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American Lion: Andrew Jackson in the White House
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PRESIDENTIAL SERIES > 5. TPS - THE AMERICAN LION - CHAPTER FIVE - NON SPOILER

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message 1: by Bentley, Group Founder, Leader, Chief (last edited Aug 24, 2009 06:46PM) (new) - rated it 4 stars

Bentley | 44207 comments Mod
This is the thread to discuss Chapter 5 of The American Lion.

The chapter title is: LADIES' WARS ARE ALWAYS FIERCE AND HOT.


American Lion Andrew Jackson in the White House by Jon Meacham


message 2: by Bentley, Group Founder, Leader, Chief (new) - rated it 4 stars

Bentley | 44207 comments Mod
This chapter continues the discussion of the Eaton situation. Floride was determined based upon the adultery gossip that she heard that she was not going to return the call that she had received herself from both Eaton and his wife. This once again put Calhoun at odds with his President.


message 3: by Bentley, Group Founder, Leader, Chief (last edited Sep 02, 2009 09:01PM) (new) - rated it 4 stars

Bentley | 44207 comments Mod
Did anybody feel that John Quincy Adams and his wife were stirring the pot further with their irresponsible comments and writings? Despite all of Adams' study of the classics, writing of poetry and reading and citing of scripture, I just cannot help but feel that he did not practice what he preached and he appears to be most unscrupulous.

I think it is sour grapes and I think he wanted to stir things up for Jackson since Jackson was the victor and he was not.

What former President writes in his notes that another vice president's wife had stated: " I so hate a whore." Unbelievable. Of course, that was Calhoun's wife Floride's utterance about Eaton's wife he was quoting in his writings. I can't believe that he tried then to strike a line through the offensive word; but kept it plainly legible.

Then we have his wife Louisa Adams stating: " War is declared between some of the ladies of the city and ladies wars are always fierce and hot."

And these were supposed to be the more genteel of the presidential set.

I do not think that Eaton and/or his wife would know what hit them.


message 4: by Bentley, Group Founder, Leader, Chief (new) - rated it 4 stars

Bentley | 44207 comments Mod
Chapter Five has a lot of issues related to the Jackson presidency introduced:

The Eaton Situation
Martin Van Buren's impact
Nullification
The National Bank
The Indians
Jackson's ideology of government




message 5: by Bentley, Group Founder, Leader, Chief (last edited Sep 03, 2009 10:57AM) (new) - rated it 4 stars

Bentley | 44207 comments Mod
Regarding Martin Van Buren:

a) Short, subtle, great at building alliances, very helpful in making the Jackson/Calhoun ticket a reality
b) Eager to be President
c) Secretary of State under Jackson
d) Widower
e) Takes up the Eaton cause as an apparent political maneuver
f) Knew how to work Jackson to his own advantage/ he was a bit of a schemer
g) Impeccable dresser according to all reports at that time (interesting)


He became a one term president after serving Jackson as Vice President in Jackson's second term. He seemed to be a manipulator of sorts and gave Jackson a way out with the trouble in his cabinet. Martin Van Buren is one of only two people, the other being Thomas Jefferson, to serve as Secretary of State, Vice President, and President. - Source - Wikipedia Additionally, he was the first president who was not of British descent and the first president to be born an American citizen and the first president from New York.

http://www.whitehouse.gov/about/presi...

Martin Van Buren's Estate:

http://www.nps.gov/mava/index.htm

Sample of Martin Van Buren book by Shepard

http://books.google.com/books?id=UFZj...

US Department of State:

http://history.state.gov/departmenthi...




message 6: by Bentley, Group Founder, Leader, Chief (last edited Sep 02, 2009 10:29PM) (new) - rated it 4 stars

Bentley | 44207 comments Mod
It makes me wonder about some of these political figures. For example, Henry Clay was distraught when Jackson won. He viewed Jackson as being dangerous, an usurper, his presidency according to Clay was going to be a calamitous event, he thought that Jackson was feeble, irresolute and he did everything he could to make things miserable for Jackson.

