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Chapter 14

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A.P. U.S. History Notes

Chapter 14: "Jacksonian Democracy at Flood Tide"

~ 1830 - 1840 ~

I. "Nullies" in South Carolina

1. South Carolinians, still scornful toward the Tariff of 1828, attempted to garner the necessary two-thirds majority to nullify it in the S.C. legislature, but determined Unionists blocked them.

2. In response to the anger at the "Tariff of Abominations," Congress passed the Tariff of 1832, which did away with the worst parts of the Tariff of 1828, such as lowering the tariff down to 35%, a reduction of 10%, but many southerners still hated it.

3. In the elections of 1832, the Nullies came out with a two-thirds majority over the Unionists, met in the state legislature, and declared the Tariff of 1832 to be void within S.C. boundaries.

a. They also threatened with secession against the Union, causing a huge problem.

b. President Jackson issued a ringing proclamation against S.C., to which governor Hayne issued a counter-proclamation, and civil war loomed dangerously.

c. To compromise and prevent Jackson from crushing S.C. and becoming more popular, the president's rival, Henry Clay, proposed a compromise bill that would gradually reduce the Tariff of 1832 by about 10% over a period of eight years, so that by 1842 the rates would be down to 20% to 25%.

(i.) The Tariff of 1833 narrowly squeezed through Congress.

(ii.) However, to save face, Congress also passed the Force Bill (aka the "Bloody Bill") that authorized the president to use the army and navy, if necessary, to collect tariffs.

4. No other states had supported South Carolina's stance of possible secession, though Georgia and Virginia toyed with the idea.

5. Finally, S.C. repealed the nullification ordinance.

II. A Victory for Both Union and Nullification

1. The Unionists felt that they had won, since Jackson had appeased the South Carolinians and avoided civil war and an armed clash.

2. The Nullists felt that they had won too, since they had succeeded in lowering the tariff without losing principle; the people of Charleston, the "Cradle of Secession," threw a gala for its volunteer troops, though they now ominously considered secession more than nullification.

3. Generations later, many people felt that if S.C. had been crushed, there would have been no Civil War, since it would not have been so brazen and arrogant and haughty.

III. The Bank as a Political Football

1. Jackson and his followers distrusted monopolistic banking and oversized businesses.

a. He was especially wary of the Bank of the United States (BUS).

2. In 1832, Henry Clay, in a strategy to bring Jackson's popularity down so that he could defeat him for presidency, rammed a bill for the rechartering of the BUS--four years early.

a. He felt that if Jackson signed it, he'd alienate his followers, and if he vetoed it, he'd lose the supports of the "best people" of the East.

b. He failed to realize that the West held more power now, not the East.

3. The recharter bill passed through Congress easily, but Jackson demolished in a scorching veto that condemned the BUS as unconstitutional (despite political foe John Marshall's ruling that it was okay), and anti-American.

4. The veto amplified the power of the president by ignoring the Supreme Court and aligned the West against the East.

IV. Brickbats and Bouquets for the Bank

1. The BUS, led by Nicholas Biddle, was harsh on the volatile western "wildcat" banks that churned out unstable money, and seemed pretty autocratic and out of touch with America during its New Democracy era, and it was corrupt.

a. Nicholas Biddle cleverly lent U.S. funds to friends, and often used the money of the BUS to bribe people, like the press.

2. However, the bank was financially sound, reduced bank failures, issued sound notes, promoted economic expansion by making abundant credit, and was a safe depository for the funds of the Washington government.

3. It was highly important and useful, though sometimes not necessarily pure and wholesome.

V. "Old Hickory" Wallops Clay in 1832

1. Jackson's supporters again raised the hickory pole while Clay's men detracted Jackson's dueling, gambling, cockfighting, and fast living.

2. However, a new third party, the Anti-Masonic Party, made its entrance for the first time.

a. Opposed to the fearsome secrecy of the Masonic order, it was energized by the mysterious murder of someone who threatened to expose the Freemason's secrets.

b. While sharing Jacksonian ideals, they were against Jackson, a Mason.

c. Also, they were supported by churches hoping to pass religious reform.

3. Also for the first time, national conventions were held to nominate candidates.

4. Clay had the money and the "support" of the press, but the poor people voted too, and Jackson won handily, handing Clay his third loss in three tries.

VI. Badgering Biddle's Bank

1. Hoping to kill the BUS, Jackson now began to withdraw federal funds from the bank, so as to drain it of its wealth; in reaction, Biddle began to call for unnecessary loans, personally causing a mini panic.

2. Jackson won, and in 1836, the Bus breathed its last breaths, but because it had been the only source of sure credit in the United States, hard times fell upon the West once the BUS died, since the wildcat banks were very unreliable.

VII. Transplanting the Tribes

1. By 1830, the U.S. population stood at 13 million, and as states emerged, the Indians were stranded.

2. Federal policy officially was to acquire land from the Indians through formal treaties, but too many times, they were tricked.

3. Many people respected the Indians, though, and tried to Christianize them.

a. i.e. the Society for Propagating

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