The Presidency of Andrew Jackson
Andrew Jackson was a Democratic-Republican who served as the 7th president of the United States. He showed great military strength and leadership skills throughout his lifetime, fighting against the Creeks during the War of 1812 and winning the election of 1828 against John Quincy Adams. Throughout his presidency, Jackson made decisions that had both positive and negative effects on America and its people. Although Jackson’s controversial actions regarding The Bank of the United States, including the passing of the Surplus Bill, gained some support, they ultimately resulted in a lot of opposition and backlash from many of his people as well as Henry Clay and Nicholas Biddle. Andrew Jackson was highly against paper money and banks, as he believed they were unconstitutional and had suspicions regarding their interference with the government. According to Gale, “Kahan recounts how fraud and abuses by state banks led to widespread antagonism toward banks, which Jackson shared” .
Furthermore, the banks were believed to have limited the Americans’ abilities to buy land and pay off their debts. One of Jackson’s main goals as president was to get rid of the Bank of the United States before it could renew in 1836. In the election of 1832, he defeated Henry Clay, who was in support of the national bank. This allowed him to successfully pass the Surplus Bill, which placed government revenue into smaller pet banks around the country and allowed people to take loans out of them. The cartoon, “Andrew resolute Uncle Sam’s faithful teamster, taking the produce of the farms, to another storehouse; and giving Uncle Sam his, reasons for so doing” favors Jackson’s view on the bank and the passing of the Surplus Bill. Andrew Jackson is shown in the center of the cartoon alongside Uncle Sam, who represents the American government. Jackson is shown trying to explain to Uncle Sam how he thinks the warehouse and hotel are an unsafe place for him to keep his produce and suggests he should move his produce to a different warehouse. In response, Uncle Sam accepts Jackson’s offer. He gestures towards Henry Clay and Nicholas Biddle, who are against the Surplus Bill and support the bank, as he says, “I think you do what is best for my interest.
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Farmer York speaks well of what you are doing. Don’t mind those barking fellows I will stand by you,” (). Both men look very angry and clearly disappointed in Uncle Sam’s decision to listen to Jackson and send his produce to a different warehouse. As a result, they threaten Uncle Sam as a wagon rides away from the warehouse and United States Hotel: “If you don’t make that Fellow Andrew bring back your produce, to this Store, you’ll have War. Pestilence, and Famine” (). In advance, Jackson is shown in the center holding a whip, showing how he is in control of the situation and has a lot of power over the men depicted in the photo. This cartoon displays the support given to Jackson during the passing of his bill and how despite the extreme threats given, Uncle Sam still continues to obey Jackson’s commands. He is willing to risk his business in order to satisfy his president, who holds a lot of control over him in the situation.
Furthermore, he refers to Henry Clay and Nicholas Biddle as if they are dogs, calling them “barking fellows,” implying that their opinions are not worthy of Jackson’s time. The two men, Clay and Biddle, show great opposition against Jackson’s actions and do not believe that Uncle Sam is doing the right thing by moving his produce to a different warehouse. Although some people were in support of Jackson’s ideas and actions during the passing of his bill, more were against it. These opposers held strong beliefs against Jackson’s dismissal of the bank and passing of the Surplus Bill. Instead, they supported the national bank as they had industrial interests and wanted a central government with strong currency. As time passed, an increasing amount of loans were taken out from the small banks dispersed around the country. This resulted in large amounts of spendings and loans. With these banks came great consequences for America’s economy, including overspending and bankruptcy. Bankruptcy was a major problem that striked the pet banks throughout the nation: “Approximately eight hundred banks closed their doors in 1837, stifling economic growth and bankrupting numerous businesses, including many of the banks” (www.ohiohistorycentral.org/w/Panic_of_1837).
The cartoon, “The experiment in full operation” was drawn in opposition to Jackson’s Surplus Bill. It attacks Jackson’s plan to stop depositing government revenue into the national bank and portrays his “experiment” of placing it into small state banks instead. The ship shown in the cartoon symbolizes commerce, implying that American trade will be ruined because of Jackson’s actions regarding the bank. The ship’s name, “Experiment,” refers to the idea that Jackson decided to create the pet banks as an experiment and way to see how the nation and economy would uphold with them. The men on the ship are seen complaining and attacking Jackson’s policies, saying things including, “Well what’s the use of a Ship war? She’s meant to protect “Commerce,” but we’ve got none to protect!” (). This cartoon portrays how not only Clay and Biddle, but average Americans, were in opposition of Jackson’s policies. They believed that America had no commerce left due to the closing of the national bank and opening of the pet banks, which ultimately caused the downfall of the economy.
The men on the ship are in support of a national bank, which they believe is best for their country in terms of trade and commerce. As they are sailing away on the ship, the crewmen look miserable, knowing the “experiment” will not have a good end result. The overspending and bankruptcy are rapidly affecting America’s economy in a negative way, and will soon result in a loss of money and control. Although Jackson had some supporters who obeyed his ideas, his strong disapproval of the Bank of the United States gained great opposition from his opponents, and even his people. His belief that the Bank disrupted the government and could not be trusted resulted in his desire to put an end to it, which he did by passing the Surplus Bill. Ultimately, the dismissal of the national bank and opening of smaller pet banks through the bill resulted in great backlash from Americans and huge economic losses through overspending and bankruptcy.