Section #8 - Efforts to end federal debt, close the U.S. Bank and restore hard currency lead to recession

Chapter 68: Andrew Jackson’s Second Term

November – December 1832

Jackson Wins The Election Of 1832

Based on the 1830 Census, the Electoral College map show sizable gains for the Western states and for those where slavery is banned.  

The election is again held from November to December 1832 and the turn-out is up 12% over 1828 to nearly 1.3 million voters.  

Shifting Electoral Power: Old/New and Slave/Free
Geography 18281832chg
Old Established East 1961993
Emerging States West 658520
Free 14716518
Slave 1141195

Despite the turmoil surrounding the “Nullification Crisis,” and the concerted efforts of the three opposing political parties to bring him down, nothing puts a dent in Jackson’s popularity with the public – and he wins in a landslide, with 55% of the popular vote and a 223-67 electoral margin. 

Clay’s National Republicans take only six states out of the total of twenty-four. The Nullifier Party wins in one state – South Carolina – where the legislature (not the public) pick the electors. The Anti-Masons garner 8% of the popular vote, but also carry only one state, Vermont. 

Jackson’s victory also bodes well for his Secretary of State and longtime confidant, Martin Van Buren, of New York, who emerges as a likely successor in 1836.  

Results of the 1832 Presidential Election 
Candidates Party Pop Vote Electors South Border North West
Andrew Jackson Democrat 701,780 2238079739
Henry Clay National  Republican484,205 49023260
John Floyd Nullifier/sc1111
William Wirt Anti-Mason 100,715 77
Total 1,286,700 290913013039
Needed to win 146

The magnitude of Jackson’s win is evident in its breadth. He dominates in the North and the East, as well as the South and the West. He is favored in the Free states and the Slave states.

1832 Results by Regions of the U.S.* 
Slavery Allowed  (12)Slavery Banned  (12)AJ Total
Old Established East Coast States (15)52 Jackson
6 clay
11 floyd
69 Total
97 Jackson
26 clay
7 wirt
130 Total
149 (75%)
Emerging States West Of Appalachian Range  (9)35 Jackson
15 clay
50 Total
35 Jackson
0 clay
35 Total
70 (82%)
AJ Total87 (73%) 152 (92%) 219 (77%)
*Excluding Territorial Votes (4)

The Democrats Dominate Both Houses Of Congress

As was the case in 1828, Jackson’s popularity translates into wins for Democrats in the Congress. 

The tight margin that prevailed during John Quincy Adams’ presidency has now widened comfortably in the Democrats’ favor. 

Seats in Both Houses of Congress 
U.S. House 1823- 251825- 271827- 291829- 311831- 331833-35
Total Seats213213213213213240
U.S. Senate
Total Seats4848 48484848

The message here being that the new contenders – be they from Clay, Calhoun or Weed – will need to find stronger arguments in the future if they hope to unseat the Democrats.

March 4, 1833

Jackson’s Second Inaugural Address

Andrew Jackson (1767-1845)

Jackson is sworn in on March 4, 1833, by Chief Justice John Marshall, who administers the oath in the House chamber of the Capitol.

While the immediate turmoil over the Tariff nullification threat from South Carolina has dampened by Jackson’s threat of force and a rate compromise, that topic along with the future of the Union are on the President’s mind as he delivers his Inaugural Address.

As usual, the ex-General is a man of relatively few, but always precise, words.

He begins by expressing his gratitude for the honor of serving again.

Fellow-Citizens: The will of the American people…calls me before you to…take upon myself the duties of President of the United States for another term. For their approbation of my public conduct through a period which has not been without its difficulties…I am at a loss for terms adequate to the expression of my gratitude. It shall be displayed to the extent of my humble abilities in continued efforts so to administer the Government as to preserve their liberty and promote their happiness.  

In regard to foreign policy, he says the nation is at peace and facing “few causes of controversy.”  

