« ПретходнаНастави »
" War on
officers were opposed to him politically and it was charged that the bank, particularly the branch bank at Portsmouth, Jackson's
New Hampshire, had discriminated against Jack
son's friends and worked for his defeat. Jackthe Bank”
son's opposition to the bank was, however, of much longer standing. He believed that it was a dangerous monopoly, and now that the people had indorsed
his position in the campaign of 1832, he decided to withdraw the government funds from the bank without waiting for the expiration of its charter, which was to take place in 1836. His object was to strengthen the State banks by depositing the government funds with them, so that his enemies who controlled the bank could not call in its loans at the last minute and produce a panic or threaten
Congress into recharterNICHOLAS BIDDLE, President of the Bank of the United States.
ing the bank over his
veto. When Jackson laid his plan before the cabinet he found that Louis McLane, the secretary of the treasury, was
unwilling to order the removal of the government The removal of the de deposits from the bank. Jackson transferred posits, 1833 him to the State Department and appointed William J. Duane, of Pennsylvania, to succeed him. Duane was flattered at the appointment and accepted the post, but after several months' delay finally refused either to remove
the deposits or to resign. Jackson promptly removed him and transferred Roger B. Taney from the post of attorneygeneral to that of secretary of the treasury. Taney immediately designated certain State banks as government depositories and ordered all funds deposited in them after October 1. . The deposits in the Bank of the United States, amounting to over $6,000,000, were not withdrawn at once, but were gradually drawn on, so that when the bank closed January 1, 1836, it still had over $600,000 of government funds.
Clay introduced in the Senate and secured the passage of resolutions censuring Jackson for the removal of the deposits. Benton later moved that the resolutions of censure be expunged and continued to bring up his motion at each session of the Senate until finally in 1837, when there was a majority of Democrats in that body, the expunging resolution passed. The Senate refused to confirm Taney's appointment as secretary of the treasury, but when Marshall died in 1835 Jackson appointed Taney chief justice.
In his annual message of 1835 Jackson announced that the national debt had all been paid, but he warned Congress against future extravagance. Meanwhile
The disa large surplus was accumulating to the credit tribution of of the government in the “pet banks," as those the surplus,
1837 selected to receive government funds were called. Many new banks were organized and political influence was freely used to secure deposits. This system encouraged speculation on a large scale, particularly in government lands, and with the increase in the number of banks there was an enormous increase in bank note currency. The sale of public lands to speculators increased greatly the revenue derived from that source, and what to do with the surplus became a burning political question. The first step would naturally have been to reduce the tariff, but the compromise of 1833 had settled that question for several years to come and no one cared to reopen it.
As Jackson was opposed to internal improvements, the only thing to do seemed to be to distribute the money among the States. In June, 1836, Congress passed an act directing that the surplus in the treasury on January 1, 1837, in excess of $5,000,000, be distributed among the States in proportion to population in four quarterly installments. As the Constitution did not expressly authorize gifts from the public treasury, the money was to be distributed in the form of a loan. Under this act $28,000,000 was distributed in three installments, but when the time came for the fourth installment the panic of 1837 had set in and there was not enough money left to continue the distribution. The States were never called upon to repay the loan.
The last measure of financial importance adopted by Jackson was the “Specie Circular” of July 11, 1836. With the The Specie inflation of the currency, speculation in public Circular,” lands had gone on to an amazing extent and pay1836
ments were made in the notes of State banks of
m very doubtful value. Jackson had declared himself in favor of gold and silver as the “true constitutional currency,” and Benton had introduced a resolution in April, 1836, declaring that “nothing but gold and silver coin ought to be received in payment for public lands,” but his motion was tabled. Jackson, therefore, determined to act on his own responsibility in order to prevent the government from finding itself, through the failure of western banks, with a lot of worthless paper on its hands, and in July had a circular letter sent to the land agents directing them to receive in future nothing but gold and silver in payment for public lands. While this measure did not produce, it undoubtedly hastened, the crisis of 1837.
After the Revolution Great Britain had refused to admit American ships to her West Indian ports and Jay had failed to make a satisfactory adjustment in the treaty of 1794. After the War of 1812 efforts to secure concessions were re
newed, but without success. Congress then adopted a policy of "countervailing legislation” and closed American ports to British ships coming from the West Indies.
Foreign During the Adams administration Great Britain affairs: the offered certain concessions, but Adams demanded West India
trade and more than she was willing to concede. Jackson's the French followers made political capital out of the diplo
Claims" matic deadlock, and when he became President he adopted a more conciliatory attitude. The British government then expressed its willingness to come to terms and the matter was adjusted, so that American ships were at last admitted to British West Indian ports.
Jackson also pressed with vigor American claims against France arising out of the seizure of ships and cargoes by Napoleon. France finally agreed to pay 25,000,000 francs to be distributed among the claimants by the government of the United States. The satisfactory settlement of these two controversies added greatly to the national prestige and to Jackson's popularity with his countrymen.
By the Florida treaty of 1819 the United States surrendered, as we have seen, whatever claim it had to Texas. Two years later Mexico became independent of Spain
The indeand the provinces of Coahuila and Texas were pendence of later united and organized as one of the United Texas,
1835-1836 States of Mexico. Very soon settlers from the United States began pouring into Texas and President Adams, foreseeing trouble with Mexico, authorized the American minister to propose the purchase of Texas. Mexico refused to entertain the proposal at this time or when it was made a second time shortly after Jackson became president. Americans continued to pour into the country notwithstanding the efforts of the Mexican government to check immigration and in spite of hostile legislation directed against the American communities.
In 1835 there were nearly 30,000 Americans in Texas and
they decided to drive out the Mexicans and establish an independent state. The Mexican forces were soon driven across the Rio Grande, but Santa Anna, the president of Mexico, soon appeared with an army of several thousand men. A heroic band of 183 Texans was besieged in the fort of The Alamo at San Antonio and held out for two weeks, when the place was carried by storm. Not a single member of the garrison escaped death. Their heroic defense inspired the Texans to action and Sam Houston quickly collected a
force which defeated Santa Anna in the battle of San Jacinto April 21, 1836. Santa Anna was himself taken prisoner and released two months later only after promising to grant the Texans their independence. His government repudiated this agreement, but took no steps to reconquer the Texans. An independent republic was established with Sam
Houston as president, but offers GENERAL SAM HOUSTON.
of annexation were made to the United States. Jackson, however, deferred action, partly because he did not want to get into trouble with Mexico and partly because he did not wish to inject this question into the presidential campaign then in progress.
Jackson had his party well in hand and he had long decided that Van Buren should be his successor. The election 1835, more than a year before the usual time for of Van the opening of the presidential campaign, a DemoBuren, 1836 cratic convention met in Baltimore and nominated Van Buren by acclamation, though without any great enthusiasm. A ballot was taken for vice-president and Richard M. Johnson of Kentucky was nominated. The Whigs thought it best not to nominate a candidate and held no