Nationalism and Sectionalism
Monroe to Election of Andrew Jackson
After end of War of 1812, Americans experienced a new surge of Nationalism, a sense of economic well-being created by abnormal economic prosperity, and a period in which the prestige of the national government was enhanced.
The Jefferson embargo had created stimulus for production of factories. This was quite a twist, because Jefferson was always the farmer's friend; he abhorred the ideas of factories and a manufacturing economy.The War in Europe had created a shortage of farm products, and forced upwards the prices of American agricultural products. This caused an increase in agricultural expansion and wild speculation in farmland. At the same time, cheap manufactured goods from Europe, primarily from Great Britain began to flood the market. This was especially attractive to farmers and planters who could buy tools, etc. cheap; but it was damaging to the new American manufacturing industry, which soon demanded protection from competition.
In his First message to Congress after the War, Pres. Madison recommended:
|a permanent army and navy;|
|new national bank,|
|protection of industries,|
|system of canals and roads,|
|even a new national university.|
These ideas, all which pointed towards a strong national government, sounded strangely like Federalist programs. One New Englander commented, "the Republicans have out-Federalized the Federalists.
The Bank of the United States: The charter of the Bank of the United States (Hamilton's baby) had expired in 1811, and some financial confusion resulted. The number of State Banks exploded, which then issued paper money (Bank Notes) of questionable value. The market soon became flooded with this currency. "Hard Money" (Specie) had been hard to come by during the war, so State Banks had begun refusing to redeem notes for specie. This made the bank notes of very uncertain value. Also, the absence of central bank had been a problem for U.S. government; as it had no easy way of borrowing money; or of transferring money across the country.
Madison had constitutional principles, the old "strict construction" argument, but took a pragmatic approach; and said that the bank issue had been decided "by repeated recognitions...of the validity of such an institution in acts of the legislative, executive, and judicial branches of the Government, accompanied by...a concurrence of the general will of the nation."In other words, we've always done it this way, so it must be constitutional."
In 1816, Congress chartered a new Bank of the United States (B.U.S.), even though a number of old guard Republicans protested that it was not constitutionally mandated.. for 25 years. The Bank was to be located in Philadelphia, chartered for twenty years, and was to be depository of Government funds. It agreed to handle the government's banking business for free in exchange for its notes being accepted in payment of money owed the government. It was to lend the government $5 million on demand, and also was to pay the government a bonus of $1.5 million. Unlike Hamilton's bank, it was capitalized at $25 million. (Hamilton's Bank had been capitalized at $10 million).
There was bitter debate over the bank in Congress, largely along sectional lines.
Missouri Senator Thomas Hart Benton said western towns, always currency-poor, would be at mercy of bank.
They may be devoured by it at any moment! They are in the jaws of the monster! A lump of butter in the mouth of a dog! One gulp, one swallow, and all is gone! [Tindall and Shi: America, A Narrative History.]
The bank issue was also noteworthy as it was three great political figures of the time played prominently in the debate:
|John C. Calhoun of South Carolina, still a young man and a War Hawk nationalist, introduced the bill in the House of Representatives and pushed it through. He said that the Bank was justified by the constitutional power to regulate currency, and said that there was a need for a uniform currency..|
|Henry Clay of Kentucky, who had helped kill the first Bank in 1811, said had not seen disaster lack of Bank would produce; said circumstances made bank indispensable.|
|Daniel Webster, then of New Hampshire but later of Massachusetts, led Federalist opposition to the bank. The Federalists want the banking center of the U.S. moved from Boston to Philadelphia. Opposition to the bank was an odd twist for the Federalists, who had championed Hamilton's bank over the objection of the Republicans.|
Later, Webster would move to Massachusetts, and would become a champion of a strong national government; while Calhoun would move in the other direction –towards a "states rights" issue.
Protective Tariff: During Jefferson's Embargo of 1807, capital investment had shifted towards manufacturing and away from commerce; but when the war was over and peace was restored, cheap foreign goods began to flood the market. American manufacturing interests asked for protection, as the cheap foreign goods hurt their markets. They had little political influence at the time, but there was a patriotic feeling that America should be economically independent. Many new England shippers and Southern farmers opposed the idea of protection. Both had profited from cheap foreign goods and from shipping; however, both had minorities that supported the idea of strong American manufacturing industry.
