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.

The Corrupt Bargain…

Today in History, December 1: 1824 –

The Presidential election had involved 4 candidates; Andrew Jackson, who by far won the most popular votes and the most Electoral College votes, but not a majority amongst the candidates. So, in accordance with the 12th Amendment, on this date the vote for President went to the House of Representatives.

The House, after much deliberation…elected John Quincy Adams President. The problem? One of the other candidates was Speaker of the House Henry Clay, who threw his support behind Adams, causing his win. Clay, “ironically”, was then appointed to the coveted position of Secretary of State under Adams. At that time in our history, becoming Secretary of State almost guaranteed you the Presidency at some point.

The Jackson Democrats claimed (probably correct) a “Corrupt Bargain”, which tainted Adams’ Presidency…minimizing any success he experienced and almost guaranteeing what happened in 1828…the landslide election of Jackson to the Presidency.