Monday, February 27, 2012

American Lion: Andrew Jackson in the White House by Jon Meacham

  • "In his first weeks in office, with John Eaton's help, Jackson was direct with the Indians: either submit to state law or leave. Despite treaties signed and assurances given, he did not believe the Indians had title to the land, and he would not tolerate competing sovereignties within the nation." - 91
  • "The president, Jackson believed, should be an instrument of the people against the combined interests of the rich and the incumbent. 'Our system of government was by its framers deemed an experiment, and they therefore consistently provided a mode of remedying its defects.'...Amend the Constitution, Jackson said...limit the executive to a single four- or six-year term, thus checking the danger of a despot." - 120
  • "Never for a moment believe that the great body of the citizens of any State or States can deliberately intend to do wrong. They may, under the influence of temporary excitement or misguided opinions, commit mistakes; they may be misled for a time by the suggestions of self-interest; but in a community so enlightened and patriotic as the people of the United States argument will soon make them sensible of their errors, and when convinced they will be ready to repair them." - Andrew Jackson, 134
  • "Jackson's vision of himself as the embodiment of the people standing against entrenched interests, combined with his appetite for control and for power, led him to see the veto as more than an occasional tool. Congress should consult with the president in advance of sending legislation down Pennsylvania Avenue, Jackson said -- a novel notion in 1830." - 141
  • "If a mass representative democracy were to work well, a leader's troops could not be -- to borrow a phrase from the Revolutionary War ethos so important to Jackson -- sunshine patriots...A willingness to wage constant partisan combat, no matter what the issue, was an emerging requirement in the politics coming into being in the 1830s." - 188
  • "Without union our independence and liberty would never have been achieved; without union they can never be maintained. Divided into twenty-four, or even a smaller number, of separate communities, we shall see our internal trade burdened with numberless restraints and exactions; communications between distant points and sections obstructed or cut off; our sons made soldiers to deluge with blood the fields they now till in peace...The loss of liberty, of all good government, of peace, plenty, and happiness, must inevitably follow a dissolution of the Union." - Andrew Jackson, 249
  • "On Monday, February 22, 1836, in a message to Congress, Jackson quoted George Washington: 'There is a rank due to the United States among nations which will be withheld, if not absolutely lost, by the reputation of weakness. If we desire to avoid insult, we must be able to repel it. If we desire to secure peace, one of the most powerful instruments of our rising prosperity, it must be known that we are at all times, ready for war.'" - 297
  • "The motion to expunge carried, and, after what Isaac Bassett called 'a storm of hisses and groans' from the left wing of the Circular Gallery (the sergeant at arms rounded up the 'disturbers'), the record of Jackson's censure for abuse of power [by unilaterally removing government deposits from the Second Bank of the United States] was marked out of the journal by the secretary of the Senate." - 337
  • "For Lincoln as for Jackson, a majority was neither always right nor always wrong. The right would depend on the circumstances. But the president's duty was constant: to preserve the Union, for without the Union no progress was possible." - 356

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