Controversies Durong Andrew Jackson Presidency

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Updated: Mar 28, 2022
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I have chosen to write about the controversies before, during and after the Andrew Jackson presidential elections in the United States from 1824 – 1832. This period was considered to be unique in American history because Jackson was considered by many to be the first “non elitist” to be elected to the nation’s highest office. My search for primary sources on this topic for has been effective and wide reaching in scope. Ultimately, many historians come down to three questions in this discussion:
First, was the ultimate election of John Quincy Adams in 1824 a result of political meddling and meant to damage Andrew Jackson and his popularity going forward?

Second, if this election was indeed “stolen “by Adams, did the voting public sense this and punish the latter Adams by electing Andrew Jackson in a landslide in 1828?Finally, if questions one and two are valid, a third question is evident: Did these events give the renegade Jackson even more cause to push forward his populist agenda during his term as President and how did his 1824 defeat fuel his political appetite in 1828 on through his second term and give him motivation to push a “peoples” agenda?

More often than not much of this information that was written about the 15 years from 1824 to 1838 were even then critical towards Jackson, who was considered to be a political outsider, not a true “founding father”, too rough and uncultured to hold office to which he was elected.

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Therefore, I will be using ongoing later research and try to find the primary and secondary sources that help me get a good feel of the populist electorate that felt robbed in 1824 and were ultimately repaid with a Jackson election in 1828. Therefore, I will be using a combination of old and new research and try to find the primary and secondary sources to speak to these questions. The advance of electronic libraries has made the search for this material much easier and can be made to return results that are more directly aligned with the points that I wish to cover with my research. This premise may be updated upon examination of sources and as to whether they are abundant and accurate enough to continue along this line of research.

Further, I would like to go to some of the cases of the actual controversies enumerated in the Jackson Presidential years on a case by case basis to compare the way they were written about in different eras by different historians. I will be using ongoing research trying to find different primary and secondary sources that better help me get a “”general gist “” of the early 1820s up until the actual election of Andrew Jackson, which was considered a direct result of the mechanics of 1824. The following in an annotated bibliography of referenced material which I intend to use in my historiographical essay on the “Controversial Age of Jackson.”

Jeffrey Normand Bourdon, PhD. University of Mississippi in 2010 and adjunct professor of American history at the University of Mississippi and the University of Memphis penned a 2011 article in American Nineteenth Century History Journal speaking of the only American female newspaper editor active during the election of 1832, Anne Royall .The central theme of this journal article was to take a closer look at Royall’s travels from 1818 to 1822 and show that she eventually became a public supporter of Andrew Jackson, not an insignificant thing for women in the mid-1800s. Bourdon writes that she was an important figure in both the 1828 and 1832 elections to Andrew Jackson and John Quincy Adams, she was highly sought after by both campaigns as a front woman for their voices, although she declined citing no interest in the already inflamed, muckraking campaigns that were already several years into destroying each other.

Bourdon does an excellent job of fleshing out this female personality who came from a time when women were generally sent to the back burner and political and even sociological discussions. There are no hints of bias here, just a glowing admiration piece written by an admirer.

Donald B. Cole, professor emeritus at Phillips Exeter Academy, New Hampshire, and the author of a number of books on early American history including the work, Vindicating Andrew Jackson: The 1828 Election and the Rise of the Two-Party System Presidential Studies, speaks of partisan political activities between 1824 and 1828 in six states -New Hampshire, New York, Pennsylvania, Ohio, Kentucky, and Virginia in his treatment of the Andrew Jackson election cycles in this period. Broad issues that political historians of the early republic typically rely on to explain the election of 1828 are missing from Cole’s treatment. They are replaced by a colorful cast of Democratic partisans who innovatively labored together to form a new, more energized type of politics that enhanced popular democracy. The presidential election of 1828 is one of the most compelling stories in American history: Andrew Jackson, hero of the Battle of New Orleans and man of the people, bounced back from his controversial loss four years earlier to unseat John Quincy Adams in a campaign notorious for its mudslinging. With his victory, the torch was effectively passed from the founding fathers to the people.

