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Andrew Jackson: History at a Glance

Updated on December 27, 2016
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J. Schatzel works in healthcare administration in rural upstate NY and has a master's degree in history.

Jackson: Entering a New World of American Politics

Long before he was an accomplished general, or perceived by the American public as a potential presidential candidate, Andrew Jackson served as a Tennessee politician. Jackson came before the country as a Jeffersonian advocate of states rights.[1] In I796 Tennessee adopted her first constitution, through the submission of a constitution drafted by members of a constitutional committee of which Jackson was a part.[2] As asserted by historian Donald Cole, Republicanism was “giving way to democracy,” through the instrumental influences of leaders including Andrew Jackson.[3]

From his extraordinary victory over British forces at New Orleans in 1815, until his death nearly thirty years later, Andrew Jackson was according to historian Charles Bryan “the most popular, and perhaps the most unpopular, American.” His celebrity status rivaled that of George Washington, and both are the two most painted men in American history. Both had their images reproduced in numerous prints, on ceramics and textiles, and in engravings in books. “Old Hickory” as Jackson was known, was praised and satirized in cartoons and caricatures, and his image adorned parlor mantels and tavern signs of his political supporters. His elongated face and distinctive red and later white hair were familiar to a general public in an environment in which people did not necessarily know what their celebrities looked like. According to James G. Barber, curator of the "Old Hickory" exhibition, Andrew Jackson was “the premier icon of his age." [4] Historian John Bach McMaster interprets the Jacksonian presidential victory as a "triumph of Democracy, another great political revolution, the like of which the country has not seen since 1800." Richard T. Ely, when commenting on the twelve-year reign of Jacksonian Democrats, affirmed that "there can scarcely be a doubt that the Democratic party from 1829 to 1841 was more truly a Workingman's party than has been the case with any other great political party in our country or with that party either before or since."[5]

The presidential campaign of 1828, was significant for the confrontation of a representative of the elite powerhouse of New England culture with a representative of the unrefined, supposedly unsophisticated American frontier. John Quincy Adams had been "Boylston's Professor of Rhetoric and Oratory" at Harvard, whereas Andrew Jackson had only attended a one-room country schoolhouse as a child.[6] Jackson was notably ill educated in comparison to his presidential predecessors. In stark contrast, the pedagogical example set by whom historian Maureen Moore contends was Jackson's “arch rival and patrician paragon,” John Quincy Adams. Adams’ education was held in the highest regard, and was the most extensive that money and diligence that one in the young American nation could obtain. It included the enlightening effects of European travel, intermingling and associations with the best minds of two continents, enrollment at the University of Leiden, as well as graduation from Harvard University with both a law degree and a comprehensive foundation in the republican principles of deference from the people and stewardship by the elite. For many, the Harvard degree, symbolizing cherished standards of leadership, stood for "obligation to society, skepticism of democracy, and, above all, stability." Adams’ Harvard degree stood, in short, for societal and educational platitudes reached by Adams, not presumed to have been achieved by Jackson. However, as stated by Moore, “the protean spirit of democracy, bubbling fiercely like lava through every little fissure in the stolid republic of the founding fathers, could not be contained” as the people found favor with the lesser educated “Old Hickory.” Jackson's supporters, denouncing all criticisms of Jackson’s intellectual capacity by his opponents as "excessively bilious," pointed to Jackson's many accomplishments in government, business, and war as sufficient proof that he deserved both the nation's highest office, as well as Harvard's highest honors as those awarded to Adams. The chief defense by the Jacksonians of their candidate was to argue that other meritorious people spelled just as poorly as Andrew Jackson.[7]

A Jacksonian satirist reported that Jackson’s opponents were "ranging through the files of the War Office" in search of spelling errors in the thousands of Jackson’s letters filed there.[8] The Washington Globe, in ridicule of reports of Jackson's reputed illiteracy, reminded readers that George Washington, himself the recipient of an honorary Harvard degree, had spelled "altogether independent of the laws laid down by Webster."[9] Jackson's political views were little known outside Tennessee at the time when he began to be looked upon as what historian Thomas Abemethy describes as “presidential timber.” Jackson’s resonated from his military reputation, in his association with the expansion of the American West at the expense of the Spanish and Indians, and in the idea that unlike the " Virginia dynasty " of previous American presidents, Jackson was not closely tied to the existing web of Washington politicians. A movement of the dissatisfied Southern and Middle states instinctively towards Jackson as the logical instrument for this purpose of movement away from the traditional political center of powerful Virginians seemed America’s logical inevitability.[10]

[1] Anson Morse, “The Political Influence of Andrew Jackson” Political Science Quarterly, Vol. 1, No. 2 (Jun., 1886), pp. 159.

