BECK index

Jacksonian Democracy 1829-37

by Sanderson Beck

Jackson’s Democratic Presidency in 1829
Jacksonian Democracy 1830-31
Jackson & the US Bank
Jackson, Tariff & Nullification in 1832
Jacksonian Democracy & Whigs in 1833-34
Jacksonian Democrats & Whigs in 1835
Jacksonian Democracy in 1836-37

United States Democracy & Slavery 1801-1844 has been published as a book. For ordering information, please click here.

Jackson’s Democratic Presidency in 1829

      Andrew Jackson was born on 15 March 1767 in Carolina three weeks after his father’s death. He served as a courier and was captured by the British in August 1781. His mother served American prisoners of war on ships and died of cholera that November. Andrew said he made her last words the law of his life. Here is some of what she said,

You can make friends by being honest….
None will respect you more than you respect yourself….
Never brook outrage upon your own feelings.
If you ever have to vindicate your feelings
or defend your honor, do it calmly.1

Jackson became a lawyer and was elected Tennessee’s first congressman in 1796. He prospered as a slave-owning planter and merchant. He volunteered for the War of 1812 and promised to raise 2,500 men. He led an army of 1,071 men to New Orleans in January 1813 and became famous for the victory over the British there in January 1815. In 1817 his friend John Eaton published The Life of Andrew Jackson which was primarily a history of his military campaigns against the Creeks and the British, and Eaton’s revised edition was released in 1824. In 1817 Jackson sold forty of his slaves to his friend Edward Livingston for $24,000. In the summer of 1820 Jackson went to Tennessee’s capital at Murfreesboro to persuade delegates to vote against the state bank, and he also urged anti-relief resolutions in two other counties.
      (See also Jackson, Creeks & Seminoles in Florida 1817-21.)
      Andrew Jackson’s wife Rachel had died on 28 December 1828, and at his inauguration on 4 March 1829 he was dressed in black in mourning. He pleased the crowd of 20,000 by bowing to them before his 10-minute speech on reform. Here are some excerpts from his address:

In administering the laws of Congress I shall keep steadily in view
the limitations as well as the extent of the Executive power,
trusting thereby to discharge the functions of my office
without transcending its authority….
Considering standing armies as dangerous
to free governments in time of peace,
I shall not seek to enlarge our present establishment,
nor disregard that salutary lesson
of political experience which teaches that
the military should be held subordinate to the civil power….
As long as our Government is administered
for the good of the people, and is regulated by their will;
as long as it secures to us the rights of person and of property,
liberty of conscience and of the press,
it will be worth defending.2

He also promised to “facilitate the extinguishment of the national debt.” In regard to revenue he would equally favor “the great interests of agriculture, commerce, and manufactures.” He considered important “internal improvement and the diffusion of knowledge.” He said his sincere desire was to give humane attention to the rights and wants of the Indian tribes with a “just and liberal policy.” He aimed to correct “those abuses that have brought the patronage of the Federal Government into conflict with the freedom of elections.” He ended with a prayer to the divine care that has protected the nation and upheld their liberties.
      After the speech and the presidential oath, Jackson and some others on horses rode to the White House while hundreds of people surged down unpaved Pennsylvania Avenue that was muddy from melted snow. In the White House their boots damaged furniture as they tried to see the President. The mob broke china and glasses until they finally moved the punch bowls to the lawn to lure people out of the White House. Supreme Court Justice Joseph Story disliked the tumult he called “the reign of King Mob,” and he soon left. Jackson shook hands with many people but eventually needed to be protected by a ring of officers. He did not retire until 4 and did not go to the inaugural ball because he was in mourning. A north portico and east and west wings were added to the White House in 1829. That year anyone could walk in and ask to see President Jackson who would talk to them if he was not engaged. Most were office seekers, and he once said that he had 500 applicants for each office.
      Duff Green in the United States Telegraph had promised that Jackson would use patronage to “REWARD HIS FRIENDS AND PUNISH HIS ENEMIES.” New York Senator William L. Marcy said in August 1832 that Jacksonians preach what they practice and that “They see nothing wrong in the rule that to the victor belongs the spoils of the enemy.” Thus patronage was called the “spoils system.”
      Jackson made his friend John Eaton Secretary of War even though he had no war experience. He could have named his friend Hugh Lawson White who was much more capable. Postmaster General McLean was committed to appointing men based on merit, and Jackson removed him by nominating him for the Supreme Court. Then his replacement William Barry used patronage. Martin Van Buren had been elected Governor of New York in 1828, and Jackson asked him to be Secretary of State. He accepted if he could wait until the New York legislature adjourned in late March; Jackson agreed. He wanted to give Pennsylvania a seat in his cabinet and named Samuel D. Ingram at Treasury. Other weak appointments were North Carolina Senator John Branch to run the Navy Department and Jackson’s friend John McPherson Berrien of Georgia as Attorney General because he favored Indian removal.
      Jackson’s nephew Andrew Donelson served as his secretary, and his young wife Emily became the White House hostess. The President had a group of unofficial advisors that included the journalists Thomas Ritchie of the Richmond Enquirer, Duff Green, Argus of Western America editor Amos Kendall of Kentucky, New Hampshire Patriot editor Isaac Hill, and Washington Globe editor Francis Preston Blair, plus literary beacons Dabney Carr, Gideon Welles, and Nathaniel Greene. Senators, who had invested in the Portsmouth branch of the US Bank which Hill had criticized, rejected Hill for a Treasury post, but New Hampshire elected him to the US Senate in 1831. Jackson persuaded Major William Lewis not to go back to his Tennessee farm and gave him a job at Treasury. Jackson’s principles included reducing patronage, continuing moderate tariffs, and paying off the national debt to give surplus revenues to the states for internal improvements.
      In his first year Jackson removed 252 of 612 officers under executive control and 919 of 10,093 federal officials including 423 postmasters, 25 collectors, 23 registers and receivers, 13 district attorneys, and 9 marshals. This was the second major turnover of government officials, the first being when Jefferson replaced the first Adams in 1801. Jackson like Jefferson wanted to democratize the executive branch. He wanted to simplify administration so that common men of intelligence could qualify. He initiated term limits of four or six years for many positions, and Jeremy Bentham wrote him of his support for office rotation. In the first two years the State Department changed almost three-quarters of printing contracts for federal laws from opposition newspapers to Jacksonians.
      His most egregious appointment, which Van Buren had opposed, was New York City fixer Samuel Swartwout to be collector of the New York Port who would manage to abscond with $1,222,705 in 1838. Jackson appointed Kendall fourth auditor of the Treasury Department, and he discovered that his predecessor, Tobias Watkins, had embezzled $7,000. Kendall uncovered several frauds by former officials and customs agents, catching eleven treasury agents short in their accounts. By the end of 1829 they learned that the Treasury Department was missing about $280,000. In the first year two collectors were removed, saving the government $51,271. Navy agent Miles King was fired for stealing $40,000 over several years. By removing the thieves the Navy Department saved $1 million in one year. Jackson had many drunkards dismissed. He made restoring honesty his top priority, and he hoped that job rotation would perpetuate liberty.
      On March 16 Jackson learned that pirates had stormed the American merchant ship Attentive on February 22 and murdered the captain and crew. The New Priscilla was also attacked near Cuba, and Jackson ordered the USS Natchez to patrol the Cuban coast.
      Martin Van Buren arrived on March 22 and quickly became Jackson’s closest advisor. They shared Jefferson’s political philosophy, and both wanted reforms. Van Buren found ways to prevent Jackson’s appointments of Littleton W. Tazewell of Virginia to England and Edward Livingston of Louisiana to France. Van Buren knew he had to yield to Jackson’s decisions, but he offered criticisms such as a letter from Ritchie dated March 31 that warned against reforms which might injure the public.
      The Working Men’s Party formed at Philadelphia in 1828, and in that city working men met in March 1829 near the US Bank to oppose the chartering of any more banks. They believed that extending paper credit too greatly had brought about hard times, and they formed a committee to report on the banking system that included Philadelphia Gazette editor William M. Gouge, Free Trade Advocate editor Condy Raguet, journalist William Duane and his lawyer son, philanthropist Roberts Vaux, former Bank director Reuben M. Whitney, and trade-union leaders William English and James Ronaldson. One week later they concluded, “If the present system of banking and paper money be extended and perpetuated, the great body of the working people must give over all hopes of ever acquiring any property.”3
      In 1829 Tennessee Governor Sam Houston had a brief marriage, then resigned on April 16, and went to live again with the Cherokees who made him a member of the tribe and sent him to Washington as their representative. Jackson wanted to acquire Texas and told Van Buren to offer Mexico $5 million for the territory. On August 13 they instructed the US Minister to Mexico, Joel Poinsett, to purchase Texas from the Mexican government, and on the 23rd they met with land-speculator Col. Anthony Butler. Jackson explained they needed Texas for national security, for more land to relocate Indians, and with a natural boundary, the Rio Grande. On September 15 the Guerrero Decree abolished slavery in Mexico, which in October requested the US envoy be withdrawn from Texas, but on December 2 President Guerrero exempted Texas on slavery. By 1829 Jackson himself owned more than a hundred slaves.
      In the spring Thomas Skidmore helped journeymen in New York to coordinate strikes to keep the employers from increasing the workday from ten to eleven hours. He also opposed private banks, monopolies, and imprisonment for debt. He led the New York Workingmen’s Party that began in 1829, and he wrote The Rights of Man to Property in which he noted that nine-tenths of humanity are in need because of the monopolizers. He suggested redistributing property equally with some owned by the community. He urged state constitutional conventions to enfranchise men and women of all races. Individuals could acquire more property during their lifetime, but he opposed passing it on by inheritance. Skidmore also urged equal education with a good moral foundation. He criticized the wealthy for making prisoners of others. He argued that the steam engine could become a blessing to all instead of a curse.
      The scandal that occupied most of Jackson’s time in 1829 was over the promiscuous Margaret O’Neale Timberlake, whose first husband, depressed by her infidelities, had died in April 1828. Jackson had urged his friend Eaton to marry Peggy, which he did on January 1, and this shocked other cabinet wives who, led by Calhoun’s wife Floride, snubbed her. Jackson believed in freedom of religion and government without religious influence. Rev. Ezra Stiles Ely of Philadelphia wanted the federal delivery of mail on Sundays stopped, but Col. Richard M. Johnson of Kentucky chaired the pertinent committee that decided against that, arguing,

The mail is the chief means by which
intellectual light irradiates to the extremes of the republic.
Stop it one day in seven, and you retard
one seventh of the advancement of our country.4