The quote which I think defines him is:"I cannot withdraw from the gaze of public eye."

Calhoun was the gossip and where he could spread ill will or counter Jackson, he did so at every turn; a real dissembler.

Van Buren was a manipulator and a fox; he knew how to play the game.

The only true blue patriot among them all was really Jackson at that time. John Quincy Adams had done a lot for the country but somehow he certainly became derailed and became part of the problems in the country at that time. I would have expected a different Quincy Adams considering his upbringing and diplomatic stature. Very surprised by him and how ignoble he was in defeat.


message 7: by Bentley, Group Founder, Leader, Chief (new) - rated it 4 stars

Bentley | 44207 comments Mod
Regarding the Bank of the United States:

Andrew Jackson was convinced that the bank was corrupt; and that Clay was manipulating the bank to influence elections. This could very well have been the case.


message 8: by Bentley, Group Founder, Leader, Chief (last edited Sep 02, 2009 10:45PM) (new) - rated it 4 stars

Bentley | 44207 comments Mod
Charges Against the Bank:

Check out page three of this Google Book - A History of the United States - Volume VI - 1830 - 1842 - by John Bach McMaster - published in 1920

http://books.google.com/books?id=6KF1...

It sort of reinforces Meacham's claims in the book and the dialog that took place between Postmaster McLean and Biddle (who was President of the Bank at that time). This is actually a great little book.

I think I can understand what Jackson was seeing; but did he throw the baby out with the bath water?


message 9: by Bentley, Group Founder, Leader, Chief (last edited Sep 02, 2009 11:07PM) (new) - rated it 4 stars

Bentley | 44207 comments Mod
Discussion of Jeremiah Evarts Family Papers at Yale

http://drs.library.yale.edu:8083/saxo...

Jeremiah Evarts was one of the country's great moral figures who worked on behalf of the Indians cause. Evarts attended Yale during the presidency of Timothy Dwight at a period when religious revival was beginning at the college. Dwight was a descendant of Jonathan Edwards.

This is a quote from the Yale papers: "Sympathetic to the Cherokees' efforts to seek justice through the courts and the Congress, and convinced that the United States government was morally bound to honor its treaty obligations, Jeremiah Evarts actively espoused the Indian cause. In an attempt to place the merits of the Indians' case before the American people,

Evarts wrote a series of essays defending the legal rights of the Cherokees to their land. Published in the National Intelligencer, from August to December, 1829, under the pseudonym, "William Penn," the essays were reproduced in the newspapers and circulated in a pamphlet edition.

Since a bill on the removal of the Indians was to be introduced in the first session of the 21st Congress (December 7, 1829 - May 31, 1830), Evarts encouraged public meetings of concerned citizens, drafted petitions to the Congress which were endorsed by leading citizens in New York and Boston, and wrote a memorial to Congress on behalf of the Cherokees from the American Board of Commissioners for Foreign Missions."

This guy did a yeoman's job trying to assist the Indians.

Evarts felt that there was "a connection between the godliness of the people and the fate of the country."


message 10: by Bentley, Group Founder, Leader, Chief (last edited Sep 02, 2009 11:18PM) (new) - rated it 4 stars

Bentley | 44207 comments Mod
Jackson on Religion:

Jackson was actually a religious enthusiast; but he strenuously separated religion and politics; church and state. In 1826, he discussed religion with Rachel and said that he could not join the church because he could not make a show of religion; there would be his detractors who would think that he did it for political effect. But that when he had this political mess behind him that he promised he would in fact join the church.

Various urls:

http://www.adherents.com/people/pj/An...

Great explanation by Meacham/Andrew Jackson -Sturdy Wall of Separation:

http://newsweek.washingtonpost.com/on...

Do you think Jackson had it right?




message 11: by Bentley, Group Founder, Leader, Chief (new) - rated it 4 stars

Bentley | 44207 comments Mod
Jackson on Government:

Jackson felt that the best government was the one "which meddled the least in the affairs of the governed". And that his job was "to protect the many from the few".

