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Andrew Jackson

The role of Andrew Jackson for the country cannot be undervalued. He was a bright political figure in the bright period of American development and establishment of the fundamentals of great nation. Starting from president Jackson, popular public opinions were influencing politics more and more. Jackson can be easily called typical American from the west: having a unique common sense and natural mind, but often not consistent in his actions because lack of realization the depth of problems, he thought he would manage everything.

The years of his presidency coincided the years of rapid industrial development, expansion to the Western territories, colonization of west, growth of internal trade and economical relations. About the progress in the industrial development says the fact that Jackson came to Washington in the carriage and left it on the train. But of course it means much more, first of all the economical strength and starting independence from the European trade partners. Jackson is remembered to be the pioneer in many changes made in American political system.

He was the first one who really strengthened the institute of presidency, was the supporter of giving more liberties to states than to the federal government. Being the first president who did not belong to political aristocracy, he reformed some of the aspects of American political machine. He was the initiator of the “rotation in office” principle, when the office holders were changed more often; in order to make government more attentive to the direct will of the nation on many questions.

As a result after the president elections, some people that hold positions in the government were substituted by the supporters of Jackson, who would definitely insure his politics and presidency. This is characterized by the influence of democratic methods that were used in politics since that time. Often the positions were taken by people who were lack of education and didn’t fulfill their duties properly. The ideas of optimism and self reliance Even though that Andrew Jackson was in favor of state rights and wanted to limit the role of the federal government his decisions on many questions were inconsistent.

In fact, he vetoed a bill that was establishing amount of expenses for construction of railroad between Maysville and Lexington. The issues on transportation did not end on this case. In fact, Jackson’s government spent less than minimal funds on construction projects that were planning on western territories, even though that the supporters of Jackson asked for the increasing of funds. But still the economic freedoms that states got during Jackson’s presidency directed the developed of internal infrastructure and specialization of states on the production of the certain kind of goods.

As the states got the right to manage and spent their budgets themselves there more investments done into economics that resulted in the increase of people’s prosperity. There was another case when Jackson protected the rights of the state (the case of Cherokee Indians of state of Georgia vs. Georgia). He didn’t follow the decision of the Supreme Court, which solved the case in favor of Cherokee people and supported the resettlement policy of Cherokee to the state of Oklahoma and to the territories west of Mississippi river.

Because of the resistance from the face of Indians, he had to request military support. Finally the government of Jackson “bought” Indian territories of Georgia for $ 9 000 000 , but Cherokee to refund $ 6 000 000 for military expenses. Here we can see that government of Jackson defended the interests of people, who started rapid colonization of the new lands and expansion to Western territories. The solution of the Georgia case made able quick exploitation of natural resources of Georgia as well as quick agricultural and industrial development of the state.

It set a precedent for further expansion that was taking place west of Mississippi river. The democracy of the “young west” in the face of Jackson reflected most of common people’s interest in government and boosted the economical development. Being a democrat, Jackson opposed the institute of National Bank (or bank of the United States). The bank was first established by Hamilton, in order to increase the federal government’s power and be able to calculate and stabilize national debt.

Because the institute of the state’s bank restricted the distribution of funds among the states, as it didn’t allow distributing national wealth and “violated” the economical rights of the states. Although, the institute of the national bank was the guarantee of the country’s financial security and economical independence, it contradicted with the democratic ideological beliefs. Jackson basically argued that the institute of state bank made the aristocratic and financial elite of the US richer and guaranteed prosperity only to the selected citizens of the country, who participated in it’s functioning and redistribution of wealth.

The existing taxation system put land owners (mostly plantators and farmers of the South and West) in disadvantage. Being a plantation owner and a slave owner, Jackson defended the ambitions of the Southerners. He supported Jefferson’s ideas about the agricultural republic, and that’s why looked on the activities of the state bank, as on those that guaranteed prosperity of commercial and industrial entrepreneurs of the North. He succeeded in his ambitions and destroyed the Bank of the US in 1832.

The results of this victory were not obvious at all, probably the negative impacts even covered positive (up to the 20th century the USA didn’t have a central back for short time credits) and in 1834 senate censured his decision to defund the BUS. May be this was not a very well argued decision, but still had a public influence. In the face of Jackson common people saw a real representative of their interests and ambitions in government, his decisions were directed on the prosperity of the nation, not the prosperity of elite.

This raised the belief in democratic principles and trust to government, which was very important for the developing nation. At the same time it was action in favor of states, that protected even and proportional distribution of wealth within the country and prevented from the centralization of funds in certain parts of the country, making other states more dependent. Another contraversary issues during his office were associated with trade tariffs.