      Jackson wanted to defend Mrs. Eaton as he had his wife Rachel, and he called a cabinet meeting on September 10 without Eaton that also included Ely and Rev. J. M. Campbell of Washington. Campbell had presented evidence to Jackson that she had a miscarriage that could not have been her husband Timberlake’s child because of his long absence. In the meeting Jackson claimed that the miscarriage had been in 1821 when Timberlake was at home; but Campbell insisted he had said 1826. Jackson ignored this and insisted that Peggy was chaste and pronounced her vindicated. Vice President Calhoun’s wife was especially upset by Mrs. Eaton, and Jackson came to realize that Calhoun was opposing him through Duff Green’s United States Telegraph. Jackson did not like Calhoun’s support for state nullification. Van Buren organized dinners for the Eatons that other cabinet wives snubbed, and he became Jackson’s closest advisor and his presumed successor. At a cabinet meeting on 27 January 1830 Jackson said that he would not remove Major Eaton from his cabinet and that the others should be in harmony with him or withdraw.
      On 12 September 1829 Jackson to improve commerce ordered without the usual Senate approval Navy Secretary Branch to allow the Mediterranean commander to spend $20,000 for a mission to Sultan Mahmud II of Turkey who had lost his fleet during the Greek revolution.
      The new Congress was to meet on December 7. Jackson’s party had a large majority in the House 136-72 but only a 25-23 edge in the Senate with strong allies such as Speaker Andrew Stevenson of Virginia, James Knox Polk of Tennessee, and Churchill C. Cambreleng of New York in the House and Thomas Hart Benton of Missouri, Edward Livingston of Louisiana, and Levi Woodbury of New Hampshire in the Senate.
      Jackson had lost the 1824 election because of the Electoral College. He worked on the issue and got help from Kendall on the Bank problem. In his first annual address to Congress on December 8 President Jackson began by suggesting that the people should elect the President without the Electoral College so that a majority of the people would govern. He recommended that the Constitution be amended. He warned that corruption can “divert government from its legitimate ends and make it an engine for the support of the few at the expense of the many.”5 He argued that “local feelings and prejudices should be merged in the patriotic determination to promote the great interests of the whole.”6 He denounced the United States Bank as unconstitutional even though the US Supreme Court in McCulloch v. Maryland had upheld it in 1819. Jackson’s foreign policy was “to ask nothing that is not clearly right, and to submit to nothing that is wrong.”7
      Philip Lindsley warned in a commencement address at Cumberland College about the dangers of a sectarian college. He noted that of twenty colleges in Ohio, Kentucky, and Tennessee all were sectarian except two or three. He recommended public colleges that are literary and scientific. Josiah Holbrook promoted popular education through town lyceums arguing that they improve conversation, direct amusements, save expenses, use libraries, provide seminaries for teachers, benefit academies, improve district schools, and compile town histories, maps, geological surveys, and mineral collections. By 1835 there would be about three thousand lyceums to advance popular education.
      Chief Justice John Marshall at a Virginia Convention, despite the opposition of James Monroe and John Randolph, mediated a compromise which allowed property qualifications for voting to be moderated.
      In July 1829 William A. Burt received a patent for the first typewriter. David Walker published An Appeal to the Coloured Citizens of the World in September.
      On August 8 Horatio Allen tested an English steam locomotive at Homesdale, Pennsylvania that went 10 miles per hour on a hemlock-and-iron track for three miles, and on December 22 the Baltimore and Ohio Railroad began taking passengers in a horse-drawn carriage on iron-strap tracks at 12 m.p.h. In October a 14-mile canal connected Chesapeake Bay with the Delaware River. In November the Carpenters Union President Ebenezer Ford became the first member of a labor union to be elected to a state government in the New York Assembly. Manual labor training in the US began at the Fellenberg Manual Labor Institute in Greenfield, Massachusetts. The Tremont hotel in Boston provided imported indoor water closets and had 170 bedrooms. The Rocky Mountain Fur Company organized the first rendezvous for trading with Indians at Pierre’s Hole. Jacob Bigelow was a physician, a botanist, and an architect, and he published his Elements of Technology in 1829.

Jacksonian Democracy 1830-31

      On 29 December 1829 Connecticut Senator Samuel Foot introduced a bill to limit the sale of public lands, which 65 speeches in the US Senate would debate in the next five months. On 18 January 1830 Missouri Senator Thomas Hart Benton accused the northeastern states of trying to repress western growth. The next day South Carolina Senator Robert Y. Haynes began asserting the importance of the states’ independence, hoping to gain westerners as allies.
      On January 26-27 Massachusetts Senator Daniel Webster did not accept states nullifying federal laws and replied that he supported the US Constitution and the Union because it is “the people’s government, made for the people, made by the people, and answerable to the people.” Haynes responded that the states had the right and power to nullify acts of the federal government and even secede. Then Webster concluded his speech affirming “sentiment dear to every true American heart—liberty and union, now and forever, one and inseparable.”8 The other South Carolina Senator William Smith said he was ready to die for states’ rights and warned that other nations had risen and fallen. He suggested it was time for states to decide what their rights are and whether they have the constitutional power to secede from the Union. Edward Livingston on March 9 warned against excessive party rage.
      At the celebration of Jefferson’s birthday on April 13 the guests proposed 24 toasts. Jackson’s was, “Our Union—it must be preserved.” Vice President Calhoun then gave his toast, “The Union—next to our liberty most dear, may we all remember that it can only be preserved by respecting the rights of the States and distributing equally the benefit of the Union.” Haynes spoke of “the glorious stand taken by Virginia in regard to the alien and sedition laws.” Van Buren offered a conciliatory toast, “Mutual forbearance and reciprocal concessions: through their agency the Union was established—the patriotic spirit from which they emanated will forever sustain it.”9
      After sending a commission to study Texas in 1828, on 6 April 1830 the Mexican Congress prohibited any more American colonization or bringing of slaves into Mexico. On May 29 Jacksonians passed the Preemption Act that protected settlers by offering 160 acres for $200 after they had cultivated the public land for 12 months.
      Because Donelson’s wife Emily snubbed Mrs. Eaton, Jackson made Eaton’s brother-in-law William Lewis his private secretary. In the spring rumors indicated that Vice President Calhoun wanted to run for President in 1832. William H. Crawford gave Lewis evidence that Calhoun had proposed that Jackson be punished for his takeover of Florida, and the President turned from Calhoun to Van Buren.
      On March 23 Pennsylvanian Joseph Hemphill in the House had proposed a 1,500-mile road from Buffalo, New York to Washington and New Orleans funded by federal tariffs. James Polk of Tennessee criticized the bill for keeping public land prices high to discourage emigration west so that easterners could pay factory workers low wages, and on April 14 the bill was defeated 88-111. Congress did approve a 6-mile road in Kentucky from Maysville to Lexington; but Van Buren persuaded Jackson to veto it on May 27 because it was not an interstate project. Yet it would have connected the Ohio and Tennessee river systems. On the same day Jackson approved funds for the interstate Cumberland Road that would go to Illinois and a land survey law, and his administration more than doubled the previous spending. Congress upheld states’ rights by turning over completed parts of the road to the states and adjourned on May 31. Jackson complained the bills would cost $1 million, and he vetoed three other bills. The first six US Presidents had vetoed only nine bills. Diplomacy led to Jackson announcing on October 5 that American ports were now open to British ships coming from the British West Indies.
      James Madison in August wrote a letter to Edward Everett that was published in the North American Review in October. He defended the United States against the nullification ideas of southerners, noting that the US Constitution gave many “supreme powers” to the federal government including “powers of war and of taxation, of commerce, and of treaties” and “that the judges of every state shall be bound thereby, anything in the constitution and laws of any state to the contrary notwithstanding.”10
      The Anti-Masonic party held their convention in Philadelphia on September 11. One week later a horse-drawn railcar defeated Peter Cooper’s coal-burning steam locomotive that broke a pulley on the 13-mile B&O railway. On November 26 the American Robert Stevens while in England invented the T-rail track. At this time the US had only 73 miles of railroad tracks compared to 1,277 miles of canals.
      In the fall Jedediah Smith led the first wagon train with milk cows that traveled in six weeks from the western Missouri River 500 miles through Indian country and across the Rocky Mountains. Fur traders competed in Utah. On December 13 British naval Captain Black took over Fort Astoria at the mouth of the Columbia River and renamed it Fort George. John Jacob Astor sold his Pacific Fur Company for $58,000.
      Francis Preston Blair wrote to Duff Green in October asking about starting another newspaper in Washington. Kendall and Van Buren approved, and Blair began the Globe on December 7. Green was concerned that with Jackson’s poor health Van Buren might be the next president. President Jackson asked Congress to merge Biddle’s Bank into the US Treasury and prohibit it from loaning money or buying property.
      P. W. Grayson published his book, Vice Unmasked: An Essay: Being a Consideration of the Influence of Law Upon the Moral Essence of Man, with Other Reflections. He criticized the legal system that still included outmoded feudal laws. He suggested that the law should focus on physical attacks and let humans “seek, by the light of his own conscience, in the joyous genial climate of his own free spirit, for all the rules of conduct.”
      By 1830 the United States had 330 state banks circulating $61 million in bank notes including $13 million by the US Bank. Banking helped increase the sale of public land to nearly two million acres per year. The 1830 census counted 12,866,020 Americans including 500,000 Methodists and 150,000 more immigrants in the previous ten years. After 1831 immigration into the United States would never be under 30,000 a year. Population in the states west of the Appalachians increased from 7% to 28% while those on the Atlantic coast decreased. In 1830 Niles’ Register reported that 76 of 321 steamships had been lost because of accidents such as explosions. Rhode Island, Connecticut, New Jersey, Virginia, South Carolina, and Louisiana would retain property and tax-payer qualifications for voting in the 1830s and beyond.