The Tariff of 1816 was the first U.S. tariff passed for protection rather than for revenue. The purpose was, by taxing foreign imports and thereby raising the prices of foreign goods, American manufactured goods would be cheaper to purchase, which would in turn boost the demand for American made products. Of course the flip side was that purchasers, particularly farm interests, would be forced to pay higher prices than they had paid for the cheap foreign goods before the tariff.
The tariff passed Congress with little opposition. The North and South divided votes on the issue, with the majority of Northern representatives voting for it and the majority of Southern representatives voting against it. Among those who opposed it was Nathaniel Macon of North Carolina. He argued strict construction of the constitution, contending that the power to protect industry was like the power to establish a bank, one of the powers "implied" by those who construed the Constitution broadly. Macon said that if Congress could "imply" into the constitution the power to protect industry, it might also one day "imply" the power to abolish slavery.
John C. Calhoun and most other Southerners supported the tariff, as they believed the South might one day develop into a manufacturing center. Calhoun's belief was bolstered by the presence of several textile mills in South Carolina. Events took another turn, however, and the North became the dominant manufacturing center while the South remained predominantly agricultural. At that point, Calhoun moved to the position of Macon, that the tariff was not sanctioned by the Constitution. Eventually, the tariff became an issue over which the country divided over sectional lines:
|Manufacturers, wool processors, etc., primarily in the North, supported a protective tariff, as they wished to eliminate foreign competition.|
|Planters who benefited from cheaper foreign goods, and shippers who profited from the import of foreign merchandise, opposed it.|
Internal Improvements:War had made obvious the need for transportation other than by water. Troop movement through western areas had been difficult, and settlers had to locate near water to have access to trade; otherwise they were limited to subsistence living.
Jefferson and Madison had both recommended a constitutional amendment to allow for construction a national road. They considered the amendment necessary to make sure that Congress' power to build the road would be beyond debate. Since no such amendment was produced, road construction was based on need for National Defense and in furtherance of development of the postal system. (Again, a broad construction of the constitution).
In 1805, Congress decreed that five percent of the proceeds of land sales in Ohio (just then admitted as a state) would be used to build a National Road from the Atlantic coast into Ohio and further west as territory developed. Construction began in 1811.This first national road Cumberland Road ultimately extended from Cumberland, Md. To Vandalia, Illinois. (It originally only reached Wheeling, on the Ohio River, and construction stopped temporarily during the Panic of 1819). It was completed by 1838. The national road reduced transportation costs, opened up new markets, and, together with several smaller privately build roads, helped commercialize American agriculture. America was moving towards a national market economy.
In 1817, John C. Calhoun pushed a bill through the House for internal improvements, primarily a national highway system. The West supported the bill, as they had the most to gain from the road; New England and the South opposed it –they stood to gain the least. The highway system was to be paid for with the bonus from the Bank of the U.S. BUT Madison vetoed Bill on his last day in office. He could not justify it with his constitutional scruples; and said an amendment would be necessary. Although Congress approved money for canals and post roads from time to time, as well as harbor and river improvements, no national Highway system existed until the Federal Highways Act of 1916.
The Era of Good Feelings
James Monroe, Madison’s Secretary of State, succeeded him as President in the election of 1816.
Monroe was also a member of the "Virginia dynasty." But unlike the others, he had been a small planter. He had been in college at the outbreak of Revolutionary War (William and Mary) but had fought with Washington and studied law under Jefferson. He was not as staunchly Republican or as bright as had been Jefferson and Madison, but he was very dedicated. He was the last President to dress in the "old style" with wig, knee breeches, etc.
Monroe had some of the same constitutional scruples as his mentors, Jefferson and Madison. He did not object to the existence of the Bank of the U.S. or the tariff, and allowed the Cumberland Road (the first national road) to be built; but later vetoed a bill giving Congress the authority to collect tolls to pay for the roads upkeep. He felt (as did his predecessors) that a constitutional amendment was needed to remove any doubt about the road's constitutionality.