Cole’s work looks in to the election at the local and state levels, as well as nationwide, focusing on the previously mentioned states to provide a lens of sociology and politics in 1828 America. He seems to use some bias in favor of the Jackson political machinery even in the 1824 loss to show the better grass roots organization of Jackson’s base-the average 1824-28 American. This work will be a valuable insight for my research into both of Jackson’s controversial campaigns.
Furman University Professor of Communication Studies Brandon Inabenet’s article is a review presented for several books including “”The Birth of Modern Politics: Andrew Jackson, John Quincy Adams and the Election of 1828,”” by Lynn Hudson Parsons, “”The Market Revolution in America: Liberty, Ambition, and the Eclipse of the Common Good,”” by John Lauritz and “What God Hath Wrought, The Transformation of America, by Daniel Walker Howe.

Inabenet shows these historians explicitly connect the remarkable transition of those times to the present. They show the precedents for our respect for Jackson and an understanding of our confusion in understanding his odd decisions. For newer Jacksonian historians interested in controversy within U.S. electoral politics, these books fare a rich resource. Each book deals with Andrew Jackson’s road to the White House, with two elaborating on Jackson’s campaigns specifically. All of the books center on the idea that Jackson’s election in 1828 changed American of U.S. political style. This work is fairly balanced with both Jackson’s popularity and foibles and a separate investigation of each work in this article will be valuable in my research into Jackson’s inner workings during this period.

Steve Inskeep is an American journalist who graduated from Morehead State University in Morehead, Kentucky in 1990. In Jacksonland : President Andrew Jackson, Cherokee Chief John Ross, and a Great American Land Grab, he presents a concurrent narrative of Andrew Jackson (U.S. Army general, land speculator, and eventually president) and John Ross (merchant of mixed native ancestry, and eventual leader of the Cherokee Nation). This work spirals through the governmental and professional careers and personal lives of the two men and uses various intersections between the two in the ongoing battle between Jackson and the Cherokee Indian Nation and its eventual displacement across the Mississippi River and removal from the lands that Jackson sought for the expanding white settlers of a burgeoning United States of America. In only his second historical work ; Inskeep takes each man from their early days into the intersections that helped shape the controversial Indian Removal Act and its aftermath. Inskeep uses a fair, biographical and historical lenses to speak to each man and his influence in this troubled controversial time.

In Driven West : Andrew Jackson and the Trail of Tears to the Civil War, USC professor of journalism A. J. Langguth makes a declaration that America’s first civil war was fought in the 1830s when Andrew Jackson removed Indian tribes from the southern United States. Langguth ,a noted fiction and non-fiction author whose work previously dealt with the War of 1812, uses the events from the 1820s through the Civil War to put into context the expulsion of the Cherokees and the tragic Trail of Tears. Langguth’s work focuses chapter by chapter on one figure or event in the history each, from Jackson to Cherokee chief John Ross among other principals in the story. This is a fairly constructed history of the event with no bias taken by the author, other than speaking to the hardships that befell the Cherokee in route and beyond. It will be valuable in a parallel manner when compared to the previously mentioned Jacksonland.

David Martin’s article from 1974 in Explorations in Economic History is an analysis of the ideology and legislative program of the Metallists (1820-37) and tries to proves that the Bank War was a controversy involving the structure of banking in the 1820’s and the control of the quantity of money, but also goes in the direction of Andrew Jackson’s meddling with the U.S. financial system while President. This is a small bit of research into this controversy, but will be useful as a stepping off point in the research in Jackson’s controversy with the United States financial system.
Ann Woodbury Moore in Cobblestone magazine writes a 1993 article about the process and controversy in the 1824 Presidential election. This election was famous for the final single party election in the United States on a national level with four candidates; all of which were qualified and seemingly having their own base of support. William Crawford, Andrew Jackson, John Quincy Adams, and Henry Clay weathered a campaign that ended up being decided by the House of Representatives, making Adams the recipient of the election that many think he may have not won at the polls.