      On the first day of 1831 William Lloyd Garrison began publishing his abolitionist Liberator newspaper in Boston. In August the Baptist minister William Miller made public his prophecy that Christ would return by 1843. Christian missionaries went west to convert the Nez Perce and Flathead Indians.
      On February 2 Senator Thomas Hart Benton made a speech opposing renewal of the US Bank’s charter because he considered it “too great and powerful to be tolerated in a government of free and equal laws.”11 He argued that gold and silver are the best currency because they suit working men. He noted that the Bank was authorized to own property worth $55 million and could issue notes for $35 million more, and it kept public money that was $26 million per year. The seven directors were not elected. He complained that the Bank subjugated and colluded with the government, facilitated public loans by substituting paper money, started and prolonged unnecessary wars, and made the rich richer and the poor poorer. He called it an “anti-republican monopoly” that compels reception of paper money, discredits other banks, holds land receiving rents and retaining tenants, establishes branches in the states without their consent, exempts stockholders in bank failures, has foreign partners, and it is exempted from law when violating its charter. Blair’s Globe reprinted his entire speech.
      Malay thieves had seized the merchant ship Friendship at Quallah Battoo and killed two American merchant sailors on Sumatra on 7 February 1831. After many complaints from American merchants, eventually Jackson sent 260 marines on the USS Potomac under Captain John Downes, and one year later on February 6-9 they killed about 450 people and destroyed the town of Quallah Batoo without even finding out who had committed the crime.
      On February 17 Vice President Calhoun published in Duff Green’s Telegraph and as a 52-page pamphlet his “Address to the People of the United States,” which was his correspondence with Jackson on the Seminole War during the conquest of Spanish Florida. Green and others assumed that Jackson had given his permission, but Eaton had intentionally not shown it to the President. Four days later the Globe castigated Calhoun’s publication as a wanton firebrand that would cause mischief. Jackson felt that Calhoun had destroyed himself. Calhoun on March 2 visited John Quincy Adams who lost his confidence in the nullifier. Calhoun in February persuaded the Congress to make Green their printer, and his Telegraph would get more than $70,000 a year in the next five years.
      President Jackson had pews in a Presbyterian and an Episcopal church, but in his efforts to support evangelizing Indians he did not favor any sects. In a letter on April 4 he wrote,

I am no sectarian, though a lover of the Christian religion.
I do not believe that any who shall be so fortunate
as to be received to heaven,
through the atonement of our blessed Saviour,
will be asked whether they belonged to the Presbyterian,
the Methodist, the Episcopalian Baptist, or Roman Catholic.
All Christians are brethren, and all true Christians
know they are such because they love one another.
A true Christian loves all,
immaterial to what sect or church he may belong.12

      In early April the Secretary of State Van Buren persuaded War Secretary Eaton that they both should resign. Eaton resigned on the 7th followed by Van Buren four days later. The Globe announced their resignations on the 20th. Jackson forced the other cabinet officials to resign except for Postmaster General Barry. Ingham and Branch resigned on the 19th, but Berrien not until June 15. Jackson in May appointed Levy Woodbury for the navy and Edward Livingston secretary of state, followed by Roger Taney as attorney general in July and Lewis Cass as war secretary and Louis McLane at treasury in August. Taney was expert on law and became Jackson’s closest advisor, and McLane was adept at finances and came up with a plan that Jackson liked to reform the US Bank and pay off the national debt by the end of the first term.
      Van Buren asked to be minister to England. Jackson gave him a recess appointment, and he left for Europe. When his nomination came up, the Senate was equally divided, allowing Vice President Calhoun to break the tie. In February 1832 Van Buren learned that his nomination had been rejected. Jackson arranged for the Democratic National Convention to be in May, and they nominated for Vice President Van Buren who returned to Washington in July to support Jackson in the US Bank controversy.
      Duff Green at a meeting of Democrats in Washington had tried to get them to renominate Calhoun for Vice President; but they rejected that and abandoned Green. He and Calhoun blamed Van Buren rather than Jackson whom they still supported for re-election. Green also criticized Major Lewis and Amos Kendall in the “Kitchen Cabinet,” a term that was coined in December by US Bank President Nicholas Biddle who wrote that those in the kitchen were predominating over the parlor with their advice for the President.
      In June the first Annual Convention of the People of Color met for five days in Philadelphia where African women formed the Female Literary Society. The free blacks complained that they were discriminated against and persecuted. Nonetheless the Convention opposed migration to Africa and began raising funds for an industrial college in New Haven. They hoped that education would remove the prejudices.
      On July 26 Calhoun wrote his “Fort Hill Address” arguing again that the states should have the right to nullify a federal law. He warned that the Jacksonian idea of “majority rule” can subject the minority. In response Adams wrote in his Memoirs that Calhoun disappointed him and that he expected only evil from him. Edward Everett wrote to Clay asking if they should impeach Jackson. Clay replied that he believed President Jackson was liable to impeachment but that he was too popular to bring it about. Jackson suffered from worse illness in October.
      Nat Turner led a slave rebellion in Southampton, Virginia that began on August 21 with 70 blacks who killed more than 55 whites and nearly as many slaves, but a force of 3,000 men put down the revolt after two days. Twenty rebels were executed, and Turner was hanged.
      Anti-Masons captured 150 of the 490 seats in the Massachusetts General Assembly in 1831. On September 26 the Anti-Masonic Party met in Baltimore and named the ex-Federalist William Wirt of Maryland as their candidate for President and Amos Ellmaker of Pennsylvania for Vice President.
      The first nominating convention of a major US party, the National Republicans, was held December 12-16 with only 135 delegates at Baltimore. They nominated Henry Clay for President and John Sargeant of Pennsylvania for Vice President. Clay claimed he was no longer a paid director and counselor for the bank, but Biddle had just given him a loan of $5,000. The National Republican Party, had the support of the business classes. Both Wirt and Sargeant had acted as attorneys for the Cherokees, and both these parties opposed the Indian removal.
      The US Congress reconvened on December 5, and the next day the US Senate approved the July 4 treaty with France in which the French agreed to pay their $5 million debt in six installments. The United States imported the most merchandise from France in 1831 and was second in exports to France.
      On December 7 Jackson in his annual message to Congress mentioned his recent achievements in foreign policy. Differences with Spain had been settled in February; a treaty with Austria had opened up trade; and relations with Great Britain had improved. The minister William C. Rives had negotiated a settlement of the French debt to the US as $4.6 million to be paid over four years with 4% interest. Jackson’s administration also obtained $12,500,000 in indemnities from other nations that John Quincy Adams had not been able to collect. The United States had been excluded from the Black Sea, but Turkey agreed to a treaty that granted most-favored-nation status. A similar treaty was signed with Russia on December 18. On the 12th John Quincy Adams in the House of Representatives had submitted petitions to ban slavery in the District of Columbia.
      Attorney General Roger Taney had suggested changes to the annual message related to the Bank, and Jackson was startled that McLane’s annual report had recommended rechartering the US Bank. Jackson wrote to Van Buren in London that it was “an honest difference of opinion,” but he was still free and uncommitted. Jackson allowed his cabinet to speak honestly until he made a decision, but then he expected them to stop opposing it or resign. Several people criticized McLane’s report especially Van Buren. McLane was angry at the Globe for not supporting him and tried to get the editor Blair replaced, but Jackson would not let Blair resign. His Congressional Globe would receive $241,000 by 1837 from the government for printing the record of the Congress’s debates. During that period the Daily National Intelligencer got $345,000 and the United States Telegraph $301,000. Calhoun used the Telegraph to defend slavery which he wrote was “indispensable to republican government.”
      Also in 1831 locomotives began using cowcatchers. Joseph Henry in Albany, New York used electromagnetism to invent an electric motor. Rossini’s opera Cinderella was the most popular musical entertainment in New York City. There John and Peter Delmonico opened a restaurant with more choices of food on a menu. Samuel Francis Smith wrote new words to the British national anthem and called it “America” beginning, “ My country ‘tis of thee, Sweet land of liberty.”
      Stephen Smith published in Philadelphia The Working Man’s Manuel: A New Theory of Political Economy, on the Principle of Production the Source of Wealth. He observed that unequal property in the US is caused by the monopoly of land and monopoly of stock or public debt. He wrote,

A wise, prudent, and virtuous people, therefore,
in order to continue free, will never lose sight of PRINCIPLE;
and as parties never can be wholly demolished
in a country where government is founded on equality of rights,
it well deserves its attention whether
that party ought not to be embraced and cherished,
which is built upon the grand fundamental doctrines
of INDUSTRY, MERIT, GENERAL HAPPINESS,
the distribution of property
on the principle
of the WORTH OF LABOR,
and the intelligible, virtue, and comfort of the whole people.13

Jackson & the US Bank

      Nicholas Biddle had been President of the Bank of the United States since 1823. Jackson blamed congressmen for accepting cash from Biddle and corporations, and he accused Biddle of helping Adams in the election of 1824 by giving out “golden favors in 25 states.” Henry Clay advised Biddle that Jackson might dissolve the Bank after the 1832 election; but if he did so before it, then Clay could defeat him. Although it had been chartered to 1836, Biddle agreed to ask for renewal of the charter in January 1832. They also had the support of the high-paid lawyer Daniel Webster and George McDuffie of South Carolina. Republicans introduced its renewal on 6 January 1832. On February 23 the House authorized a committee to investigate the US Bank. The Senate passed the bill 28-20 on June 11 and the House 107-85 on July 3 with help from northern Democrats.
      Martin Van Buren had just returned to Washington and on 8 July 1832 met with President Jackson who told him that the Bank “is trying to kill me, but I will kill it.”14 Jackson agreed with Jefferson that the US Bank was unconstitutional, and on July 10 he vetoed the renewal of its charter and sent a message to the Senate. This veto is historically significant because it was the first time a president used it without giving the reason the bill was unconstitutional. Although it was a private bank with directors and about 4,000 stockholders, the US Bank could use public funds free of interest and act commercially. The Bank had issued about 40% of all bank notes in circulation, and its $35 million in capital was over twice the annual federal expenditures.
      Jackson was concerned that foreigners had $8,405,500 worth of shares and that westerners, who had much wealth in land with little stock in the Bank, owed much to Eastern and foreign investors. The US Bank also controlled 25 branch offices. Yet Biddle made sure that it held a specie (coins) reserve worth half the value of issued notes compared to less than a quarter held by other banks. Biddle knew he had the power to destroy other banks, but he acted conservatively. Yet some believed the US Bank was a monopolistic fourth branch of government, and Biddle did give retainers and loans to editors and elected officials of both parties. Jackson’s veto message was drafted and revised by Kendall with advice from Taney, Donelson, and Woodbury, and it included the following:

   It is to be regretted that the rich and powerful too often
bend the acts of government to their selfish purposes.
Distinctions in society will always exist
under every just government.
Equality of talents, of education, or of wealth
can not be produced by human institutions.
In the full enjoyment of the gifts of Heaven
and the fruits of superior industry, economy, and virtue,
every man is equally entitled to protection by law;
but when the laws undertake to add
to these natural and just advantages artificial distinctions,
to grant titles, gratuities, and exclusive privileges,
to make the rich richer and the potent more powerful,
the humble members of society—
the farmers, mechanics, and laborers—who have neither
the time nor the means of securing like favors to themselves,
have a right to complain of the injustice of their Government.
There are no necessary evils in government.
Its evils exist only in its abuses.
If it would confine itself to equal protection,
and, as Heaven does its rains, shower its favors alike
on the high and the low, the rich and the poor,
it would be an unqualified blessing.
In the act before me there seems to be a wide
and unnecessary departure from these just principles.
   Nor is our Government to be maintained
or our Union preserved by invasions
of the rights and powers of the several States.
In thus attempting to make our General Government strong
we make it weak.15