The foreign policy adopted by our Government…has been crowned with almost complete success, and has elevated our character among the nations of the earth. To do justice to  all and to submit to wrong from none has been during my Administration its governing  maxim, and so happy have been its results that we are not only at peace with all the world, but have few causes of controversy, and those of minor importance, remaining unadjusted.  

His focus shifts to the home front, reaffirming his commitment to preserving both the states’ rights and the integrity of the Union. 

In the domestic policy of this Government there are two objects which especially deserve the attention of the people and their representatives, and which have been and will continue to be the subjects of my increasing solicitude. They are the preservation of the rights of the several States and the integrity of the Union. 

A first principle in balancing the two lies in the willingness of the states to obey all laws passed by the federal government. (“Nullification” is not an option.) 

These great objects are necessarily connected, and can only be attained by an enlightened exercise of the powers of each within its appropriate sphere in conformity with the public will constitutionally expressed. To this end it becomes the duty of all to yield a ready and patriotic submission to the laws constitutionally enacted and thereby promote and strengthen a proper confidence in those institutions of the several States and  of the United States which the people themselves have ordained for their own government.  

At the same time, it is important that the federal government not encroach upon the rights of the  states.  

My experience…confirm(s)…that the destruction of our State governments or the annihilation of their control over the local concerns of the people would lead directly to revolution and anarchy, and finally to despotism and military domination….therefore…my countrymen will ever find me…arresting measures which  may directly or indirectly encroach upon the rights of the States or tend to consolidate all  political power in the General Government.  

But what is of “incalculable importance” is insuring the sacred Union, without which liberty would never have been achieved or could not be maintained. 

But of incalculable, importance is the union of these States, and the sacred duty of all to contribute to its preservation by a liberal support of the General Government in the exercise of its just powers. You have been wisely admonished to…indignantly frown upon the first dawning of any attempt to alienate any portion of our country from the rest or to enfeeble the sacred ties which now link together the various parts.” Without union our  independence and liberty would never have been achieved; without union they never can  be maintained.  

He turns to his growing concern about “dissolution,” arguing that it would lead to the loss of freedom, and the end of good government, peace, plenty and happiness. 

Divided into twenty-four, or even a smaller number, of separate communities, we shall see our internal trade burdened with numberless restraints and exactions;  communication between distant points and sections obstructed or cut off; our sons made soldiers to deluge with blood the fields they now till in peace; the mass of our people  borne down and impoverished by taxes to support armies and navies, and military  leaders at the head of their victorious legions becoming our lawgivers and judges. The loss of liberty, of all good government, of peace, plenty, and happiness, must inevitably follow a dissolution of the Union.

He says that the eyes of the world are on America’s “existing crisis” – the threat of  “nullification” – which must be resolved through a proper mix of “forbearance and firmness” to escape the current dangers. 

The time at which I stand before you is full of interest. The eyes of all nations are fixed on our Republic. The event of the existing crisis will be decisive in the opinion of mankind of the practicability of our federal system of government. …Let us exercise forbearance and  firmness. Let us extricate our country from the dangers which surround it and learn wisdom from the lessons they inculcate.  

He reiterates his ongoing commitment to financial integrity, controlling federal spending and limiting taxation. 

At the same time, it will be my aim to inculcate…those powers only that are clearly delegated; to encourage simplicity and economy in the expenditures of the Government;  to raise no more money from the people than may be requisite for these objects, and in a  manner that will best promote the interests of all classes of the community and of all  portions of the Union.  

Sensing the growing regional discord, he wishes for compromise and reconciliation “with our brethren in all parts of the country” – with partial sacrifices made by each to preserve the greater good of the whole. 

Constantly bearing in mind that in entering into society “individuals must give up a share of liberty to preserve the rest,” it will be my desire so to discharge my duties as to foster with our brethren in all parts of the country a spirit of liberal concession and  compromise, and, by reconciling our fellow-citizens to those partial sacrifices which they  must unavoidably make for the preservation of a greater good, to recommend our  invaluable Government and Union to the confidence and affections of the American  people.  

