The Trail of Tears
¢Jacksons Democrats were committed to western expansion, but such expansion meant confrontation with the Indians who inhabited the land east of the Mississippi. ¢The Society for Propagating the Gospel Among Indians was founded in 1787 in order to Christianize Indians. ¢The five civilized tribes were the Cherokees, Creeks, Choctaws, Chickasaws, and Seminoles. President Jackson wanted to move the Indians so the white men could expand. ¢In 1830, Congress passed the Indian Removal Act. It moved more than 100,000 Indians living east of the Mississippi to reservations west of the Mississippi. The five civilized tribes were hardest hit. ¢Black Hawk, who led Sauk and Fox braves from Illinois and Wisconsin, resisted the eviction. ¢The Seminoles in Florida retreated to the Everglades, fighting for several years until they retreated deeper into the Everglades.
The Bank War
¢President Andrew Jackson despised the Bank of the United States because he felt it was very monopolistic. ¢The Bank of the United States was a private institution, accountable not to the people, but to its elite circle of investors. The bank minted gold and silver coins. Nicholas Biddle, the president of the Bank of the United States, held an immense and possibly unconstitutional amount of power over the nations financial affairs. ¢The Bank War erupted in 1832 when Daniel Webster and Henry Clay presented Congress with a bill to renew the Banks charter. Clay pushed to renew the charter in 1832 to make it an issue for the election of that year. He felt that if Jackson signed off on it, then Jackson would alienate the people of the West who hated the Bank. If Jackson vetoed it, then he would alienate the wealthy class of the East who supported the Bank. Clay did not account for the fact that the wealthy class was now a minority. Jackson vetoed the bill calling the Bank unconstitutional. ¢The veto showed that Jackson felt that the Executive Branch had more power than the Judicial Branch in determining the Constitutionality of the Bank of the United States.
Old Hickory Wallops Clay in 1833
¢A third party entered the election in the election of 1832: The Anti-Masonic party. The party opposed the Masonic Order, which was perceived by some as people of privilege and monopoly. Although Jackson was against monopolies, he was a Mason himself; therefore the Anti-Masons were an anti-Jackson party. It gained support from evangelical Protestant groups. ¢The Jacksonians were opposed to all government meddling in social and economic life. ¢Andrew Jackson was reelected in the election of 1832.
Burying Biddles Bank
¢The Bank of the United Statess charter expired in 1836. Jackson wanted to make sure that the Bank would be exterminated. ¢In 1833, 3 years before the Banks charter ran out, Jackson decided to remove federal deposits from its vaults. Jackson proposed depositing no more funds in the bank and he gradually shrunk existing deposits by using the funds to pay for day-to-day expenditures of the government. ¢The death of the Bank of the United States left a financial vacuum in the American economy. Surplus federal funds were placed in several dozen state banks that were political supportive of Jackson. ¢Smaller, wildcat banks in the west had begun to issue their own currency. But this wildcat currency was extremely unreliable because its value was based upon the value of the bank it was issued from. In 1836, wildcat currencyhad become so unreliable that Jackson told the Treasury to issue a Specie Circular- a decree that required all public lands to be purchased with metallic money. This drastic step contributed greatly to the financial panic of 1837.
The Birth of the Whigs
¢The Whigs were conservatives who supported government programs, reforms, and public schools. They called for internal improvements like canals, railroads, and telegraph lines. ¢The Whigs claimed to be defenders of the common man and declared the Democrats the party of corruption. The Election of 1836
¢Martin Van Buren was Andrew Jacksons choice as his successor in the election of 1836. General William Henry Harrison was one of the Whigs many presidential nominees. The Whigs did not win because they did not united behind just one candidate.
Depression Doldrums and the Independent Treasury
¢The basic cause of the panic of 1837 was the rampant speculation prompted by a get-rich scheme. Gamblers in western lands were doing a land-office business on borrowed capital. The speculative craze spread to canals, roads, railroads, and slaves. Jacksonian finance also helped to cause the panic. In 1836, the failure of two British banks caused the British investors to call in foreign loans. These loans were the beginnings of the panic. ¢The panic of 1837 caused many banks to collapse, commodity prices to drop, sales of public to fall, and the loss of jobs. ¢Van Buren proposed the Divorce Bill. Not passed by Congress, it called for the dividing of the government and banking altogether. ¢The Independent Treasury Bill was passed in 1840. An independent treasury would be established and government funds would be locked in vaults.
Gone to Texas
¢Mexico won its independence from Spain in 1823. Mexico gave a huge chunk of land to Stephen Austin who would bring families into Texas. ¢The Texans had many differences with the Mexicans. Mexicans were against slavery, while the Texans supported it. ¢Santa Anna- president of Mexico who, in 1835, wiped out all local rights and started to raise army to suppress the upstart Texans.
The Lone Star Rebellion
¢Texas declared its independence in 1836. Sam Houston- commander in chief for Texas. ¢General Houston forced Santa Anna to sign a treaty in 1836 after Houston had captured Santa Anna in the Battle of San Jacinto. ¢The Texans wanted to become a state in the United States but the northerners did not want them to because of the issue of slavery. Admitting Texas would mean one more slave state.
Log Cabins and Hard Cider of 1840
¢William Henry Harrison defeated Van Buren to win the election of 1840 for the Whigs. The Whigs campaign included pictures of log cabins and cider.
Politics for the People
There were 2 major changes in politics after the Era of Good Feelings: ¢Politicians who were too clean, too well dressed, too grammatical, and too intellectual were not liked. Aristocracy was not liked by the American people. The common man was moving to the center of the national political stage. The Two-Party System: There was a formation of a two-party system. The two parties consisted of the Democrats and the Whigs (the National Republican Party had died out). Jacksonian Democrats glorified the liberty of the individual. They supported states rights and federal restraint in social and economic affairs. The Whigs supported the natural harmony of society and the value of community. They favored a renewed national bank, protective tariffs, internal improvements, public schools, and moral reforms, such as the prohibition of liquor and the abolition of slavery.