      Biddle had 30,000 copies of Jackson’s veto message printed. In the senatorial debate that followed Clay and Benton became so angry at each other that they nearly had to be restrained. Webster, who had recently asked Biddle for a loan of $12,000, and other National Republicans accused Jackson of setting the poor class against the rich, and they noted that the US Supreme Court had unanimously upheld the constitutionality of the Bank. Yet some capitalists such as those on Wall Street in New York opposed the US Bank in Philadelphia as did many “wildcat” bankers in the West. Webster criticized Jackson for confusing distinctions and turning “all constitutional restraints into mere matters of opinion” and that he was destroying “any practical limitations on the powers of the respective branches of the government.”16
      Jackson appealed to people who agreed with his hard-money position and did not want paper currency that was often used to exploit them. Numerous banks issued their own notes, and far from the banks they were discounted. They were easy to counterfeit. People resented that the government allowed banks charters that gave them the privilege of creating currency. Without the US Bank the local banks could be even more irresponsible. The Senate lacked two-thirds to overturn the veto on a 22-19 vote on 13 July 1832. Jackson’s decision to end the US Bank has been called the most significant presidential veto in American history. In the election campaign Biddle used the US Bank to spend $80,000 printing materials to try to defeat Jackson and another $20,000 without any accounting.
      William Gouge supported Jacksonian democracy and hard money publishing in February 1833 in his Short History of Paper Money and Banking, which was also serialized in the Evening Post and the Globe and with a cheap edition in 1835. He wrote,

Against corporations of every kind,
the objection may be brought that
whatever power is given to them is so much
taken from either the government or the people.
As the object of charters is
to give to members of companies powers
which they would not possess in their individual capacity,
the very existence of moneyed corporations
is incompatible with equality of rights.17

Gouge observed that banks over-issue notes, causing speculative fever and rising prices. Credit expands causing inflation. When banks call in loans, people start runs on banks that lead to panic and collapse. Then many become bankrupt while a few speculators take over the earnings and savings of the less frugal and industrious. Treasury Secretary Levi Woodbury hired Gouge as an advisor in early 1835.
      Jackson wanted to remove deposits from the US Bank which had $79 million in assets and only $37 million in liabilities. Given that solvency Treasury Secretary McLane refused to remove the federal government’s $10 million in deposits. Polk proposed a bill to sell government shares, but the House of Representatives rejected it in March 1833. Blair told Jackson that Biddle was using money to break down the government by spreading around money to people without character or money. Jackson replied that he would remove the deposits, and Kendall promised to defend the measure in the Globe.
      On 29 May 1833 Jackson moved Louis McLane to the State Department, and he appointed William J. Duane at Treasury; but he also declined to remove from states deposits he considered safe. Kendall reported to Jackson that many state banks would take the money. At a cabinet meeting on September 18 Jackson said,

The divine right of kings and the prerogative authority of rulers
have fallen before the intelligence of the age.
Standing armies and military chieftains can no longer
uphold tyranny against the resistance of public opinion.
The mass of the people have more to fear
from combinations of the wealthy and professional classes—
from an aristocracy which through the influence of riches
and talents, insidiously employed, sometimes succeeds
in preventing political institutions, however well adjusted,
from securing the freedom of the citizen.18

He was concerned that the US Bank had concentrated too much power. On September 20 Blair reported in the Globe that the government would stop depositing its funds in the US Bank in October. Jackson explained that this would stop the renewal of the US Bank’s charter. On September 23 Jackson dismissed Duane, who had refused to resign, and he appointed Roger Taney interim Treasury Secretary. Taney transferred $2.3 million in deposits to state banks run by friends in the Democratic Party that opponents called “pet banks.” The ratio of paper money to specie had risen from 3 to 1 in 1828 to 8.5 to 1 in 1833. In November the Girard Bank of Philadelphia and the Manhattan Bank of New York each presented drafts for $500,000, and withdrawals caused a run of $350,000 on the Savannah branch of the US Bank. Biddle had reduced US Bank loans by about $4 million, and he ordered over $9 million in reductions by January 1834.
      The US Senate led by National Republicans Clay and Webster and the nullifier Calhoun met in December. Taney’s report blamed Biddle and was opposed in the Senate which refused to confirm Taney. Clay persuaded the Senate to reject the report and to ask for Jackson’s paper that had been read to his cabinet, but Jackson refused. On December 26 Clay proposed resolutions to censure President Jackson for destroying the American republic, and he spoke on it over three days. Senators Calhoun and Webster also spoke in favor of the censure denouncing executive despotism. Missouri Senator Benton, who was called “Old Bullion,” supported Jackson as did Van Buren’s friend John Forsythe of Georgia.
      In the fall of 1833 the number of deposit banks went from 7 to 22, and by January 1834 they had $9 million in federal deposits while those in the US Bank dropped to $4 million. By 1836 the 33 deposit banks would have $28 million in deposits and the US Bank none. In January 1834 Jackson had Secretary of War Lewis Cass order Biddle to turn over funds and accounts on Revolutionary War veterans’ pensions. When Biddle refused, pension payments were suspended. The House Ways and Means Committee reprimanded the Bank, though the Senate supported the Bank.
      On 28 March 1834 the US Senate passed Clay’s censure resolution 26-20, the only one of an American President. However, on April 4 Polk presented four resolutions on the Bank in the House which all passed by the following votes: they were against charter renewal 134-82, against restoring the deposits 118-103, for continuing deposits in state banks 117-105, and for investigating the US Bank 175-42. Kendal told a wavering Congressman,

This is a struggle to maintain a government of the people
against the most heartless of all aristocracies, that of money.
Yield now, and the Bank of the United States
will henceforth be the governing power
whatever may be the form of our institutions.19

On April 14 Clay compared “the Whigs of the present day” to those who had resisted King George III, and the National Republicans and the Anti-Mason parties soon coalesced into the Whig Party.
      On April 21 Jackson and Treasury Secretary Taney worked on currency reform, allowing the Secretary to remove deposits from any bank, having banks submit monthly reports, permitting the government to examine bank records, and issuing no more notes under $5. Taney’s report was sent to the House Ways and Means Committee. The Senate did not confirm Taney, the first cabinet nominee to be rejected. Taney had invested $5,000 in the Union Bank of Maryland during the removal. Levi Woodbury became Secretary of the Treasury on July 1 and served until the end of Van Buren’s presidency. He used deposits to regulate their pet banks. The gold to silver ratio had been established at 15 to 1 by the first Coinage Act in 1792, but the commercial rate had become 15.5 to 1. The Coinage Act passed on June 28 changed the ratio to 16 to 1.
      Biddle’s reducing loans added up to $4 million more than the pet bank withdrawals and weakened the economy in the summer. After complaints from the Journal of Commerce and financiers in New York and Boston, Biddle restored Bank loans in September. Although the US Bank reduced its loans by 25%, by September it had increased its specie reserves to $15 million.
      In March 1835 Treasury Secretary Woodbury prohibited deposit banks from accepting bank notes under $5 as payments owed the government. Previously the sale of public land had never exceeded $5 million in a year, but the land boom brought in $15 million in 1835 and $25 million in 1836. Woodbury increased the specie requirements of the banks, and their loans and discounts only went up from $47 million in January 1835 to $65 million in February 1836.
      Expanding the money supply helped the economy boom from the fall of 1834 to spring 1837. In February 1836 Biddle got a state charter from Pennsylvania for the US Bank; but his speculation in cotton futures failed, and he retired in 1839. The United States Bank of Pennsylvania declared bankruptcy in 1841.
      Although Jackson did not like banks, in the last five years of his administration their number doubled. He tried to increase the use of coins by stopping the pet banks from issuing paper currency in small denominations, but people found paper money more convenient despite the risk. As land in South Carolina became less fertile, cotton production declined. Many people moved west, and by 1840 a third of those born in South Carolina had left the state. The radical McDuffie blamed the 40% tariffs for costing cotton growers 40%, though their loss of income was probably about 20%.

Jackson, Tariff & Nullification in 1832

      On 14 July 1832 the US Congress passed another protectionist tariff that extended duties on textiles, hemp, and iron but it lowered the rates to that of the 1824 tariff. South Carolina had become more dependent on cotton and slave labor and strenuously protested this tariff. Their Governor James Hamilton organized the nullifiers with support from Calhoun, and they defeated the Unionists in the election. Jackson heard rumors of a possible mutiny among military officers in Charleston, and on September 17 he ordered some federal troops sent to South Carolina in October. During the campaign Jackson attended a Democratic barbecue in Lexington, Clay’s home town, but Clay followed the tradition of declining invitations. Gov. Hamilton called for a special session of the South Carolina legislature which by a two-thirds majority authorized a nullification convention at Columbia on November 19. On the 24th their Ordinance of Nullification declared the tariffs of 1828 and 1832 unconstitutional and nullified in South Carolina starting in February 1833. If the federal government tried to coerce them, they planned to secede from the Union. Hamilton persuaded the legislature to approve an army of 12,000 volunteers. South Carolina elected Robert Y. Hayne governor. He took office on December 13 and ordered 25,000 volunteers to train at home. Calhoun had been elected to the US Senate and resigned as Vice President on December 28. In South Carolina medals were struck inscribed “John C. Calhoun, First President of the Southern Confederacy.”
      Jackson had Edward Livingston draft a response to nullification, and the President issued his Proclamation to the People of South Carolina on December 10 which includes the statement: “Disunion by armed force is treason”20 and this thesis:

I consider, then, the power to annul a law of the United States,
assumed by one State,
incompatible with the existence of the Union,
contradicted expressly by the letter of the Constitution,
unauthorized by its spirit,
inconsistent with every principle on which it was founded,
and destructive of the great object for which it was formed.21