[2] Thomas Abernethy “Andrew Jackson and the Rise of South-Western Democracy” The American Historical Review, Vol. 33, No. 1 (Oct., 1927), pp. 64-77.

[3] Donald Cole, “Review: Honoring Andrew Jackson before All Other Living Men” Reviews in American History, Vol. 13, No. 3 (Sep., 1985), pp. 364

[4] Charles Bryan, “Review: Old Hickory: A Life Sketch of Andrew Jackson” The Journal of American History, Vol. 79, No. 1 (Jun., 1992), pp. 197-199.

[5] William Sullivan “Did Labor Support Andrew Jackson?” Political Science Quarterly, Vol. 62, No. 4 (Dec., 1947), pp. 569.

[6]Allen Read, “Could Andrew Jackson Spell?” American Speech, Vol. 38, No. 3 (Oct., 1963), p.188.

[7] Read, p.194.

[8] Read, p. 190.

[9] Maureen T. Moore “Andrew Jackson: "Pretty near a 'Treason' to Call Him Doctor!"” The New England Quarterly, Vol. 62, No. 3 (Sep., 1989), pp. 434-435.

[10] Abemethy, p.74.

Jackson's Indian Policy

Despite claims of his intellectual incapability, Jackson had proven himself in war, as well as through government service. Jackson’s presidential Indian policy was the result of a long history of service in the military, in which Jackson gained firsthand experience in negotiation and combat with Native American groups. The War of 1812 stimulated in a change in American – Native American relationships. Tennessee troops saw considerable service in the campaigns against the Native Americans as well as the British during the war, as the supplies necessary for their maintenance were tenably protected in the West; bringing ready money into regions which had previously known little of its uses. With an increase in purchasing power, came an influx of and luxury goods and other commerce. Moccasins were replaced with shoes, and log cabins were replaced by brick and frame houses. The Native Americans incited less trouble for American troops and settlers after Jackson's conquest of the Creeks in I813, and large tracts of land were then wrested from the natives.[1] After the description of an attack on an Indian camp by a company of Jackson's Tennessee militia, John Adams comments that "in every attack on an Indian village a certain number of women and children were necessarily victims, but the proportion at Talishatchee seemed large," and that the extent of destruction was not the result of an uncontrollable backwoods exuberance in the militia; it was result of Jackson's calculated strategy. According to Adams, "Jackson's policy of extermination shocked many humane Americans, and would perhaps have seemed less repulsive had the Creeks shown more capacity for resistance."[2]

Adams’ simplistic view of Jackson's Indian policy is highly objectionable. It was not logically Jackson's aim to crush the Indians because, as an old Indian fighter, he simply hated Indians. As Jackson’s years in the West had brought him into frequent contact with the Native Americans, he had not developed a rigid anti-Indian attitude. Contrarily, as a man of military esteem, his prevailing goal in the decades preceding his Presidency was to defend the safety and welfare of the United States. His military experience gave Jackson an paramount concern for the safety of America from foreign enemies, with a recognition of potential internal conflicts of a lesser magnitude. Thus, as recognized by historian F. P. Prucha, “to some extent, the anti-Indian sentiment that has been charged against Jackson in his early career was instead basically anti-British” as Britain posed a threat through the War of 1812 simultaneous to Jackson’s Indian affairs experience in Tennessee. In his direct dealings with the Indians, Jackson insisted on justice toward both hostile and peaceful Indians. Those who committed crimes against American settlers were to be swiftly punished, and the rights of peaceful Indians were to be protected. Much of Jackson's reputation in Indian affairs has been based on the former of these positions. Jackson adopted a “no-nonsense” policy toward hostile Native Americans that endeared him to the troops under his command and frontiersmen under his protection. For example, when a white woman was taken captive by the Creeks, Jackson declared: "With such arms and supplies as I can obtain I shall penetrate the creek towns, until the captive, with her captors, are delivered up; and think myself justifiable in laying waste their villages, burning their houses, killing their warriors and leading into captivity their wives and children, until I do obtain a surrender of the captive, and the captors." In his general orders to the Tennessee militia after he received word of the Fort Mims massacre, he called for "retaliatory vengeance" against the "inhuman blood thirsty barbarians." To call Jackson an Indian-hater, or to declare that he believed that "the only good Indian is a dead Indian" is to speak in terms of little relevance to Andrew Jackson. While he did not consider the Indians to be noble savages, and was often suspicious of Native American motives, Jackson did not hold that Native Americans were intrinsically evil or otherwise inferior to white Americans. He eagerly utilized Native American allies, respected individual Indian chiefs, and when during the Creek campaign an orphaned Indian boy was about to be killed by Indians upon whom his care would otherwise fall, Jackson took care of the child; sending him home to his wife to be raised alongside his son Andrew. Jackson was convinced that the barbaric state in which he encountered most Native Americans had to must and could change if Native Americans were to survive in an increasingly white American landscape.[3]

