Andrew Jackson Campaign Speech of 1828 Essay
Andrew Jackson Campaign Speech of 1828
My fellow Americans, the upcoming national elections present a very important choice. We can forge a “true” representative democracy for the first time in history, and be led by our directly elected leaders. Or we can continue to live in an aristocratic republic run by over-educated elitists who are not beholden to the will of the people, but only to themselves. As you all know, three years ago I won the popular vote for President, but was denied the office because of a “corrupt bargain” between the dishonorable Henry Clay and President Adams. The people’s choice was disregarded by the elite in power.
As a result, I immediately resigned from the Senate and returned to Tennessee, where the legislature immediately nominated me for President again. I have spent the last three years preparing to right this terrible wrong and take back the people’s power to choose their own leaders. My opponent Mr. Adams dismisses me as a “military chieftain. ” I have fought two wars for this country, and I am proud of it. I think one of the most important qualifications a President should have is a military background. We were invaded by the British only 15 years ago.
That enemy is still in the Canadas agitating Indians to attack us, and waiting for another chance to invade. We have foreign enemies at our every border. Don’t forget the Spanish forces just to the south in Florida, and Mexico to the west, and Indians constantly raiding settlements all along the frontiers. These foreign threats are many and dire, and we need a President who has the experience to defend our nation against them. There are threats to our nation from within as well. The Second National Bank is a threat to our economic well-being. President Adams and Vice-president Clay both support the bank claiming that it provides stability.
I say it does great harm to the average American. It is a financial monopoly controlled by a few wealthy easterners. It controls the credit for the entire country, prints paper money of dubious worth, and it is just plain unconstitutional. Out west thousands of ordinary shop keepers, millers, farmers and other business owners cannot get the currency and the loans they need to run their concerns. How do you develop and grow the economy of a new state without currency, or worse yet, with paper currency of dubious worth? I say let us do away with all paper money, I do not trust it.
Gold and Silver coin have intrinsic and eternal value, paper does not. We should also rely on our local and state banks, run by the people who live in and understand our communities, to control the currency needed for commerce, not some faceless, monopolistic national bank. Another threat from within are the abolitionists. They care about one issue only, and would tear the nation apart to get their way. Slavery is necessary to the economy of the south. If we outlaw it, we will make criminals of thousands of slave owners overnight, and collapse all of the southern states’ economies.
How will southern families feed and clothe themselves without their labor force? I say let the people and their states decide this issue for themselves. Many northern states have already outlawed slavery, and one day the southern states may follow. You cannot force a cultural change like this on people; you must let them come to it in their own way and time. That is the nature of democracy. President Adams is afraid of internal threats as well. His biggest fear is YOU! The people of this nation, the ordinary citizens of the United States are the gravest threat he faces.
Our President doesn’t trust us. To him, we are the unwashed, ignorant masses who, given the chance, would run the country into the ground. The president has stated many times that he believes his precious republic will soon “degenerate into democracy; that government of the people will become government by the people. ” I say it’s about time. I say “we the people” built this nation. We have marched across the continent, scratching out a living, and burying our children along the way to do it. I say “we the people” understand better than anyone what it takes to make this nation grow and prosper.
I trust the common people of this nation, because I am one of the common people. I am not yet another wealthy land owner from Virginia, nor am I an aristocratic lawyer from Massachusetts. I am a just an old Indian fighter from Tennessee. I believe “we the people” who have sacrificed the most for this great nation have earned the right to govern it. But I need your help to make this happen. Already, the new states are entering the union with few restrictions on the vote. This has caused many the old states to change their ways as well.
Eighteen of our states now choose their electors by popular vote, while only six still allow the legislature to choose their representatives for them. I urge you all to go to the polls on Election Day. With this election we can finally take back power from the old aristocracy. We can establish the legitimacy of majority rule based upon direct voting for candidates by the electorate, and guarantee preservation of the Union, with states’ rights as the fundamental basis of American liberty. This is the dawn of a new day for democracy and modern American politics. Please vote on Election Day. Thank you.