      South Carolina replied on December 20 arguing that Jackson was not authorized to interfere in the affairs of the states nor could he order them to repeal their legislation, that his opinions were dangerous and could lead to “concentration of all powers in the chief executive.” Thus they believed that each state has the right “to secede peaceably from the Union.”22
      In January 1833 the Verplanck tariff bill to reduce the rates was introduced in the House of Representatives. Jackson sent a long message to the US Congress on January 16 which included his Force Bill and passages from the Ordinance of Nullification. He argued that the federal government had the constitutional authority to regulate trade and that the states had formed a government, not a league. He concluded his Message to the Senate and House Regarding South Carolina's Nullification Ordinance with the hope they would agree that “the Constitution and the laws are supreme and the Union indissoluble.” The legislatures of Pennsylvania, Indiana, Illinois, and most of the northern states passed resolutions confirming the proclamation and condemning nullification, and no legislature supported South Carolina. Jackson ordered Unionist militia of volunteers and federal troops to Charleston harbor with General Winfield Scott. The President also asked Congress to call up federal troops, and Calhoun opposed the Force Bill which the Globe called “a collection bill.” On January 21 the nullifiers met and postponed the implementation until the tariff was acted on by Congress.
      Senator Calhoun called the “Bloody” Force Bill a declaration of war against South Carolina and a violation of the Constitution. After Calhoun and his supporters walked out, the Senate passed the Force Bill 32-1 (John Tyler’s lone no vote); the House did so 148-48 on March 1. That day Congress also passed Clay’s Distribution Bill that shared federal revenues from public land sales with states for internal construction, public schools, and African colonization; but Jackson used his pocket veto, preferring with Benton to please westerners by selling public land at low prices. On February 9 Clay had offered a protectionist tariff that reduced the tax rate from 50% in 1833 gradually to 38% in 1841 and to 20% in mid-1842. This compromise passed the House on February 26 and the Senate with Calhoun’s support on March 1. That day Congress adjourned, and Jackson signed the Force Bill and the tariff on March 2. This ended the crisis for a time, though the South Carolina legislature did act to nullify Jackson’s Force Bill on March 18.
      Virginians at a Constitutional Convention in 1829 had discussed the declining value of Negro slaves and whether they should abolish slavery, and in 1831 and 1832 the Virginia legislature continued to debate this issue. On 16 January 1832 Thomas Jefferson Randolph introduced an emancipation plan in the Virginia House of Delegates. He warned that slavery could cause the dissolution of the Union and that northern armies with black soldiers might invade Virginia and arm the slaves. Thus he proposed that they should free all slaves as they became adults and ship them to Africa; but his plan was defeated. Thomas Dew defended the slave economy, and in 1832 he published his influential A Review of the Debates in the Legislature of 1831 and 1832. He claimed that it benefited blacks and made whites more responsible and benevolent.
      After Congressman William Stanberry accused Sam Houston of rigging an Indian deal, Houston clubbed him on April 13. The District of Columbia fined him $500, but Jackson remitted the fine.
      On May 9 the US Senate debated whether to repeal the postage on all newspapers, but Jacksonian senators defeated it 23-22. In 1832 the Democratic Party held its convention May 21-23 and adopted the two-thirds rule for nomination that lasted a century. Also the states had to vote by the unit rule giving all their votes to one candidate. Jackson believed he might die in his second term and decided to make Van Buren his successor instead of Calhoun. The convention accepted the incumbent Jackson and Van Buren for Vice President. The Democrats’ convention had 334 delegates from 23 states, but the Anti-Mason’s and the National Republicans each had no more than 168 delegates from 18 states.
      A cholera epidemic spread down the Hudson River into New York City in June and took 4,000 lives. In late July and early August cholera also infected Washington and Virginia.
      In the campaign Blair printed and distributed massive copies of the Globe while Kendall managed Jackson’s campaign and used local Hickory Clubs to help the state parties. The Republican nominee Henry Clay did not even try to get votes in the southern states.
      On December 4 President Jackson presented a long annual message detailing his achievements during the year while praising the free enterprise of citizens and help from state governments. In 1832 the national debt had been reduced from $24,322,235 to $7,001,699, but between 1830 and 1838 state debts would increase by 660%. Jackson received 54% of the popular vote and on the 5th was re-elected by the electoral college with 219 votes to 49 for Republican Henry Clay who got 34% of the popular vote. Anti-Masonic candidate William Wirt received 8% with 7 electoral votes from Vermont. Virginia’s state-rights Governor John Floyd won 11 electoral votes from South Carolina. Van Buren was also easily elected Vice President.
      Frances Trollope, mother of the novelist, with her husband visited the United States from 1827 to 1831, and after returning to England she published in 1832 her criticism of American society in her Domestic Manners of the Americans. She observed that anyone’s son could become equal to any other and spurred his exertions, but she felt that “coarse familiarity, untempered by any shadow of respect, which is assumed by the grossest and the lowest in their intercourse with the highest and most refined” was an evil that “more than balances its advantages.”23 In response the journalist Calvin Colton wrote his Manual for Emigrants to America to answer her charges arguing that America with grades and ranks had society as good as anywhere else, but precedence is not based on “adventitious rank” or birth as in Europe. He advised those who are unwilling to live honestly to stay away.
      Joseph Campbell was president of the University of North Carolina and published his Letters on Popular Education writing, “There is perhaps no art or science in which greater improvement has been made than in that of education in primary schools.”
      The price of slaves in the southern states increased about 25%. Virginia banned free Negroes from meeting for teaching reading and writing, and those convicted could get 20 lashes, and whites teaching them could be fined.

Jacksonian Democracy & Whigs in 1833-34

      While states’ rights were prominent, in February 1833 the US Supreme Court still led by Marshall in Barron v. Baltimore unanimously decided the city using the “takings” clause of the 5th amendment had damaged a private wharf and so had to pay the owner $4,500. This time Marshall did not favor the federal government, and it would be a precedent until the 14th amendment gained influence.
      In Jackson’s second inaugural address on March 4 he emphasized the importance of the Union for achieving and maintaining independence and liberty. During his first term they built 300 miles of railroad and 50,000 tons of steamships as nearly 200 new banks provided cash for investments. Cotton production increased more than 30% with 400,000 more spindles. About 130,000 immigrants arrived, increasing New York City’s population by 100,000. Removing the Chickasaws and Choctaws from Mississippi enabled 100,000 planters with slaves to exploit fresher land for growing cotton. About 7,000 Choctaws stayed in Mississippi.
      On May 6 a former navy officer Robert Randolph tweaked Jackson’s nose which bled, and Jackson was prevented from using his cane. Years later after he was tried, Jackson asked that Randolph be pardoned. On June 6 Jackson left for a 4-week tour of the mid-Atlantic states and New England similar to Monroe’s route in 1818. His three days in New York City cost their taxpayers $9,000. He attended a parade in Boston on June 21.
      On the first three days of April American settlers met at San Felipe de Austin in Texas. They agreed to make Texas independent of Mexico, and they drafted a document based on the United States Constitution. Stephen Austin did not agree to secession but promised to go to Mexico City with their proposals. In the spring American diplomats complained that tariff duties in Cuba and Puerto Rico were offensive, and they threatened retaliation. This would not work even though the US did get tonnage duties from Spain reduced in 1832 and claims with Spain settled in 1834.
      The Oberlin Collegiate Institute opened in May as the first co-educational college in the United States. That month Edward Everett spoke in a Boston church asking for support for Kenyon College in Ohio. The Society of Friends founded the first Quaker college in Haverford, Pennsylvania. The Phoenix Society in New York City provided a library and job bank and urged other Negroes to go to school. James Madison became the president of the American Colonization Society that promoted the emigration of free blacks.
      The strike by the journeymen carpenters in New York led to the General Trades’ Union of New York in August and then the National Trades’ Union in 1834 that fought for a ten-hour day and lasted until the panic of 1837. Their first president Ely Moore gave an address on December 2. He directed publication of the weekly National Trades’ Union and would serve in the US Congress 1835-39.
      Benjamin Day in New York City started the first penny daily 4-page newspaper, The Sun, on September 1. That month the South Carolina railroad reached 136 miles making it the longest railroad in the world. Van Buren’s law partner Benjamin Butler became Attorney General on November 15.
      William Apess was a Pequot who became a Methodist minister and published his autobiographical A Son of the Forest in 1831. In October 1833 he organized the first temperance society for Maspee Indians, and he led the revolt against the white supervision on the reservation at Cape Cod.
      In December 1833 the American Anti-Slavery Society was formed and did not accept women, but Lucretia Mott and women in Philadelphia formed the Female Anti-Slavery Society.
      When the US Congress met that December, eight southern Senators opposed the Jacksonian Democrats. In his annual message to Congress on December 3 Jackson claimed prosperity at home and abroad. In foreign policy he adhered to his slogan to seek only what is right and not to submit to anything that is wrong. He described efforts to get the French to pay the US its debt from the Napoleonic Wars. He hoped that his appointment of Edward Livingston as the American minister to France would speed things along.
      He reported that taxes, customs, and sale of public lands had increased revenues to over $32 million, and with expenditures of $25 million they reduced the national debt to $4,760,082 which he hoped would be eliminated in 1834. In a new era without debt he urged the economic appropriation of funds. He criticized the US Bank for using its money for “electioneering” and for the distress caused by its reducing its loans while it retains unprecedented hard money.
      Jackson noted that since the end of the Black Hawk War, relations with the Indians were peaceful. He believed that their removal west of the Mississippi had prevented their destruction. Again he asked to eliminate the Electoral College so that the election of the President would be more democratic, and he suggested a single term of four or six years. The next day he explained his veto of the land bill because he believed it would keep land prices too high and because like Jefferson he opposed selling public land for revenue. On December 24 Jackson submitted seven treaties made between May 1832 and October 1833 to Congress involving Seminoles, Cherokees, Creeks, Apalachicola, united Ottoes and Missourians, and Pawnees.
      John Deere in Grand Detour, Illinois produced the first plow with a steel blade and polished moldboard that could plow dense soils in the West. On December 31 Obed Hussey got a patent for a horse-drawn grain reaper. The Presbyterian minister Henry R. Spaulding introduced the South American potato in the Idaho Territory. Potatoes were already a staple crop in Ireland and were becoming popular in the US.
      Also in 1833 Thomas Dyott imposed paternalistic moral rules on his workers at the Kensington Glass Works in Philadelphia. Congregationalists had backed the American revolution and were supported by a tax in Massachusetts until 1833 when the state ended its support for the last established religion in the United States.
      Edward Livingston worked on a code of criminal law and procedure when he was in the Louisiana legislature 1923-29; but they did not adopt the new code. He published it in English and French in 1833, and it was soon reprinted in England, France, and Germany. The Livingstone Code of Reform and Prison Discipline abolished executions and emphasized rehabilitation and rewarding good behavior more than punishment. He recommended providing for the poor, employing the idle, and educating the ignorant.
      Mathew Carey published his Appeal to the Wealthy of the Land in which he asked them to help the poor. He disagreed with the opinions that everyone willing and able to work can find employment and that the poor may always by industry, prudence, and economy support themselves without charitable aid.
      After the Black Hawk War many settlers began to move into the Michigan and Wisconsin territories in 1833, and the population of Chicago grew quickly.
      Between 1820 and 1830 the United States doubled its imported coffee from Brazil, and in the next decade US imports from South America expanded from $5 million to $8.6 million while its exports went from $4.6 million to $5.7 million.
      During a labor strike for better pay on the Chesapeake and Ohio Canal the Irish workers in two Maryland counties came into conflict as workers from Cork tried to keep out others from Longford. On 28 January 1834 the Maryland legislature asked the federal government to intervene. The next day Jackson became the first US President to send federal troops to control a civil disorder. Again he was accused of violating states’ rights. On February 4 he sent a note to Congress complaining that the US Bank had not delivered books, papers, and funds in accordance with an act of Congress. On February 17 Cornelius Van Ness signed a treaty for the US with Spain which agreed to pay $600,000 which was half what the US had demanded.
      During the Bank crisis the US Senate censured Jackson on March 28. He responded with a long protest that Taney helped him write on April 15 which asserted the President’s duty “to see that the law is faithfully executed.” Hearing a rumor that a conspiracy in Baltimore was going to raise 5,000 troops to destroy the President, Jackson threatened to hang them all. He had received a death threat in February and got others in April and October.
      In the voting April 8-10 for mayor and city council in New York some men drove Whig Party observers away in the Democratic Sixth Ward, and a Whig parade was attacked there on the second day. On the 10th thousands rioted and clubbed the mayor until 1,200 soldiers restored order. Democrats barely won the mayoral race while Whigs gained control of the council.
      Former New York Mayor Philip Hone was a wealthy merchant, and in the early spring he may have been the first to call Jackson the “imperial President.” He left behind a descriptive diary of the era 1828-51. On April 15 Daniel Webster used the “imperial” term in a letter to Benjamin Welles.
      Henry Clay led the opposition to the President and on April 14 accepted the name of “Whigs” for the new political party that included Senators Webster and Calhoun as well as those opposing Jackson’s attack on the US bank. By summer most leaders opposing Jackson were calling themselves Whigs. Well organized Whig parties arose in New York, Massachusetts, New Jersey, Virginia, North Carolina, and Kentucky. In 1833 and 1834 two land offices in northern Mississippi sold about 5 million acres at low prices the Jacksonians liked. Jackson in June asked state legislatures to remove senators who had voted to censure him, and 15 of the 26 were gone by the end of his second term.
      On June 20 the US Congress declared “Indian Country” west of the Mississippi River excluding the states of Missouri and Louisiana and the Arkansas Territory. Ten days later the Department of Indian Affairs was started to administer that Indian land.
      On June 21 Cyrus McCormick received a US patent for his improvements of the automatic grain-reaping machine his father developed by making it less noisy so that it would not frighten the horses. Cyrus was not ready to begin manufacturing because he was running his father’s iron foundry. He began selling them in 1842 and got a patent for an improve reaper in January 1845. Thomas Green Fessenden published his Complete Farmer and Rural Economist which became a best seller.
      On July 4 the state of Massachusetts abolished imprisonment for debt, and that day Frederick Robinson gave an oration in support of the workers who do the producing. He began by affirming that equality is liberty and democracy and explained that the ballot box is their weapon,