President Jackson believed that in all his warfare he had fought and won, not for himself, but for the people; and he knew from grateful testimony of citizens that this was their view, with the exception of Adams and his followers; and that Americans honored him as their realistic and unassailable champion. Jackson’s administration paved a "broad path for the demoralizing transformation of the American democracy."[4] In an evaluation of Jackson's Indian policy, Prucha warns that historians must not “listen too eagerly to Jackson's political opponents or to less-than-disinterested missionaries.” Jackson's contemporary critics and the historians, who have accepted their arguments, have been not only harsh, but misguided in their assumptions through the omission of relevant details. Prucha contends that Andrew Jackson thought in terms of a confederacy of the southern Indians in the West, organizing their own territorial government, which should correspond with the territories of the whites and eventually take its place in the Union among the states. This aspect of Jackson’s Indian removal policy, was not emphasized by Jackson’s critics, nor was it fully implemented, and thus has been largely forgotten.[5]

While his supporters relished in Jackson’s Indian fighter identity, his opponents, such as John Adams, presented Jackson’s Indian relations in a less heroic light, presuming Jackson to have hastened the slaughter of Native Americans through manipulation and extermination, for the ends of the benefit of white American settlers.[6] Through his years of military service as a general, Jackson had become the epitome of the adventurous frontiersman, the Indian fighter, and the hero of the Battle of New Orleans to his many supporters; however Adams and others of Jackson’s opponents savored every possible association between Jackson and bar-room brawls, English low-life, and a “barbarism dangerous to the reputation of democracy.” General Jackson’s passions were excited in favor of driving the Spaniards from America; as Aaron Burr announced that this was to be the mission of his life. As a major-general of the Tennessee militia, Jackson looked forward to sharing this exploit, which due to Burr’s duel and resulting killing of Alexander Hamilton, Adams and his followers painted Jackson as a treasonous ill-reputable excuse for a president. [7]

[1] Abemethy, p.65.

[2] Stark, p. 177.

[3] F. P. Prucha “Andrew Jackson's Indian Policy: A Reassessment” The Journal of American History, Vol. 56, No. 3 (Dec., 1969), pp. 528-531.

[4] Morse, p.153-157.

[5] Prucha, p.538.

[6] Cruce Stark, “The Historical Irrelevance of Heroes: Henry Adams's Andrew Jackson” American Literature, Vol. 46, No. 2 (May, 1974), p. 177.

[7] Stark, p.173-176.

Jackson's Presidential Personality

Andrew Jackson possessed a considerable force of character. He was minimally educated, however due to his military service and experience on the frontier and as a Tennessee politician, Jackson was a political leader by no means lacking in the instincts of a statesman. His sincere patriotism is unquestionable, as he possessed a genuine desire to discharge faithfully the duties and responsibilities of his post in the Executive Office.[1] More than any of his presidential predecessors, Andrew Jackson gave a sense of participation in the federal government to the common man, and successfully identified himself and his administration with the interests of his citizens.[2] Jackson was an honest, although moderate Jeffersonian, who won and maintained the confidence of the state rights platform of the democratic party. Likewise, he identified himself with the newly enfranchised and less wealthy citizens just rising to a state of “political self-consciousness.” Through his Jeffersonian views and relation to the common man, his following came to include the mainstream majority of his fellow citizens. In effect, Andrew Jackson became, to a degree never before realized by any president in American history, what Morse recognizes as “the trusted leader and teacher of the masses.” Jackson came to power in the office of president as the carrier of a new cataclysm of democracy, under a profession of new and fuller realization of Jeffersonian democratic-republican principles. In a study of Jackson’s mass appeal to the American public, one will discern in Jackson's popularity an element of intuition and personal recognition of Jackson’s Jeffersonian principles and relevance to the common citizen by the mass of the people. Americans felt about their president that “He is one of us,” and “He stands by us.”[3]

