By Nancy Thorner & Ed Ingold –
The liberals are incensed over Trump’s visit to President Andrew Jackson’s house in Tennessee, The Hermitage, on Wednesday, March 16, and his apparent veneration of Jackson before his Nashville rally later that same day.
Jackson followed the presidency of John Quincy Adams as the seventh President of the United States. He further founded the Democratic Party, serving from 1829 to 1837. Before being elected to the presidency, Jackson served in Congress and gained fame as a general in the United States Army. As president, Jackson sought to advance the rights of the “common man” against what he saw as a “corrupt aristocracy” and to preserve the Union.
Trump was the first sitting president to visit since Ronald Reagan. Trump toured Jackson’s mansion, walked to his tomb saluting and laid a wreath as taps played in the background — all marking the 250th anniversary on Wednesday of Jackson’s birth. Jackson’s populist politics have resonated with Trump. Upon moving into the White House last month, the new president hung a portrait of Jackson in the Oval Office.
Trump gave a 10-minute speech to as many as 400 people from the steps of the mansion, saying he was a “big fan” of Jackson. Among those attending were nearly 100 Tennessee lawmakers. Trump noted the portrait in the Oval Office and the magnolia tree outside the White House that came from Tennessee.
“Andrew Jackson was the people’s president and his election came at a time when the vote was finally being extended to those who did not own property,” Trump said.
“Jackson didn’t want government corruption. He expanded benefits for veterans and battled financial powers that bought influence at the expense of citizens,” Trump said. “And the current president,” said Jackson “imposed tariffs on foreign countries to protect American workers.”
There is good reason why Democrats looked upon Trump’s visit to Heritage in such hatred.
Jackson’s career was marked by many “interesting” incidents. He fought a duel with a man who insulted his wife. He was spared because his thin frame was concealed in a heavy coat. The bullet passed through the coat but missed him. His adversary, Charles Dickinson, was not so fortunate.
Jackson was viciously attacked during his campaign, impugning his character and that of his wife, Rachel. Political slander is nothing new, and was particularly rampant during the early 1800’s. The press was continually dogging Jackson during his tenure as President. On leaving office, he bought his own newspaper in order to bring his case to the public. Called a “jackass” by his opponents, the animal became the symbol of Jackson’s party – the Democrats.- late in the 19th century.
At the request of his predecessor, President James Monroe, Jackson invaded Spanish held Florida to suppress Cree and Seminole tribes who were raiding the U.S. He negotiated with the Spanish, at bayonet point, to cede Florida to the U.S.
When gold was discovered in Georgia, settlers rushed to claim their share of the riches, overrunning land held by the Cherokee Indians. The Cherokee, highly Westernized, sued Georgia, and eventually won their case in the Supreme Court. Jackson disagreed, and famously said, “John Marshall has made his decision. Now let him enforce it.” The Cherokee were forcibly removed from their land, and marched to Oklahoma, an event known as “The Trail of Tears.”
This was not his only confrontation with the judicial system. After defeating the British in New Orleans in 1814, Jackson kept the militia in his service and established martial law in Louisiana. Among his solders was a judge named Dominic Hall. Another state judge, Joshua Lewis, ordered Hall’s release from service with a writ of habeas corpus. Jackson had Lewis arrested. Before the affair was settled, Jackson also arrested a state legislator, a Federal judge and a lawyer.
In the election of 1829, no candidate received a majority of the Electoral vote. Subsequently Jackson was elected
President by the House and the Senate elected John C. Calhoun, as Vice president. A political enemy, Calhoun worked tirelessly against Jackson and his appointees.
Instead of political operatives, Jackson chose a cabinet composed of businessmen. Most of his other appointments followed the same line, establishing Jackson as a “man of the people.” Infighting and gossip led Jackson to fire his entire Cabinet. As Vice President and President of the Senate, Calhoun was able to block their replacements. Jackson gathered associates he trusted, forming a defacto government, known as the “Kitchen Cabinet.” On reelection, Jackson chose Martin van Buren as his running mate. Van Buren proved to be an interesting if not particularly effective successor. That’s another story.
Trump stood at Jackson and Rachel’s tomb at The Hermitage, and saluted, as shown in a widely distributed photograph.
Any thoughts why?