Born: March 15, 1767, in Waxhaw,
South Carolina... Jackson embodied the ideal of the self-made American man, and his populist appeal lay in his message of
inclusion against what he characterized as entrenched establishment interests. He frustrated the professional politicians
of Congress with his insistence that any man should be able to hold elected (or appointed) office and by his forceful and
effective use of the presidential veto and bully pulpit. Critics charged that his ballyhooed disenfranchisement of establishment
interests was just a cover for the patronage and installation of his own supporters... Died: June 8, 1845.
- London's Metropolitan Police Force established; first modern police (1829)
- Nat Turner leads a slave rebellion that is put down, violently (1831)
- Massachusetts minister Samuel Smith writes patriotic lyrics to a German tune, creating
My Country, 'Tis of Thee (1831)
- British Parliament passes a bill abolishing slavery in its colonies, to take effect
in one year (1833)
- Spanish Civil War (1834-1838)
- Frenchman Alexis De Tocqueville publishes Democracy in America (1835)
- James Smithson, a Brit who never visited the U.S., leaves an endowment for a Smithsonian
Institute to the American government (1835)
- Texas declares its independence from Mexico (Republic of Texas); the new republic fights the Mexicans at the Battle of the Alamo (1836)
Economic policy cemented
Jackson's legacy as a populist. When South Carolina nullified a federal tariff that displeased the state (South Carolina Nullification Crisis), Jackson threatened to collect the funds at gunpoint. The state backed down. When Whigs
in Congress brought up a bill to charter the Second Bank of the United States -- a private institution that held Federal funds,
sold U.S. bonds, and had undue influence over interest rates, but was beholden to no voter -- in 1832, Jackson vetoed it,
dismantling the bank; this was the first time a president justified a veto on policy grounds, rather than on constitutionality.
For much of the American public however, Jackson's reputation was built not on money matters but on a lady's honor. When Peggy
Eaton, the wife of the secretary of war, was snubbed by other wives of cabinet members, Jackson saw parallels with his own
late wife's reputation and took the opportunity to dissolve his cabinet for a year, meeting with an informal group of advisers
he called the "kitchen cabinet" instead. Not coincidentally, he was able to purge anyone who supported his hated vice president,
Britain and France both tried
to keep the United States from freely trading with the other. In 1830, however, Jackson negotiated an exchange of shipping
rights with the British West Indies. By 1836, problems with France dating from the Napoleonic Wars reached an amiable conclusion.
Closer to home, Jackson recognized the independence of Texas in 1837 and his administration instituted a policy of forced
relocation of Native American nations.
Although Jackson won
more electoral and popular votes than any of his opponents in 1824, his lack of a majority gave the House of Representatives
the power to choose a president. Frustrated by what he considered a stolen election, Jackson ran again and won in a landslide
in 1828. His connection to the working man ensured him reelection to a second term in 1832. After his presidency, Jackson
remained a potent force in American politics and the success of two of his protégés, Martin Van Buren and James Polk, can
be traced to "Old Hickory."