posted by Anonymous on .
To what extent was president andrew jackson one of the nation'smost effective president?
Please see the later post with the same question, as I saw it first.
Old Hickory rolled into Washington with such force that an era is named after him. Ending years of what he (and many Americans) considered to be elitist government, Jackson threw open the doors of power to the people, and remade the executive branch in the process. Previous to Jackson, Presidents tended to work with Congress to shape the national agenda. Jackson determined that he would have his way in spite of Congress, or the courts for that matter. Jackson distrusted big government, and he hated debt. The two ideas combined as Jackson became the only American president to completely pay off the national debt. Jackson called for the abolishment of the Electoral College and encouraged the regular replacement of government bureaucrats with his loyalists, and punished those who were suspect. The “spoils system,” in many ways, lives on today. Jackson came into office planning on ejecting all Indians living east of the Mississippi to what is today Oklahoma, resulting in the Indian Removal Act of 1830, which even the Supreme Court could not stop. Hundreds of millions of acres in the American South were soon free for development. Jackson also personally destroyed the Second National Bank of the United States, which he considered a bastion of privilege and corruption. When South Carolina, angered at tariffs that favored northern manufacturing, began to speak openly of secession and nullification, Jackson made it policy that the state would remain loyal by force, if necessary. South Carolina opted to compromise instead. At the end of his second term, hating banks and paper money to the end, Jackson enacted his “specie circular” that forced all government lands to be purchased in coin, which he thought would end speculation and leave the land to common people. What it did instead was help to hasten an economic depression (but he would leave Martin Van Buren to wrestle with that). The sheer force of Jackson’s dynamic personality defined a generation and rippled across the American political landscape for decades to come.