Feb

18

 Andrew Jackson was the first "Westerner" to be elected President (every President before him had lived in either Virginia or Massachusetts) and he had no sympathy or empathy for either Indians or Brits. By 1829 the "Indian question" was only a memory for Massachusetts and Virginia (which had already killed all but a very few of their natives) and respectable Americans on the Atlantic Coast had already made their peace with the Brits over the War of 1812 in the same way that enlightened Americans quickly decided that our Asian communist enemies were really not so bad (burning the White House and Pol Pot notwithstanding). In that regard Jackson was like Ronald Reagan; he persisted in seeing the traditional enemies of America as enemies. Even worse, he had thought enough about economic questions to have his own opinions even if they were not the ones that "sophisticated" Americans had learned by rote. Jackson's anti-elitism was based on common sense observation, not anti-intellectualism. Clay, Webster and Biddle did not have any claim to know more than Jackson did about finance; in fact, of the 4 men Jackson was the only one who both made and kept a fortune. Their fundamental assertions were the same as those made by our most recent two Presidents and Secretaries of the Treasury, the Federal Reserve Chairman and Board and, until recently, the majority of both houses of Congress: that credit should be managed and controlled by the Federal government. In insisting that Constitutional money should be kept separate from the credit system, Jackson was making the same argument that Grant made: if you allow a central bank to make money and credit interchangeable, then enterprise becomes politics and the people, both rich and poor, suffer if they are not "connected".


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