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The First "People's President"

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  • Strongly Liberal Democrat
    Portland, OR
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    America had never had a "President of the People" until Andrew Jackson was elected to become the nations seventh President and he did not disappoint those who elected him. Almost immediately after taking office, President Jackson showed that he was not afraid to take on the big interests in America at the time, mainly the Second Bank of the United States. He is credited with paying down the national debt for the first, and only, time in our nations history and he was a firm proponent of ridding the nation of the electoral college and allowing for direct elections of everyone from the President on down the ballot. In his third State of the Union speech he stated: "I have heretofore recommended amendments of the Federal Constitution giving the election of President and Vice-President to the people and limiting the service of the former to a single term. So important do I consider these changes in our fundamental law that I can not, in accordance with my sense of duty, omit to press them upon the consideration of a new Congress."

    What Mr. Jackson's ultimate and undying legacy is that he oversaw America finding it's footing after the Revolutionary War and the War of 1812. The latter nearly saw the country fall back into the hands of the British. Those memories were still fresh in Mr. Jackson's mind, with him being one of the only victorious generals in that war. If it weren't for him and the men that he led, New Orleans very well could have fallen to the British and we might have been looking at a far different country today.

    America was getting bigger and more complex by the day, as David S. Reynolds writes in "Waking Giant: America in the Age of Jackson." Andrew Jackson was the perfect President for that point in time in our nations history and America could very well be a different place right now if Jackson didn't stand up for the every day man and fight the moneyed interests of the time. In his veto message to congress explaining why he was against the re-chartering of the Second Bank of the United States, he stated: "A bank of the United States is in many respects convenient for the Government and useful to the people. Entertaining this opinion, and deeply impressed with the belief that some of the powers and privileges possessed by the existing bank are unauthorized by the Constitution, subversive of the rights of the States, and dangerous to the liberties of the people, I felt it my duty at an early period of my Administration to call the attention of Congress to the practicability of organizing an institution combining all its advantages and obviating these objections. I sincerely regret that in the act before me I can perceive none of those modifications of the bank charter which are necessary, in my opinion, to make it compatible with justice, with sound policy, or with the Constitution of our country." I can only imagine what American's would think now if our President stood up and stared down the banks like Mr. Jackson did back in the early 1800's.