tv Viewer Call-in with Jonathan Barth on Andrew Jacksons Presidency CSPAN September 15, 2018 2:53pm-3:43pm EDT
most of the time, people don't go for populism, but during times of uncertainty, times in which there is a sense that there is a corrupt, elite system, that often will give an avenue to populist, good or bad, demagogue or well-meaning, and that avenue can often be exploited. so you have to be very careful in moments like that. jackson, what do we make of him? i'm not sure. interesting guy. next class, we have a new republic. the republic of texas, and that republic of texas is going to apply for statehood in the united states, and that is going to cause its own controversy. so, that does it.
enjoy your weekend, and i will see you on monday. [captioning performed by the national captioning institute, which is responsible for its caption content and accuracy. visit ncicap.org] [captions copyright national cable satellite corp. 2016] andrew jackson, he began his 1829.dency in march he served two terms leaving the white house in 1837. credited h president with the founding of the democratic party and presiding over eight significant years in history. we've just heard from professor barth.n he's joining us here as part of 3's e program on c-span american history tv. a chance for you to ask your president andrew
jackson. he's joined us from tempe, arizona. your lecture to the students. as you prepared, let me begin question, what one thing about andrew jackson surprised you the most? >> wow! thing surprised me the most about andrew jackson. that's a very good question. to say the of the man. jackson was a larger than life i think the charisma, the personality of the man led, ed to him being quite controversial in the present day. of course, just reflecting on andfact that his reputation his legacy in the current day is students,ed, among my i was not terribly surprised to find, but pleased to find that jackson a very intriguing and interesting figure in history, and that
many parallels, of course, to the populism that we ee today, and i presume we'll talk some about populism throughout the course of this q&a. >> which is my follow-up question. in 2018 is it important to in theand andrew jackson 1830s? andrew e american of 1830ses is vastly different from today and i would like to tackle on that the points question. first of all, it was a very country. on the one hand, for free persons, the america of the s was one of the most freest countries that the western world had ever seen. t was an extreme amount of freedom. sometimes in detrimental ways. on the other hand, you had a in which an empire of slavery is expanding. are expandingions across the united states. and so you have that going on. paradox.nd of
you could say tocqueville talks bout this in his famous book "democracy in america," tocqueville was a french visited the o united states in the 1830s, writing down his observations on merican culture and he noted this paradox of freedom, extreme -- dom on one hand and note that's to different today, if you look at growing ation, it's a population, about 13 million americans living in the united in the 1830s. aboutof those 13 million, 1/6 or two million are enslaved. free.llion roughly are among the free population it's a very young population.
the average age of the s was tion in the 1830 roughly 17 years old. that's a pretty astounding to give a little context of that. almost an age today is 40 so that's quite a big difference between today and then. do you have when you have a young population? you have an aggressive population. you have a population that's very individualistic. hyper you could say individualistic. you have a population that's ery ambitious, and forward looking, and a population that's entrepreneurial. competitive. course, , and, of reckless as well. all of these traits are with lly associated younger aged, especially in a young country where you have a which we have n more than two centuries of history behind us. this is a united states in
which, you know, in fact, john quincy adams, who was elected 1824, was the first president who was not a founding father. a very, very young country, and you get the good and the bad in all of that. might also touch on a few other things that are important, the americans g of the 1830s, this is a very commercialized country. in a way that america wasn't at founding.of the we have the building of turnpikes and roads throughout the nation. building of canals. we have new businesses, new beingations is this phenomenon of sectionalism. the united states in 1830 was
, not by law,ctions but culturally. often times we think about sectionalism as north versus south, and certainly in the 1840's and 1850's that was the theominant rivalry of i united states, but in the 1830's, you could argue west versus east was a bigger rivalry the north versus south. west versus east. frontier versus the coastal city. the up and coming common man, if you will, versus the east coast aristocrat. of the divisions that characterized american society in 1830's that we have to take into account when we analyze andrew jackson.
to understand the presidency of andrew jackson you need to understand his defeat in 1824 and how that changed his approach to his election in his two terms. the election of 1824 was a decisive moment friend or jackson. the election was a four-way contest, and the other candidates were not minor candidates, they were big candidates. a four-way contest. andrew jackson one with 42% of the popular vote to read second place was john quincy adams, the son of john adams, at 42%.
