||Andrew Jackson, Veto Message Regarding the Bank of the United States, July 10, 1832|
In 1831 Congress passed a bill to "modify and continue" the Bank of the United States. Jackson vetoed it and here explains why. Dry reading but valuable, it will give you a concise statement of Jackson's vision of what America should be. He objects to the bill's provisions because they do "not measure out equal justice to the high and the low, the rich and the poor." To continue the Bank's monopoly, he says, would bestow the government's bounty upon the current stockholders and no one else. To approve the bill's exchange provisions would favor banks over merchants, mechanics, and other private citizens. To ratify the bill's tax arrangements would penalize American stockholders and send an inordinate percentage of the bank's profits to foreign investors, mostly in Great Britain. Indeed, Jackson spends a great deal of time detailing the national security threat that large scale foreign investment in the Bank of the United States would pose to this country. He also devotes much effort to a painstaking refutation of the Supreme Court decision that declared the Bank constitutional. In the end he offers this summary of his position: "In the full enjoyment of the gifts of Heaven and the fruits of superior industry, economy, and virtue, every man is equally entitled to protection by law; but when the laws undertake to add to these natural and just advantages artificial distinctions, to grant titles, gratuities, and exclusive privileges, to make the rich richer and the potent more powerful, the humble members of society . . . who have neither the time nor the means of securing like favors to themselves, have a right to complain of the injustice of their Government. . . . If [government] would confine itself to equal protection, and, as Heaven does its rains, shower its favors alike on the high and the low, the rich and the poor, it would be an unqualified blessing." A good selection to pair with Cooper's The American Democrat. 14 pages (wide margins).
||What did Jackson want America to be?|
How distinctly American is Jackson's vision?|
What are Jackson's views on equality and inequality?|
| · ||
For Jackson, what is the purpose of political power?|