In passing judgment on President Jackson, it must be remembered that his entry to the executive office came following the most bitter political campaign that had been waged as of yet in American history; a campaign in which party newspapers in Washington D.C. played a heavily influential role for the first time. The bitterness stimulated by the campaign carried over into Jackson's administration; thus everything done by the new President was the subject of intense partisan controversy, which was reflected in the newspapers, congressional debates and reports, letters, speeches, memoirs, and “other works which have been preserved and which have served as the sources of historical writers since that time.”[4] According to McKinley, historian Eric McKinley, Jackson's administration did not produce a complete introduction of the spoils system into national politics; the Jacksonian administration instead marked “another step towards the consummation of that end.”[5]

Historian Richard Latner approaches Jackson not as a symbol for an age, or as a “champion of the common man,” but instead as a Tennessee politician whose election to the presidency signaled the materialization of central western elements in the second American party system.[6] Jackson's presidential style derived largely from his military experience. As a general, Jackson rarely summoned councils, preferring instead to consult his aides informally; taking their perspective into consideration before passing his final judgment. His military reputation preceded him to Washington; Jackson would continue his former method of seeking advice but never submitting anything to the decision of a council during his presidency. The continual influence of Jackson's military career was manifest throughout Jackson’s presidency in his distaste for cabinet sessions, as one cabinet member stated in 1834, Jackson "shuns consulting all, as he is so military & dislikes councils.” Jackson's reliance on a “kitchen cabinet” is particularly noteworthy in light of such insight into his administrative ideas and practices. Jackson favored concentrating power in his own hands, to reserve final decisions and responsibility for himself in the control of his surroundings through a system of hierarchical structures, strict accountability, limited administrative direction, and efficient organization. He placed a great deal of emphasis on qualities like personal loyalty and devotion in relationships with people, as his suspicion of human nature made his confidence hard to gain; for he was always vigilant of the risk of deception and treachery. However, the kitchen cabinet only partially conforms to this newly burgeoning framework of the Jacksonian administrative model. Jackson's advisory network was informal, personal, and flexible, unlikely to fit neatly into a more bureaucratic administrative structure. The paradox of such an informal institution coexisting within an increasingly bureaucratized civil service is unambiguous, and shows the persistence of Jackson's commitment to a traditional and more personal system of political organization, even as he placed his stamp of approval on the administrative reorganization plans of his cabinet officers. Although incompatible with other administrative goals, the appearance of a closely-knit, unofficial group of advisers within a flexible consultative system was consonant with Jackson's determination to direct his administration and to make himself the center of the American decision-making process[7].

By tradition, historians such as Richard Latner have contended that the label "kitchen cabinet" was first applied as a disparagingly by Jackson's opponents, towards the informal group of advisers who maintained great influence over the President, especially in matters of party loyalty and benefaction. This influence was believed by Jackson’s opponents to be evidence of Jackson’s cabinet’s intended “party manipulation.”[8] Jackson’s adeptness as a politician was exhibited through his modus operandi of presenting his nominations to the Senate. With his military background, Jackson realized the importance of "feeling out" the enemy. Consequently, Jackson’s first nominations were to fill minor vacated office seats, and other nominations for reappointment to fill terms which would expire under the Four-Year Law. It was not until January 4, 1830, that Jackson submitted nominations for the replacement of displaced office-holders. In 1830, Jackson compiled a list of 25 names, the most notable of which was that of James A. Hamilton of New York, a henchman of Martin Van Buren, to be United States Attorney for the Southern District of New York in place of the removed John Duer. Later that month, Jackson presented another list of 41 names, including that of Samuel Swartwout to become Collector of Customs for the Port of New York to succeed the removed Jonathan Thompson.[9]

Through what Fletcher M. Green labels as the “ruthless use of the spoils system,” President Jackson eradicated his political opponents from office, and through rotation in office he increased the authoritative presence of his own party. Jackson dismissed his cabinet members when they differed with him, and as stated by Green, “openly flouted decisions of the Supreme Court.”[10]

[1] R. Seymour Long “Andrew Jackson and the National Bank” The English Historical Review, Vol. 12, No. 45 (Jan., 1897), pp. 86.