He ends with a prayer to the Almighty Being on behalf of the nation’s continued well-being.  

Finally, it is my most fervent prayer to that Almighty Being before whom I now stand, and who has kept us in His hands from the infancy of our Republic to the present day, that He will so overrule all my intentions and actions and inspire the hearts of my fellow-citizens that we may be preserved from dangers of all kinds and continue forever a united and  happy people. 

1789 – 1861

Sidebar: Word Counts For The First Sixteen President’s Inaugural Addresses

George WashingtonApril 30, 1789
March 4, 1793
John AdamsMarch 4, 17972321
Thomas JeffersonMarch 4, 1801
March 4, 1985
James MadisonMarch 4, 1809
March 4, 1813
James MonroeMarch 4, 1817
March 4, 1821
John Quincy AdamsMarch 4, 18252915
Andrew JacksonMarch 4, 1829
March 4, 1833
Martin van BurenMarch 4, 18373843
William Henry HarrisonMarch 4, 18418460
John TylerSucceeded following Harrison’s death
James K. PolkMarch 4, 18454809
Zachary TaylorMarch 5, 18491090
Millard FillmoreSucceeded following Taylor’s death
Franklin PierceMarch 4, 18533336
James BuchananMarch 4, 18572831
Abraham Lincoln
March 4, 1861
March 4, 1865
March 4, 1833-March 3, 1837

Overview Of Jackson’s Second Term

Jackson’s second term is largely devoted to finishing up on the priorities he set for himself in the first. 

He is particularly drawn to continued initiatives aimed at securing the financial well-being of the nation.

These include eliminating the national debt – and in 1835 he becomes the last President in U.S.  history who will pay it off entirely.  

But, like Jefferson, nothing troubles him more than the monetary and banking systems established by Alexander Hamilton, the perpetual arch villain of the anti-Federalists. Jackson  intuitively fears that simple greed will find state banks printing an oversupply of soft money, unbacked by gold/silver, to make speculative loans – and that this will result in ruinous inflation and collapse of the financial system.  

He also believes that the Second Bank of the United States, a corporate entity, concentrates too much power in the hands of a few wealthy capitalists, who will prioritize their own interests over the good of the country.  

During his second term, Jackson will act on both concerns, first shutting down the Second Bank,  and then issuing his “Specie Circular” to reestablish the gold standard and the value of the  American dollar. The short-run effect of these two moves will be a bank panic that begins in  1837.  

The next four years will also see a sharp acceleration in the cession of Native American  homelands and the relocation of the eastern tribes to new “reservations” west of the Mississippi.  The moves themselves, memorialized as “The Trail of Tears,” will forever be associated with  Jackson’s name. 

The issue of US expansion into Mexican territory heats up when American settlers are killed in  sieges at the Alamo and Goliad. After responding with a resounding military victory under Sam  Houston at the Battle of San Jacinto, the Republic of Texas is founded in 1836. While Congress  is eager to recognize and annex Texas, Jackson stalls for wont of starting a war. 

Finally, the growth of the abolitionist movement produces social tensions and violent reactions  across all regions of the country. By the end of his second term, the American Anti-Slavery  Society will have opened over 500 chapters in the North, the South will attempt to “gag” the  reformers, and Jackson’s “sacred Union” will once again be in jeopardy.  