Dissent over the war was gone, the country seemed to be prospering. Monroe had able men in his cabinet (John C. Calhoun as Secretary of War, John Quincy Adams as Secretary of State); and a sense of well-being and peace seemed to settle over the country. The economy was doing well, and in fact, a Federalist newspaper said at the time of Monroe's visit to New England that an "Era of Good Feeling" existed. Historians have often used that phrase to describe the Monroe years, but it was misleading; there was a great deal of sectionalism and factionalism ready to erupt.
Harmony lasted for several years. In 1820, he received all but three electoral votes for re-election. Two voters abstained, and one voted for John Quincy Adams; not that he disliked Monroe, but he felt that the honor of being unanimously elected should remain solely to George Washington.
Relations with Great Britain improved greatly during the Monroe years, even though the U.S. had recently fought a war with that country. Two agreements resolved issues that had not been dealt with in the Treaty of Ghent.
|The Rush-Bagot Agreement: by which the U.S. and Britain agreed to reduce naval forces on the Great Lakes. Canada was still a British possession at this point. The agreement was a predecessor to the current situation in which the U.S./Canada border is the longest unguarded border in the world.|
|The Convention of 1818 resolved three major points:|
|The boundary of Louisiana territory was drawn at 49th parallel from Lake of the crest of the Rockies..|
|Oregon territory would be open to joint occupation by British and Americans.|
|The American right to fish off Newfoundland and Labrador was reaffirmed.|
Although this resolved several issues with Great Britain, it did not end all problems. Britain once again closed the British West Indies to American traffic, and the U.S. retaliated by a non-intercourse act prohibiting any trade by British vessels in American ports.
Florida: Spanish still held Florida, but Spain was weak, unable to maintain its New World empire. Florida was long a thorn in the national side of the U. S: the British had operated from there in War of 1812, and Creek Indians, runaway slaves and criminals often fled to Florida outside U.S. jurisdiction. It also was near the boundaries of several important rivers flowing into the Gulf of Mexico.
Creek Indians who went there called themselves Seminole, meaning runaway, or separatist. There was no true Seminole Indian tribe.
Spain was unable to enforce its obligations under the Pinckney Treaty at this point, the empire was simply too weak. Americans clashed with escaped slaves in 1816, and in 1817, Seminoles and Americans fought, when the Seminoles crossed the border into U.S. territory.
John C. Calhoun, as Secretary of War, authorized a campaign against the Seminoles, and sent Andrew Jackson to command the campaign. Jackson's orders were to pursue the Seminoles into Spanish territory, but not attack any Spanish post. Jackson said he could take Florida in 60 days if the President wanted it. He said he would need a private, unofficial letter of authorization to be delivered by a representative from Tennessee, one John Rhea. Rhea did deliver a letter to Jackson, which Jackson said gave him the authority he needed; but Monroe denied he had authorized Jackson to take Florida; and Jackson destroyed the letter, (presumably at Monroe's instructions) so no one knows exactly what really was said in the letter. Jackson didn’t worry too much about technicalities such as authority anyway, particularly when it came to Indians or Spaniards. He attacked Indians and also Spanish forts. He captured and hanged two leaders of the Seminole without anything resembling a trial. In four months, he captured the Florida panhandle.
Spain was angry at Jackson’s exploits and demanded return of territory, reparations, and that Jackson be disciplined. Spain had no clout to insist, however. Calhoun was Secretary of War, and publicly claimed he disapproved, although privately he loved it. (This disagreement was to cause bad blood between Calhoun and Jackson for years to come). Also, Jackson was too popular as a war hero to be disciplined, and John Quincy Adams, Secretary of State, was allied with him.
With Florida a foregone conclusion, Quincy Adams turned to settling claims about the border of the Louisiana Territory which was finally settled in 1821 with an exchange of ratifications. (The border between French and Spanish America had long been a matter of conjecture; with the exchange of ratifications in 1821, a definite border was established between Spanish America and the Louisiana Purchase.In 1819 – Spain ceded all of Florida to U.S. in exchange for assumption of $5 million of private American claims against Spain. In 1821, Florida became a territory with Jackson very briefly its first governor. It became a State in 1845.