For the spirit of democracy, which is equality, teaches us that
the laborer, the producer, and not the talented, the rich,
and the learned, are the benefactors of mankind.
It is the laborer that provides us with food and clothing,
that builds our houses, ships, and factories,
digs the canals, levels the railroads, and procures for us
all the necessities, conveniences, and luxuries of life.24

      Also on July 4 the Annual Convention of People of Color declared that day for prayer to contemplate the condition of Negroes to celebrate the seventh anniversary of New York abolishing slavery.
      The abolitionist activities of the Tappan brothers led to four days of riots in New York City starting on July 7. Mobs attacked homes, shops, and churches of free blacks and abolitionists, destroying sixty buildings including six churches.
      On August 1 the British abolished slavery in their empire; but it would not take effect until 1838, and government would compensate owners with £20 million.
      A newspaper report in Charlestown, Massachusetts about a woman being held against her will in the Ursuline convent provoked a riot on August 11 that destroyed the convent and their school, though no nuns or children were injured. Henry Blair was the first black man to receive a US patent he got for a corn harvester on October 14.
      That summer Jackson at a constitutional convention in Tennessee toasted “gold and silver coinage” which he believed would “protect the labor of our country without the aid of a national bank.”
      In Philadelphia unemployed whites became angry at Negroes being hired and their churches making noise. A clash erupted during a large anti-slavery meeting in October. About 500 whites went to the Negro quarter and drove away blacks from their amusements. The next night they beat Negroes and destroyed their property, but on the third night the mayor and sheriff led a posse that dispersed the mob.
      On November 4 William Leggett wrote an editorial in the New York Evening Post against the US Bank, arguing that the privilege of self-government is often molested by power and wealth that steal from the many for the few. He wrote about

a class continually gaining ground in the community,
who desire to monopolize the advantages of the government,
to hedge themselves round with exclusive privileges,
and elevate themselves
at the expense of the great body of the people.25

      The Democrats regained control of the US Senate in the November elections. That month Irish immigrants building the railway between Washington and Baltimore attacked their supervisors and killed two of them. Also in the fall Pierre Chouteau Jr. purchased the American Fur Company from John Jacob Astor for $250,000 in St. Louis.
      In his annual message to Congress on December 1 Jackson presented a long review of his foreign policies. He noted proudly that the United States debt had been completely paid, leaving a balance of $440,000. The national debt had risen to $127 million after the War of 1812 and was $58.4 million when Jackson became President. On December 12 President Jackson demanded that France pay its debt to the US Government for loans during the Napoleonic Wars as the US had lowered its duties on French wine. On 25 April 1835 France authorized payment of its debt to the US, and the four installments were paid off by May 10.

Jacksonian Democrats & Whigs in 1835

      Many Irish Catholics immigrated in the 1830s when transatlantic steerage rates were lowered. Some British immigrants and Protestants did not trust “Papists.” In 1834 Samuel F. B. Morse had published Foreign Conspiracy Against the Liberties of the United States using the name “Brutus” in the New York Observer warning that monarchical papists might overthrow the US Government, and it came out as a book under his own name in 1835. In 1836 he ran for mayor of New York for the Nativist Party, but he got only 1,495 votes.
      The number of riots by mobs in the US increased sharply in 1834, reached a peak in 1835 and gradually declined in 1836 before returning to previous lows in 1837. In August 1835 the Richmond Whig complained about the “present supremacy of Mobocracy,” and the Philadelphia National Gazette noted that the fury of a mob can gain their desires “almost with impunity.” In Vicksburg, Mississippi some people got rid of gamblers by hanging them along with a few businessmen from out of town. In 1835 some 79 mobs in the South killed 63 people while 68 northern mobs ended the lives of only eight.
      The last installment of the US debt was paid in early January 1835, and Jackson held a banquet to celebrate on the anniversary of his victory at New Orleans on January 8. Also on that day a House of Representatives report advised that much corruption in the administration needed correction, writing,

Men in the highest walks of life,
of the most honorable pretensions,
and in whom the greatest confidence was reposed,
are among those who have largely participated
in drawing money from the Treasury,
by means of false papers, the grossest acts of forgery,
and the most willful and corrupt perjury.26

      On 30 January 1835 the unemployed housepainter Richard Lawrence from England tried to shoot Jackson from eight feet away with two pistols, but both misfired, probably because of misty weather. The President was restrained from using his cane, and the assassin, who falsely accused Jackson of killing his father and preventing him from becoming King of England, on April 11 was found not guilty by insanity and was confined to a mental hospital for the rest of his life.
      On March 3 the US Congress authorized new mints in Louisiana, North Carolina, and Georgia. On April 3 the Maine Farmer reported that drunk stagecoach drivers were becoming a problem. On May 6 James Gordon Bennett began publishing the New York Herald promising more important news rather than the sensational, and it became the best-selling paper in the US in 1845.
      The deficit of the US Post Office reached $500,000 by 1834, and a Senate report on June 9 charged “utter derangement” and “total disregard of the law.” Democrats did not trust the Whigs’ report, but on 13 February 1835 the Democrats’ House report provided the documentary evidence. Postmaster General William Barry resigned on April 8 and was replaced on May 1 by Amos Kendall who created a surplus of more than $100,000 by August to pay off old debts.
      Thaddeus Stevens in 1834 had helped Pennsylvania expand the public school system already established in Philadelphia to the entire state. The costs led to demands for the law’s repeal. On 11 April 1835 Stevens spoke eloquently against its repeal in the Pennsylvania legislature arguing that educating the children is a public concern and the duty of every government so that people can govern themselves.
      George H. Evans had founded an influential labor newspaper, the Working Man's Advocate in New York in 1829. In The Man, a workingmen’s paper, in May 1835 he probably wrote the editorial which suggested that a monopoly by land speculation in the West was causing a surplus of laborers in the East who are striking for higher pay. He proposed they should stop the sale of public land but instead give portions to those who have no land so that it can be cultivated. This would reduce the number of workers in the East and their strikes.
      On May 20 Theophilus Fisk gave an address in Boston on “Capital against Labor” that began,

The history of the producers of wealth,
of the industrious classes,
is that of a continual warfare of honesty against fraud,
weakness against power, justice against oppression.27

He noted that the history of improvement and elevation of the working classes is the progress of wealth, civilization, and what ennobles and exalts humanity through arts, sciences, manufacturing, and commerce. Those who work have the right to govern themselves and make their own laws, but the power of wealth held by few has kept down the industrious many. He suggested that humans should have eight hours for work, eight hours for sleep, and eight hours for recreation and instruction, but most employers think granting even a ten-hour work day is “preposterous.”
      The Whigs in Ohio nominated John McLean, their native son, for President, and in January 1835 Massachusetts Whigs nominated Daniel Webster. The Whigs in Tennessee nominated Hugh Lawson White and as VP candidate John Tyler, who was from Virginia and had been endorsed by Maryland, North Carolina, and Georgia.
      The Democratic national convention began on May 20, with 615 delegates including 171 from Maryland, but none came from Tennessee, South Carolina, Alabama, and Illinois. The convention unanimously nominated Van Buren for President, and they chose Richard M. Johnson from Kentucky over Virginia’s William Rives for Vice President. They assigned Andrew Stevenson to a committee that included Silas Wright to formulate the party’s policies. Johnson was scandalized for having the octoroon ex-slave Julia Chinn as a common-law wife who bore him two daughters. She died in 1833, and then he lived with another woman of African descent.
      The fifth National Negro Convention on June 5 advised removing the words “African” and “colored” from the Negro vocabulary. Jackson called out soldiers to control a race riot in Washington in August but did not use them to protect free blacks.
      US Supreme Court Chief Justice John Marshall died on July 6. Philadelphia’s Liberty Bell tolled for his funeral and cracked. Further use made the crack worse, and the last time it tolled was on February 22, 1846. Marshall’s conservative Federalist policies were carried on by Justice Joseph Story who had published his Commentaries on the Constitution in 1833 along with James Kent’s Commentaries on American Law (1826-30). They both defended common law. Jacksonian Democratic ideas were more influential in elected constitutional conventions.
      Late in his presidency Jackson made five appointments to the Supreme Court including two additional justices that the Democratic Congress added on his last day in office to make seven justices. All five were from slave states. The Whig Senate previously had declined to confirm Roger Taney, but the Democratic Senate made him Chief Justice on 15 March 1836. On that day they also confirmed Philip Barbour of Virginia as a justice and Kendall as Postmaster General, and the next day they confirmed the slave-owner Andrew Stevenson, who had been House Speaker 1827-34, as minister to Britain.
      Attorney General Taney had kept his private law practice, and he even wrote a brief for Baltimore arguing against applying the Bill of Rights to the States in Barron v. Baltimore. Taney believed that the US Bank impinged against popular sovereignty. In 1832 he had defended South Carolina’s law imprisoning free Negro sailors while on shore leave, calling the African race “a degraded class” with “no political influence.” Taney had freed his own slaves and supported African colonization, but his support for white supremacy would exacerbate the slavery conflict with his Dred Scott decision in 1857.
      In June the Philadelphia Trades’ Union supported seventeen trade associations in their strike asking for a ten-hour work day. Employers organized to counteract the trade unions. Journeymen in New York, Brooklyn, and Newark had formed the Trades’ Union Society. In July in the case of People v. Fisher the Chief Justice Savage of the New York Supreme Court wrote the opinion that supported the employers against the strike by journeyman boot and shoemakers of Geneva, New York because others had accepted a lower wage than the union had established. Ailing Ely Moore while making a speech in support of unions collapsed in the Congress, and his oration was widely printed. After Savage’s ruling the employers had twenty striking tailors arrested for conspiracy, and Judge Edwards advised the jury to apply the precedent. They convicted the tailors who were fined a total of $1,150, and in the park 25,000 people protested the sentence on 13 June 1836. On that day William Cullen Bryant published an editorial in the New York Evening Post on the right to strike. He challenged giving the rich the legal right to fix the wages of the poor which he called slavery.
      Another way employers fought back against union labor was by hiring women, children, and convicts at lower wages. Ely Moore endorsed a report by an investigating commission that approved prison labor with limitations on their competition with workers, and many demanded his resignation.
      In September 1835 anti-abolitionists in Concord, New Hampshire stoned the fleeing poet John Greenleaf Whittier and British George Thompson, who was to speak in October in Boston where a mob looking for him broke up a meeting of the Female Anti-Slavery Society and almost lynched the abolitionist William Lloyd Garrison.
      In New York City on October 29 radical Democrats took control of a party meeting. After the conservatives left the meeting and turned out the gaslights, the radicals used locofoco matches to light 50 candles to continue the meeting and elect their candidates. They were called Locofocos, but Jackson criticized their “agrarianism” and cancelled their New York Post’s federal printing contract.
      At an anti-slavery convention in Utica, New York on October 21 Democrats led by Congressman Samuel Beardsley disrupted the meeting and vandalized the printing equipment of the abolitionist Oneida Standard and Democrat. They had been pressured to do so by Vice President Van Buren and were defended in the US Senate by Silas Wright and William Marcy to forestall the abolitionists from inciting rebellion in southern states. Jackson in December criticized abolitionists for provoking the “passions of the slaves, and he asked Congress to pass a law to prohibit the circulation of “incendiary publications.” Calhoun opposed giving the federal government the power to censor because he feared it would give them the power to abolish slavery.
      On December 7 the Democrats in the House of Representatives elected James K. Polk speaker over the incumbent John Bell 132-84, and on that day Jackson sent another long annual message to the Congress which included the following plea to rectify the government’s treatment of the Indians who had been removed outside the states into Indian Territory:

