Andrew Jackson was the seventh president of the United States. A rough-hewn military hero, he was regarded by many as the spokesman of the common man. He entered the White House in 1829 after winning the second of two vigorously fought election campaigns. Through his forceful personality, he restructured the office of the president and helped shape the democratic party. Less educated and less schooled in government than many of his political opponents, Jackson had leaped to national fame in the War of 1812 as the hero of the Battle of New Orleans and had captured the dedicated loyalty of a vast segment of the American population. He was widely acclaimed as the symbol of what the new American thought himself to be a self-made man endowed with virtue and strength. The results of the election of 1824 proved that Jackson was indeed the champion of a popular majority. Jackson’s administrations were highlighted by the frustration of sectional attempts to weaken the central government by state nullification of federal law, and by his confrontation with the Bank of the U.S. Jackson also positively affected the development of the U.S. presidency.
He concentrated power in the office through wide use of the veto and through his insistence that the chief executive alone represented the will of the whole nation. He committed the presidential powers to the protection of the people. Throughout his presidency, Jackson was portrayed as both a states’ rightist and as a nationalist. As a states’ rightist, he proteced the states rights so that the federal government would not fund individual states’ rights and favor them over other states. He was a strong believer in the political ideas of the Jeffersonians. Another example of Jackson being a states’ rightist includes the Maysville Road veto. Jackson had pledged to reduce the national debt and was opposed to the rising number of bills before Congress that proposed to finance internal improvements with public money.
The Maysville Road Bill gave authorized the use of federal funds to construct a road between the towns of Maysville and Lexington, both in Kentucky. Jackson vetoed the bill, calling it unconstitutional because it concerned only the state of Kentucky. As a nationalist, Jackson believed in a strong central government in order to unify the nation. He also believed in a democracy for the entire nation. Jackson also supported the Spoils System, which rewarded his political supporters with public offices and allowed common people to take office.