The acquisition of Florida and settlement of the Louisiana Purchase line caused a tremendous upsurge in nationalistic feeling, buttressed by the sound American economy.
Crises and Compromises
The so-called "Era of Good Feelings' ended with a very unceremonious bang.
|Panic of 1819: Cotton prices on English market suddenly collapsed. English had been paying up to 32.5 cents per pound; the high price of American cotton made British manufacturers begin buying East Indian cotton. As a result, the price of American cotton dropped to 14.3 cents per pound. This drop in prices caused demand for other goods to drop, and the economy nose-dived. A "speculative bubble" had developed as early as 1815 on the idea that American prosperity would continue forever. The idea was that prices would continually rise, and things would only get better and better. Suddenly, there were few or no markets for American goods, and the economy was in serious trouble.|
Farmers, land speculators, and businessmen had borrowed and bought heavily on credit from Government and banks. Land at that time in the west sold as cheaply as $1.64 per acre, and speculators were buying it up left and right. They normally put up only one fourth down, planning to sell land and make profit. Often they themselves extended credit to those who bought land from them. Then, when prices fell, settlers couldn’t pay loans, speculators couldn’t pay banks, crisis resulted. "Get Rich Quick" fever had caught the country. State banks had issued bank notes far beyond their ability to redeem them. Even the Bank of the U.S. had engaged in some speculation and made loans recklessly on promises of profits from speculators..
This is very similar to the Savings and Loan Crisis of the Reagan years. Savings and Loans made some wildly bad loans, often for Real Estate and Oil speculation; enterprises failed, couldn’t pay back S and L’s. and the S and L’s went broke as a result.
In 1819, a fraud and embezzlement scandal at the Boston Branch of the Second Bank of the U.S. led to the appointment of a new Bank President, Langdon Cheves of S.C. Cheves was determined to put bank on sound footing. He cut costs, postponed dividends, and presented State bank notes which came to the B.U.S. for payment in specie. (That is, in gold and silver, of which they had little, as most of their lending had been speculative). This put pressure on the state banks, who in turn put pressure on debtors, who could not renew loans, or borrow to pay them off. Debtors were pinched, could not meet obligations. Hard times lasted three years. Bank of U.S. was blamed for most of it for calling in banknotes. Cheves' policies were not the cause of the panic, but rather the result of it; but this did not stop those hurt by it from blaming the bank. Cheves relinquished his position in 1823 to Nicholas Biddle. Biddle was to be President of the Bank at a time when it had few friends.
|Missouri Compromise: As soon as the Panic of 1819 reared it's ugly head, the second shoe dropped. Suddenly slavery became an issue which would divide the country along sectional lines.|
In 1819 the U.S. had an equal number of slave and free states (eleven each). States were generally divided along Mason – Dixon line. The Northern States (free) had greater population, and thus greater representation in House of Representatives, but Senate was equally divided. The population of the North was growing faster than the population in the South, so if the two sections were to remain equally balanced, it could only occur in the Senate, where each state was equally represented regardless of population. No move had been made to extend slavery into territory gained by the Louisiana Purchase. That year, Missouri wanted to join Union as a state. Representative James Talmadge of New York introduced a resolution that prohibited further introduction of slaves into Missouri, and freedom at age 25 for those born into slavery after its admission as a state. (at the time, Missouri already had 10,000 slaves.) The resolution passed the House, but failed in the Senate, largely along sectional lines.
Maine had applied for admission also, so compromise was worked out:
Maine would join Union as free state, Missouri as slave state this meant that the slave state/ free state division would remain along sectional lines.
Slavery was excluded from balance of Louisiana Purchase north of 36° 30’N. (Southern Border of Missouri.) This appeared to be a victory for the South, as the area of the American West had been designated the Great American Desert, unfit for agriculture, or for anything but Indians and rattlesnakes, not necessarily in that order.
