Saturday, April 8, 2017

Andrew Jackson by D. C.

  1. The main argument throughout the documentary in the time period of Andrew Jackson in American History, was to shine a light on the dilemma of the relationship between the common man and government. Although Andrew Jackson was not necessarily a common man for he had earned a rising sense of fame due to his success as a General in the U.S. Army. Throughout his life, Jackson was criticized for his steadfast opinions and autocratic manner, but he nonetheless proved himself a savvy and thoughtful politician. It was only after he had fully considered his options that he made a decision–once that decision had been made, however, he pursued it relentlessly, gradually grinding away at his opponents until he got what he needed. In doing so, he helped modernize the nation and forever define his term of office as the mini-Enlightenment now known as Jacksonian America.
  2. To identify a purpose of the documentary we would need to envelop all of the Jacksonian Age. I believe it is to give viewers an understanding of what kind of mindset politicians and common men had of the era. More specifically, it highlighted both sides of all conflicts and discussed why/what actions were taken as well as evidence from written accounts by the individuals in the time period. Such individuals voices included; Andrew Jackson, John Quincy Adams, Henry Clay, Rachel Jackson and John Eaton. The voices that didn’t seem to shine as bright as theirs did would be the ones of the common man, at least through the beginning of the Jacksonian Era. Common men were not heard as well as they ought to have been heard, the Electoral College spoke for them on political matters which (on occasion) was infuriating.
  3. In class we discussed a lot of different topics from Jackson’s time but the one that became more prominent to myself was how abusive he was with his power. More specifically the power of the Presidential Veto. By over exceeding his executive powers he used a veto in the U.S. Bank because he felt that the Bank was an unfair monopoly and that it abused or might abuse its significant power. Jackson went to great lengths to destroy the Bank, a crusade that almost cost him the presidency in 1834 and earned him an official censure by the Senate. Nonetheless, by 1837, he had killed the Bank, as part of his lifelong distrust of credit. This side of Jackson showed a new and different part of himself that I didn’t see in the documentary.
  4. One historical questions or topics more or less we talked about was Jackson’s King like qualities. A classmate brought up the similarities between Jackson and Trump and everything sort of clicked because they are very alike. A big Jacksonian characteristic was that he earned the respect of the Americans who elected him largely by being an outsider and a disruptive force chosen to break up existing Washington power structures. This is something we see in President Trump. Towards the end of class we were handed a political cartoon of the era depicting Andrew Jackson as King. This cartoon from 1832 uses that theme to show Jackson, dressed as a king, trampling on the Constitution and wielding the veto. While the cartoon garnered support for the opposing Whig Party, but it did little to thwart Jackson's desire to increase the power of the presidency.
  5. Any unanswered questions? The only one I really have is if other political parties ever got as dirty as Andrew Jackson’s? We know that President Trump’s did but before the year 2000 is when I mean.