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Trump Loves Andrew Jackson

Updated on May 4, 2017

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Trump Talks About Andrew Jackson

“Had Andrew Jackson been a little later you wouldn’t have had the Civil War. He was a very tough person, but he had a big heart. And he was really angry that he saw what was happening with regard to the Civil War. He said, ‘There’s no reason for this.’"

On May 1, 2017 in an interview with Salena Zito for “Main Street Meets the Beltway” on SiriusXM P.O.T.U.S., Trump made this statement about Andrew Jackson. (soundbyte below) Extensive ridicule followed.

While there is no way of knowing what Jackson would have thought about the Civil War since it occurred 12 years after his death, Trump's assertion, that Jackson might have prevented the Civil War, is not without merit. In fact, Trump is a fan of the 7th President. He not only refers to him quite often, but seems to be modeling his presidency after Jacksonian Democracy.

White House officials have reported that both Steven Bannon and Stephen Miller, advisors to Trump, have been giving him materials to read on Jackson's history and political methods. Current oval office photos reveal that Trump has recently hung a portrait of Jackson right next to the Presidential desk, as if to be an overseer from the past. And on 3/15/17, on Jackson's 250th birthday, Trump made a widely-publicized trip to lay a wreath on his tomb.

To follow are facts about Andrew Jackson and his policies. Examining them can actually give us insight into how Trump is playing out his own Presidency based on his admiration of "Old Hickory".

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Obama's oval office shows a painting of the Statue of Liberty's flame.
Obama's oval office shows a painting of the Statue of Liberty's flame.

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Speaking of Trump's Cabinet - Jackson invented the "Spoils System" of filling civil positions. Instead of hiring experienced people, he rewarded family and friends for their political support by giving them governmental jobs. He felt this would reduce corruption and encourage more people to participate in politics.

Unquestioned Power - Jackson had a disdain for both Congress and the Judicial Branch, and frequently insulted them publicly. He saw Congress as crooked and the federal courts as being overeaching. He felt that presidential power should be absolute, so he did whatever he could to act without being questioned. This meant he relied heavily on party loyalty, the support of those he appointed through the Spoils System, and his veto power.

“I think that it’s been an important reminder to all Americans that we have a judiciary that has taken far too much power and become in many cases a supreme branch of government. The end result of this, though, is that our opponents, the media, and the whole world will soon see, as we begin to take further actions, that the powers of the president to protect our country are very substantial and will not be questioned.”
~ Stephen Miller, Trump's Policy Advisor

What Trump was talking about - Jackson actively prevented conflicts over slavery. He felt the topic was not one that should be handled politically because of the divisiveness it would cause, especially as the country expanded west through Manifest Destiny. He believed that eventually, slavery would slowly change with time and fade peacefully into nonexistence. He disapproved of abolitionists trying to speed up the process through protests and distribution of literature, because of the harm it could do to the unity of the nation. So this is what Trump was talking about, which brings up a new question. Will Trump take a similar attitude toward Civil Rights - don't do anything about it because it will self-correct in time? So far, he seems very hands-off when it comes to addressing bigotry issues.

Black Lives Matter/Dakota Pipeline - Jackson has lost a lot of credibility as a historical figure because of racists attitudes. In 1804, he placed an ad in the Tennessee Gazette offering a reward for a runaway slave, with a cash bonus for beating the slave prior to returning him. The more lashes, the higher the reward. Jackson also was responsible for setting the Trail of Tears in motion with the Indian Removal Act of 1830. While the Supreme Court ruled in 1832 that no Native Americans could be forced to leave their lands, the state of Georgia ignored the ruling, and Jackson failed to intervene and enforce it. So the nightmarish exodus to Oklahoma began.

"I Love the Uneducated" - Jackson founded the Democratic Party by challenging the aristocratic presence in Washington and promising to give power back to the people. Unlike elitist politicians before him, he deemphasized education and said that it was not a requirement to participate in politics.

"Drain the Swamp" - Jackson believed that terms for political office should be limited to prevent corruption and monopolies. However, this policy, along with his Spoils System, led to governmental incompetence, and it failed to stop the corruption.

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Trump lays a wreath on Andrew Jackson's tomb. 3/15/17
Trump lays a wreath on Andrew Jackson's tomb. 3/15/17

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Populism - Prior to Jackson, voting rights were only extended to white male adult property owners. Jackson removed the property owning stipulation so that voters just had to be white, male and adult. This was part of his effort to transfer political power from Washington and back to the people.

Defunding & Deregulation - Jackson preached strong nationalism - pride in one's nation through self-governance with little interference from the government. He also felt that regulations interfered with free commerce and that governmental funding, aside from infrastructure, was wrong.

Federal Reserves - In 1832, Jackson vetoed a bill to continue The Bank of the United States, then the equivalent of the Federal Reserve. He returned all funds to the states, which inadvertently caused an economic crisis. The Federal Reserve Act was passed 81 years later in 1913 By Woodrow Wilson, just prior to WWI. While this is not something Trump has addressed as of yet, it's worth keeping an eye on since it was so important to Jackson.

"I like people who don't get caught" - Ironically, Jackson was the first P.O.W. to be elected President. He was captured during the Revolutionary War. He also served in the War of 1812, so despite his shortcomings, he was considered a military hero.

CONCLUSION
Watching the Trump Presidency unfold has been nothing short of stressful for many, including myself, largely because of the lack of predictability. But by looking into Jacksonian presidency, I believe we can at least see what direction he could be going, and plan accordingly.

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