Andrew Jackson’s Departure from the Front of the Twenty
The recent decision by the Treasury of the United States to replace President Andrew Jackson with Harriet Tubman has ridden in with controversy as fast as General Jackson descended on New Orleans. Some have seen it as yet another part of the “politically correct agenda” of the far–left, while others believe it’s nothing more than a change to suit modern and more accepting times. Yet no matter the reasons behind the change, one thing can and must be agreed on…
Jackson would be happy as hell to go.
Now, why would one of the most vain men to ever inhabit the office of the presidency revel in the thought of being ushered out of the limelight? It could only be for one reason: the limelight was illuminating him on a platform he would absolutely despise… a central bank note.
As many of you probably know, especially admirers of Ron Paul, the current Federal Reserve System that issues our money was founded in 1913. The last central bank in the United States to precede it was the Second Bank of the United States, which was dissolved in 1836, by none other than the actions of President Jackson himself.
In his veto response to the bill that would have reissued the bank’s charter that was about to expire after 20 years, Jackson stated,
“Entertaining this opinion, and deeply impressed with the belief that some of the powers and privileges possessed by the existing Bank are unauthorized by the Constitution, subversive of the rights of the States, and dangerous to the liberties of the people…”
It was a bold move for Jackson but he took the steps necessary to stop an institution which he saw for what it was. That it was a corrupt institution that favored northern industrial interests over southern agriculture, and other sectors of the early Republic’s economy. Also, that it was a corrupt institution that threatened our national sovereignty by ceding control of the monetary system from the national treasury to that of a quasi-private bank. Jackson took to heart the words of the founding father of his party, Thomas Jefferson,
“And I sincerely believe, with you, that banking establishments are more dangerous than standing armies; and that the principle of spending money to be paid by posterity, under the name of funding, is but swindling futurity on a large scale.“ (Letter to John Taylor Monticello May 28, 1816)
He took this to heart, and in true Jacksonian fashion acted upon it, and didn’t give a damn what established businessmen and politicians would say. Now this is the point in which many progressive historians will tell you that the lack of this central bank is what brought on the Panic of 1837, but Jeffrey Rogers Hummel explains in an article at Reason.com, the true cause behind the panic.
“These panics were fueled in part by imperfect and delayed communication in an interconnected international market that relied heavily on credit, notably bills of exchange. The failures of major commercial houses in all three cities became the trigger that set off the suspension of specie payments. The Many Panics of 1837 thus reinforces the contention that the subsequent economic downturn was driven as much by events in the United Kingdom as in the United States.”
So, what is the truth of the 77-year period between 1836 and 1913? It was a period of magnificent, unprecedented growth in industry, agriculture, and trade. It was a period in which we saw our rise from a fledging republic in its infancy to a nation nearing the status of superpower. All of which was accomplished without the hindrance a central bank.
So think what you want about Jackson. He was a complicated man who did commit many atrocities like the Trail of Tears. His legacy is a mixed one, so I will leave it to your individual conscience to label him as you choose in your heart and view of history. Yet one thing must be agreed upon: Jackson would be glad to be gone from adorning the front of Federal Reserve note – the token of the institution he despised.
This article was edited for grammar, style, and spelling, but not for content. The views expressed are that of the author, Bric Butler, exclusively, and do not reflect that of BeingLibertarian.com or Being Libertarian LLC
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