Being a lawyer and a landowner, Andrew Jackson has to be considered as one of the most controversial presidents ever. Some may say that he is a bad president seeing the decisions he made that had a huge effect on the citizens but at the same, he could also be argued as a good president since of how he handled the U.S debt during that time. However, his poor actions such as the promotion of slavery by signing the Indian Removal Act, his opposition to the Nullification Crisis increasing sectionalism in the country, and the long dispute with the National bank resulting in a weaker currency, ultimately categorize him as a bad president.
During his lifetime, slavery was a primary source of Jackson’s personal wealth, as he wanted to protect his assets. He was extremely against the abolitionist movements and during that time he owned nearly 150 slaves, who he treated really poorly. There was once an incident of him offering rewards to anyone who captured runaway slaves. This shows that Jackson is just doing this to gain his reputation by the public. During 1830, most of the Native American tribes, especially in the Northeast had been sent away and destroyed but there were still thousands of Native Americans that were living on Indian territories within state borders down South such as Florida and Alabama. Since Jackson believes that Native Americans that are living within the United States had no sovereignty over the land, as well as the pressure for development of western lands made the removal of these Indians politically desirable. This was later known as the Indian Removal Act which was applied to the ‘five civilized tribes’, including the Cherokee, Choctaw, Chickasaw, Creek and the Seminole. These Native Americans felt betrayed seeing after all the work and effort they did to help Jackson, and now they were being forcibly removed from their homes and made to move to the other side of the Mississippi River, which is hundreds of miles away. By 1837, Jackson removed 46,000 natives from lands east of Mississippi, opening 25 million acres of land for white settlement. Although the Indian Removal Act was a great example of America’s efforts to expand through North America and their motivation to economically improve through profitable opportunities, it was devastating for the Native Americans, their culture, and their way of life causing them to die from the lack of food and shelter during the journey of the Trail of Tears.
Arguments and disagreements over tariffs have become one of the key issues Jackson had to face during his presidency. As the John Quincy Adams Administration drew to a close in 1828, manufacturers in the rapidly industrializing Northeast began demanding a tariff tax on imported woolen goods to protect their industries from foreign competition, especially from Great Britain. Jackson had chosen John.C.Calhoun, a native South Carolina as his vice president. The people of South Carolina declare that several acts of the congress that impose duties and imposts on importation were unfair and were expecting Jackson to repeal it as he was known as the man of the people. However, Jackson failed to address the tariff issue which opened a split between the president and the vice president. Calhoun published a theory of nullification, stating that any state had the right to nullify or get rid of a law if they believed it’s unconstitutional. Jackson was on the side of Southerners who complained that protective tariffs are damaging their economy, so he was also against the idea of nullification as he believed that the federal government and union must be preserved. Although the Nullification Crisis was good for many of the industries at the time, the tariff made Southerners pay more for the goods in the United States. Additionally, the Nullification Crisis also increased sectionalism in the United States as some believe that states should have more power over the federal government while others believe the federal government should make the final decisions for the country. Through this, we can see that Jackson caused the tension between the state and federal governments, nearly causing a civil war to begin. Furthermore, it also demonstrated tensions within American democracy where a minority of wealthy slaveholders going against the democractice majority, emerging a sectional dispute over slavery between the South and the North.
Lastly, during that period in which the United States was moving on to a strong prosperous future, having a truly democratic president to lead was necessary. However, Jackson opposed to the Second National bank because he felt that the bank held too much power and that it was unconstitutional. He confronted the bank with the belief that it was corrupt and would threaten the nation’s economic security. One of the purposes of the bank was to provide a place for the United States to deposit its own receipts and for the Americans to make tax payments. The bank would be essential in funding the military in times of war as well as helping to pay down large amounts of government debt. Jackson’s war on the bank would lead to one of the worst depressions in American history so he decided to order all government deposits to be withdrawn from the bank and to be placed into smaller state banks, which was later known as the ‘Bank War’, closing down the Second Bank. The consequence of the Bank War had a profound influence on the country, seeing that not only did it hurt the American economy but it also incited the development of a two political system to emerge. Additionally, the Panic of 1837 was also partly caused by this decision that Jackson made, making a huge change in the political party system.
Andrew Jackson has to be considered a bad president seeing the horrible actions he did for the country which includes being a very cruel slave owner, opposing nullification leading to a crisis, and opposing the Second National Bank of America. His actions all harmed America’s economy in such a way, making him a bad role model for future presidents. He deserves to have no place on the currency, and nothing but disrespect from modern America.