A BIT OF BACKGROUND
An interesting fact: Jackson, the seventh President of the United States, was the first to survive an assassination attempt.
He died died on June 8th, 1845 at the age of 78, but there were plenty of people who would have liked that assassination attempt--on January 30, 1835--to have succeeded.
Jackson accomplished a lot of things, but he made a lot of enemies. In fact, there are few presidencies that divide historians more than Jackson's. He accomplished a lot, but depending on how you view those accomlishments, he was either one of the greatest Americans who ever lived, or one of the cruelest.
In other words, plenty of those enemies would have liked him dead.
Your job is to answer the question: who would have liked dead more than anyone else?
(By the way, before we go on, here’s a link to the website Politico that discusses the assassination attempt on Andrew Jackson. Enjoy it.)
HOW THIS WORKS (AS IN: HOW TO DO THIS ASSIGNMENT):
Just about everything you need for your research is on this webpage. We could have made separate webpages for all the suspects, but we thought that would confuse you, so we just decided to put it all in one place. You’ll need to scroll down quite a ways, but it’s all here.
THE FIRST THING TO DO is to read the information about Andrew Jackson. Besides websites, we have included scanned pages from two helpful books. The books will be available in the library (“U.S. History for Dummies,” and “Don’t Know Much About History”).
This is the “History for Dummies” link.
AFTER YOU READ ABOUT ANDREW JACKSON, SCROLL DOWN TO WHICHEVER “SUSPECT” YOU’VE BEEN ASSIGNED. There will be information about the “suspect,” and links to help you out.
INFORMATION ABOUT ANDREW JACKSON:
The American President: an Online Reference Resource (Andrew Jackson)
(This one may, honestly, be all you need. The publisher is The Miller Center of Public Affairs at The University of Virginia, and boy, do they know what they’re doing. When you follow the link above, be sure to check out all the links below the name “Andrew Jackson.” There’s a lot of stuff there.)
Andrew Jackson: The Good and Evil Presidency: The People
(This is a rundown of some of the important people who figured in Jackson’s presidency. Most of the “prime suspects” are here, with solid biographies of each of them.
Wikipedia Article: Andrew Jackson
(I know, I know. Wikipedia can be written by anyone, and you always need to question what you read here. Still, the article is solid, and the bottom of the article has some excellent links to other sources that will help you.)
INFORMATION ABOUT THE MANY, MANY PEOPLE WHO WOULD HAVE LOVED TO SEE ANDREW JACKSON DEAD:
JOHN QUINCY ADAMS
WHO WAS JOHN QUINCY ADAMS?
The son of John Adams (2nd president of the United States), John Quincy Adams was the sixth president. He is thought to be among the most brilliant men to ever hold the office. Unfortunately, though history remembers him as a great diplomat, he wasn’t that great a president; he had great difficulty getting along with political opponents, and didn’t serve a second term (Andrew Jackson became president after Adams).
WHY WOULD JOHN QUINCY ADAMS HAVE HATED ANDREW JACKSON?
Andrew Jackson didn’t like Adams personally, and he didn’t like him politically, either. Jackson undermined Adams presidency, and he’s one of the key reasons that Adams only served one term.
Jackson also cased a split in his political party, The Democratic-Republicans. The fact that we now have a Democratic Party and a Republican party can be traced to this split. Basically, the Republicans were the elite educated folks, while the Democrats were the common folk, the farmers. Jackson managed to make people see Adams as an elite snob who was out of touch with the common folk while he, Jackson, was one of them.
INFORMATION ABOUT JOHN QUINCY ADAMS:
The American President: an Online Reference Resource (John Quincy Adams)
(This is the same website that has the detailed information about Andrew Jackson. Be sure to check out all the links below the name “John Quincy Adams.” There’s a lot of stuff there.
Wikipedia: John Quincy Adams
(Yes, it’s a Wikipedia article, but it provides a well-written summary of the key points to know about John Quincy Adams. There are great illustrations here, and the bottom of the article has helpful links should you require more information.)
WHO WAS NICOLAS BIDDLE?
Biddle was President of the Second National Bank.
WHY WOULD NICOLAS BIDDLE HAVE HATED ANDREW JACKSON?
