Andrew Jackson (March 15, 1767 – June 8, 1845) was an American lawyer, soldier, and statesman who served as the seventh president of the United States from 1829 to 1837. Before being elected to the presidency, Jackson gained fame as a general in the United States Army and served in both houses of the U.S. Congress. An expansionist president, Jackson sought to advance the rights of the “common man” against a “corrupt aristocracy” and to preserve the Union.
More nearly than any of his predecessors, Andrew Jackson was elected by popular vote; as President he sought to act as the direct representative of the common man.
Born in a backwoods settlement in the Carolinas in 1767, he received sporadic education. But in his late teens he read law for about two years, and he became an outstanding young lawyer in Tennessee.
As national politics polarized around Jackson and his opposition, two parties grew out of the old Republican Party–the Democratic Republicans, or Democrats, adhering to Jackson; and the National Republicans, or Whigs, opposing him.
The greatest party battle centered around the Second Bank of the United States, a private corporation but virtually a Government-sponsored monopoly. When Jackson appeared hostile toward it, the Bank threw its power against him.
Clay and Webster, who had acted as attorneys for the Bank, led the fight for its recharter in Congress. “The bank,” Jackson told Martin Van Buren, “is trying to kill me, but I will kill it!” Jackson, in vetoing the recharter bill, charged the Bank with undue economic privilege.
His views won approval from the American electorate; in 1832 he polled more than 56 percent of the popular vote and almost five times as many electoral votes as Clay.
The following are my 22 favorite quotes from Andrew Jackson.
- On prizing Liberty and maintaining our Rights:
“But you must remember, my fellow-citizens, that eternal vigilance by the people is the price of liberty, and that you must pay the price if you wish to secure the blessing.“
- On the fallacy of national debt:
“I am one of those who do not believe that a national debt is a national blessing, but rather a curse to a republic; inasmuch as it is calculated to raise around the administration a moneyed aristocracy dangerous to the liberties of the country.“
- On going after the 2nd Central Bank:
“Gentlemen! I too have been a close observer of the doings of the Bank of the United States. I have had men watching you for a long time, and am convinced that you have used the funds of the bank to speculate in the breadstuffs of the country. When you won, you divided the profits amongst you, and when you lost, you charged it to the bank. You tell me that if I take the deposits from the bank and annul its charter I shall ruin ten thousand families. That may be true, gentlemen, but that is your sin! Should I let you go on, you will ruin fifty thousand families, and that would be my sin! You are a den of vipers and thieves. I have determined to rout you out, and by the Eternal, (bringing his fist down on the table) I will rout you out!”
- On fiscal slavery:
“When you get in debt you become a slave.“
- On peace:
“Peace, above all things, is to be desired, but blood must sometimes be spilled to obtain it on equable and lasting terms.“
- On the Central Bank fighting back:
“The bank, Mr. Van Buren, is trying to kill me, but I will kill it.”
- On integrity:
“Any man worth his salt will stick up for what he believes right, but it takes a slightly better man to acknowledge instantly and without reservation that he is in error.”
- On courage:
“One man with courage makes a majority.”
- On perseverance:
“I was born for a storm and a calm does not suit me.“
- On decisiveness:
“When the time for action arrives, stop thinking and go in.“
- On Save America:
“Our Federal Union – It Must Be Preserved”
- On emotions and selfishness:
“It is an infirmity of our nature to mingle our interests and prejudices with the operation of our reasoning powers, and attribute to the objects of our likes and dislikes qualities they do not possess and effects they can not produce.”
- On the dangers of internal enemies:
“From the earliest ages of history to the present day there never have been thirteen millions of people associated in one political body who enjoyed so much freedom and happiness as the people of these United States. You have no longer any cause to fear danger from abroad… It is from within, among yourselves – from cupidity, from corruption, from disappointed ambition and inordinate thirst for power.“
- On the dangers of political parties:
“It is from within, among yourselves–from cupidity, from corruption, from disappointed ambition and inordinate thirst for power–that factions will be formed and liberty endangered. It is against such designs, whatever disguise the actors may assume, that you have especially to guard yourselves. You have the highest of human trusts committed to your care. Providence has showered on this favored land blessings without number, and has chosen you as the guardians of freedom, to preserve it for the benefit of the human race. May He who holds in His hands the destinies of nations make you worthy of the favors He has bestowed and enable you, with pure hearts and pure hands and sleepless vigilance, to guard and defend to the end of time the great charge He has committed to your keeping.”
- On corruption of the House of Representatives:
I weep for the liberty of my country when I see at this early day of its successful experiment that corruption has been imputed to many members of the House of Representatives, and the rights of the people have been bartered for promises of office.“
- On corrupted oligarchs (concept of rich getting richer isn’t new):
“It is to be regretted that the rich and powerful too often bend the acts of government to their selfish purposes. Distinctions in society will always exist under every just government. Equality of talents, of education, or of wealth cannot be produced by human institutions. In the full enjoyment of the gifts of Heaven and the fruits of superior industry, economy, and virtue, every man is equally entitled to protection by law; but when the laws undertake to add to these natural and just advantages artificial distinctions, to grant titles, gratuities, and exclusive privileges, to make the rich richer and the potent more powerful, the humble members of society—the farmers, mechanics, and laborers—who have neither the time nor the means of securing like favors to themselves, have a right to complain of the injustice of their Government.”
- On representation of We the People or corporations:
“In this point of the case the question is distinctly presented whether the people of the United States are to govern through representatives chosen by their unbiased suffrages or whether the money and power of a great corporation are to be secretly exerted to influence their judgment and control their decisions.“
- On the duty to protect and defend liberty and our republican form of government:
“If our liberty and republican form of government, procured for us by our revolutionary fathers, are worth the blood and treasure at which they were obtained, it is surely our duty to protect and defend them.”
- On the Common Man:
“The planter, the farmer, the mechanic, and the laborer…form the great body of the people of the United States they are the bone and sinew of the country men who love liberty and desire nothing but equal rights and equal laws.“
- On the imperfect Patriots:
“Never for a moment believe that the great body of citizens of any State or States can deliberately intend to do wrong. They may, under the influence of temporary excitement or misguided opinions, commit mistakes; they may be misled for a time by the suggestions of self-interest; but in a community so enlightened and patriotic as the people of the United States argument will soon make them sensible of their errors, and when convinced they will be ready to repair them.”
- On government abuses:
“There are no necessary evils in government. Its evils exist only in its abuses.“
- On the mysteries of the universe:
“The Whirlpool galaxy beautifully displays its spiral nature while mysteriously hiding exactly how it spins the way it does.”
The old saying, “there’s nothing new under the sun” rings true, as we are going through the same issues as President Jackson endured. And at the root of it, a Central Bank that corrupted our Republic. Old Hickory was right to rout it out and it’s high time we end the Fed again, with extreme prejudice via a Constitutional Amendment, so that future legislators can not resurrect it via an Act.