During the turn of the 17 century, America’s citizens recognized the nation was poised for change, permanently transforming the way our nation’s leaders are chosen. Broad adjustments in electoral process gave the common man more of a voice in the government. First, by allowing all white men the ability to vote, not just land owners. Also by allowing the electors to be elected by the people, and not the state legislature, American citizens had a more direct connection to the electors of the presidency.
By the year 1828, these changes were accepted by almost all the states and with the support of the American people had helped elect Andrew Jackson, one of the most controversial presidents of his time.
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After being born to a poor South Carolina family, Jackson managed to become a rich landowner and noteworthy lawyer and politician. Along with being the hero of the war of 1812 with his crushing victory in the battle of New Orleans, Jackson was the most popular man in America. He started his quest for the presidency when John Quincy Adams became president in 1824.
He accused John and Henry Clay to have a “corrupt bargain”; he then decided to create his own political party to beat Adams in the next election. Being a president of the people and extremely popular with the common man, he was a shoe in for the 1828 presidency.
Now if you think about it, if you really looked at all the things he has done, you would probably agree we me and say this Jackson guy has done a pretty good job as president. Right from the very beginning of his term, he was a president that liked to get involved. It’s good to finally get a president who actually gets things done, not like another Adams. He was a new breed of president. He believed that the president should take an active role in the making of governmental policies. Along with exerting the power of the presidency, like the power of veto. He used this power to its fullest extent by vetoing 12 bills in his 8 year term while all the presidents before him have only used the veto 9 times. Jackson was also the first president to use the pocket veto, which is a way to kill a bill at the end of a session of congress by refusing to sign it or veto it. The way Jackson used his cabinet was also brand new. Now he appointed his cabinet but never really used, instead he discussed most of the important matters with a select group of friends, which later became referred to as the kitchen cabinet.
Jackson made his biggest impacts with his policies on Indian affairs. All of his decisions in this matter were top notch. Around the start of the 1820s there were about 125,000 Native Americans, which were almost all, considered as savages that just stood in the way of the peaceful settlement of west. Now even though the average Americans views that the native Americans are savages were obviously wrong, they were right on the fact that the tribes had to be moved west. Jackson understood this to and passed one of the most controversial pieces of legislation, the Indian Removal Act in 1830, which provided funds to move the Indians still living east of the Mississippi to new reservations on the lands of the Louisiana Purchase. Soon after its ratification every tribe in the south west every tribe save the Cherokee signed treaties with the U.S. government and moved west. The Cherokee are a special case. Since 1791, the U.S. had recognized the Cherokee’s as a separate nation in North West Georgia. In 1828, Georgia passed a law voiding all Cherokee laws and in 1830, another Georgia law stated all whites living in the Cherokee territories had to swear allegiance to Georgia. Then in 1832, the Cherokee took their case to the Supreme Court and received a ruling in their favor, but Andrew Jackson didn’t agree.
Jackson sided with Georgia on the dispute and pretty much dared John Marshall to enforce his decision. Since the Supreme Court had no military power to enforce the law the policy of removing Native Americans continued. It must have taken a lot of guts for a guy to just stare down the supreme court like that, which shows you Jackson is willing to go to the extremes if he believes its for the best of the nation, which just adds to his character as being both honorable and XXX. Finally in 1835, the Cherokee were given 3 years to leave and when they didn’t comply were sternly placed into detention centers, and finally forced out into the reservations in 1838.
Now of course there are some who believe that Jackson theories on Indian removal were cruel and barbaric, but those of which have to quickly passed judgment without a clear perspective of the facts. To these unintelligent masses it may seem like Jackson is just being fueled by his hatred for the Indians to cause them as much suffering as possible. In fact, they couldn’t be further from the truth. Jackson passed all of his Indian legislation precisely for the wellbeing Native American Tribes. He knew that if the tribes stayed in the expending west, they would be surrounded by the roughest and wildest frontiers men who only looked to take advantage of them. Worst of all though was to introduce alcohol to them. Jackson realized the horrible effects that alcohol had on the Native Americans and could foresee that it could ultimately lead to their destruction. Now if they went west like Jackson wanted they would be free and clear of such poisons and able to live their lives in peace. Of all the tribes that stayed behind none are in existence today, while every tribe that moved west is still to this day.
So even though Jackson was often a bit controversial, he wasn’t afraid to do what is right, which eventually turned him into one of the best presidents of our nation’s history.
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