Jackson basically destroyed this guy. Jackson hated the idea of a national bank. In 1832 he stripped the Bank of its power. In 1833 doomed the bank by withdrew all government deposits from the Bank.
Biddle resigned from the Bank in 1839, and tried his hand at running The Bank of Pennsylvania, which was a private bank. This was a disaster, and Biddle lost most of his money. He died a broken man in 1844.
INFORMATION ABOUT NICHOLAS BIDDLE:
Nicolas Biddle Biography
(This biography comes from The Virginia Center for Digital History, which is an independent center within The College of Arts and Sciences at the University of Virginia. The biography explains Biddle’s involvement with The Second National Bank, and his conflicts with Andrew Jackson.)
Andrew Jackson-Good, Evil and the Presidency (Nicholas Biddle)
(This is from the same PBS website listed in the Andrew Jackson section of the helpful links. There’s not a huge amount of information here, but it covers the important points about Biddle and Jackson.)
The Rise and Fall of Nicholas Biddle
(This is a great article that’s part of the website of The Federal Reserve Bank of Minneapolis. It goes into detail about the economic issues that divided Biddle and Jackson, and it’s surprisingly readable.)
Wikipedia Article: Nicholas Biddle
(You may not even need to use this, because the three links listed above probably have all you need. Still, there’s some good stuff here, and some good illustrations.)
JOHN C. CALHOUN
WHO WAS JOHN C. CALHOUN?
Calhoun was Jackson’s vice-president. He was also John Quincy Adams’s vice-president. He was a leading Southern politician from South Carolina, and a brilliant orator.
WHY WOULD JOHN C. CALHOUN HAVE HATED ANDREW JACKSON?
Jackson and Calhoun bitterly disagreed over two things:
Whether to tax products that came into the United States, and...
Whether most government power should belong to Washington D.C. or the individual states.
Jackson was in favor of taxes on stuff that came into The United States (the proper term for these are “protective tariffs”). Calhoun hated the idea, because he rightly thought that these tariffs, which were good for the Northern manufacturers, were bad for South Carolina’s economy.
Jackson was in favor of Washington having most of the political power--called “centralized government”--while Calhoun was in favor of “state rights”--in other words, Calhoun wanted his state, South Carolina, to have more power over itself than Washington had over the state.
This last division was so bitter between these two men that Calhoun was in favor of South Carolina breaking away from the United States. Jackson was able to strong arm Calhoun into backing down from this, but tensions remained. In fact, in 1861, when Southern states started to break away from The United States (which led to The United States Civil War), South Carolina was the first state to leave the union.
INFORMATION ABOUT JOHN C. CALHOUN:
The American President: an Online Reference Resource (John C. Calhoun)
(No, John C. Calhoun wasn’t a president, but because he was Jackson’s Vice-President, he has a biography at this website. This website is terrific; we also list it as a helpful website for finding out more about Andrew Jackson and Martin Van Buren.)
Wikipedia: John C. Calhoun
(Like all Wikipedia articles, you always need to remember that anyone can edit this, so the information is always worth double checking somewhere else. Still, the article is well-written, has some excellent illustrations, and also has helpful links at the article’s end.)
Unitarian Universalist Biographies: John C. Calhoun
(The Unitarian Universalists are a Protestant sect of Christianity. Because Calhoun was a Unitarian, there is a biography of him here. The biography really doesn’t get into Calhoun’s faith, and it’s good biography that helps a reader understand the divisions between Jackson and Calhoun).
WHO WAS JOHN MARSHALL?
Marshall was Chief Justice of the Supreme Court from 1801-1835, and he’s a very big deal in American legal history. He’s probably best known for “Marbury versus Madison,” a Supreme court decision that officially established The Supreme Court as the final referee on whether a law was constitutional. Marshall was also the longest serving Chief Justice in American history.
By the way, here’s an interesting bit of trivia: the crack in The Liberty Bell occurred when it was rung for the funeral of John Marshall.
WHY WOULD JOHN MARSHALL HAVE HATED ANDREW JACKSON?
In 1830, Congress passed The Indian Removal Act, which forcibly relocated Native Americans from their homelands. Native Americans brought the case to The Supreme Court, and John Marshall ruled that that Congress had no right to do this to the Native Americans. Jackson, however, told the states to ignore the court’s ruling; in effect, he said to John Marshall “I’m going to tell everybody to disobey your ruling, and you’ll have no power to enforce your ruling.”
