Andrew Jackson was the president of the United States and probably one of the most controversial figures of his time. On the one hand he promoted the interests of common men (and I mean men, not women), on the other hand, he was rather racist and belligerent, with little regard to the judiciary and almost no self-restraint.
Of course, Jackson is ranked pretty high on the list of presidents, but he is still not the favorite. His policies hurt many people, but despite the mistakes he was still determined to preserve the unity of the country.
So, let’s review the key aspects of his presidency which you could use for the body paragraph of your essay.
The Origin and Background
Andrew Jackson was not born into a rich aristocratic family, but due to his aggressive and pushy demeanor he managed to make a radiant career in the military. The most recognizable were of course the Creek War with Indians of 1813-1814 with the brilliant victory at the Battle of Horseshoe Bend which sealed the victory.
Later Jackson proved his military competence in 1815 Battle of New Orleans with the British who intended to conquer it. However, his most critical victory came in the Seminole Wars with the Spanish which allowed him to become a governor of Florida and start his political career.
Jackson never received any formal education, but he attained success because as a true American he never gave up in the face of failure. His first attempt to become a president fell through, but he tried again and in 1829 came to be the president.
Although Jackson as a true Republican Democrat of that time favored state rights, when South Carolina expressed its dissatisfaction over new tariffs, he came up with the Force Act which allowed him to use military to collect tariffs. So, even though Jackson believed that states should regulate themselves, he saw himself as the ultimate authority which should not be ignored.
Jackson killed the Second Bank of the US in 1832 when he vetoed the extension charter, explaining that there was no necessity for it in the Constitution. However, when the Supreme Court ruled the decision to relocate Indians from several states unconstitutional, Jackson disregarded their decision.
He ran a campaign based on the protection of simple people, but after getting the reins of power, he created a patronage system appointing only those close to him and sharing his views as his servants. This spoils system was later abolished with the Pendleton Act of 1883 which stipulated that the government positions should be granted on the merit basis. However, the mere fact that a man who won the presidency thanks to his “common man” appeal was not willing to let those simple folks into his game.
Andrew Jackson laid the groundwork of the Democratic Party platform which, of course, underwent tremendous changes since that time, but his heritage cannot be underestimated.
It is true that he committed terrible errors and even crimes throughout his career. It is enough to mention the Trail of Tears where thousands of Native Americans were forcibly relocated from their land just to suit the needs of the new immigrants. His manipulations with the US banking system proved to be a fiasco. He stopped the 2nd Bank of America from further functioning and let the local banks print money without supervision which led to 1837 panic and rampant inflation.
Moreover, he was simply inconsistent in his policies. Today he talks about laissez-faire and Monroe doctrine; tomorrow he would take away Florida from Spain. Despite all that, Jackson was a strong leader who fortified and expanded the powers of the executive branch, making the president a central figure in the US politics.
Here I would recommend you to express your honest opinion regarding Jackson. Naturally, it has to be evidence propped, but you can also talk about your innermost feelings and beliefs and how they correlate with that president’s policies.
There are so many things to discuss in regards to Andrew Jackson, most of them very dubitable, but still, it all comes to your political stance. Whether you support big or small government, federal involvement or state rights, the national control or the local initiatives – those are just some of the questions you need to answer before drawing a line.
However, even if you dislike Jackson entirely, it is essential to avoid offensive language and resort to facts and evidence in arguing your point. Your criticism has to be justified. Otherwise, it is an empty populist attack, which your professor will not appreciate.