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The Bank

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The Nullification Crisis with South Carolina and the tariff issue distracted Jackson as he transitioned to his second term, but by the spring of 1833, he again focused on destroying the Bank. He announced that he would withdraw the government's money from the Bank, much to Biddle and Clay's dismay. Jackson, however, faced worries from the Treasury Department that the state banks afforded the same security as the national Bank. Nevertheless, on September 25, 1833, the Treasury ordered all government deposits would be placed in state banks as of the beginning of October. Biddle countered that the Bank would cease offering loans nationwide, which sent the nation into a near-panic, as state banks were unable to meet the new demand–even with the government's new funds–and many curtailed their loans. Jackson became only more dogged in his quest to stop the "monster" bank.

In 1834, Jackson began a push to move towards "hard" currency, gradually phasing out small bills over more than twenty years. He and Benton believed that only gold and silver provided proper security, as, during financial bust periods, working-class people could not get credit. Hard money, then, ensured the workers would always be paid in money that had real value. The move terrified many rich Democrats, who saw a future in which they might not be able to conduct business with large bills. In a final attempt to end the Bank, Jackson ordered it to cease issuing pensions to Revolutionary War veterans and to relinquish those funds. Biddle refused, and the bank battle quickly deteriorated. Jackson's own Attorney General questioned the moves, and Jackson faced barrages from business leaders up and down the East Coast who thought he must mean to ruin the country.

Some Democrats began to leave the party. Joining with National Republican, states righters, nullifiers, and other Jackson enemies, they formed the Whig party–headed by none other than Clay. The views of those involved were so disparate that they could only unify under the banner of opposing Jackson's bold new uses of Presidential authority. Indeed, the Whig newspapers soon mockingly anointed Jackson "King Andrew I." The new party, coupled with a rumor that a new bank might launch in New York to counter the national bank, brought the nation new fear of financial disaster.

Although Van Buren eventually quieted the new bank rumors, the country still hung in the balance when the Senate voted to officially censure Jackson for his actions in February 1834. Adding insult to injury, the Senate also refused to confirm Jackson's new Treasury Secretary. Jackson filed a protest with the Senate, saying the Bank's abuses of power made it an "imperative duty" for him as chief executive to rid the country of the Bank. He carefully ended with an appeal to the people, explaining anew his reasons for opposing government monopolies and saying that he was proud of his actions.

Above everything, Jackson prevailed. By April 1834, the Bank was dead. The Democrats in Congress rallied behind their leader and passed resolution after resolution supporting Jackson. The financial panic passed quickly. In the 1834 elections, Democratic candidates won handily across the country and gained the majority in the Senate–which, under the new leadership, quickly expunged Jackson's censure and apologized.

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