How Andrew Jackson expanded limits
How Andrew Jackson expanded limits
Andrew Jackson was the seventh president of the United States and during his presidency he did things that were considered morally and traditionally out of bounds. Many of these things have had a lasting impact on the presidency and the rest of the executive branch to this day. Some examples of those things were new reasons for the use of the power of veto, his attitude towards executive branch office holders who disagreed with him, and his overall strong actions while in office. These three examples are the main reasons why Jackson is considered not to have overstepped his limits but expanded them, and not abused but enhanced presidential power.
A prime example of how Jackson expanded limits and enhanced presidential power is the free usage of his power of veto against congress. Jackson used the veto whenever he personally disagreed with any billhat congress had just passed, as opposed to his predecessors, who only vetoed a bill if they believed it was unconstitutional. Moreover, he vetoed twelve times total during his two terms holding office; more than all of the previous presidents combined. An example of how Jackson vetoed based on disagreement or malcontent is Jackson’s veto on the rechartering of the Bank of the US. His hatred and prejudice against The Bank were his only reasons for issuing the veto. This way, by using the veto more frequently, Jackson broke from the old tradition and standard and gave future presidents more freedom and less social pressure when using the veto.
Another great reason why Jackson is considered to have expanded limits is the way he dealt with people in the federal office that disagreed with him: the Spoils System. Jackson used the Spoils System from the get-go, and it disposed of dissenters of Jacksonian policies within the executive branch offices by firing them and filling their newly vacant posts with members of the Jacksonian party. This system destroyed the old moderate views of the Virginia Dynasty presidents, who were always happy to favor vacancies with members of their own party, but were reluctant to employ methods such as firing just to create new vacancies. This way, by breaking previous moral barriers with partisan tactics in office, Jackson set a wider variety of options in dealing with internal problems to future presidents and expanded presidential limits.
A third set of actions that Jackson took while in office that enhanced presidential power was his overall involvement throughout his two presidential terms. Presidents from the Virginia Dynasty had played only small roles in the decisions that the government took. Instead, the Legislative branch was the ruling branch and the president had little to no influence in congress decisions. However, that all changed with Jackson, who became very active and took many issues as personal conflicts.
Some of these conflicts were the Nullification crisis, in which he got involved personally by sending a letter to the South Carolinians; the rechartering of the Second Bank of the US, in which he failed to veto the bill, but removed all federal money from it instead, this way efficiently killing the bank; and his opposition to Chief Justice Marshall’s decision on the issue of the Indians’ Domestic Independent Nation, in which he defied Marshall verbally and by not signing the bill. With these actions, Jackson made the role of president both more active and important, thus enhancing the powers of the president.
Jackson’s actions had an effect on the presidency and influenced the actions of the presidents that followed him while they were serving in office. His use of the veto, his use of the Spoils System to rid himself of enemies, and the personal manner in which he took every issue that he encountered to solve, make Jackson a trendsetter, not a transgressor. These actions also confirm his expansion of the presidential limits and his enhancement of the presidential powers. It is primarily because of these three reasons that Jackson is considered by many, and should be by all, to have enhanced and expanded the presidency in general.