Another problem arose when proslavery interests in the Missouri Constitutional Convention insisted the State Constitution provide that free blacks and mulattoes would be excluded from the state. (This was a clear violation of the Federal Constitutional provision that protected "privileges and immunities" of U.S. Citizens.) Free states were citizens of several other states. This was an additional controversy that almost blocked Missouri from joining the Union.
Henry Clay developed a "Second Missouri Compromise:" The offending clause could remain but the legislature must agree that it would never be construed so as to deny privileges that citizens held under the U.S. constitution. (In other words, the Constitution did not mean what it said.) Missouri was subsequently admitted to the Union as the 24th State in 1821.
This is one reason Henry Clay is called the Great Compromiser."
The Missouri Compromise was a warning of the slavery controversy which would soon engulf the entire nation. Thomas Jefferson, now quite old, wrote to a friend after the first Missouri Compromise: "This monstrous question, like a firebell in the night, awakened and filled me with terror. I considered it at once as the knell of the Union.
The Marshall Court: Chief Justice John Marshall kept Federalism alive in the Supreme Court. He had been "nationalized" by surviving the Revolutionary War. He had said, "I was confirmed in the habit of considering America my true country, and Congress as my government. He had never held judicial office before being appointed to the Supreme Court. He served on the Court for 34 years and set several important precedents:
Marbury vs. Madison (1804): Established principle of Judicial Review.
Fletcher vs. Peck (1810): Struck down state and federal law as unconstitutional.
Cohens vs. Virginia, Martin vs. Hunter’s Lessee Affirmed right of Supreme Court to hear appeals from State Courts –Constitution, laws, and Treaties of U.S. were supreme law of the land only if Court could review state court decisions.
1819 – Two important decisions: (1819 proved to be pivotal year in U.S. History)
|Dartmouth College vs. Woodward: Said states could not violate contract rights between parties, as Constitution guaranteed contract rights.|
|McCulloch vs. Maryland: Maryland law required State revenue stamps on bank notes. (This was in essence a tax on the notes.) McCulloch, cashier of Bank of U.S., refused to affix stamps, (that is to pay the state tax) and was charged with a felony. Marshall denied the right of Maryland to tax the bank. He said that the Federal Government was NOT a creature of sovereign states but arose directly from the people acting through the conventions that ratified the Constitution. Marshall ruled that while sovereignty was divided between state and federal governments, the federal government. "though limited in its powers, is supreme within it sphere of action." Marshall also endorsed broad construction of implied powers. He said implied powers did not mean "absolutely indispensable."|
The laws of the United States, then, made in pursuance of the constitution, are to be the
supreme law of the land, anything in the laws of any state to the contrary notwithstanding. The only inquiry, therefore, in this case is, whether the law of the state of Maryland imposing this tax be consistent with the free operation of the law establishing the bank, and the full enjoyment of the privileges conferred by it? If it be not, then it is void; if it be, then it may be valid. Upon the supposition, that the bank is constitutionally created, this is the only question; and this question seems answered, as soon as it is stated. If the states may tax the bank, to what extent shall they tax it, and where shall they stop? An unlimited power to tax involves, necessarily, a power to destroy; because there is a limit beyond which no institution and no property can bear taxation. A question of constitutional power can hardly be made to depend on a question of more or less. If the states may tax, they have no limit but their discretion; and the bank,therefore, must depend on the discretion of the state governments for its existence. This consequence is inevitable. The object in laying this tax, may have been revenue to the state. In the next case, the object may be to expel the bank from the state; but how is this object to be ascertained, or who is to judge of the motives of legislative acts? The
government of the United States has itself a great pecuniary interest in this corporation
Marshall adopted a strong position on broad construction of the Constitution: “Let the end be legitimate, let it be within the scope of the constitution, and all means which are appropriate, which are plainly adapted to that end, which are not
prohibited, but consist with the letter and spirit of the constitution, are constitutional.”