   Some general legislation seems necessary for the regulation
of the relations which will exist in this new state of things
between the government and people of the United States
and these transplanted Indian tribes,
and for the establishment among the latter,
and with their own consent, of some principles
of intercommunication which their juxtaposition will call for;
that moral may be substituted for physical force,
the authority of a few and simple laws for the tomahawk,
and that an end may be put to those bloody wars whose
prosecution seems to have made part of their social system.
   After further details of this arrangement are completed
with a very general supervision over them,
they ought to be left to the progress of events.
These, I indulge the hope,
will secure their prosperity and improvement,
and a large portion of the moral debt
we owe to them will then be paid.28

This paternalistic rhetoric typical of Jackson shows that he did have good intentions and hopes for helping the tribes, but in fact he did not live up to his promises. This message also condemned the “unconstitutional and wicked attempts” by Abolitionists to “instigate the slaves to insurrection.” On December 26 in a letter the Abolitionists responded with a protest of the President’s remarks. They criticized Jackson for assuming a power beyond his office and argued that the charges he made were vague and untrue.
      Whig candidates in the state elections of 1835 did badly. On December 16 the Anti-Mason Party held a convention in Harrisburg, Pennsylvania and nominated General William Henry Harrison of Ohio for US President. He was a military hero in the battle at Tippecanoe, Indiana in November 1811 and at the battle of Thames in 1813. He governed the Indiana Territory 1801-12 and was the US Senator from Ohio 1825-28. Then he was the minister to Gran Colombia until Jackson replaced him in 1829. Harrison went against tradition by campaigning. He opposed too much executive power and banks even though he was a director for a US Bank branch; but he supported federal revenue sharing and funding for internal improvements. Tennessee nominated their Senator Hugh Lawson White, a Jacksonian who opposed Van Buren, and Alabama nominated White in January 1836. The White Whigs chose for VP John Tyler, who was from Virginia and had been endorsed by Maryland, North Carolina, and Georgia. The Jacksonian Democrats had control over a network of 400 newspapers, and the government gave many printing contracts.
      On July 29 a cargo of mail brought about a thousand anti-slavery pamphlets to the Charleston post office. The city guard kept a mob of 300 away, but that night some South Carolinians broke in to get packages of Abolitionist mail that Postmaster Alfred Huger had not distributed. The next evening a crowd watched as a bonfire burned the feared propaganda along with effigies of Garrison, the Tappans, and other abolitionists. A committee led by former Governor Robert Y. Hayne told Huger to burn objectionable materials. Huger wrote to Postmaster General Kendall, and he and Jackson decided he did not have to deliver them except those to “actual subscribers.” On August 9 Jackson wrote to Kendall that he wanted the names of the subscribers taken down and exposed for “exciting the negroes to insurrection.” In December the General Assembly of South Carolina passed resolutions authorizing the government to suppress abolition societies and their publications. They also resolved that abolition of slavery in the District of Columbia would violate the rights of their citizens.

      Also in 1835 Rev. Jotham Meeker in Kansas began publishing the Shawnee Sun in the Shawnee language. In Hartford, Connecticut the 21-year-old Samuel Colt obtained a patent for a handgun that can fire six shots by using a revolving cylinder, giving it the name of “revolver.” His business did not take off until the Texas Rangers bought a thousand revolvers in 1847. South Carolina extended voting to all white males over 21 but maintained a property requirement for state senators.
      Sylvester Graham lectured in New York and Philadelphia against tobacco, alcohol, coffee, and tea, and he would be called the “father of vegetarianism” in America. His Pennsylvania Temperance Society advised eating natural foods such as fruit, vegetables, and whole wheat bread while abstaining from red meat, shellfish, eggs, milk, pepper, and alcohol.
      By the end of the year the US Government had a surplus of $17 million; $108 million in paper money was circulating, and there were 29 pet banks. State bankers loaning much paper money in 1835 and 1836 created a speculative bubble while much land was purchased in the west and in the southern states from which the Indians had been removed. The General Land Office reported that 12.5 million acres had been sold in 1835 and 20 million in 1836. Between February and November the land boom increased federal deposits by 50% as speculators kept borrowing more paper money. Fraud was increasing, and sales were running $5 million a month before Jackson acted in July.

Jacksonian Democracy in 1836-37

      On 20 January 1836 Venezuelans in Caracas made a treaty of peace and commerce with the United States. On March 23 the United States Mint began using Franklin Beale’s steam press to produce coins. On June 28 Hiram Moore and John Hascall received a patent for a grain combine.
      In April 1836 the US Congress banned bank notes under $5 starting on July 4. Later they made it under $10, and then under $20 starting in March 1837. On 23 June 1836 in the Congress the Whigs and Democrats wanting expansion passed the Deposit Act which approved the distribution of $30 million of federal surplus to state banks and added 48 new state banks, making Secretary Woodbury’s job of preventing speculation much more difficult. Jackson signed it to help Van Buren’s election.
      Kentucky Congressman Sherrod Williams asked Van Buren questions about his views, and he answered them on June 14. Van Buren opposed distributing the surplus because it cause corruption and subverted states’ rights. He was also against federal support for internal improvements on navigable waterways. Van Buren was called “Magician,” and foes considered him an intriguer.
      After Congress adjourned, Jackson on July 11 had Woodbury issue the Specie Circular that required silver or gold for buying federal land starting on August 15 except settlers could still use bank notes. The US Government sold 20 million acres in 1836, ten times what had been sold in 1830, and most of it was paid for with paper money. This caused failures and bankruptcies, and big banks in the East sent their specie west. When Congress met again in December, they passed a bill to rescind the circular, but Jackson cancelled that with his pocket veto.
      Between 1834 and 1837 wholesale prices in the US rose 50% and retail prices even more. Senator Thomas Hart Benton predicted, “The revulsion will come, as sure as it did in 1819-20.” In April 1836 he recommended a two-stage process for removing deposits from banks in order to exclude paper money from all transactions. The distribution from the eastern banks began on the first day of 1837 and caused a panic. The Bank of England demanded gold and silver from American banks and reduced their American investments, worsening the depression. Between August 1836 and July 1837 large banks in New York City lost more than $10 million in federal deposits as their species reserves fell from $5.9 million in August 1835 to $1.5 million by May 1837. During the eight years of the Jackson administration American exports doubled. Imports were only $37 million in 1829 and rose to $150 million in 1836.
      On April 20 the US Congress designated the western portion of the Michigan Territory as the Wisconsin Territory which the British finally had given up after the War of 1812. In 1816 Americans built Fort Howard at Green Bay and Fort Crawford at Prairie du Chine. Settlers began moving in after the Black Hawk War and by 1836 there were 12,000.
      New York Supreme Court Chief Judge John Savage argued in Meeker v. Van Rensselaer that a landlord has the right to tear down and replace a building that has become a nuisance as a slum if there is no other way to correct the evils.
      After James Madison died on June 28, Henry Clay succeeded him as the president of the American Colonization Society. In speeches Clay argued that free blacks could not be integrated into American society and therefore should be encouraged to emigrate to Africa.
      Pennsylvania’s Senator James Buchanan suggested that the Senate could receive abolitionist petitions and reject them without debate. This resolution passed 34-6 on March 14, and the House of Representatives voted 117-68 to receive them and table them. This was called the “Gag Rule Conspiracy,” and some believed that it was to protect slavery.
      On May 18 the House began debating the Henry L. Pinckney Committee’s resolutions. The first one was “That Congress possesses no constitutional authority to interfere in any way with the institution of slavery in any of the States of this Confederacy.”29 John Quincy Adams asked for five minutes to speak and was denied. On May 25 when they were discussing the Seminole War, he began to speak. He resented the gag rule on slavery and spoke about the American desire for Mexico to cede much territory which he said would “produce jealousy, suspicion, ill will, and hatred.” Then he said,

This overture, offensive in itself, was made precisely
at the time when a swarm of colonists from these United States
were covering the Mexican border with land-jobbing,
and with slaves, introduced in defiance of Mexican laws,
by which slavery had been abolished throughout the republic.30

Adams argued that the war in Texas was not for independence but was to re-establish slavery where it was abolished. He considered it “a war between slavery and emancipation.” He warned that they were rushing “into a war of conquest commenced by aggression.” He prophesied that the war with Mexico would become a civil war in America which would be “the last great conflict … between slavery and emancipation.” He said,

Mr. Chairman, are you ready for all these wars?
A Mexican War? A war with Great Britain, if not with France?
A general Indian war? A servile war?
And, as an inevitable consequence of them all, a civil war?...
From the instant that your slaveholding states
become the theatre of war, civil, servile, or foreign,
from that instant the war powers of Congress extend
to interference with the institution of slavery in every way.31

Yet in July both houses of Congress passed resolutions favoring the recognition of Texas.

