Andrew Jackson (March 15, 1767 – June 8, 1845) was the seventh President of the United States (1829–1837). Based in frontier Tennessee, Jackson was a politician and army general during the War of 1812 who defeated the Creek Indians at the Battle of Horseshoe Bend (1814), and the British at the Battle of New Orleans (1815). A polarizing figure who dominated the Second Party System in the 1820s and 1830s, as president he destroyed the national bank and relocated most Indian tribes from the Southeast to west of the Mississippi River. His enthusiastic followers created the modern Democratic Party. The 1830-1850 period later became known as the era of Jacksonian democracy. [Read more…]
John Quincy Adams was the 5th President of the United States and the son of John Adams. John Sr and John Quincy would be the first father-son duo to attain the Presidency until George H.W. Bush and George W. Bush did so in the year 2000.
With exception of Benjamin Franklin, John Quincy Adams is perhaps the greatest diplomat in United States History. He served George Washington during his two terms in office. He oversaw the Treaty of Ghent which ended the War of 1812 during the James Madison Presidency and then served as Secretary of State during the James Monroe Presidency in which he pioneered the Monroe Doctrine, settlement of Oregon Territory with Great Britain and America, and the acquisition of Florida for $5,000,000. His accomplishments as Secretary of State still influence America’s foreign policy today.
1824 – 25 Presidential Election
In 1824 the political scene was in disarray. James Monroe had been successfully labeled a bipartisan who managed to cross party lines with his cabinet and his politics. During his presidency the Federalist party faded into oblivion and he ran unchallenged for his second term. The result was the collapse of the Democratic-Republican caucus system and the Presidency became more of a regional fight. Five contenders fought for the office of President of the United States of America: John Quincy Adams, Andrew Jackson, Henry Clay, John C. Calhoun and William H. Crawford. With exception to Henry Clay, all of these men served in James Monroe’s cabinet and all had served brilliantly.
During the election, Calhoun dropped out of the race leaving four contenders. Soon after, Crawford fell ill and had to also leave the race leaving three contenders. John Quincy had strong support in New England. No doubt his father’s legacy aided him, but he was viewed as a brilliant legal mind as well as a brilliant diplomat. His life of public service to his country had given him the reputation of a true patriot. Come election day it was the popular Andrew Jackson who won the popular vote, but not enough of a majority in the electoral college to claim a victory. The election then fell to the House of Representatives and Henry Clay, the odd man out who did not care for Andrew Jackson, cast the deciding vote in favor of John Quincy Adams.
Clay’s vote for Adams was based off of a personal dislike for Andrew Jackson and similar views on domestic policies with John Quincy Adams. After the election, John Quincy appointed Henry Clay as his Secretary of State. It was not as political as the Jacksonian Democrats made it out to be. John Quincy Adams was a brilliant diplomat, but a poor politician. Evidence from his life suggests that he did not have the political acumen to pull that type of move off as he was notorious for making enemies in his own party. Even-so this outrage from the Jacksonian Democrats fueled a victory for them in the 1828 elections.
The Presidency of John Quincy Adams was wrought with difficulty. After losing the election of 1824-25 the supporters of Andrew Jackson accused Adams of collusion with Henry Clay for the presidency. This caused them to oppose most of Adams’ legislations. Couple that with his own personal disdain for politics and the office of President he accomplished very little.
Adams vision was to transform America into a world power through “internal improvements.” He planned on accomplishing this by the following:
- High tariffs which would support road-building
- A National Bank that could form a national currency and encourage production
Even-so he did manage to get a few of his proposals adopted:
- He extended the construction of the Cumberland Road into Ohio and planned on continuing it west to St. Louis. The Cumberland Road Bill had been vetoed by the previous administration of James Monroe.
- The Chesapeake and Ohio Canal, Chesapeake and Delaware Canal and Louisville and Portland Canal began construction.
- The connection of the Great Lakes to the Ohio River system.
- The enlargement of the Dismal Swamp Canal in North Carolina
The last point of contention was Adams policy towards Native Americans. Andrew Jackson and Martin Van Buren were rabid supporters of Indian removal. Adams was not and favored human rights. While he was an expansionist he was not an expansionist in the same aspect of Andrew Jackson. His generous policies towards indians caused him to lose even more favor in the south. His views on Native Americans are not surprising since Adams was also a leading voice in the abolition of slaves.
As stated previously, Adams is regarded as one of the greatest diplomats American History. However, due to partisan politics he accomplished very little during his Presidency. Much of his success in foreign policy is what he was able to steer America out of 8 years previously with his contribution to the Monroe Doctrine.