Said Marshall, Maryland’s attempt to tax the bank conflicted with the supreme law of the land. Said Marshall, "the power to tax involves the power to destroy."
|Givens vs. Ogden(1824): Givens held a state monopoly to operate a steamboat operation, which he had received by way of Robert Fulton and Robert Livingston, this from the New York Legislature. Ogden had received a Federal contract for navigation which conflicted with Given’s contract.|
Marshall wrote that Ogden’s contract prevailed: Marshall said that the power to regulate commerce "like all others vested in Congress, is complete in itself, and may be exercised to its utmost extent, and acknowledges no limitations other than are prescribed in the Constitution."
Hamilton probably smiled through the grave.Marshall’s opinions greatly extended the power of the Federal Government as opposed to the States. He greatly extended, and for that matter validated, the doctrine of broad construction of the Constitution, and the supremacy of the Federal Government in all matters in which the states and federal government should come into conflict.
Spain had abandoned claims to Oregon territory above 42nd Parallel, but Russia claimed lands along the Pacific Coast by virtue of exploration and discovery by Vitus Bering. Czar had claimed Alaskan land as far as 51st Parallel, well into Oregon territory. John Q. Adams, as Secretary of State, protested, and said that the "American continents are no longer subjects for any new European colonial establishments." The end result was a treaty in 1824 whereby Russia accepted the boundary line of 54° 40’. Russia had more pressing concerns at home at the time, and thus did not choose to force the issue. Oregon was still jointly occupied by the U.S. and Great Britain under an agreement of 1818. That agreement was extended in 1827 to continue indefinitely.
In Latin America, Spain had lost most of American empire, except Cuba, Puerto Rico, and Santo Domingo. Only European powers in America were Russian Alaska, British Canada, British Honduras, Dutch, French, and British Guiana. Spain would never regain its empire –Britain would not allow it to do so, as its trade with the America’s was too important. In the meantime, the Quadruple Alliance of the Congress of Vienna (instrumental in defeating Napoleon) worked to return Europe to its former state. It authorized the suppression of a liberal movement in Italy, and France to move to restore the monarchy in Spain.
IN 1823. French troops entered Spain to restore the Spanish King, and word got out that France would help Spain re-establish its old empire. Originally, Monroe and Calhoun were alarmed, and considered a joint alliance with England to prevent this, but later followed the advice of Secretary of State John Quincy Adams, and decided that the U.S. must act unilaterally.
Said John Q., " It would be more candid as well as more dignified to avow our principles explicitly to Russia and France than to come in as a cockboat in the wake of the British man-of-war." Adams knew the British navy would prevent any attempt to restore the empire in Latin America, as Britain had too much to lose. He also suspected that the Alliance had no intention of intervening in Latin America anyway. The British also were more concerned that the U.S. not attempt to take Cuba, Texas and California. Adams skillfully avoided making such a commitment. Had an alliance been struck with the British, he may have been forced to agree to such a plan.
Monroe adopted Adam's plan in his annual message to Congress in 1823. This became known as the Monroe Doctrine:
"the American contents…are henceforth not to be considered as subjects for future colonization by European powers." The political system of European powers was different from that of the U.S. and the U.S. would consider any attempt on their part to extend their system as "dangerous to our peace and safety." The U.S. would not interfere with existing European colonies. The U.S. would keep out of the internal affairs of European nations and their wars.
No one paid it much attention at the time; it wasn’t even called the Monroe Doctrine until 1852. Although no one wanted to admit it, it largely depended upon the supremacy of the British Navy to keep Europeans out of the Americas, and had no standing in International Law. It didn’t even attract enough interest for the European powers to renounce it.
One Party Politics
The movement to be Monroe’s successor began almost immediately after his re-election. For the 1824 Election, several men were in the running, including three Cabinet members.
John C. Calhoun – Secretary of War. William Crawford—Secretary of Treasury John Quincy Adams—Secretary of State Henry Clay—Speaker of the House Andrew Jackson—War Hero and Senator from Tennessee.
All were Republicans, the Federalists didn’t stand a chance. "Cross-currents of nationalism and sectionalism" complicated matters, even though there was technically only one party..