Key Events: Andrew Jackson’s Second Term
March 2Jackson signs the “Force Bill” and a “Compromise Tariff” To Resolve
March 4Jackson and Van Buren are inaugurated
August 28Great Britain abolishes slavery in her colonies
September 23Jackson says government will no longer put federal deposits in the Second BUS
September 26Roger Taney is named Treasury Secretary after predecessor opposes AJ on BUS
December 6Abolitionists Lewis Tappan & Dwight Weld found The American Anti-Slavery
December 26Clay introduces censure bills against Jackson and Taney for BUS actions
DecemberLucretia Mott helps organize the Female Anti-Slavery Society in Philadelphia
Year Supply of banknotes, unbacked by gold/silver, expands to support west land  speculation 
January 3 Stephen Austin arrested after presenting resolution in Mexico to annex Texas 
March 28 The Senate supports Clay’s bills of censure against Jackson and Taney
April 14 Henry Clay’s new political party is christened “Whigs” after Britain’s opposition  group
April 15 Jackson protests censure bills and vows to defend himself
July 4 An Anti-Slavery meeting in NYC sets off an eight day anti-black rampage
October 28 Seminoles ordered to leave Florida as agreed in Treaty of Payne’s Landing
November 1 Train from Philadelphia to Trenton starts up
January 30 Jackson unhurt after assassin’s gun misfires as he leaves the House chamber
January The Whig Party decides to run several regional candidates for president in 1836
May 20 The Democrats nominate Martin Van Buren for 1836
July 6 Supreme Court Chief Justice John Marshall dies; Roger Taney named to succeed  him
July 6 Charleston mob burns abolitionist literature and urges a post office ban on it
August 10 An anti-black mob burns Noyes Academy in Canaan, NY, for admitting negroes
September 13 James Birney and Gerrit Smith strengthen their commitment to emancipation
October 21 Mob parades Lloyd Garrison with rope around his neck after Boston abolition  meeting 
October 29 A Democrat faction called “Loco Focos” lobbies for urban workingmen’s issues 
November A Second Seminole War begins as the tribe refuses to abandon its lands 
December 16 The new Anti-Mason Party nominates William Henry Harrison for 1836  President
December 29 Cherokees sign the Treaty of New Echota to move west in exchange for $5  million
January 11 Abolitionists present petitions to Congress to end slavery in the District of  Columbia
January 27 France finally makes reparation payments to the US for war damages
January James Birney launches his anti-slavery newspaper the Philanthropist
February 23 The Alamo garrison is overwhelmed by Mexican forces led by Santa Anna (167  die)
March 17 Despite Mexican ban on slavery, American settles announce their support for it
March 27 Santa Anna massacres another 300 Americans at their settlement at Goliad
April 20 Congress splits off the Wisconsin Territory from the old Michigan Territory 
April 21 Sam Houston and his Texans defeat and capture Santa Anna at Battle of San  Jacinto
May 25 JQ Adams delivers House speech opposing Texas annexation for fear of Mexican  war
May 26 Southerners pass “Gag Order” to end reading of anti-slave petitions in the House
June 15 Arkansas joins the Union as the 25th state
July 1Congress votes to recognize the Republic of Texas, but Jackson delays fearing
July 11Jackson issue Specie Circular requiring gold/silver to buy federal land to slow
July 12Mob attacks James Birney’s Philanthropist office
October 22Sam Houston sworn in as Texas Republic president
December 7Martin Van Buren elected President; House election needed to choose RM
Johnson as VP
YearAnti-Slavery Society chapters spread rapidly across the North
January 26Michigan is admitted as the 26th state, restoring a 13:13 slave to free balance in Senate
February 12Flour warehouse in NYC stormed by mob protesting high cost of housing and
February 14Supreme Court affirms community over corporate interest in Charles River Bridge case
March 1Jackson pocket vetoes Congressional bill to repeal the Species Circular policy
March 3Jackson finally recognizes the Republic of Texas on last day in power
MarchCotton prices collapse as concerns about the value of the dollar register globally

The US economy continues to grow nicely throughout Jackson’s time in office, including a sharp  upswing in 1835 and 1836. But, underneath this boom period, lies rampant speculation and  monetary inflation which is about to usher in a crippling bust cycle to plague his successor.    

Key Economic Overview – Jackson’s Terms in Office
1829 1830 1831 1832 1833 1834 1835 1836
Total GDP ($000) 930 1022 1052 1129 1158 1219 1340 1479
% Change 4%10%3% 7%3%5%10%10%
Per Capita GDP 74797983 82849096