During his presidency the Greeks battled for Independence against the Ottomans. Adams maintained the isolationist view on foreign policy by staying out of the war, although he sympathized with the Greeks and did not trust Islamic nations. He did achieve treaties with many European nations, but nothing of note.
Election of 1828
The Election of 1828 pitted the incumbent John Quincy Adams against Andrew Jackson in which would be one of the nastiest elections in American history. This time Andrew Jackson would easily defeat Adams. John Quincy Adams did not attend the inauguration ceremony of Jackson, just as his father did not attend Jefferson’s inauguration.
After leaving office Adams would serve in Congress and become a leading voice in the Abolitionist movement.
John Quincy Adams Quotes
“All men profess honesty as long as they can. To believe all men honest would be folly. To believe none so is something worse.”
“Always vote for principle, though you may vote alone, and you may cherish the sweetest reflection that your vote is never lost.”
“America does not go abroad in search of monsters to destroy.”
“Courage and perseverance have a magical talisman, before which difficulties disappear and obstacles vanish into air.”
“If your actions inspire others to dream more, learn more, do more and become more, you are a leader.”
“Nip the shoots of arbitrary power in the bud, is the only maxim which can ever preserve the liberties of any people.”
“Patience and perseverance have a magical effect before which difficulties disappear and obstacles vanish.”
“Posterity: you will never know how much it has cost my generation to preserve your freedom. I hope you will make good use of it.”
“The highest glory of the American Revolution was this: it connected in one indissoluble bond the principles of civil government with the principles of Christianity.”
“Where annual elections end where slavery begins.”
The Presidency of James Monroe is often referred to as the “Era of Good Feelings.” During this time America enjoyed relative peace and prosperity. Taxes were lower, income was higher and there was little threat from Europe. America began building a standing army to defend its borders from Europe and other countries in the Western Hemisphere began to break off and declare Independence from their European counterparts. The Federalist party which dominated the early years of the republic was not fading quickly and irrelevant. America now had one dominant party and James Monroe easily won the first election and then ran unopposed in the second election. Monroe won all but one electoral vote which kept George Washington as the only President of the United States to be elected unanimously. [Read more…]
James Madison was the 4th President of the United States and known as the Father of the Constitution and the Father of the Bill of rights. He and future political rival, Alexander Hamilton, wrote the Federalist papers. Madison is known as a protegé of Thomas Jefferson, but when one studies his presidency you will see a few differences. James Madison was the third President from Virginia and the second in the Virginia Democratic-Republican dynasty. At 5 feet and 4 inches tall James Madison did not have the intimidating physical presence of George Washington, but his mind was sharp and his knowledge of political philosophy unmatched. He was not the ideologue Jefferson was and was able to make adjustments when the time called for it. [Read more…]
President Barack Obama is the 44th and current President of the United States. The Barack Obama and Joe Biden ticket won the election of 2008 by soundly defeating GOP candidate John McCain and Vice Presidential candidate Sarah Palin. He was the first African-American President of the United States and the first president to be born in Hawaii. At the age of 47 he is also one of the youngest presidents to take office. He had previously served as a Senator for the state of Illinois until his resignation in 2008 when he won the Presidency. He was thrusted onto the national spotlight after speaking at the 2004 DNC convention for John Kerry. Many believe it was that speech that launched his Presidential Campaign which would succeed in 2008.
- President Barack Obama was born in Honolulu, Hawaii. His father and mother met in 1960 while attending a Russian Class at the University of Hawai’i of Manoa. His father and mother separated when he left for Harvard University. His father, Barack Obama Sr, came back to see his son one more time. He died in Kenya in a car accident. The years following young Obama moved to the Jakarta where he attended an Indonesian school from ages 6 – 10. He would then move back to Hawai’i to live with his maternal grandparents. His mother returned in 1972 and stayed for five years until heading back to Indonesia. She would return to Hawai’i in 1995 an passed away from ovarian cancer.
- After graduating from college he was hired as a community organizer on the south-side of Chicago. Here he would create a jobs-training program, a college preparatory tutoring program, and a tenants’ rights organization in Altgeld Gardens. In 1988 he entered into the Harvard Law School and would be selected as editor of the Harvard Law Review at the end of his first year. This would be one of the first occasions that Barack Obama would gain national recognition. He hosted a Black History Minute segment on TBS.