Presidential Nominations: Candidates had been nominated by Caucus, but many people didn’t like this; particularly after Monroe won nomination for re-election almost unanimously. Nominations were suddenly made by legislatures and public meetings. Jackson was nominated by the Tennessee legislature; a mass meeting in Philadelphia endorsed the nomination. These "mass meetings" were the forerunners of National Conventions. They also nominated Calhoun for Vice President. He was the youngest of the candidates, and was quite willing to take second place and bide his time. The Kentucky Legislature nominated Clay.
Jackson played it very coy. He said that while one should not actively seek election to the Presidency, if the nomination were offered, one could not with propriety decline it.
Only two candidates had clearly defined programs. Crawford's friends (he had been quite ill, was half blind and paralyzed by an illness from which he would not recover. emphasized "devotion to the principles of 1798." that is, states rights and strict construction of the Constitution.
Clay proposed an "American System:"
|A National Bank,|
|A protective tariff|
|A national program of internal improvements.|
Clay's "American System" was an obvious Nationalism approach, as opposed to States Rights; he was strong supporter of Nationalist system.
Adams position was similar to Clays, but he was not strongly committed to the Tariff. Jackson: avoided commitment either way. His managers hoped to capitalize on his reputation as a war hero.
In the election of 1824, No one achieved clear majority. Although Jackson led in the Electoral College and in the Popular Vote. The race was accordingly thrown into the House of Representatives. Clay had smallest number of votes in popular vote and electoral college; obviously a clear defeat for the "American System." Every section of the country had opposed it for it's own reasons: New England and New York opposed internal improvements; the South and Southwest opposed the protective tariff, and sectionalist sentiment defeated the entire nationalist theme.
BUT, Clay was Speaker of the House, and had influence there. He considered Jackson unfit for office.
Said Clay of Jackson: "I do not believe that killing 2,500 Englishmen at New Orleans qualifies for the various, difficult and complicated duties of the chief magistrate."
Clay threw support behind Adams. The Vote in House was by states and gave election to Adams. (Adams got 13 votes, Jackson seven, and Crawford four.Adams named Clay his Secretary of State. Accusations were made of a "corrupt bargain" between the two, particularly in light of fact that the last three Presidents had last served as Secretaries of State.
It would be out of character for Adams, of Puritan background and Conscience, to enter into a bargain like that; but the Public believed it nevertheless, and the end result was to unite his enemies, and virtually cripple his Presidency. Almost immediately, a campaign began to nominate Jackson again in 1828.
John C. Calhoun and Martin Van Buren from New York, commonly called the "little Magician," moved into Jackson's camp almost immediately.
The Presidency of John Quincy Adams
Adams was a very able, honest, and capable man, probably one of the hardest workers and brightest minds to ever hold the Presidency; however, he did not have the "common touch," and did not like political horse-trading. He was idealistic, and refused to remove people from office solely to appoint party loyalists, which made him unpopular with his own party. He had seen two brothers and two sons die from alcoholism, and himself suffered from chronic depression and self doubt. He was exceptionally stubborn, but at the same time engaged often in self-pity and self-loathing, which did not make him popular with other politicians. He had no polish, preferring to speak and write bluntly, which proved disastrous in political matters.
Adams stayed away from the Press whenever he could. However, one reporter, a woman, found out that he swam every morning in the Potomac. She followed him, and hid his clothes, and refused to give them to him until he granted her an interview. He was the first President to ever be photographed.
Adams proposed an exceptionally Nationalistic plan in his first annual message to Congress.. He proposed internal improvements, a national university, etc, even a Department of the Interior. His choice of words was not the best, however. He spoke with grandeur of the national government and used as an example, "the nations of Europe and their rulers." It was bad enough for a minority President to drag this up, but for the son of John Adams, who had been accused of being monarchical was the coup de grace. Adams and Clay who supported a nationalistic approach ran into opposition within the party, which soon divided.
|Adams and Clay became the Nationalist Republicans.|
|Jackson and followers, the Democratic Republicans—commonly called the Democrats. This was the origin of the present Democratic Party.|
Jackson and Calhoun developed a scheme for a Tariff on raw materials (NOT manufactured goods), so high that it would certainly be defeated. A Tariff this high would be unpopular in the North; and Jackson’s supporters in the Northeast could take credit for defeating it, while Jackson sat back quietly.