he also won a plurality of electoral college votes. win the jackson did not majority of the electoral college and that's required to win the presidency, so that got thrown to the house of representatives, which the 12th amendment to the constitution ordained. house,n going to the henry clay, another candidate who did not make it into the final round, henry clay, the speaker of the house, agreed more with john quincy adams on policy that with andrew jackson. and so adams makes, according to jackson, a corrupt bargain -- clay makes a according to jackson, a corrupt bargain and in exchange he would, adams would give him the position of secretary of state. that event, secretary of state was seen as a primary route to
the white house. so jackson loses in the house, he expected to win, he's obviously just as furious as you can imagine over what happened jacksonelection, and decidesis corrupt and in response to basically launches 1828 campaign a bit target of make the his 1828 campaign government corruption, a rigged system, rigged against democracy and rigged against the common man. whether will discuss there are parallels with the trump presidency, but let's get your phone calls. john joins us from pennsylvania. go ahead, john. jon.r: good evening, i have a question concerning
andrew jackson. if he was a cherokee indian himself, why did he go against his own people? what was the reason why they moved them for? if i understand correctly, you were asking about the cherokee indians -- he was asking about the cherokee indians? host: you talk about that in your lecture, in present-day oklahoma. jonathan: i would say that was the most notorious part of his presidency. the removal lacked -- the indian removal act allow the government to form treaties with indian nations in what was then the old southwest but is today the old southeast, you had the creek, the choctaw, the chickasaw, the cherokee and the seminoles, that the government was hoping to do
with. government gave the permission to formulate treaties by which those tribes would relinquish sovereignty over their land in exchange for land in indian territory, which today is oklahoma. the problem here was multifaceted of course, but with the cherokee one of the big problems was, who is the voice of the cherokee? you had rival charity groups. you had one cherokee group that considered it inevitable that they were going to lose their land in georgia, so they supported working with the federal government and getting the best deal they could. however, that was only a minority group among the charities. chief amongl the cherokee nation, john ross, was opposed to moving to territory,he indian and opposed the treaty that the
alternative party signed. so the cherokee nation by and large did not agree with the treaty that was signed by this minority group to relinquish sovereignty over georgia. acceptn if you were to the lawfulness of the indian muchal act, which was very disputed, you could argue that violated higher laws beyond simply the general principle that the federal government could deal with indian nations, even if you accept that it was still a lawless treaty and the sense that the majority group among the cherokee did to agree to the move oklahoma, and the federal , force them to do so, and that was the trail of tears, a journey that was brutal
that went on under that removal, that actually went on under martin van buren, but the treaty for removal was signed under jackson. host: let me go through a couple of biographical notes. did andrew jackson have children? you stumped me on that one. andrew jackson was married to a woman named rachel jackson, rachel donaldson who became rachel jackson in the 1790's. and that was a source of extreme controversy because rachel was married to another man. and she had a falling out and when jackson married her, she thought you was divorced but the divorce papers weren't in, so technically jackson was in a bigamist marriage, and this was
used by his political opponents for years and years to come. in fact, when rachel died in the, just a few weeks after presidential election of 1828, jackson claimed -- -- -- jackson blamed the death of his wife on john quincy adams, his political opponent,, because adams supporters had used the issue of this controversial marriage to rachel as a point against and jackson believed this stressed her out to the point of killing her late in 1828. if i may make a footnote, two native adopt american children, one which we don't know much about that his , and adopteddore
girl who wasan an orphan from the creek war that he fought in. so that's jackson's family. host: and the hermitage in tennessee was what? the hermitage was jackson's plantation around nashville. in 1824.sed it it was a large plantation. this goes to jackson being a frontier aristocrat. jackson was not an ordinary farmer. he related to them, he appealed to them, but jackson was quite a wealthy man. jackson bought this plantation, adding00 acres, ended up to that plantation, to about 1000 acres. he grew cotton on that plantation, and one of the features of that plantation were slaves.