      Postmaster General Kendall paid off the old debts by spring 1836 and proposed reforms. Congress passed the Post Office Act on July 2. Yet he made sure that Jacksonians in the west got better service than eastern newspapers. He also permitted southern post offices not to deliver abolitionist literature except to subscribers.
      The United States in 1819 had incorporated the Arkansas Territory, and 22-year-old territorial secretary Robert Crittenden called for elections. In November 1824 a US treaty with 455 Quapaws took their land in exchange for 22 million acres between the Caddo and Red rivers. They were not well received there, and floods destroyed their crops. After sixty died, others went back to Arkansas to try to get back their land; but they were moved west to the Indian territory in 1833. The Arkansas population was 14,000 in 1820 and reached 30,000 in 1830 when Crittenden’s Arkansas Advocate suggested statehood. The 1835 census counted 52,240 Arkansans, enough for a state, and Arkansas with slavery was admitted to the Union on 15 June 1836.
      On July 4 Robert Rantoul, Jr. gave a speech explaining why codified law needs to replace common law which is based on past precedents. He suggested that laws should be indigenous, intelligible to all, and equal in their application with prompt and cheap remedies for violations. He argued that for laws to be clear they should have a positive text, or else judges will use their arbitrary power of discretion after the fact. If no one can tell what the common law is, then it is not a rule for action and cannot govern human conduct.
      In September the Protestant missionaries Marcus Whitman and H. H. Spalding and their wives reached the junction of the Columbia and Snake Rivers in the Oregon Territory. On September 19 at the home of the Unitarian Minister George Ripley he with Ralph Waldo Emerson, Bronson Alcott, and Orestes Brownson started the Transcendental Club.
      In October the textile mills in Lowell, Massachusetts announced a 15% rent increase to start on March 1 on female workers; but they formed the Factory Girls' Association and organized a “turn-out” (strike), and a newspaper reported that a woman made “a flaming Mary Wollstonecraft speech on the rights of women and the iniquities of the “moneyed aristocracy.’”32 After several weeks the mills’ Board of Directors cancelled the rent hike.
      Cincinnati College president William Holmes McGuffey began publishing his Reader for the primary schools with eclectic writings by Shakespeare, Byron, Shelley, Scott, and others, and seven million copies had been sold by 1850. By 1836 about thirty circuses were traveling by railway and setting up large tents to entertain with animals and acrobats. P. T. Barnum was expanding his traveling entertainment shows but would not invest in a circus until 1870.
      In the November election the total popular vote increased from 55.4% to 57.8%. Democrat Martin Van Buren received 51% of the votes and won in the Electoral College 170-73. Pennsylvania was divided, and Whigs elected the governor; but Van Buren barely won the state. The Whig nominee William Henry Harrison got 37% of the vote and won in Vermont, New Jersey, Maryland, Kentucky, Ohio, and Indiana. The Whigs might have won if they were not so divided. Three other Whigs also ran. Hugh White won his state of Tennessee and Georgia; Daniel Webster won in Massachusetts; and Willie P. Mangum took North Carolina. Democrat Richard M. Johnson’s 147 electoral votes were not a majority as Tyler got 47 electoral votes from South Carolina, Maryland, Tennessee and Georgia. On 3 February 1837 the US Senate elected Johnson as Vice President 33-16.
      On November 3 more than a hundred American and European immigrants led by the hunter and fur trader Isaac Graham with José Castro and interim Governor Juan Bautista Alvarado with about fifty rebel Mexicans attacked the home of Governor Gutierrez with a cannon ball in the capitol at Monterrey. He surrendered and left for Mexico as the Californians proclaimed their freedom.
      Daniel Webster gave a speech to the Society for the Diffusion of Knowledge at Boston in November to explain how education and technical progress can lead to more prosperity. He began by noting that all education goes beyond physical necessities and improves the intellect. If labor is the only and true source of wealth, then he argued that augmenting human labor with technology produces more wealth. Applying science and art improves production.
      On November 19 Jackson suffered a fit of coughing that caused a massive hemorrhage. Then he was bled by a doctor and lost more than 60 ounces of blood before they stopped bleeding him. He was weak for several weeks. In his annual message on December 5 he noted that the Treasury had nearly $42 million after spending $32 million in 1836.
      Also that year the American Temperance Union was formed from Temperance groups in Boston and New York to advocate complete abstinence from alcohol, and in Philadelphia the minister John Marsh edited their monthly Journal 1837-65. Educational reformer William Alcott was friends with Amos Bronson Alcott and published The Young Woman’s Guide in 1836 to promote etiquette. The 10-hour workday had become usual for most organized workers in eastern cities by 1836. After navy-yard mechanics in Philadelphia went on strike in the summer of 1836, President Jackson granted their demand. Edward Hazen published Popular Technology; or, Professions and Trades.

      On 16 January 1837 the US Senate voted 24-19 to expunge its censure of Jackson. On February 11 Chief Justice Taney agreed with Justice McLean’s 6-1 majority opinion in Briscoe v. Bank of Kentucky that state banks had the right to issue paper money. The next day in Charles River Bridge v. Warren Bridge Taney and the Supreme Court upheld 4-3 the right of the Massachusetts legislature to allow the latter bridge to collect tolls only until 1836 so that technical improvements could make progress. On March 3 the Judiciary Act of 1837 added two more justices to the US Supreme Court making nine and two new appeal circuits in the western states. After Michigan won the struggle with Ohio for the 470 square miles in the Toledo Strip, the US Congress admitted the free state on January 26 to keep the number of slave and free states even.
      In New Orleans on January 25 the Picayune newspaper named after a small coin began publishing. Unemployed workers in New York City protested high rent and food prices by destroying warehouses containing flour on February 12. That month 56 British authors petitioned the US Congress asking America for copyright protection.
      On January 19 General Santa Anna met with President Jackson in the White House for dinner, and Jackson offered him 6 million pesos for recognizing the independence of Texas; but Santa Anna replied that the Mexican Congress would decide that, and he returned to Vera Cruz on February 23. On March 1 the US Congress voted to recognize the republic of Texas, and they provided funds for a diplomatic mission. On his last day in office on the 3rd President Jackson also recognized the Republic of Texas as an independent nation, and he appointed Alceé La Branche of Louisiana as Chargé d’affaires to Texas.
      In his Farewell Address delivered on March 4 Jackson reflected on his presidency and the prosperity of the United States. In a fairly long speech he commended Indian removal and criticized moneyed power, speculation, nullification, and abolitionists, but he also recommended ethical and democratic principles, saying,

Actuated by the sincere desire to do justice to every nation
and to preserve the blessings of peace,
our intercourse with them has been conducted
on the part of this government in the spirit of frankness….
But the Constitution can not be maintained
nor the Union preserved in opposition to public feeling
by the mere exertion of the coercive powers
confided to the general government.
The foundations must be laid in the affections of the people;
in the security it gives to life, liberty, character, and property
in every quarter of the country;
and in the fraternal attachment which
the citizens of the several states bear to one another
as members of one political family, mutually contributing
to promote the happiness of each other….
No free government can stand without
virtue in the people and a lofty spirit of patriotism,
and if the sordid feelings of mere selfishness
shall usurp the place which ought to be filled by public spirit,
the legislation of Congress will soon be converted
into a scramble for personal and sectional advantages….
Justice, full and ample justice to every portion of the United States
should be the ruling principle of every freeman,
and should guide the deliberations of every public body,
whether it be state or national.33

Notes

1. The Shaping of America: A People’s History of the Ante-bellum Years by Page Smith, p. 24.
2. Messages and Papers of the Presidents 1789-1908, Volume II, p. 437.
3. Free Trade Advocate, May 16, 1829 quoted in The Age of Jackson by Arthur M. Schlesinger, p. 79.
4. House Report on Sunday Mails, 21st Congress, 1st session, 262 quoted in American Lion: Andrew Jackson in the White House by Jon Meacham, p. 88.
5. Messages and Papers of the Presidents 1789-1908, Volume II, p. 449.
6. Ibid., p. 450.
7. Ibid., p. 443.
8. Register of Debates, 20th Congress, 1st Session, p. 80.
9. Autobiography of Martin Van Buren, p. 415-16 quoted in American Lion by Jon Meacham, p. 135-36.
10. The Annals of America, Volume 5, p. 399, 401.
11. The Annals of America, Volume 5, p. 430.
12. Correspondence of Andrew Jackson to William Conway, 4:256.
13. The Annals of America, Volume 5, p. 468
14. Autobiography of Martin Van Buren 2:625 quoted in Andrew Jackson by Sean Wilentz, p. 81.
15. Messages and Papers of the Presidents 1789-1908, Volume II, p. 590.
16. Speech of the Hon. Daniel Webster, in the Senate of the United States on the President's veto of the Bank Bill, July 11, 1832, p. 31.
17. The Annals of America, Volume 6, p. 34.
18. Correspondence of Andrew Jackson V, 193 quoted in American Lion by Jon Meacham, p. 267.
19. Autobiography of Amos Kendall, p. 416.
20. Documents of American History ed. Henry Steele Commager, p. 268.
21. Ibid., p. 264.
22. Ibid., p. 269.
23. Domestic Manners of the Americans by Frances Trollope, chapter 12.
24. The Annals of America, Volume 6, p. 70.
25. Ibid., p. 75.
26. House Report 37, 23d Cong. 2d sess., p. 2 quoted in The Jacksonians: A Study in Administrative History 1829-1861 by Leonard D. White, p. 413.
27. The Annals of America, Volume 6, p. 118.
28. Messages and Papers of the Presidents 1789-1908, Volume III, p. 173.
29. Arguing About Slavery by William Lee Miller, p. 206.
30. Register of Debates, 24th Congress, 1st session, House, 4041-47 quoted in Andrew Jackson: His Life and Times by H. W. Brands, p. 524.
31. Arguing About Slavery by William Lee Miller, p. 207-208.
32. A People’s History of the United States by Howard Zinn, p. 114.
33. The Annals of America, Volume 6, p. 299, 302-303.

Copyright © 2020-2021 by Sanderson Beck

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United States & Civil War 1845-1865

Jeffersonian Democracy 1801-1809
Madison & the War of 1812
US Era of Monroe & J. Q. Adams 1817-29
Native Tribes, Removal & the West
Jacksonian Democracy 1829-37
US Depression, Van Buren & Tyler 1837-44
US Slavery & Abolitionists 1801-44
Women Reforming America 1801-44
American Philosophy & Religion 1801-44
Emerson’s Transcendentalism
Literature of Irving, Cooper & Whittier
Summary & Evaluating America 1801-44
Bibliography

ETHICS OF CIVILIZATION Index
World Chronology to 1830
Chronology of America

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