[2] Fletcher M. Green, “On Tour with President Andrew Jackson” The New England Quarterly, Vol. 36, No. 2 (Jun., 1963), p.211.

[3] Morse, p.161-162.

[4] Erik McKinley Eriksson “The Federal Civil Service Under President Jackson” The Mississippi Valley Historical Review, Vol. 13, No. 4 (Mar., 1927), pp. 518.

[5] Mckinley, p.540.

[6] James Curtis “Review: Andrew Jackson: Symbol for what Age?” Reviews in American History, Vol. 8, No. 2 (Jun., 1980), p. 195.

[7] Richard Latner, “The Kitchen Cabinet and Andrew Jackson's Advisory System” The Journal of American History, Vol. 65, No. 2 (Sep., 1978), pp. 386-388.

[8] Latner, p.367-380.

[9] McKinley, p.523.

[10] Green, p.211.

The National Bank, Westward Expansion, and Uniting the States

In 1832 President Jackson vetoed the bill rechartering the United States Bank, despite a clear expression of Congressional will favoring the Bank, and despite the Supreme Court's previous recognition of the Bank's constitutionality in McCulloch v. Maryland. Jackson believed he held an independent right to judge the validity of legislation, even if the judgment were “contrary to judicial precedent.” In reply to friends of the National Bank, who asserted that McCulloch v. Maryland settled the question of the Bank's constitutionality, Jackson stated that "mere precedent is a dangerous source of authority, and should not be regarded as deciding questions of constitutional power except where the acquiescence of the people and the states can be considered as well settled." Utilizing his power as representative of the American population and his oath to support the Constitution, Jackson contended that if the President believed the statute in question served as a "danger to our liberty", and the states were in agreement with the President, the Chief Executive's opinion was superior to sheer judicial precedent in judging questions of constitutionality. He professed that the case of the National Bank dealt with new facts and a new situation, which could not be governed by McCulloch v. Maryland, and therefore "ought not control the coordinate authorities of the Government." This assertion of independence despite the checks and balances system was based on Jackson's certainty that it was the autonomous duty of the executive office to pass on constitutional questions in preparing his veto.

Many of Jackson's followers were products of the Jeffersonian era, and consequently unreceptive of the judiciary, making Jackson's alliance with the courts in his struggle with the Nullifiers is all the more remarkable. The decade preceding Jackson's first term experienced court decisions including McCulloch v. Maryland, Ogden v. Saunders, Cohens v. Virginia, and Craig v. Missouri, which accompanied by other court decisions aroused fear in the South and the West; inspiring resentment which later threatened to incite a flood of legislation designed to cripple the federal judiciary. In the early years of Jackson's presidency frequent attempts were made in Congress to weaken the judiciary, although such attempts decreased significantly after Marshall's death and the subsequent influx of Jacksonian appointees into the federal courts.[1] President Jackson's war on the United States Bank had aroused resentment in New England, however his emphasis on national sovereignty in the nullification controversy was very popular. As a result, for the first time, Jackson won support in New England in the election of 1832.[2]

Of the fifteen men who served as President of the United States between 1789 and 1861, only four, George Washington, James Monroe, Andrew Jackson, and John Tyler, made formal tours of America. Jackson’s tour was filled with parades, public and private parties, receptions by various social clubs, inspections of naval yards and battlefields, and visits to nearby towns. Jackson became disgusted with flagrant partisan displays at such occasions within the states he toured, yearning to be President of all citizens, not a faction. His reaction to local political feuds, reinforced by his continued illness of chronic neck and back pain accompanied by respiratory problems, caused him to cut short his tour by two weeks, concluding without a tour of the state of Maine. Amidst the commotion raised by Jackson’s tours, his support by the citizens helped Jackson’s tour take on a new significance for Washington politics. Jackson transformed the formal and nationalistic presidential tours of Washington and Monroe into a highly partisan political campaign; after which Presidents would use the personal tour to increase their partisan strength and expand political support for their administrative measures in Congress.[3]