he started out with a little under a dozen slaves when he first bought the plantation and by the 1830's he had over 150 slaves. that was just outside nashville, tennessee. host: follow us on twitter at c-span history, our lecturer in history series, and tonight our conversation with professor jonathan barth. we have a call from gainesville, florida. good evening. president trump has the portrait of president andrew jackson in the oval office. it has been subtle references that he has an intention of pulling the u.s. government to wait from the federal reserve. i'd like for you to share insights about what you know, for the reasons why andrew jackson pulled the united states government away from the central bankers, and basically did what
lincoln did and instituted the u.s. currency during his presidency. could you share your insights as to what you know about that, and whether you are aware of some of that oblique references president trump might do the same thing with the federal reserve? very good question. i haven't seen any major suggestions from trump that he intends for a major overhaul of the federal reserve. however, a few weeks ago trump made comments in which he seemed to be critiquing the chairman of aboutd, jerome powell, interest rates, which caused a bit of a hoo hah among wall street circles, that the president was getting involved in that. and the bank of the united states, jackson saw the bank of the united states is a corrupt monopoly that financed
credit, money was centralized among the wealthy in very few hands, and jackson wanted to tear down that monopoly. and the problem with the bank that supporters of the bank war did not agree on the best alternative. some supporters of the bank war believed we should have totally decentralized banking and bank notes issued by anyone who really wanted to issue them. that was an alternative called free banking. other people were against all banking, altogether. jackson was probably in that group. and he referenced abraham lincoln. printed ancoln greenback currency issued directly by the treasury and not by a bank or a central bank, and of course our currency today is issued by the federal reserve, not by the u.s. treasury.
far as why trump hank andrew jackson in the oval office, he sees himself as a jacksonian-type president, he sees himself as a populist, he admires certain qualities about andrew jackson and has made that quite evident, and so have those surrounding him. host: not only does a portrait of andrew jackson hang in the oval office, but early in his presidency, donald trump traveled to the hermitage in tennessee. the significant of that is? caller: the significance of that is he sees himself as a jacksonian -- the significance of that is that he sees himself as a jacksonian. and if you will recall when "hamilton" rot attention to alexander hamilton in a new way that got people thinking about i think the talk about parallels between donald trump and entered jackson -- and andrew jackson has gotten people
to think about the legacy of ofrew jackson in new types ways. the parallels between donald trump and andrew jackson are interesting. i think they are mostly stylistic. they are mostly stylistic. and if you look at the rhetoric, jackson was at times a loose cannon. he was hot tempered. he could prove a bit stubborn on many points. there was one instance toward, it was in 1834, henry clay was a senator at the time and moved for the u.s. senate to censure president jackson, and in reply "asson said clay was reckless as a drunken man in a brothel." you can very easily imagine trump saying something very similar in a tweet.
but the end of jackson's presidency, he said he regretted that he had, he said he had to shott, that he had not john c calhoun and that they had not shot henry calhoun, that he didn't hang john c calhoun. did he mean that literally? probably not. but again, there is a stylistic similarity there. although it is important to note that a lot of trump positions, if you look at them, share more in common with the party that opposed andrew jackson. it was the whig party, the opposition party that supported arrifs=fs -- supported tariffs. it was the whig party that supported using federal money to build infrastructure. and between the two groups, the whig party was more likely to
opposed theists who immigration of irish and germans into the united states, because i resent germans usually voted democrat. so from a policy standpoint, i would argue trump shares a lot in common with the whigs. , ofeverything in common course, those were different issues back then, however, i think it is the style, the style and the opposition to the establishment. if we talk later about populism, and the nature of populism and what populism is, if you approach it from that perspective then yes, trump echoes jackson. let's go back to your lecture to students at arizona state university. you touched on populism today and in the 1830's.