As it was the time when the economy of the United States was developing rapidly, the industrial revolution already determined America as a country with strong growing industry, still the was a need in strong support of a state. The government did it best to establish favorable conditions for the effective development of industry, by protecting home goods by high trade tariffs on imported goods from Europe. The “victims” of the trade tariffs were mostly Southerners as there was no developed industry in the South and they had to buy the goods from the North.

This case became burning, when the post of vice president was taken by John Calhoun, a representative of South Carolina in 1832. He declared the tariffs illegal as they did not meet the interest of the state and contradicted its interests and more over he used the right “to nullify” laws that were against state’s interests. But in this question Jackson showed himself as a strong supporter of the federal union. He threatened South Carolina by sending a 50 000 troops in order to stabilize the situation.

The conflict was solved and new, fairer taxation norms were established. But still it was clear that interests of different states were pretty not the same as it was before. Besides political reforms that were directed on the strengthening of the president institute the Jacksonian era is remembered by the rapid development of industry and economical growth. Growing prosperity of people, development of inter-state relations and establishment of inner markets were making country more economically and financially independent from Europe and from importing goods.

This was the time of American “renaissance” in the sphere of science and technology- the introduction of the steam power to different branches of industry and other technical innovations formed the future concept of American business and American culture (enthusiastic acceptance of innovations). Jackson made a lot of social reforms as well, which were very significant for that period of time. During his presidency nearly all the states gave the white males right to vote.

In fact western states were the first that reduced requirements for participation in elections. The number of elective positions grew and the terms for them were reduced. It was another gain of democracy. New laws abolished dept prisons, allowed labor unions, that existed illegally some time before, and allowed workers to unite even into political parties (which collapsed some time later). The United States were the first country were there was realized a very important principle of the modern political concept: the separation of church from the state.

Since Jackson’s presidency there was established a law that gave the freedom to religious organizations that were acting on the territory of the country. Everyone was from the church taxes, and churches were free as well in their activities and property issues. As a result there were no religious conflicts, that were typical in European countries and all religious congregations could freely develop without any restrictions from the face of the state.

It later shaped the religious diversity that became a common thing in the country, one more time showing that the human inaliable rights in freedom of religion choice were observed. By the definition of Jordan, T. (2001): “In the 1820s, 1830s, and 1840s, a wide array of reform movements –abolitionism, temperance and prohibition, women’s rights, labor unions, urban sanitation, utopian communities, religious revivalism — took root across the land, prompting historians such as Henry Steele Commager to dub this period “the Era of Reform.

” This rash of reform movements was in part an expression of national pride — specifically, to meet the challenge of making the United States as much of a beacon to the world as its leaders hoped it would be — and in part a reaction by reformers against the smug complacency of many Americans who believed that the new nation already was a “new Jerusalem. “” The growing demand in labor force encouraged immigration from European countries: Ireland, Germany, Austro-Hungary, people of which integrated into the diverse American nation and contributed to the development of future American culture.

It was the time when there were first experiments with systematic organized education. The innovative methods of German education (kindergartens, physical education) on the hand with existing educational standards directed the establishment of first public schools, colleges and universities. Jackson’s policy encouraged expansion of the West, and later on Western states formed the basis of modern American nation. West was more liberal in the ideas, democratic and dynamic in its development.

The reforms and financial encouragement of the new settler in the West guaranteed constant economic growth. Since Jackson’s time there were lots of political experiments held over there: referendum, the right of initiative, vote rights for women. In fact Western states were the first who recognized equality of man and woman and they were the initiators of inclusive education as well as higher education for woman.

Later on the historians marked that premises made president Jackson for the development and expansion to Western territories made west the basement of economical assistance, democracy and international superiority of the USA.

References:

Andrew Jackson [on-line] Wikipedia article; available from: http://www. worldwidewebfind. com/encyclopedia/en/wikipedia/a/an/andrew_jackson. html; Internet; accessed 18 October 2004 Jordan, T. (2001)The Ambiguous Democracy in America, 1800-1848 available from: http://www.orange. k12. oh. us/teachers/ohs/Tjordan/pages/unitii. html; Internet; accessed 18 October 2004 Burstein, Andrew(2003). The Passions of Andrew Jackson Knopf; 1st ed edition Cole, Donald B. (1993). The Presidency of Andrew Jackson University Press of Kansas Davis, Burke(1977). Old Hickory: A Life of Andrew Jackson Dial Press; Heidler, David S. and Jeanne T. (1996). Old Hickory’s War: Andrew Jackson and the Quest for Empire Louisiana State University Press; Louisiana edition

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