Recently, I had the privilege of interviewing President Jackson to gain insight on his perspective of the events during his presidential career. I was honored to have had this opportunity and I was able to understand how the President thought during those moments in our nation’s history. I have experienced his intelligence, his patriotism, and his eloquence. He responded to my questions with well-thought answers that I’m sure readers will enjoy, whether they support the President or not. We looked into topics such as his victory in the 1828 election, the Corrupt Bargain, and his relation to the Trail of Tears.
US History, AP: Hello President Jackson. It is my pleasure to speak with you today. I am hoping to look back through some of the most important aspects of your presidential career and ask for insight from you. Please feel free to give detailed and comprehensive answers. You can feel at ease to speak openly with me about the events and your opinions regarding them. For my first question, relate how important you feel the Battle of New Orleans was in setting up your future political career. In your answer, please include your reaction to the fact the battle occurred after the War of 1812 had officially ended.
Jackson: Thank you for having me. The Battle of New Orleans was the biggest factor that allowed me to serve the country. I helped boost our country’s confidence by using swift measures to complete the task of avoiding the British’s grasp of New Orleans. The fact that our troops killed over 2000 British men served as an image of our newfound strength as a whole. This new image of our nation allowed us to negotiate with Spain, Mexico, and Britain later. US History, AP: Please explain the Corrupt Bargain from your point of view.
Jackson: In my opinion the Corrupt Bargain and the election of 1824 clearly demonstrated how the government and the officials make their decisions that would affect the entire nation as a whole. The speaker of the House of Representatives was not thinking on behalf of the nation and the wellbeing of the citizens, but was instead basing his decision on his own personal views. It seems that Adams and Clay may have had a plan of their own. My followers did not take that lightly, however, and I appreciate their support. They helped me become President in the end because of their disapproval of the “Corrupt Bargain. ”
US History, AP: To what extent was the election of 1828 a victory not only for yourself but also for the common man? Jackson: The election of 1828 was a victory not only for myself, but also for the common man because I was a commoner myself. I grew up in the rural country and I can understand their feelings and perspectives. I did not have any formal education, so I represent those who haven’t but still want their voices to be heard in our government. I served in our military during the Revolutionary War and I studied and worked my way up. I feel that my efforts are for the benefit of the common man as that is what I am.
My supporters going against what Clay did in the previous election also demonstrates this. US History, AP: Your enemies have begun calling you King Andrew. Would you please give any reasons for this epithet? What examples from your life and career would you offer to refute this moniker? Jefferson: I’m assuming I have been given this name because of my defiance against the Supreme Court decision to stop pushing potentially hostile Indians beyond the Mississippi River. They may have thought that my actions were unconstitutional but I believed that what I was doing was for the greater good of our nation.
I am in no way like a dictator, attempting to overrule any Supreme Court decision as if I have the upmost authority. I did not go against Clay’s decision in the election of 1824 even though we all knew what was best for our country, for example. US History, AP: Explain how giving governmental positions to your loyal followers is more democratic than leaving these positions with the old officeholders. Jefferson: Giving governmental positions to my loyal followers is more democratic than leaving these positions with the old officeholders because my followers would have a better, newer perspective on the ways to run the governmental system.
The democracy that I value would keep the political program organized, yet maintain that level of understanding with the people of the nation. US History, AP: Your own vice president, John C. Calhoun, raised the issue of nullification. Why were you so strongly opposed to this doctrine that you were willing to send in troops to enforce federal laws? Jefferson: I was strongly opposed to the doctrine of nullification because the doctrine was associated with the roots of the Union. I believed it violated the idea of majority rule. In my opinion, nullification would’ve “dissolved” the Union.
I did believe that some tariffs were necessary for the production of goods and services. The country needs to be able to raise a certain amount of revenue to avoid a national debt. US History, AP: As a follow-up, what future impact do you think Calhoun’s doctrine of nullification will have on the United States? Jefferson: I believe Calhoun’s doctrine of nullification will hinder the country’s economy. The tariffs are an important factor in the nation’s economic system as it helps our revenue and allows us to avoid a national debt.
It also helps in the production of goods for national defense and security. Additionally, it would help our relations with European manufacturers. US History, AP: We will now move on to the Second Bank of the United States. Here is a copy of your Bank Veto Message for the Bank Recharter Act. Can you briefly summarize this for us, and explain why you were so opposed to the bank. Jefferson: Basically, the Bank Veto Message states that the banking system under the president that holds power and the directors is a monopoly system.
The privileges are at the expense of the public, but it needs to be fair. A good piece of the stock is held by foreigners and the rest is held by a bit of our own citizens, but mostly of the richer class. This demonstrates the government’s selfish purposes and actions. I am opposed to the bank because it relies more on foreign stockholders instead of the citizens in its own country. It is unfair to the American people who have their earnings stored in these banks for other people’s selfish gains and privileges. US History, AP: What were your main problems with Henry Clay and John C. Calhoun?
Jefferson: My main problems with Henry Clay and John Calhoun were that they were selfish; they were invested in their own gains but did not stop to think about the nation as a whole. They did not realize what would be important for the whole country in the future. Clay made Adams president because of his views against me, but he did not take into account the benefits of society. The same goes for Calhoun and his personal feud with Van Buren and his relations with the “Nullifiers. ” US History, AP: How responsible are you for what is being called the Trail of Tears? In what light do you think future generations will view this event?
Jefferson: The only responsibility I had was shifting the Indians westward, beyond the Mississippi River because of the Southerner’s desires to expand into the lands belonging to the five Indian tribes. The government spent decades attempting to remove Indians from those areas, so it was not just my doing. At times I believe that the Indians are somewhat resembling children who need guidance. What we have done by moving them was for their own benefit, as they may not have done well meshing with our society with our rules. Future generations may view this event as distasteful, but I do hope they realize why I had done this.