President Andrew Jackson, the first man from the western state of Tennessee voted into office in 1828, was one of the most controversial president in American history. As the American political party system takes its shape, Andrew Jackson became the leader of the newly established Democratic Party. Andrew Jackson represented and appealed to the common man. Jackson, as a military hero, displayed a heroic aura that attracted many of his western supporters and additionally captivated the support from workingmen in the East.
This Jacksonian Democracy alarmed political elites as he establishes the spoil system in which gave his supporters federal positions in the government. Although Andrew Jackson undeniably was a strong president that laid out the fundamentals of the new Democratic Party as the two-party political system begins to emerge, he was a vicious tyrant. Despite all that Andrew Jackson did to “democratize” the political system to benefit the common people of America, his type of democracy leaves a legacy of agony and anguish to many others.
Andrew Jackson exercised his political power in the office more than his predecessors did. He was tyrannical and controlling. Andrew Jackson will be remembered as a bigot who displayed his extreme disdain towards Native Americans. Andrew Jackson was a vicious tyrant who abused his power and used it for selfish reasons. It was also his disregard for the federal law that paints Andrew Jackson as a villain. President Andrew Jackson is remembered for his extreme hatred towards Native Americans and forced relocation of Indians; he is not only a villain but he is also a mass murderer.
In 1814, President Jackson commanded the military force that defeated the Creek nation. In the Creek nation’s defeat, the Creeks “lost 22 million acres of land in southern Georgia and central Alabama” (PBS, Indian Removal). Andrew Jackson championed the malicious and imperial “Indian Removal Act” through both of the houses of Congress in 1830. The Indian Removal Act permitted President Andrew Jackson to “disavow earlier treaty commitments and force the 74,000 Indians remaining in the East and the South to move to federal lands west of the Mississippi River” (Shi and Tindall 330).
Under these agreements, the Native Americans were to voluntarily hand over their lands “east of the Mississippi and in exchange for lands to the west” (PBS, Indian Removal). Despite the rhetoric proposing a voluntary and fair exchange of their lands, the Indian Removal Act cleared the way for the U. S. militia to drive out the Native Americans from their own land with brute force under President Jackson’s command. Andrew Jackson’s patronizing and oppressive attitudes towards the Indians that drove them out of their own lands later led to the “nightmarish forced march” of Cherokees what is known as the Trail of Tears (Shi and Tindall 333).
In 1838 and 1839, as part of the infamous Indian Removal Act, Andrew Jackson forced the Cherokee nation to “willingly” give up their lands east of the Mississippi River and migrate to present-day Oklahoma. The Cherokees traveled along the nightmarish eight-hundred-mile journey, mostly on foot, from the southern Appalachians to Indian reservoir while they faced famine, fatigue, and disease. The forced march is called the “Trail of Tears” because over “4,000 out of 15,000 of the Cherokees died” along the way to their destination (PBS, The Trail of Tears).
Andrew Jackson thought that his Indian Removal policy was beneficial to the Native Americans; he believed that the Indian Removal Act would liberate the Native Americans from the “depredations of whites” so they could resettle in an area where they could govern themselves at peace (PBS, Indian Removal). Nonetheless, President Jackson’s vicious and inhumane policy of removing and relocating Indians was just an excuse to justify his disdain and repressive attitudes towards Native Americans.
His course of action and approach to handle and expand territory by murdering the Indians along the way was extremely unnecessary. Andrew Jackson really had the nerve to steal their land when Native Americans were here in the first place. President Jackson is the prime example of an imperialist tyrant. Andrew Jackson is one of the most contradicting political figures in American history. He advocated economic and political freedom of the common people, but he also displayed disregard of the federal law by ignoring the rights of Native Americans.
Andrew Jackson, as a tyrant, intentionally disregarded the powers of the Supreme Court to judge laws and abused his power to elevate the strength of the executive branch for his own selfish desires. In 1828, Georgia stripped the Cherokee Indians of their rights and removed them from their land according to their state laws. In the Cherokee Indian cases, the Supreme Court considered its powers to “enforce the rights of Native American ‘nations in the states” (McBride). In Cherokee Nation v. Georgia in 1831, the Supreme Court ruled that it “lacked jurisdiction to hear the case and could not resolve it” (McBride).
The Cherokee resisted the removal policy, and in their defense refer to the treaties negotiated with the United States which guaranteed land and independence. However, laws in the state of Georgia restricted their freedom on their own lands. In the ruling of Cherokee Nation v. Georgia, the Court ruled that the case lacked jurisdiction and asserted that “foreign nations” did not include “Indian nations” according to the U. S. Constitution. However the following year, in Worcester v. Georgia (1832), the Supreme Court ruled that the nation was indeed sovereign and exempt from Georgia’s law.
Nonetheless, due to Andrew Jackson’s disdain towards Native Americans, he purposely ignored the decision in Worcester v. Georgia. President Jackson, a man who contradicts himself, later embraced judicial authority when it came to South Carolina having the ability to nullify federal laws. He then issues a proclamation of the Supreme Court’s “ultimate power to decide constitutional questions and emphasizing that its decisions had to be obeyed” (Rosen). Due to what he did to the Native Americans, President Andrew Jackson was not only a malicious tyrant, and a bigot, he was also a selfish hypocrite.
Many Americans viewed Andrew Jackson as a national hero and a great political figure of American history. Andrew Jackson was undoubtedly a national war hero. He gained his national fame and heroic stature from the American Revolution to the War of 1812. Andrew Jackson’s greatest victory at the Battle of New Orleans in the massacre of the British painted him as a national war hero. Andrew Jackson’s presidency in the 1820’s to 1830’s revealed many contradictions and paradoxes. Glorifying Andrew Jackson as the president of “common man” undermines his treatment towards Native Americans.
The fact that he relocated them and ignored their territorial rights exposed Andrew Jackson as a villain. He was all for economic and political rights of the common people, but disregarded the rights of Indians. He is remembered for the great things he did for the nation as the political party system emerges, but Jackson was also infamous for many reasons as well. Andrew Jackson was a confusing political figure. He was known as the man of the common people, nonetheless, he was a man of mass contradictions.