The year was 1824. The election of this year was very unusual because of the number of candidates running for president. One of the candidates was Andrew Jackson, or Old Hickory as they called him, a general that had won the Battle of New Orleans(which was a battle not needed) in the War of 1812. Jackson became a hero after this war, and it would bring him all the way to the presidency. Another one of the candidates was John Quincy Adams. The son of John Adams, the second president of the United States, Adams was a excellent debator from New England.
He was the only candidate from the NorthEast. The two other candidates were William Crawford and Henry Clay. Crawford, the secretary of the Treasury during the presidential term of James Monroe, seemed desperate for votes. Martin Van Buren, a political influence from New York, supported Crawford. James Madison, the fourth president of the United States, actually made Crawford the candidate of the fading Virginia Dynasty which h! ad controlled the presidency for twenty-four years thanks mostly in part to a working agreement with New York.
I think Van Buren supported Crawford because of the respect that he had for this fading dynasty. In May of 1824, a Cumberland planter, Alfred Bach, visiting Washington, sent John Overton a disturbing account of Jacksons prospects. I think his strength is giving} out… Crd is undoubtedly the strongest man. Daniel Webster surveyed the field with satisfaction. Jacksons interest is evidently on the wane. When all the votes were in, Jackson received the popular vote, but he didnt have the majority needed in the electoral college to become president. The vote then was in the hands of the House of Representatives.
Jackson had ninety-nine votes, Adams with eighty-four, Crawford with forty-one, and Clay with thirty-seven. Jackson only needed two more votes to become president. This statement was in The New York Statesman, a journal not unfriendly to Adams. It predicted that he would get three on the first ballot-Ohio, Kentucky, and Missouri. Clays most distinguished supporter in the west, Thomas Hart Benton, who had private reasons to hate Jackson, promptly announced! that as Missouri preferred Jackson to Adams he was for Jackson. Benton didnt have the casting of Missouris vote, however.
That would be the duty of John Scott, the states sole representative. When Scott declared that nothing could induce him to vote for Adams, hasty observers, of whom there were many, counted the twelfth state for Jackson. After this vote, only one more remained for Old Hickory. It seemed within easy reach. Kentucky indicated that it would support Jackson. The same was expected with Ohio. Henry Randolph Storrs, a clay man from Utica, exclaimed that the only way Adams could get New York was through the support of the Crawford people. And let them do it if they dare. Clay knew that he couldnt win.
It was between Jackson and Adams, and Jackson was on the verge of gaining the presidency. The only way Adams could win was to get votes from either Crawford of Clay. The Jacksonians didnt suspect this, however. Clay seemed to be leaning away from Jackson. Clay declined to follow his friend and lieutenant, Benton, into the Jackson camp. He was going to vote for Adams. In fact, Clay never intended to vote for Jackson. He had met with Adams when he first got to the capital. Jackson was outraged by this decision because it gave Adams the necessary majority in the House.
Therefore John Quincy Adams was the sixth president of the United States. Clay was offered the Secretary of State job by Adams, which he graciously accepted. Jackson called this confidential interview a corrupt bargain and he vowed to do everything that he can to win the presidency in 1828. When the election of 1828 came around, the presidential candidates sunk to a new low. Adams and Clay took massive shots at Rachel Jackson, the wife of Old Hickory. When all the votes were tallied, Jackson came out on top again. Only this time, he had the necessary majority in the electoral college.
Jackson had little to celebrate, however. His wife, Rachel, died a couple days before his inauguration. One of her last remarks were, I had rather be a door-keeper in the house of God than to live in that palace. Jackson blamed her death on both his political enemies and himself. A couple of days before General J arrived, Daniel Webster wrote this famous letter to his friends: General Jackson will be here abt. 15. of Feb. – Nobody knows what he will do. Many letters are sent to him; he answers none of them. His friends here pretend to be very knowing; but….
Great efforts are being made to put him up to a general sweep as to all offices; springing from great doubts whether he is disposed to do it. Nobody is authorized to say whether he intends to retire after one term…. Who will form the cabinet is as well known at Boston as at Washington…. My opinion is that when he comes he will bring a breeze with him. Which way it will blow I cannot tell. When Andrew Jackson reached Washington in 1929, he seemed incapable of carrying the burdens of being president. He suffered from tuberculosis and when his wife died, he felt he had little to live for.
Many thought that he would never survive the first term. Jackson supporters swarmed their way into Washington because they believed that Jackson would make a clean sweep of all federal officials appointed by Adams. Old Hickory used the spoils system to replace only about a sixth of federal office holders during his years in the White House. Jackson started his first term with a social problem called the Affair of Mrs. Eaton. It involved John Eaton, the secretary of war, and a married daughter of the owner of a Washington boardinghouse where Eaton resided.
