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An exception might be claimed for Jackson’s handling of the Nullification Crisis of 1832–1833.Most southern states in Jackson’s day vehemently opposed the “protective tariff,” an import tax that provided most of the government’s revenue and also aided American manufacturers by raising the price of competing foreign (mainly British) goods.
Calhoun, with a ringing public declaration: “Our Federal Union—It must be preserved.” He then responded officially to South Carolina’s action with a blistering presidential proclamation, in which he warned that nullification would inexorably lead to secession (formal withdrawal of a state from the United States), and secession meant civil war. For his own generation and several to come, Jackson’s defiance of nullification earned him a place in the patriotic pantheon above the contentions of party politics, at least in the eyes of those who approved the result.
In the secession crisis thirty years later, Republicans—including Abraham Lincoln, an anti-Jackson partisan from his first entry into politics—hastened to invoke his example and quote his words.
Lincoln belongs in the Civil War era, Theodore Roosevelt and Woodrow Wilson in the Progressive era, Franklin Roosevelt in the era of the Great Depression, the New Deal, and World War II.
But the interval roughly from the 1820s through 1840s, between the aftermath of the War of 1812 and the coming of the Civil War, has often been known as the Jacksonian Era, or the Age of Jackson.
Thirteen polls of historians and political scientists taken between 19 have ranked Jackson always in or near the top ten presidents, among the “great” or “near great.” His face adorns our currency, keeping select company with George Washington, Abraham Lincoln, and the first secretary of the treasury, Alexander Hamilton.
Jackson is the only president, and for that matter the only American, whose name graces a whole period in our history.
Although he was himself a southerner, no great friend of the tariff, and a South Carolina native, Jackson boldly faced down the nullifiers. ” Bloodshed was averted when Congress passed a compromise tariff that South Carolina accepted and Jackson approved.
He first confronted nullification’s mastermind (and his own vice president), John C. Although he played no direct role in its passage, Jackson took much credit for the compromise, and even many political opponents conceded it to him.
Jackson’s outsized, larger-than-life character and career have always offered plenty to wonder at and to argue about.
His lifelong political antagonist Henry Clay once likened him, not implausibly, to a tropical tornado.