John Randolph of Virginia saw through the scheme. He said it deals with manufactures of no sort, other than the manufacture of a President of the United States.
Adams was as good as gone. He had virtually no support in Congress. At the same time, John C. Calhoun painted himself into a corner, as he supported the high tariff when he had heretofore been a champion of protectionism. Calhoun returned to South Carolina and prepared his South Carolina Exposition and Protest (1828), published anonymously, which maintained that a state could nullify an act of Congress if the state found the act to be unconstitutional.
The 1828 Election was a dirty mudslinging election: Jackson was called hot-tempered, an ignorant barbarian, co-conspirator with Aaron Burr, engaged in duels and brawls, reputation rested on fame as a killer. He was also accused of living in Adultery with his wife, Rachel. Rachel was presumably divorced at the time of her marriage to Jackson. In fact, they had not known that her first husband had not obtained a legal divorce; and as soon as the divorce was settled, they remarried. Said one anti-Jackson newspaper: "Ought a convicted adulteress and her paramour husband to be placed in the highest offices of this free and Christian land?" Jackson did not take kindly to the slights against his wife, and in one instance, challenged an offender to a duel. In the duel, Jackson took a pistol ball in the lung, but hid the fact. The ball remained in his lung for the rest of his life, and made him an invalid for most of his presidency, and actually shortened his life. Not as short as the other gentleman, however: when Jackson returned fire, he put a ball through the man's heart and killed him. He became the only President of the U.S. to kill a man in a duel.
Rachel Jackson smoked a pipe at a time when it was considered improper for women to smoke. The strain of the marriage scandal broke her health, and she died of a heart attack after Jackson won the election, but before he took office. Jackson was inconsolable at her death. At her funeral, he said, id, "May God Almighty forgive her murderers, as I know she forgave them. I never can." He blamed Clay and Adams for not restraining their supporters.
The Jacksonians played dirty too. They accused Adams of living on the public dole, corrupted by foreign influences from his days as a foreign ambassador. He was called a gambler and spendthrift because he had bought a billiard table and a chess set for the White House. He was also called a puritanical hypocrite who despised the common people. Plus, they dragged out the "corrupt bargain."
Jackson held all the trump cards: He was a War Hero –some claim of Patriotism. He was a Son of the West so the West would support him (he was born in South Carolina, but had lived most of his life in Tennessee where his mansion, the Hermitage, was located. He was also a Planter and slaveholder so the South would support him. Those who hated the national bank also naturally turned to him. And the Common people wanted to be governed by one of their own, not an aristocrat—Jackson appealed to them as one of the common people, as he had come from a poor family, and had no college education.
The Election of 1828 was the first in which the Popular Vote was important. It was the first also with a truly "modern" campaign, complete with speeches, barbecues, fireworks, etc. White Male suffrage had been growing nationwide, and this helped Jackson. More and more public officials were publicly elected.
Spread of suffrage favored new type politician –one who could appeal to the masses,. Jackson played on this as one who came from the people, not an aristocrat. He played up the idea of being a frontiersman of humble origin, although at the time of the election, he was quite wealthy, and owned many slaves.
One of his Campaign Slogans was: "Adams can write; Jackson can fight." Jackson could write, but he once said he had no respect for a man who could think of only one way to spell a word.
Jackson won by comfortable margin. New era in American Politics
|He was the first President from West of Appalachians|
|He was also the first from a poor family|
|He was the first since Washington without a College Education|
|He was the first to be portrayed as the hero of the common man.|
Adams later was returned by Massachusetts to the House of Representatives where he served for many years very capably. He earned the nickname of "Old Man Eloquent." He had his desk in the House Chamber situated in such a way that he could pretend to sleep, and hear the whispers of his opponents. He also enjoyed a distinguished legal career, representing, among others, the Black captives of the Amistad. The one interruption in his distinguished public career was his dismal performance as President; he had been an exceptionally capable Secretary of State, and was universally admired in the House of Representatives. Appropriately, he died on the floor of the House of Representatives..
With the election of Andrew Jackson, a New Era in American Politics was born: Jacksonian Democracy.