Andrew Jackson: Was Andrew Jackson a Good President

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“All great ideas are controversial” ~ George Seldes. If that is to be true, then where does Andrew Jackson fit into all of this? Andrew Jackson was our seventh president following John Quincy Adams. He was considered to be a simple man, a man of the people because he could be easily related to. Despite most people’s beliefs at the time he was to be anything but simple; He was extremely controversial in fact. Andrew Jackson liked to abuse his executive powers, he didn’t take or follow orders very well. So, why would the people put such a controversial man into office? I’ll tell you why, it’s because he wasn’t a controversial man in the beginning. The real question is, how did he become so controversial?

One of the many reasons Andrew Jackson is considered to be controversial is because he vetoed more bills than all the president before him combined! Which led people to refer to him as “King Andrew”. Many People thought he was abusing his power to veto and that he was disregarding the constitution and congress. He did what he thought was best regardless of what others advised or said. The people also resented the idea of having another leader with ultimate and unlimited power. During Andrew Jacksons presidency, many feared the idea that they would revert to a monarchy or dictatorship which was the exact opposite of what they had fought to obtain and sustain.

An example of how Jackson completely disregarded the constitution and other branch’s is the Supreme Court case Worchester V. Georgia. In Worchester V. Georgia, Mr. Worchester had brought to the Supreme Courts attention that he had felt that his constitutional rights were being violated due to people trying to force him and his family off their land. The Supreme court ended up ruling in favor of Mr. Worchester. Agreeing that his rights had been violated there for prohibiting the law to be enforced due to the natives being out of their jurisdiction; Although that meant nothing to Jackson. Jackson had realized there was a good sum of gold imbedded deep in the ground, so he decided to go against the court’s ruling and forcefully remove the Cherokee Indians from their land which would come to cause many deaths on what is now referred to as, The Trail of Tears.

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In addition to that, he was also extremely disobedient before his presidency. Back when he was only a Major General in Georgia, they were having minor clashes with the Seminole Indians. He was ordered by his superiors not to take any further action against them. Despite his orders, Jackson took it upon himself to invade Florida against his orders. Even though he went against his orders, he was not punished; He was praised. People called him a hero, which is rather odd if you think about it because he defied his orders therefore going against the constitution.

There was even a point in time when him and his own vice president John C. Calhoun were at odds. All because of a tariff Jackson didn’t think would pass. Jackson was favored by the southerners at the time and needed a way to get more northerners on his side, so he came up with the Tariff of Abomination which was designed to tax imported goods which favored the north and infuriated the south. The only reason Jackson supported it was to gain favor with the north, but he never truly expected it to pass. So, when it did it caused a lot of problems.

Although those were not the only things that sparked controversy. His actions before his presidency became a factor in what made him so controversial. His wife Rachel Jackson was considered an adulter, due to the fact that she had married Jackson not knowing that her divorce was not finalized. This negative cloud over his wife did not caste a good shadow over Jackson. Due to his wife and all of the negativity surrounding her, it left an impression of Jackson which made his campaigning for president difficult at times.

Although that wasn’t the only thing that made his presidency campaign difficult. Him and his opponent John Quincy Adams had been playing a dirty game. They both used Mudslinging In attempt to get ahead. One of the many topics Adams used in attempt to get ahead was accusing Jackson of being a murderer. He was accused of the murder of Charles Dickinson. He had challenged Charles Dickinson to a duel due to Charles insulting Jacksons wife, accused him of reneging a horse bet, and calling Jackson an equivocator and a coward. In the duel Charles shot first and hit Jackson. Even though he was hit, he was still alive. So, he shot at Charles and had a miss fire. That is usually when the duel would end, and Charles would be the victor; But Andrew wasn’t going to allow that, so he re-cocked his gun and shot to kill. Which he did. Since the duel was technically over Adams used that to technicality to present him as a murderer.

Andrew Jackson was a lot of things, and controversial was definitely one of them. He had his fair share of pros and cons, but ultimately, he was a good president. Unfortunately, you can’t have the good without the bad. Jackson just had more bad than most. He loved the power and control he had, most do but the way he used it is what made him so controversial. 

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