While some political analysists and historians have contended that President Jackson had a central role in the development of democracy in the western United States, an analysis of Jackson’s military and political career suggest instead that Jackson had little to do with the development of the democracy of the West. The movement of democracy influenced the political climate that led to Jackson’s election as President, however he contributed to the movement not a single idea prior to his 1828 election. Jackson rode into office upon a military reputation and the appeal of being a self made man. Jackson firmly grasped his platform as a Jeffersonian, as did nearly all Southern Republicans of his time.[4]

Jackson ruled for the people, and appealed to them for their support in his presidential candidacy. In the words of historian William Smith, “he was of the people, for some of the people, and believed in government by Democratic-Republicans.”[5] In his position on the tariff question in 1824, Jackson emphasized the military importance of domestic manufactures, arguing for the development of a home market for agricultural products; in doing so potentially presenting his own home state experiences. The home manufacturing argument had an appeal for the grain farmers of the West, and there were more grain farmers in Tennessee than cotton other crop growers whose raw materials were largely exported.[6] Jackson had once been a merchant, and remained a man conscious of business affairs. He advocated a sound currency, and the rights of the creditor. His early economic ideas fell in accordance with the Bank of the United States. The motives of his opposition to the bank in defiance of the Supreme Court were political, as opposed to economic in nature.[7]

Jackson impressed upon Americans his own love of the Union, and his hatred of sectionalism. The victory at New Orleans and the proclamation to the people of South Carolina in 1832, are the two facts that most revealed Jackson's personality; in which one portrays him as the defender of the nation against foreign enemies, and the other in which he is the defender against sectionalism. It is difficult to think of Jackson as belonging to Tennessee, as the distribution of his support in the election of I832 was nationally comprehensive. New Hampshire, New York and Pennsylvania, as well as Tennessee, Georgia and Missouri, were Jackson's states. He was not looked upon as the representative of any particular section, but instead as a man of the people, representing the citizens of each state. To Jackson, state lines had little meaning, and sectional lines, no meaning whatsoever. Andrew Jackson rendered great service to the cause of national unity: by making the government of the people an intelligible and attractive institution, relevant to and reachable by the people. The chief value of Jackson's political career was its educational effect on the American public. His strong conviction of the national character of the Union, and his brave words and acts on behalf of the rights of Americans, sank deep into the consciousness of his followers and opponents; as the fact of national unity grew more genuine and attractive to Americans through his definition and defense. According to Morse, it was Jackson who made " peaceable " secession from the American Union impossible. The strength of Jackson's administration as a whole as evidenced through the acts in which he influenced most profoundly and enduringly the political character of the people, are in accord with his resistance to nullification; as their penchant was to nationalize.[8]

[1] Longaker, p.350-351.

[2] Green, p.212.

[3] Green, p.220-227.

[4] Abemethy, p.71.

[5] William Smith “Francis P. Blair, Pen-Executive of Andrew Jackson” The Mississippi Valley Historical Review, Vol. 17, No. 4 (Mar., 1931), pp. 543.

[6] Abemethy, p.71.

[7] Abemethy, p.77.

[8] Morse, p.162.

Jackson and the Executive Office

Jackson held the belief that the executive office was independent of judicial control in some situations, yet with an attitude of innate respect for the judicial function in other circumstances. His views were based on the shifting perceptions of constitutional meanings of the separation of powers. Respect for the Marshall court was not a part of the Jacksonian dogma, as Jacksonians, lineal descendants of Jeffersonians, were ardent critics of the federal judiciary. Jackson's election in 1828, was in part a popular repudiation of the institutional enlargement of the judicial branch; in which all Americans revered the Constitution but reverence for the document did not assume admiration of the Supreme Court or the Chief Justice, whose nationalism, according to Jacksonians, threatened the sovereignty of the states.[1] Jackson did not accept the Court's holding that Cherokees had rights independent of state authority. Under the Constitution, Congress possessed the power "to regulate commerce with Indian tribes", however Jackson contended that only dangerous levels of authority could bestow on Congress the power to interfere with a state's jurisdiction over Indian lands within its limits. Jackson believed that the clause was designed to give "the General Government complete control over the trade and intercourse of those Indians only who were not within any state," thus to give the Chief Executive the power to interfere with the relations between a state and the Indians within the state would place in Jackson’s hands a power “to make war upon the rights of the States and the liberty of the country, a power which should be placed in the hands of no individual." Jackson's resistance to the Court was conditioned by a personal distaste for John Marshall, however among other reasons was Jackson's lack of sympathy for Native Americans, and his apprehension that any concession may damage the core of his Indian policy of removal across the Mississippi. Long experience in fighting and negotiating with the Indians convinced Jackson years earlier in his position as a general that removal was the only policy which might work towards the advantage of both native Americans and American citizens. According to political analyst Richard Longaker, Jackson “had respect for Indian rights so long as they were exercised on the western bank of the Mississippi.” [2]

