History Timeline 1830s

Photo above: Independence Rock on the Oregon Trail. First mentioned by Parker in 1835, and carries an inscription on the rock with the names of early trappers and explorers. Photo William H. Jackson, circa 1870. Right: Painting by Percy Moran, 1912, reflects the intensity of the battle of the Alamo. Photo courtesy Library of Congress.


U.S. Timeline - The 1830s

Conquering the West

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  • Timeline

  • 1834 - Detail

    March 28, 1834 - The United States Senate censured President Andrew Jackson for de-funding the Second Bank of the United States.

    President Andrew Jackson

    It had always been a tangle, a tug and pull, the relationship between the branches of government, so if you think today's arguments are particularly pointed or special, that's wrong. Or if you thought current Broadway hits like Hamilton were the first to dramatize the acts of a President, that's wrong, too. In 1834, President Andrew Jackson took action that the United States Senate really did not like, he defunded the Second Bank of the United States. How did they respond? Public censure, a condemnation of the President in harsh terms, which was not part of the Constitution, but Congress had added it to their procedures. And Jackson was not the first President to feel it's possible rebuke. The would be the subject of the popular musical on the Great White Way today, yes, Alexander Hamilton. But Hamilton's censure procedure did not win out; Jackson's would.

    So how did this all begin? First, the politics. The United States Senate was under Whig control in 1834; President Andrew Jackson was a Democrat. And they wanted answers to the reason why Jackson would defund the bank, they wanted documents, mostly they just disagreed. Jackson had been President since 1829, defeating incumbant President John Quincy Adams for his first term, and then Henry Clay for his second. He was confident, arrogant, with a quick temper, and subject to the desire to duel. He also was against the Whig desire to use federal power to support the banking industry, including the Second Bank of the United States.

    The Second Bank had been chartered in 1816 to handle the transactions of the Federal Government with a twenty year charter. They were twenty percent owned by them as well. There were four thousand private investors, including one thousand from Europe. It's main branch was in Philadelphia and the bank had twenty-five branches in all. Jackson was a hard money politician and did not support the renewing of the bank charter, which he made a central point in his re-election bid. Since he won, Jackson would pursue its defunding, despite the public support for it and the Supreme Court's ruling that it was constitutional in the 1829 case, "McCulloch vs. Maryland." Jackson thought the Second Bank was corrupt.

    Jackson pulled federal deposits from the bank in an Executive Order and vetoed its recharter. His veto was upheld. The bank would go private, but only last until 1841. Today, the Second Bank's main branch building in Philadelphia is part of Independence National Historical Park.

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    The Censure Itself

    Jackson's actions created instability in the banking system, both dramatically increasing loans in the private banking world and speculation. It would lead to the Panic of 1837. The United States Senate knew none of that before it censured Jackson, however,, even though they would later be proven correct. Voting 28 to 20 on March 28, 1834, in the action brought forward by rival Henry Clay, Jackson was censured, the first President to be formally rebuked. It would be expunged on January 16, 1837 in a 24 to 19 vote when Jackson's supporters took control of the Senate in the 1836 election. On May 19, 1837, the Panic of 1837 began. Perhaps the initial censure had been right.

    Jackson Timeline Prior to Presidency

    March 15, 1767 - Born in the Waxhaws region of the Carolinas. Would serve in the American Revolution at the age of thirteen as a courier.

    1796 - Elected a delegate to the Tennessee state constitutional convention and later U.S. Representative; one year later, he was a United States Senator, although he resigned within one year, returning to the chamber in 1823 after serving as a judge from 1801-1804. From 1804 forward, Jackson owned a large plantation known as the Hermitage, one thousand and twenty-four acres, which utilized one hundred and fifty slaves to maintain it.

    May 1806 - Duel with Charles Dickinson, who had written unfavorably about Jackson's relationship with Rachel, his wife, results in Jackson being shot and Dickinson killed.

    1814-1815 - Jackson participated in the Creek War and War of 1812, commanding United States forces at the Battle of New Orleans on January 15, 1815. Was given the Congressional Gold Medal for his actions at New Orleans, raising his public profile.

    December 1817 - Instructed by President James Monroe to lead forces in the First Seminole War in Georgia against Creek and Seminole Indians, which would lead to attacks against Pensacola and Spanish forces, who supported the Indians, deposing the Spanish governor. Jackson would become the military governor of Florida in 1821 after the Adams-Onis Treaty ceded the territory from Spain to the United States.

    Wife Rachel and Theatrical Productions

    Rachel Jackson came from a prominant family, daughter of John Donelson, founder of Nashville. She would marry Captain Lewis Robards in 1787, a marriage that would not be happy or successful for its three years. She would remarry Andrew Jackson, thinking that her divorce had been granted, but it had not. Andrew and Rachel Jackson have been the subject of a variety of theatrical and motion picture productions. In the late 1930's, a play titled Rachel's Man was produced by the Works Progress Administration at the Savoy theater. It covered their life as well as the career of Andrew Jackson. There were two films, one in 1936 titled The Gorgeous Hussy, and in 1953, a film titled The President's Lady, made from the Irving Stone novel. Rachel never became First Lady of the United States, passing away before her husband took office.

    Image above: Image of Andrew Jackson, painting by Alfred Newsam, 1834; the playbill for the production Rachel's Man about his life, U.S. Federal Theater Project, 1937-8; and Rachel Jackson, his wife, engraving by John Chester Buttre, 1883. Courtesy Library of Congress. Photo below: Lithograph of the Battle of New Orleans. E. Percy Moran, 1910. Courtesy Library of Congress. Info Source: Wikipedia Commons; Senate.gov; Library of Congress.

    Andrew Jackson at the Battle of New Orleans

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