populism is a political term that has come up quite a bit in the past two years. what is populism? populism is not an ideology -- ideology per se. is a style -- populism is a style of politics, a style to thetics that speaks interests, hopes and fears of the common, ordinary people. populists tend to pit the people versus the elites, the people ent.us the establishm populists tend to warn of the various forces in positions of power, whether those forces are in government or the corporate world, nefarious forces. and a cherry on top, populists
often benefit from charismatic personalities. very often with populism, you will see a populist emerge who uses the sheer force of personality and rallies people around him, and uses that charisma to attack what he claims, at least, in his defense, corrupt, and trenched interests. that's what populism is. andrew jackson is a populist. professor jonathan barth at arizona state university. let me ask you, did donald trump take a page from andrew jackson in his campaign? question.no he did. but in fairness, a lot of american politicians have. populism is an interesting political capital. it manifests itself on both the left and right. if you look in american history before jackson, you could say theas payne was a populist,
author of "common sense" man.ting it for the common we've had william jennings bryant, eugene debs, he we long hueyng the 1930's -- q w long during the 1930's, and bernie sanders. i would argue bernie sanders was playing a populist role in the campaign. it's a style that pits the people against the elite, the establishment. host: lessons history -- lessons in history on c-span3 every saturday evening at 8:00 p.m. eastern time. check out the schedule on our website. jonathan barth joins us from tempe, arizona. becky is on the phone from washington state. good evening. host: good evening. my question for jonathan barth is that, i understand andrew jackson was an orphan.
yet from your lecture i gather he was wealthy from a very young age. how did he gained that wealth at such a young age, in order to buy that plantation and by more land, even as young man before he got into politics? jonathan: thank you, becky. excellent question. jackson was born without a father. his father died about three weeks before he was born. his mother died when he was 14, so he wasn't always an orphan. he was quite close to his mother, actually. jackson blamed the deaths of loved ones quite often on people he didn't like. he blamed the death of his mother on the british, because his mother contracted the disease while working to help revolutionary patriot volunteers during the american revolutionary war. but after age 14 jackson didn't have any parents, he came from very humble origins and, how did
he raise himself up? he studied law in north carolina . jackson was the first u.s. president since george washington who didn't have a college education. we've had of the presence who haven't had college educations since then, namely abraham lincoln and others as well, harry truman. but andrew jackson didn't have a college education, studied law, moved to tennessee and brought himself up. a judge stellar lawyer, on the tennessee supreme court, helped found the state of tennessee and moved onward from there. from ae have a tweet viewer who wants to know about the supreme court mix by andrew jackson. what was the significance of jackson's supreme court picks. jonathan: he had six of them, so
that was a big impact on the direction of the court, no doubt. jackson was a democrat, he chose democratic justices, by and large greed the most significant was roger tawney. roger tawney became supreme justice when john marshall died in 1835. was more of the small government guy, a committed democrat, a committed jacksonian whose most infamous decision was dred scott. dred scott versus sanford, in which was ruled territories could not outlaw slavery, it was unconstitutional. that was his most infamous decision. he had many other important decisions, but the supreme court was one of jackson's biggest legacies, no doubt about it. you imagine a modern president having six picks on the supreme court? jonathan: monumental.
monumental, no doubt about it. host: we go to gym in time that, california. tujunga, california. jonathan: what were the events going at the time that may jackson a populist president? -- caller: what were the events going on at the time that made jackson a populist president? were thingsere going on at the time were people were getting in their way, and who was getting in their way? bankers on the east coast. it manifests itself in different ways. if you're a farmer and you want land, and there is an indian tribe possessing nines of acres, you are going to support indian
removal. i think the populism comes from the fact that you have a restless population that sees people getting in their way. and those people getting in their way our interests that are entrenched, that they see as corrupt and needing of a strongman president to take it down. why the man who was instrumental in the elimination of the second bank of the u.s., why is he on the $20 bill? declann: i'm not sure how or why that happened, and i'm also not sure how much longer he is going to be on there. i know the treasury secretary under obama announced harriet tubman would go on it. those lands seem to have been postponed. know thath irony to he would be on the $20 federal reserve note. host: this is a tweet from
edward perkins. he wants to know, during the jackson presidency, the migrants in this country, how did most german and irish migrants support jackson's democratic party? the irish were lower class and a lot of the germans moved to the frontier or west to pennsylvania, and frankly there was a religious reason as well. many irish and germans were catholic. there was a hostility toward centurys in the 19th among a lot of protestant groups. jackson was a protestant, and a unnerved by were that. and a lot of them were heavy drinkers, and the week party =--
whig party was part of the temperance movement. they werek that trying to push back against interests that were tried to keep them down. host: what was the margin of victory in 1828? jackson got well over a majority of the popular vote and well over a majority of the electoral vote. you could call it close to a landslide. host: and when he ran for reelection in 1832? jonathan: same result. clay was hoping the bank fee to would backfire on jackson but it did the opposite. it propelled jackson to victory. jackson interpreted the 1832 histion as a mandate for actions against the bank. our next caller is from hamilton, ohio.
