16. Andrew Jackson

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Length: {9:52 minutes}

The excerpt details a dramatic chapter in American history involving President Andrew Jackson and his intense battle with the Second Bank of the United States. Here’s a summary of the key points covered:

Jackson’s Veto of the Bank’s Recharter

  • 1832 Veto: President Andrew Jackson vetoed the bill to recharter the Second Bank of the United States, arguing it was a monopoly favoring the wealthy and foreign interests over American citizens.
  • Veto Message: Jackson articulated his belief that the Bank posed a threat to American liberty and independence by controlling the nation’s currency and public funds.

Campaign Against the Bank

  • Re-election Campaign: Jackson’s 1832 re-election campaign prominently featured his opposition to the Bank, encapsulated in the slogan “Jackson and no Bank”.
  • Victory: Despite significant financial backing for his opponent, Henry Clay, from the Bank’s supporters, Jackson won re-election by a landslide.

Removal of Federal Deposits

  • Treasury Secretaries: Jackson encountered resistance from his own Treasury Secretaries, Lewis McLane and William J. Duane, who refused to withdraw federal deposits from the Bank. Jackson fired them both and appointed Roger B. Taney, who complied with Jackson’s directive.
  • Bank’s Reaction: Nicholas Biddle, the Bank’s president, retaliated by contracting the money supply, causing a financial panic and subsequent depression, which he publicly blamed on Jackson.

Political and Economic Fallout

  • Censure and Backlash: The Senate censured Jackson, the first time a President had been censured by Congress, exacerbating the political conflict.
  • Economic Manipulation: Biddle’s admission of using the Bank’s power to force economic hardship in order to secure its recharter revealed the lengths to which the Bank would go to maintain control.

Jackson’s Ultimate Victory

  • House of Representatives: In 1834, the House voted against rechartering the Bank and formed a committee to investigate the Bank’s practices, which faced obstruction from Biddle.
  • Final Payment of National Debt: On January 8, 1835, Jackson paid off the final installment of the national debt, a feat achieved only once in U.S. history, which symbolized his triumph over the Bank.
  • Assassination Attempt: Jackson survived an assassination attempt by Richard Lawrence, who later claimed European conspirators had influenced him.
  • Closure of the Bank: The Second Bank of the United States ceased operations as a central bank when its charter expired in 1836.


  • Jackson’s Pride: Jackson considered the destruction of the Bank his greatest achievement, a sentiment famously encapsulated in his statement, “I killed the Bank”.
  • Long-lasting Impact: Jackson’s dismantling of the Bank delayed the establishment of another central bank in the U.S. for 77 years until the creation of the Federal Reserve in 1913.

This period in history underscores the profound impact of Jackson’s presidency on the American financial system and the enduring struggle between governmental authority and financial institutions.

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