What is your view of what government should and/or should not do for the people? Are you in agreement with Andrew Jackson or do you think his views were too extreme?


message 12: by Bentley, Group Founder, Leader, Chief (new) - rated it 4 stars

Bentley | 44207 comments Mod
Jackson on Nullification:

Jackson wrote to James Hamilton Jr on June 1828:

"There is nothing that I shudder at more than the idea of a separation of the Union.

Should such an event ever happen which I fervently pray God to avert. From that date I view our Liberty is gone. It is the durability of the Confederation upon which the general government is built that must prolong our Liberty. The moment it separates---it is gone."


Jackson saw nullification as a mortal threat to the Union. It was thought that this was also a political attempt by Calhoun to weaken Jackson at every turn. In fact, Louisa Adams (who seemed to have a lot to say) quipped that the entire Eaton situation could just be a trick to get the War Department into the Carolina's hands.

What thoughts did any of you have when reading about nullification, John C. Calhoun's hand in it and/or the ramifications that it had for the Union?


message 13: by Bentley, Group Founder, Leader, Chief (last edited Sep 03, 2009 12:38AM) (new) - rated it 4 stars


message 14: by Bentley, Group Founder, Leader, Chief (new) - rated it 4 stars

Bentley | 44207 comments Mod
Replacement of Federal Officials as the Ruin of the Country (if you listen to Clay and Quincy Adams)

* while Jackson saw this replacement as the nation's salvation

Jackson felt that the President would have wide power to reward Loyalists with offices (much as it is done today - each party chooses their staffs, etc).

Jackson wanted to thank them for their steadfastness and to ensure that he had a cadre of people at hand who would permanently execute his policies with energy and enthusiasm which would be a given.

However, at that time, Jackson was the first president to remake the Federal establishment on such a large scale. He wanted to replace 919 of them (10% of the Federal workers). Because of what other presidents had done before Jackson, the old office holders could be forgiven for imagining themselves immune to the vagaries of politics. But under Jackson they were not.

Washington and Adams combined had removed only 9 people each
Jefferson - 39
Madison - 5
Monroe - 9
John Quincy Adams - 2

But Jackson meant to change things. Jackson was determined that he wanted a political culture where the majority of voters chose a president and the president chose his administration. He was convinced that he had to act like Hercules to clean house and get rid of the corruption.

Do you think what Jackson did was unjust? Don't presidents pick their staffs and the majority of federal employees who serve their administration today?


Vincent (vpbrancato) | 1245 comments Bentley wrote: "Regarding the Bank of the United States:

Andrew Jackson was convinced that the bank was corrupt; and that Clay was manipulating the bank to influence elections. This could very well have been the..."


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I don't see how Bentley can do all this follow up but my memory is that the second bandk o fthe US was formed after difficulties in financing the War of 1812 to give the Federal Governement means to raise and manage money.

Does one believe that Mr. Biddle, or others, and it would seem from Mr. Meachem that Jackson felt this was so and the book seems to indicate that Biddle did many politically oriented things.

So is it the Bank that was at fault or - as with so much of the world - the management?

And with proper management would not the US have been better off with the Bank - probably yes as the lack of such an institution tied the hands of Mr. Van Buren during a severe economic downturn during his administation I think - during 1837 or 1839.

Just thinking with my fingers




message 16: by Bentley, Group Founder, Leader, Chief (last edited Sep 08, 2009 08:05PM) (new) - rated it 4 stars

Bentley | 44207 comments Mod
Sarah, from what I have read...John Quincy Adams was a brilliant man who placed everything into diaries..he was very conscious about keeping everything for posterity...so his written statement with just a line drawn through the word was certainly not unintentional. Maybe he thought he would get the last laugh.

The Adams family was very big on preserving all of their correspondence to each other...JQA knew what he was doing and his actions throughout seem quite pre-meditated. I was a little surprised at some of the things he did. I think Quincy Adams really stooped a little in this scenario.