randy, welcome to c-span3's american history tv. i want to know, the democratic party of andrew jackson, how does that compare to the democratic party of franklin roosevelt, and how does that compare to trump? jonathan: very good question. the interpretation of jackson through the years has changed a lot. a lot of progressive historians in the 20th century, the most famous arthur schlesinger junior, interpreted jackson as a forerunner to the progressive to control theg power of rich, wealthy capitalist groups at the expense of common people. the main difference between jackson and fdr was the jackson opposed to strong central government. jackson believed a smaller government and laissez-faire was
the best way to combat corporate, elite interests, and that corporate, elite interests actually used the power of the government to acquire the power. so there's a major difference. but a lot of historians in the 20th century interpreted jackson is a forerunner to that movement . how would you rank him among american presidents? jonathan: if you are talking about the most consequential american president, he would have to be in the top five in terms of impact on a lot of different levels. let me give you an example of the impact of andrew jackson. there was a presidential election, the whig party ran william henry harrison, and william henry
harrison went on the campaign trail and talked about, i was born in a log cabin and i have a taste for hard cider. so you have a new style of politics. after jackson, you cannot just appeal to the elites. you have to appeal to a broad spectrum of americans. george joins us from field, new jersey, with professor jonathan barth at arizona state university in tempe, arizona. the great shall be for foote -- some historians say the greatest thing jackson did was something that he didn't do, and out was and in losing in 1824 -- that was that in losing the election of 1824, he could have amassed an army of his many as 100,000 people to march on
washington dc. the fact he didn't do it is a mark of his character, but do you think that theory is an accurate very, or do you think it is somewhat far-fetched -- an accurate theory, or do you think it sounds somewhat far-fetched? it sounds far-fetched but haven't looked at that theory. but he did respect the election result, although i think he called it a corrupt bargain, corruption. that's a heavy charge. and when jackson one in 1828 against adams, adams was so refused tot he attend jackson's inaugural. imagine if a president today refused to attend the inaugural of the president that followed? that would be a really big statement. but i don't know exactly if that is accurate, what you just said right there.
it strikes me as a little exaggerated. host: julie joins us from burke, virginia. caller: good evening. i wanted first to say how much i joined dr. barth's lecture. it was just wonderful. i'm reading a book called : president andrew jackson, cherokee chief john ross and a great american landgrab." somethinginded me of and indian law professor spoke about, that i happened to hear a about the real estate acquisition of jackson himself and how he doled out a lot of favors to friends. i wondered what the professor thinks about jackson and his land dealings. host: thank you.
jonathan: jackson was involved in a lot of land speculation, he lost a lot of and that may, explain his hostility to banking in general. but yes, jackson was greatly involved in land speculation. he helped found the city of memphis in 1819. john calhoun and martin van buren, the two vice presidents of andrew jackson. what happened? jonathan: calhoun, that is quite an interesting story. they feuded about the tariffs and what to do. the tariffs in 1828 was called the tariff of abominations, a 45% tax on imported goods. 1832, jackson
hoped to get it down but calhoun in south carolina let a fight against that tariff. the south carolina nullified -- the south carolina legislature the tariff. outraged, and jackson made plans to invade in necessary, and henry clay even thought jackson's reaction was over the thought -- over the top to the south carolina nullification. by thekson was insulted nullification. he was very much a unionist. and a lot of the prounion, anti-secession rhetoric from the civil war comes from none other than andrew jackson himself. host: our caller from oregon.
