History and Anthropology
31 December 2019
President Jackson’s Populism: Links with President Trump
President Andrew Jackson was the seventh president of the United States who gained fame due to his contributions as a soldier in the US Army, which propelled him to the highest office. He was known as a highly populist president whose policies were aimed at the expansion and strengthening of the "whites" of the United States.
One of these steps was the Indian Removal Act of 1830. In this address to the Congress regarding the ratification of the Act, he tried to give the narrative that the consequences of this Act are not as same as the treatment done with the aboriginals of Australia or New Zealand. He tried to sell the idea as an exchange and not as the fact that he was forcing the natives out of their lands so that he would expand the land for the “whites” of the region. However, the results of the exchange are what made the current existence of the US a possibility. True, the cruel behavior was woven with a sweet jargon, but this exchange helped Jackson to control the threat of a hostile Indian Population on his Western border.
The same can be said when it comes to the shutting down of the Second Bank of the United States. Before the start of his tenure as President, he blamed the bank to be the root cause of the Panic of 1819. In those days, politics was rather inseparable when it came to banks. But it is a fact that the rigid opposition that was offered by Jackson was rather due to his past bitter experiences with the Banks. According to economic historian John Steele Gordon, Jackson was involved in a complicated deal related to credit, but after he was left holding the bag, he took out his wrath on the banks.
Another thing that marked another controversy in the tenure of President Jackson was the Nullification Crisis of 1832-33. It involved a challenge of certain laws between the state of South Carolina and the federal government. Jackson was again irrational in insisting that the current tariff should be maintained unless the national debt was completely paid off. This is still impossible today as the national debt is now a larger part of the practices of the American Economy, which was also true back then. This led to a crisis between his Vice President Calhoun and himself. Also, after the Force Act and the use of military force, the situation would have gotten out of hand had it not been the role played by Henry Clay in mitigation of the crisis.
In some recent discussions, many scholars and intellectuals have equated the role of President Trump with that of President Jackson. It is no secret that President Trump is very fond of the legacy of President Jackson and his role in the politics of the United States. We can say President Trump's populist policies like the restriction of immigration and the building of the Mexican Wall are strikingly familiar to the policies that were implemented by President Jackson which are mentioned in the paragraphs mentioned above. Of course, some serious implications may occur due to the growing link between the two Presidents. For one, this would destroy the American image that had emerged after the beginning of the unipolar world. These are not the times similar to that of President Jackson's. The US is now a key player in world politics and any action that aims at the use of hard power can have disastrous results, both for his term at the presidency and the prestige of the United States as a whole.
BIBLIOGRAPHY Glass, Andrew. President Jackson shuts down the second U.S. bank Sept. 10, 1833. Politico, 2007. Article.
Jackson, Andrew. Andrew Jackson's Speech to Congress on Indian Removal. Washington DC: Records of the United States (1780-1990), 1830. Document. <https://www.nps.gov/museum/tmc/MANZ/handouts/Andrew_Jackson_Annual_Message.pdf>.
—. Nullification Proclamation. 1832. Primary Document. <https://www.loc.gov/rr/program/bib/ourdocs/nullification.html>.
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