Andrew Jackson’s presidency was one of turbulent changes in the American political system. Amidst accusations of instigating the spoils system within United States government administration, as well as anti-Jacksonian claims of Jackson’s uneducated animosity towards American Indians, were Jackson’s military background and its influence on his administrative organization and decision-making policy. Whether a symbol of his age influencing the democratic principles upon which the American people sought the leadership of their president and touring the nation in an expedition towards greater partisan support, or utilizing the westward expansion of democratic principles amidst the American frontier, President Jackson’s influence has left its mark upon the face of the American people. As “Old Hickory” cultivated his political influence from a sapling politician in Tennessee, to a legacy as one of the most widely recognized American presidents, deeply rooted in Jeffersonian visions of democracy, Jackson’s challenges of judiciary authority, rout of the National Bank, and ridicule by the followers of John Quincy Adams mark a mere few of the complex factors involved in the formation of the multifaceted legacy of President Andrew Jackson.

[1] Richard Longaker “Andrew Jackson and the Judiciary” Political Science Quarterly, Vol. 71, No. 3 (Sep., 1956), pp. 341.

[2] Longaker, p. 345-347.

Special Thanks

Special Thanks to my husband, who enables my historical explorations!
Special Thanks to my husband, who enables my historical explorations!


Abernethy, Thomas. “Andrew Jackson and the Rise of South-Western Democracy” The American Historical Review, Vol. 33, No. 1 (Oct., 1927).

Bryan, Charles. “Review: Old Hickory: A Life Sketch of Andrew Jackson” The Journal of American History, Vol. 79, No. 1 (Jun., 1992).

Cole, Donald. “Review: Honoring Andrew Jackson before All Other Living Men” Reviews in American History, Vol. 13, No. 3 (Sep., 1985).

Curtis, James. “Review: Andrew Jackson: Symbol for what Age?” Reviews in American History, Vol. 8, No. 2 (Jun., 1980).

Green, Fletcher M. “On Tour with President Andrew Jackson” The New England Quarterly, Vol. 36, No. 2 (Jun., 1963).

Latner, Richard. “The Kitchen Cabinet and Andrew Jackson's Advisory System” The Journal of American History, Vol. 65, No. 2 (Sep., 1978).

Long, R. Seymour. “Andrew Jackson and the National Bank” The English Historical Review, Vol. 12, No. 45 (Jan., 1897).

McKinley, Erik. “The Federal Civil Service Under President Jackson” The Mississippi Valley Historical Review, Vol. 13, No. 4 (Mar., 1927).

Moore, Maureen T. “Andrew Jackson: "Pretty near a 'Treason' to Call Him Doctor!"” The New England Quarterly, Vol. 62, No. 3 (Sep., 1989).

Morse, Anson. “The Political Influence of Andrew Jackson” Political Science Quarterly, Vol. 1, No. 2 (Jun., 1886).

Prucha, F. P. “Andrew Jackson's Indian Policy: A Reassessment” The Journal of American History, Vol. 56, No. 3 (Dec., 1969).

Smith, William. “Francis P. Blair, Pen-Executive of Andrew Jackson” The Mississippi Valley Historical Review, Vol. 17, No. 4 (Mar., 1931).

Longaker, Richard. “Andrew Jackson and the Judiciary” Political Science Quarterly, Vol. 71, No. 3 (Sep., 1956).

Stark, Cruce. “The Historical Irrelevance of Heroes: Henry Adams's Andrew Jackson” American Literature, Vol. 46, No. 2 (May, 1974).

Sullivan, William. “Did Labor Support Andrew Jackson?” Political Science Quarterly, Vol. 62, No. 4 (Dec., 1947).


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