I think that Meacham has showed the impetuous side of Jackson very well and it is pretty obvious that the Indian situation was a black mark for him no matter how good his intentions.


message 17: by Sarah (new)

Sarah | 67 comments I agree that Quincy could have possibly taken the higher road on some of the comments he made but the comment you mentioned .. "I so hate a whore" was taken from correspondence between he and his son. Much is also taken from his diaries. I'm not sure he ever meant for these articles to represent his official public opinion .. although it is certain that they represent his actual opinion. Bentley, you are right .. it seems just a bit lowbrow for Quincy.

I have to make a bit of a general comment at this point on the book. I can't help but feel that it is a little bit one sided? Is anyone else getting the impression? I don't really see where Meacham has pointed out that Jackson has really done something wrong.

It is very strange to me how the VP could differ from the president so materially on different views. Does anyone know when we started electing the VP along with the president on a common platform?


Vincent (vpbrancato) | 1245 comments Well Meacham points out the general indian treatment which is horrendous & the fact that Jackson kept slaves - supported Eaton to a fault & put the whole government in jepordy

Jackson was I believe the first president with no personal link to the founding fathers - Meacham I think is stressing how a strong man reading the constitution without a link to the qeiting of it made new interpretations & made them stick - till today

Jacksons destroying of the bank was good only because it seems that Mr Biddle was corrupt - but destroying the bank was not good for us in long run

Jackson is not presented to me as a perfect man in this book





message 19: by Sarah (new)

Sarah | 67 comments Hi Vince,

Glad you have joined us. He did mention the indian treatment a little bit but I felt it was sort of brushed over. Perhaps, I'm not as far along as you and Meacham expands on it more later. I don't remember reading about destroying the bank.

I do think Jackson was a good president. I think it definitely took courage to overhall the government by firing so many people for the sake of reform .. when that just wasn't the norm. Of course, now this makes perfect sense to us .. to have people in place that support the policies of the president but at the time it must have been hard to do.

I am definitely more and more interested in Jackson's presidency as I get further along.


message 20: by Bentley, Group Founder, Leader, Chief (new) - rated it 4 stars

Bentley | 44207 comments Mod
Sarah wrote: "I agree that Quincy could have possibly taken the higher road on some of the comments he made but the comment you mentioned .. "I so hate a whore" was taken from correspondence between he and his s..."

The Indians were spoken about fairly deeply; you will come to more of that discussion I fear; that was probably the area where he missed the mark; but I can understand what he was trying to accomplish; but I am not sure I agree with his methods or his goals. I too think it was horrendous.

I have thought so far that Meachum has been even handed.





message 21: by Bentley, Group Founder, Leader, Chief (new) - rated it 4 stars

Bentley | 44207 comments Mod
Source - Wikipedia:

The first presidential candidate to choose his vice presidential candidate was President Franklin Delano Roosevelt in 1940.[12:] The last not to name a vice presidential choice, leaving the matter up to the convention, was Democrat Adlai Stevenson in 1956. The convention chose Tennessee Senator Estes Kefauver over Massachusetts Senator (and later president) John F. Kennedy. At the tumultuous 1972 Democratic convention, presidential nominee George McGovern selected Senator Thomas Eagleton as his running mate, but numerous other candidates were either nominated from the floor or received votes during the balloting. Eagleton nevertheless received a majority of the votes and the nomination.


Vincent (vpbrancato) | 1245 comments Sarah wrote: "Hi Vince,

Glad you have joined us. He did mention the indian treatment a little bit but I felt it was sort of brushed over. Perhaps, I'm not as far along as you and Meacham expands on it more ..."


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Hi Sarah

The courage to overhaul a governement that was only 40 years old (since the first Constitutional presidency) has less mandate and monemtum than the one we see today I think.

I think it was more the self confidence to move as he thought was best for the country (or his ego). Unlike all the previous presidents this was not a guy who grew up surrounded by the revolution and the formation & evolution and the workings of the governement.

The bank was destroyed by the withdrawal of deposits and the direction of new government revenues (import dutues etc) to state banks.

That is just my opinion.

But it is interesting to see other Meachem interpretations I - I just think he was focused on the way in which Jackson shaped the presidency & the interactions with his family.





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