows:
Use of Pocket Veto:
Jackson felt that the members of the congress were not acting as the representatives of the common people but rather they acted as a part of aristocracy. He was against congressional tyranny and therefore, wanted to assert his position. His weapon was the veto which he used more than all his predecessors.
He used five regular vetoes and seven pocket vetoes. His first pocket veto was the “bill to authorize subscription for stock on part of US in Louisville and Portland Canal Company”. This was in 1830 and was in accordance to Article 1, Section 7 of constitution. He was strongly criticized for this attitude towards Congress by his opponents but he continued this whenever a bill not in favor of the people was passed by congress.
Jackson’s Kitchen Cabinet:
Though the cabinet was to be a consulting and advisory body, son Jackson treated the members as head of the departments. This advisory body mostly consisted of Jackson’s friends like General Duff, Major W.B Lewis, Isaac Hill, and Amos Kendill. This small body later on came to be Jackson’s Kitchen Cabinet and played an important role in formulating government policies during Jackson’s reign.
System of Spoils:
Andrew Jackson was against the holding of important offices by privileged class only. More than 10% of the officers were removed and the seats were offered to the commoners and thus unconsciously, he gave birth to the system of Spoils.
Policy towards National Bank:
National Bank failed to protect the interests of common man and therefore, he vetoed the bill of extending life of National Bank by 10 years presented in Congress in 1831. He considered National Bank a monopoly giving favors to selected people. In 1832, he got elected for the second term and due to his strong position, ordered that all government deposits be withdrawn from National Bank as a result of which, it closed.
He adopted a fresh approach in formulating foreign policy. He extended a hand of friendship towards England, France and other European Countries. After negotiations for several months, Britain agreed to reopen their colonial ports for US on the basis of reciprocity. He also developed good relations with France and in 1831, a treaty was signed between the two countries in which they agreed to pay each other for the losses done against each other.
Collection of Taxes:
The tariff law of 1828 and the Nullification Ordinance of 1832 were shown resistance by a number of people. Eventually Jackson got “Force Bill” passed in 1833 which placed naval and defense troops at his disposal for collection of taxes.
Trail of Tears (1838-39):
Jackson was also the first president to show a very stiff attitude towards the native Indians. Around 94 treaties were signed to settle the matters. According to these treaties, the natives were forced to go to trans-Mississippi valley. It is one of the gloomiest moments of U.S. History. Around 4000 people died as a result of this migration including children, women. They route they traveled by and the journey itself came to known as “The Trail of Tears”.
The era of Andrew Jackson is of significant importance not only because he was the first commoner to enter the president’s house but also his policies were fundamentally very different from those adopted by others.