Moore’s work is chock-full of details about the four-man and about the process which drove them in the Electoral process. The work itself is a standalone reference guide for the 1824 election, but also it becomes useful when extrapolating the final election that ever was contested with candidates from only one party. This will be useful in my work, prefacing the historiography of Jackson and Quincy’s two election cycles, whereas in 1828, Jackson ran again against Adams, promising that the will of the people would not be set aside again.

The 1828 presidential election, pitted Major General Andrew Jackson against incumbent John Quincy Adams, and has long been seen as a seminal political and sociological event in American history. It was an election in which a rough, ill tempered, man from the southwestern frontier who unabashedly and openly advertised himself as a man of the people, thrashed a New England of money politician and what was considered at the time to be a revolutionary election.

In The Birth of Modern Politics, Dr. Lynn Parsons, who began his career as an instructor of the History department at the University College, Dublin in 1962 seems to indicate also that the Adams-Jackson 1828 election oddly mimics current American political jousting. These two men are shown by Parsons as men once political companions by 1828, became trapped in a shifting political landscape, and were polarized in not one political cycle, but two. An excellent study in the election of Jackson will be welcome in my research into the inner workings of how the Jacksonian electorate was formed and voted.

The election of 1824 is a watershed interesting contest involving several men with different backgrounds and personalities—John Quincy Adams, Andrew Jackson, Henry Clay, John C. Calhoun, and William H. Crawford. Donald Radcliffe’s work hints that Jackson may not have been the most popular candidate and the “corrupt bargain” was possibly a myth. The election was the death knell of both the dominant Democratic – Republican Party and the Federalist Party.

Radcliffe shows how Democratic Republicans wanted to control the election but couldn’t, until the contest was decided in the House of Representatives. The One-Party Presidential Contest is a detailed account of the proceedings, and balances the undisciplined the candidates’ personal issues with policy in an excellent way. In short, an alternate viewpoint is available here in this revisionist account of this famous presidential election and is a valuable counterpoint in the examination of the Jackson/Adams controversy.
An American Betrayal: Cherokee Patriots and the Trail of Tears is a 2011 work written by Daniel Blake Smith, Ph.D. ,University of Virginia . Smith speaks to the Cherokee Nation’s reaction to President Andrew Jackson’s Indian removal policy. The author generally points out that Cherokee leaders disagreed over the meaning of patriotism during the removal era and uses the work to show said divisions and disagreements internally affecting the Tribe. In the book’s eight chapters Smith explores different Cherokee visions beginning with the “civilization” program and ending with post-removal Cherokee Nation violence. The book’s core are the chapters that examine how Cherokees responded to the 1830 Indian Removal Act. Smith generally narrates this uneasy time and will be a valuable piece of historiographic reference.

Kenneth Valliare wrote an article in the Tennessee Historical Quarterly in 1982 speaking to the way that a specific Tennessee and was affected by the transitional move of the Cherokees from their native land. Hey man, Benjamin curry who was an idea of Nashville and a junior member of the Andrew Jackson Entourage was given the title of superintendent of Cherokee immigration. This work speaks to The way he saw this developed through his own eyes and the way you’re affected a common man from the state of Tennessee. A general biographical piece, this journal article will serve me well as a representation of just how the “Trail of Tears “affected one man.

Matthew Warshauer, History Professor at Central Connecticut State University and a newer voice in the history and legacy of Andrew Jackson writes in “Andrew Jackson and the Politics of Martial Law: Nationalism, Civil Liberties, and Partisanship of the political debates during the 1824 and 1828 presidential elections in relation to Andrew Jackson’s role as the commander at the Battle of New Orleans and his Seminole wars in Florida in 1814 and 1818 Jackson was at the time (and later )was criticized for his his invocation of martial law and the suspension of habeas corpus and argued that Jackson’s actions demonstrated he was a tyrant, unfit for the presidency.

This work seems to be more than slightly biased against Jackson in that it appears to assume that Jackson had no basis, legal or otherwise for these actions. The work will suit my research well as it is highly critical of Jackson and supports the anti-Jackson historiography well”

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Controversies Durong Andrew Jackson Presidency. (2021, Mar 27). Retrieved from