Congress Censures Jackson

Today in History, March 28, 1834:

For the first time, Congress censures an American President, Andrew Jackson.

Jackson wanted to dismantle the 2nd “Bank of the United States”. With nearly all of the country’s finances controlled by a central bank, the ultra wealthy that controlled the bank had an inordinate amount of power. With this power they controlled economic and political events, more so than the government or the people.

Jackson (man of the people), angered by many of their actions, vetoed a Congressional act to renew the bank’s charter. He then had the treasury divide the funds formerly controlled by the Bank of the United States amongst numerous state banks, who were more willing to give loans to common citizens and to invest in western interests.

History.com’s report indicates that Democrat Jackson had more personal reasons, and that the dispute was to a large extent between him and Senator Henry Clay, who History.com identifies as a Whig, then in parenthesis indicates a Whig is the same as a Republican.

After listening to a biography of Jackson, I found that Jackson’s motives were more pure…he was the first President to come up from a hardscrabble life and resented the bank’s refusal to help lower income Americans.

Some of my other reading has taught me that Whig does not equal Republican. In 1854 (20 years after these events) several Whig politicians (including Abraham Lincoln) broke away from the Whig party and created the Republican party because they were abolitionists and felt the Whig party was not living up to their ideals. I don’t know whether the History Channel misreported these subjects intentionally, or out of simple error. Either way, don’t assume something is accurate simply because it made it into print. Study it for yourself, whether its history or politics. Which often are intertwined.

Presidential Protests are Nothing New


Today in History, August 16: 1841 – Rioters burn President John Tyler in effigy directly in front of the White House. The importance of this act is complicated and involved Tyler’s former rivals. The Bank of the United States had been in charge of the nation’s finances off and on since it was originally established during President Jefferson’s tenure. One of the major events of President Andrew Jackson’s presidency involved the bank. Jackson found the bank to be corrupt, manipulating markets and committing fraud. Jackson refused to renew the bank’s charter, preferring instead to have the nation’s moneys spread amongst many banks. Many criticized Jackson for this, including then Senator Tyler. Later President Martin Van Buren again refused to renew the bank’s charter. When Tyler became President, the Whigs thought he would renew the bank’s charter. However from his new position he was able to see what Jackson observed, and he too refused to renew the charter. Another important note in this series of events….the District of Columbia established a police force to deal with such violence after the events in front of the White House.

As an interesting aside, President Tyler had many children, who also went forth and multiplied. John Tyler was born in 1790 and still has two living grandsons.