- From April to October 1992, Obama directed Illinois’s Project Vote, a voter registration drive with ten staffers and seven hundred volunteer registrars; it achieved its goal of registering 150,000 of 400,000 unregistered African Americans in the state, and led to Crain’s Chicago Business naming Obama to its 1993 list of “40 under Forty” powers to be. In 1993 he joined Davis, Miner, Barnhill & Galland, a 13-attorney law firm specializing in civil rights litigation and neighborhood economic development, where he was an associate for three years from 1993 to 1996, then of counsel from 1996 to 2004, with his law license becoming inactive in 2002.
- Barack Obama’s political career began when he became an Illinois State Senator. He would serve in this position until 2004 when he was elected State Senator of Illinois. This victory in 2004 came after he lost a bid to the U.S. House of Representatives in 2000.
- During his term as a State Senator, Barack Obama He sponsored a law increasing tax credits for low-income workers, negotiated welfare reform, and promoted increased subsidies for childcare. In 2001, as co-chairman of the bipartisan Joint Committee on Administrative Rules, Obama supported Republican Governor Ryan’s payday loan regulations and predatory mortgage lending regulations aimed at averting home foreclosures.
- In 2004 Barack Obama was a keynote speaker at the DNC convention for John Kerry. While John Kerry would go on to decisively lose the election to the incumbent, George W. Bush, it would be the speech that Obama gave at the DNC convention that would propel him onto the national spotlight. Two years later he would run for President of the United States.
- Obama cosponsored the Secure America and Orderly Immigration Act. He introduced two initiatives bearing his name: Lugar–Obama, which expanded the Nunn–Lugar cooperative threat reduction concept to conventional weapons; and the Federal Funding Accountability and Transparency Act of 2006, which authorized the establishment of USAspending.gov, a web search engine on federal spending. On June 3, 2008, Senator Obama—along with Senators Tom Carper, Tom Coburn, and John McCain—introduced follow-up legislation: Strengthening Transparency and Accountability in Federal Spending Act of 2008.
- Obama sponsored legislation that would have required nuclear plant owners to notify state and local authorities of radioactive leaks, but the bill failed to pass in the full Senate after being heavily modified in committee. Regarding tort reform, Obama voted for the Class Action Fairness Act of 2005 and the FISA Amendments Act of 2008, which grants immunity from civil liability to telecommunications companies complicit with NSA warrantless wiretapping operations.
- In December 2006, President Bush signed into law the Democratic Republic of the Congo Relief, Security, and Democracy Promotion Act, marking the first federal legislation to be enacted with Obama as its primary sponsor. In January 2007, Obama and Senator Feingold introduced a corporate jet provision to the Honest Leadership and Open Government Act, which was signed into law in September 2007. Obama also introduced Deceptive Practices and Voter Intimidation Prevention Act, a bill to criminalize deceptive practices in federal elections, and the Iraq War De-Escalation Act of 2007, neither of which has been signed into law.
- Later in 2007, Obama sponsored an amendment to the Defense Authorization Act adding safeguards for personality-disorder military discharges. This amendment passed the full Senate in the spring of 2008.He sponsored the Iran Sanctions Enabling Act supporting divestment of state pension funds from Iran’s oil and gas industry and co-sponsored legislation to reduce risks of nuclear terrorism. Obama also sponsored a Senate amendment to the State Children’s Health Insurance Program, providing one year of job protection for family members caring for soldiers with combat-related injuries.
Election of 2008
- In February of 2007, Barack Obama announced his campaign for presidency of the United States. At the beginning of the race there were many nominees vying for the position of President. The field quickly narrowed to three: John Edwards, Hillary Clinton and Barack Obama. Soon the field narrowed to just Obama and Clinton.
- At the beginning of the race many believed Hillary Clinton would easily win the nomination, however Obama proved to be very skilled in running a campaign. He set records for donations and was the first presidential nominee to reject public financing since 1976. The Obama campaign continued to pick up delegates and began growing in momentum. His ability to speak in front of people, encourage minority voters, gain media support and better long-range planning led to him securing the nomination. He would then deliver his DNC acceptance speech in front of 75,000 people at Denver’s Mile High Stadium.
- On August 23, Obama selected Joe Biden as his Vice President. The GOP had nominated John McCain who had selected Sarah Palin as his running mate.
- The choice of Sarah Palin was electrifying and gave McCain a boost in support to the point that he managed to pass Barack Obama in polls. Palin made a few missteps that allowed Obama to gain momentum. Coupled with a few blunders from Sarah Palin and John McCain’s overall appeal to independent voters, they were easily defeated. In November, Barack Obama won the election of 2008 easily. He took 365 electoral votes while McCain took 173.