When the girls husband died at sea(some said he killed himself because of her affair with Eaton), Jackson urged him to marry the girl as quickly as possible to silence the scandalmongers. Eaton married her two months before Jackson took office. But after Eaton was appointed secretary of war, many society leaders began snubbing Mrs. Eaton. Because the wives of most of Eatons Cabinet members refused to receive Mrs. Eaton, Jackson called a special meeting within his Cabinet. Old Hickory said that any of the wives who didnt respect Mrs. Eaton would pay the price with the resignation of their husbands jobs.
The Cabinet members said that they could not control their wives and they refused to resign. Mrs. Eaton was sent to Tennessee, which made many wives happy. In 1832, Jackson was seeking re-election. I think that its amazing how Jackson got through the first term with all of his problems. The opponent was Henry Clay. Jackson was still not over the corrupt bargain and the death of his wife. Clay urged Congress to pass a bill that would re-charter the bank. Jackson, as expected, vetoed the bill. Clay could not get enough support to override it. When the votes were counted in this election, Jackson crushed Clay.
I mean he just crushed him with an electoral vote of 219 to 49. After the election, South Carolinas legislature voted to nullify federal tariff laws and prepared to secede from the Union if federal tariffs were collected after February 1, 1833. When Jackson heard this, he prepared for civil war. In December 1832, Jackson issued a Proclamation on Nullification warning that disunion by armed force is treason. Calhoun resigned as Vice President to take the seat of senator of South Carolina. Jackson threatened to hang Calhoun if South Carolina, went through with its threat.
South Carolina backed down after Jacksons threat. A Force bill was passed after this uprising, and this bill gave the president the authority to use troops to collect federal taxes. South Carolina got a cut in its tariffs, so everybody got something. Ironically, the crisis ended on Jacksons sixty-sixth birthday, which gave Jackson a special birthday present. Jackson began his second term with a powerful inauguration speech that almost ended the thought of secession from the United States. Early in this term, Jackson made it clear that he wanted to get rid of the monster.
This monster, was the Bank of the United States. His first step to his great plan was to transfer federal funds from the Bank of US, to state banks. Jackson didnt have full support from his Cabinet, however. William Duane, his secretary of treasury, refused to carry out Jacksons plan. Old Hickory removed Duane and appointed Roger Taney to his spot. Taney, not stupid like Duane, didnt dare challenge Jackson and carried out all of the transfers federal deposits to state banks. Nicholas Biddle, the head of the Bank of the US, retaliated by recalling loans and tightening up credit.
The American economy slowed up dramatically because of this. The Senate voted to censure Jackson for his actions. The House of Representatives, however, overwhelmingly passed resolu! tions supporting Old Hickory. Clay, head Of the Senate, wouldnt give up, though. He criticized Jackson for appointing Taney, whom he thought of as incompetent. This criticism quickly passed, however. The greatest crisis in foreign relations came with France in 1835-6 over demands by Jackson that payments be made for damages of American ships. Jackson immediately prepared for military action.
The French didnt want another war, so they paid Jackson four past due installments and everything was honki dory. There is one thing about Andrew Jackson that I didnt like. His record with Indian Affairs. He didnt honor the treaties that he had signed with them. He forced them to move west of the Mississippi into what is now Oklahoma. If treaties are signed, dont people have to honor them? In 1836, word came that Texas was an independent country, and Sam Houston had a major role in this event. Houston, an old buddy of Jackson, lured Santa Anna, the Mexican president, to San Jacinto where he defeated him.
Santa Anna let Texas secede from Mexico at the time, but you could see that he was not happy about it and that he wouldnt let them get away with it. Because of this, Texas wanted to join the United States. Jackson hesitated with his decision because of the growing northern opposition to the extension of slavery. But, on his last day in office, he recognized Texas independence, setting the stage for future annexation. Jackson gladly handed over his seat to his hand picked successor, Martin Van Buren. Andrew Jackson was a very controversial president. He used the presidential veto more than anybody ever has.
Even after his presidency, Jackson still had an influence in Washington. For example, he played an important role in secret negotiations with Sam Houston to achieve the annexation of Texas. When Van Buren came out against the annexation, he said that Van Buren should be dumped as president. He then helped his friend James Polk win the presidency. So, as you can see, Jackson still had a major influence even after he retired. All of this ended in his bed on July 24, 1862. His last words were: I hope to see you all in heaven, both white and black, both white and black.