go ahead. caller: although i am from oregon, i spent a number of years internals than, -- years south carolina. i became interested in john calhoun as well as horrified. i wonder if you could draw 'srallels with calhoun pressure on jackson, or influence on jackson, as with ,teve bannon to president trump because i am also horrified and interested in steve bannon. thank you. jonathan: i wouldn't call john c calhoun the steve bannon of jackson. have a lot of informal advisers that he called his kitchen cabinet. had figures who were advising him quite strongly, and often radically, on policy positions.
calhoun was not one of them. calhoun in jackson did not like each other and dated back several years. calhoun was very critical of jackson, even earlier in 1818 when he invaded florida. calhoun, who was secretary of war emma disagreed with that as well. so they didn't have the best relationship. host: professor pat has this tweet. andrew jackson seems to share views from both modern political parties. what is your opinion as to which party would be most comfortable with andrew jackson today? jonathan: that's a great question. i would say, i mean, jackson -- the republican party. one, head to choose would be a republican. but i only think he would be a republican in the age of trump. jackson would not have been a
republican under george w. bush. he might have been a democrat under george w. bush. anna in new york. go ahead with your question. to an: if you could speak issue which has received a lot of attention. it has to do with the railroads which began in charleston in the late 1820's. it was supposed to be the charleston, louisville and cincinnati railroad. and it made its way up about 1830 or so as far as john c calhoun's territory in south carolina. and a lot of problems arose, it was never completed, but i'm just interested in what, it may have had to do with all the various issues. supposedly was financed i british merchants and bankers --
merchantsy british and bankers. and obviously the removal of indians to make room for land acquisitions northward, and the whole tariff issue and public financing of public projects and theing, i'm just curious if spokesperson can address that. host: thank you, anna. that goes to your point about how the country was changing in the 1830's. jonathan: it was changing very rapidly and was unrecognizable from the era of the founders. the founders would have been horrified by america of the 1830's. that emerged was very commercial, very capitalistic and very and verylistic, democratic. the founders warned about the dangers of democracy quite often, and i think the founders would have seen jackson is a
figure who was dangerous. a lot of his contemporaries saw him is dangerous. one of jackson's nicknames by the opposition wake party was king andrew the first. he was called a lot of other things as well. the white house in 1830 seven. he died in 1844. what were his final years like? jonathan: i believe his death was 1845 per yes, jackson was well respected all the way up, by democrats, although we have to his death at the age of 78. took a biteputation of a hit after his presidency because there was a financial panic in 1837. martin vannd -- buren lost his reelection bid and the whigs took power. the bank of the united states was blamed by a lot of the public for that financial panic.
but jackson continued to be revered among democrats all the way through the 19th century and into the early 20th century. caller: thank you c-span for having this series. could you expand a little bit on used againstn term jackson in the wake of the financial panic of 1837? jonathan: wonderful question. before a little bit the, but jackson survived first assassination attempt against a sitting president in as a man who lost his job, his name was richard lawrence, approached jackson at the u.s. capitol, fired at jackson twice. his pistol misfired both times so jackson wasn't killed in the
exchange. d approached the man and beat him with a cane after the attempted assassination. backfireutely, it did against the former president once that panic hit in 1837. professor jonathan barth, thank you for allowing c-span cameras to come to tempe, arizona to record your lecturer in history on the life of andrew jackson. and thanks for joining us tonight to share your insights and take our calls. jonathan: thank you, steve, a pleasure. a lecture in history on president andrew jackson. by the way, our lecturer in history series continues every saturday evening on c-span3's american history tv. 8:00 p.m. eastern time and rebroadcast at midnight eastern time.
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had begun a withdrawal and were starting to remove their troops, and they didn't move them quick enough. and by the end of the day on the 12th, the americans reached not only the main objectives for that day but many of the objectives for the following day. so by midmorning of september 13, whole salient had been liberated. watch american artifacts sunday at 6:00 p.m. eastern on american history tv on c-span 3. >> tuesday morning we are live in springfield, illinois, on the c-span 50 capital store. state representative tim butler will be our guest on the buster in washington journal let 9:40 a.m. eastern. was a once thriving community outside lake charles.