Share This Article with a Friend!

Why Andrew Jackson Instead of Ronald Reagan?

Many conservatives may be wondering why President Donald Trump chose to hang a portrait of Democratic President Andrew Jackson in the Oval Office, instead of a portrait of a Republican president, such as Ronald Reagan or Abraham Lincoln. 

When the portrait selection was announced President Trump praised the 7th President calling him, "an Andrew Jacksonamazing figure in American history - very unique [in] so many ways."  

After White House chief strategist Steve Bannon described President Trump's inaugural address as "Jacksonian," it seems all the talking heads assumed that the connection was that Andrew Jackson was our first populist president, who won election campaigning against the eastern establishment and for the interests of the rough-hewn common folk of the frontier. 

Such an analysis is elitist and shallow and gives President Donald Trump far too little credit.  

Contrary to the image of Donald Trump as a man ignorant of history that the establishment media and establishment pundits have tried to peddle, the choice of Andrew Jackson as his Oval Office muse shows President Trump knows his presidential history, and he’s chosen the right inspiration for the challenges that are before him. 

When the sanctuary cities of his day – South Carolina in particular – objected to laws passed by Congress (in this case a tariff) South Carolina’s John C. Calhoun propounded the anti-constitutional doctrine of "nullification."  

According to this concept, as with sanctuary city proponents today, Calhoun claimed that if a state found a federal law detrimental to its interests, it could "nullify" that law within its borders.  

In 1832 the crisis came to a head when, much like the city governments in New York, San Francisco and other “sanctuary cities,” the South Carolina legislature passed the “South Carolina Ordinance of Nullification” and declared the tariff null and void within the borders of the state. 

Jackson’s reaction was swift and decisive. 

On December 10, 1832 he issued a “Proclamation Regarding Nullification.”  

The president, argued Andrew Jackson, must execute the law; resistance to such execution would have to be forcible. South Carolina’s arguments for peaceful nullification were specious, President Jackson declared in his Proclamation Regarding Nullification, “Do not be deceived by names, Disunion by armed force is treason.” 

After Jackson issued his proclamation, Congress passed what South Carolinians called the Force Act authorizing the use of military force against any state that resisted the tariff acts. 

“Jackson’s response to the nullification crisis stands as his finest hour. He combined firmness with conciliation. The firmness appeared unmistakably in his historic presidential proclamation on December 10. Nullification, the president told the people of South Carolina, was ‘in direct violation of their duty as citizens of the United States’ and ‘subversive of its Constitution.’ In Jackson’s straightforward logic, nullification was tantamount to secession,” said Daniel Howe in What Hath God Wrought: The Transformation of America, 1815-1848

President Trump’s Executive Order on sanctuary cities makes much the same case. “Sanctuary jurisdictions across the United States willfully violate Federal law in an attempt to shield aliens from removal from the United States,” reads the order. “These jurisdictions have caused immeasurable harm to the American people and to the very fabric of our Republic.” 

The order further states, much as President Jackson’s Proclamation on Nullification stated the necessity of enforcing the Constitution and the laws passed by Congress, “We cannot faithfully execute the immigration laws of the United States if we exempt classes or categories of removable aliens from potential enforcement.  The purpose of this order is to direct executive departments and agencies (agencies) to employ all lawful means to enforce the immigration laws of the United States.” 

And, as President Jackson did, President Trump then outlined the initial means by which nullification would be opposed and the laws of the United States upheld, “Make use of all available systems and resources to ensure the efficient and faithful execution of the immigration laws of the United States; and, ensure that jurisdictions that fail to comply with applicable Federal law do not receive Federal funds, except as mandated by law…” 

In President Jackson’s day, the nullification crisis was ultimately averted by isolating South Carolina politically and a congressional compromise on the tariff, but it is not possible to compromise on the sovereignty of the United States, and had there been no compromise, Andrew Jackson had an answer for that, too. 

Jackson told a South Carolina congressman that “if one drop of blood be shed there in defiance of the laws of the United States, I will hang the first man of them I can get my hands on to the first tree I can find.” 

A fine sentiment for President Trump to keep in mind when the nullifying mayors of San Francisco, New York, Los Angeles, Chicago and other sanctuary cities contemplate defying him.

Share this

He Killed The Bank, Too!

Nullification can be debated, especially when the acts of congress exceed its delegated powers, but I accept that import tariffs were the constitutionally sanctioned method for funding the Federal government - wrong hill to die on!

But is it not just dealing with rogue cities and states where Trump has hinted he'll be like Jackson - clearly he does not have much patience with the Federal Reserve, and we should well remember that Jackson killed the Second Bank of the United States (Fed forerunner)