Barak Obama Is Not Andrew Jackson..Alas.

Why 2012 is Not 1832

By Shlomo Maital  



  Andrew Jackson

Once upon a time, America had strong presidents with clear values and strong principles.  Take, for instance, Andrew Jackson.  He took on the banks, the moneyed interests, and the Republicans whom they supported – and defeated them all, and won re-election in 1832. Here is the story.

  Nicholas Biddle ran the Bank of the United States, the heavyweight US bank (like Citibank and Bank of America combined) at the time.   He was supported by Henry Clay, from South Carolina, the Republican Presidential candidate.  The bank’s charter was about to expire, and had to be renewed by Congress.  President Jackson thought the bank was a ‘monster’ and that it was corrupting America.  Biddle had the Republicans table a bill to renew the charter, in Congress. The bill passed.  Biddle exulted. Biddle assumed Jackson would not have the guts to veto the bill. He was wrong.  Jackson vetoed it.  Here is the reason he gave:

     From  “Jackson scored the bank for its “exclusive privileges,” claiming that most of its stock was held by foreigners and Americans “chiefly of the richest class.” He accused it of operating inequitably, particularly against the West, and of “gross abuse” of its charter. Most especially he warned that the principles embodied in the bill contravened the basic principles of republican equality. Government, Jackson proclaimed, should confine itself “to equal protection, and, as Heaven does its rains, shower its favors alike on the high and the low, the rich and the poor.” It should not add “artificial distinctions” to the inevitable natural and just differences among men and “make the rich richer and the potent more powerful.””

   The Republicans assumed that this veto would lead to Jackson’s defeat, for certain, in 1932.  But the Democrats rallied and the people re-elected Jackson in a near-landslide.  Clay never did become President.  And Jackson went on to call South Carolina’s bluff, prevent it from breaking Federal law, and kept the Union (of U.s. states) together.  And the Bank of the United States?  Jackson broke it. He withdrew Treasury gold and money from it.  And the bank withered and so did Biddle. 

     Oh – by the way – Jackson paid off ALL America’s national debt. Every cent. It was the last time America was out of debt.   

   Once, there were presidents with courage.  It’s why Jackson’s portrait is on the US $20 bill.  Today there is Obama.  He bailed out the banks, rather than take them on.  We could put his image on a $3 bill.  But, then, it would be phony.