INFORMATION ABOUT JOHN MARSHALL:
The John Marshall Foundation: John Marshall’s Legacy
(This is a brief biography of John Marshall. It also includes information about the key Supreme Court cases during his administration. You may need to read it once or twice, but it’s worth it.
Wikipedia: John Marshallhttp://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/John_Marshall
(This is one of the good Wikipedia articles. It goes through Marshall’s life with a lot of detail, and it will be a lot of help for you.)
Andrew Jackson--Good, Evil and the Presidency: Indian Removal
(This is from a website designed to accompany a PBS television special about Jackson. Besides discussing The Indian Removal Act, it contains links that further explain some of the issues related to this issue.)
CHIEF JOHN ROSS
WHO WAS CHIEF JOHN ROSS?
Ross is a very big deal in the history of the Cherokee nation. Ross was 1/8 Cherokee (his mother had a Cherokee grandparent), and was equally comfortable with both the Cherokees and Europeans. This allowed him to be a force in fighting for the rights of his people.
Ross fought not on the battlefield, but in the courtroom and government. As the first and only elected chief of The Cherokee Nation, he was a major spokesperson for his people
WHY WOULD CHIEF JOHN ROSS HAVE HATED ANDREW JACKSON?
Ross’s issue with Jackson was much the same as John Marshall’s (see above). 1830’s Indian Removal Act forcibly relocated Native Americans from their homelands to western territories. Many Native Americans died in this passage, which came to be known as “The Trail of Tears .”
Another key issue that Ross was involved in was an 1835 treaty that effectively signed away the Cherokee’s land. Ross got 16,000 signatures to show that the treaty did not speak for the majority of the Cherokee Nation. Nonetheless, Jackson pushed the treaty through congress, and the Cherokees lost their land.
Ross had much more at stake here than Marshall ever did, however. For Marshall, the Indian Removal Act was merely a legal issue, while for Ross, it was a personal issue. Remember, Ross was part Cherokee; these were his people who were suffering. Also, Ross’s first wife died on The Trail of Tears, making this part of American History even more tragic for him.
INFORMATION ABOUT CHIEF JOHN ROSS:
About North Georgia: John Ross Biography
(Ross is a key figure in the history of North Georgia. He was one of the richest men in the area in the 1830s. This is a good biography that explains Ross’s fights for the rights of the Cherokee Nation.)
Andrew Jackson--Good, Evil and the Presidency: Indian Removal
(This is from a website that accompanied a PBS television special about Jackson. Besides discussing The Indian Removal Act, it contains links that further explain some of the issues related to this issue.)
Legends of America: Chief John Ross
(Legends of America is a commercial site to help travelers find historic sites. This is good, solid biography of Ross.)
Wikipedia: Chief John Ross
(Some of the information in this article is not cited, which means that whoever wrote it doesn’t tell you where he or she got their information. Still, there are many helpful links at the end of the article, and the basic information about Ross is good. Also, this article has some illustrations that you can’t find anywhere else.)
MARTIN VAN BUREN
WHO WAS MARTIN VAN BUREN?
Martin Van Buren was Jackson’s Vice President, and became president after Jackson, in 1836 (he was the eighth president, by the way). He was a big, big supporter of Jackson. In fact, his inaugural address was basically a valentine to Jackson, in which Van Buren spent most of the speech highlighting the key points from Jackson’s presidency.
WHY WOULD MARTIN VAN BUREN HAVE HATED ANDREW JACKSON?
Jackson instituted some economic policies that eventually caused trouble for The United States, but it was Van Buren who got blamed for them. It should be noted, however, that Van Buren did nothing about it. Van Buren was not reelected for a second term.
INFORMATION ABOUT MARTIN VAN BUREN:
The American President: an Online Reference Resource (Martin Van Buren)
(This is a terrific website run by the Miller Center for Public Affairs, which is part of The University of Virginia. If you click on the links on the right column of the web page--where it says “Essays on Martin Van Buren and His Administration--you’ll find some great stuff.)
Wikipedia: Martin Van Buren
(Generally speaking, the presidential biographies in Wikipedia are good. This one goes over the key aspects of Van Buren’s presidency, and it does it quite well.)