Tag: Andrew Jackson

As the nation prepares for its Fourth of July celebration, the question arises of where the Trump presidency fits in the mosaic of American leadership. David M. Kennedy, a Stanford University historian and Pulitzer Prize winner, discusses the current state of the Republic and whether Donald Trump is the second coming of Andrew Jackson, as Trump would have us believe, or similar to a more recent Oval Office occupant.

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The Return of Andrew Jackson

 

If you want to get a proper sense of the significance of what happened yesterday, just look at the vote in Washington DC. In our nation’s capital, according to Real Clear Politics, Hillary Clinton won 92.8% of the vote and Donald Trump, 4.1%. Sure, DC is a heavily African-American city, and black Americans are loyal Democratic voters. But there are plenty of non-black Americans in the town, and they now form a majority. What this means is that our political class and their minions were united against the man — and this was, in fact, the stance of our business elite as well. None of the CEOs of the top 100 corporations gave his campaign a dime, and no major newspaper endorsed the man.

I can remember back in 1980 when Ronald Reagan came to DC. His arrival and the formation of a new administration was like the arrival in a country of a foreign army. The Donald’s takeover will be an even more dramatic event. It will be as if William Jennings Bryan had won in 1896. The only analogue that I can think of is the inauguration of Andrew Jackson. But he had already had a long career in public life — most notably, as the general victorious at the Battle of New Orleans and as a United States Senator. Trump has no such pedigree — though, like Jackson, he is a hero to the excluded.

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The losers in government want to change our money. It’s not politically correct! They want more women! It’s not enough for them that Barbara Bush is on the $1 bill. They don’t want so many dead white men. Now, I love money. I’m huge with money. And when I’m president, America will have the greatest money, I […]

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The Twenty-Four-Year Itch Revisited

 

24 FlagIn a piece posted two weeks ago, “Donald Trump and the Twenty-Four-Year Itch,” I claimed to have seen this movie before more than once: Twenty-four years ago, when Ross Perot led an insurgency, and twenty-four years before that when, as a cub reporter, I covered the George Wallace campaign as it unfolded in Oklahoma. It was my contention, then, and is my contention now that, in American politics, things tend to come apart roughly every 24 years — which is to say, once a generation — when a neglected part of the electorate erupts in fury at our masters in DC.

In the interim, I have found myself musing about the Trump phenomenon time and again, and I am prepared to defend the following hypothesis — that something of the sort has recurred every quarter-century or so in this country now for nearly 250 years.

In 1776, for example, there was a real revolution directed at our masters in London. In 1800, there was, so Thomas Jefferson tells us, a second revolution, when his Republicans ousted the Federalist Party from power. There was another such event in 1824 when Andrew Jackson outpolled John Quincy Adams. That development did not reach fruition until 1828 when he replaced Adams, but the writing was on the wall in 1824. The era in which the grandees of the revolutionary generation dominated American politics was over.

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The family and I saw Hamilton a few weeks’ back, and I’m happy to report it’s well-deserving of the hype. Yet for all Hamilton’s innovation and genre-crossing score, there’s another, lesser presidential musical that nails our current political zeitgeist, with lots of raunchy humor and surprising feeling. Bloody Bloody Andrew Jackson premiered on Broadway in […]

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1832: President Andrew Jackson kills the National Bank! His veto message is a mostly forgotten national treasure expressing (at least) ten significant principles of Constitutional interpretation. Here they are. (I leave it to others to critique Jackson himself and to unravel the rest of the economics, history, and law in the veto message.) 1. There are significant […]

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The Jacksonian Tradition in American Domestic Policy

 

Nearly 15 years ago, Walter Russell Meade wrote a famous essay about the Jacksonian Tradition in American Foreign Policy. A key point in it is that much if the American electorate views foreign policy primarily as a matter of honor. Those countries who comport themselves honorably are to be left alone, or worked with as appropriate. Trade agreements and peace treaties are all wonderful things, and even wars are not necessarily bad — honest disagreements require a frank airing of the issues — but in the end, honorable nations shake hands, sign the peace, and live by it. Dishonorable nations are to be left alone to rot unless they directly threaten us, at which point they are to be obliterated. As Meade put it:

Once the United States extends a security guarantee or makes a promise, we are required to honor that promise come what may. Jacksonian opinion, which in the nature of things had little faith that South Vietnam could build democracy or that there was anything concrete there of interest to the average American, was steadfast in support of the war — though not of the strategy — because we had given our word to defend South Vietnam. During this year’s war in Kosovo, Jacksonian opinion was resolutely against it to begin with. However, once U.S. honor was engaged, Jacksonians began to urge a stronger warfighting strategy including the use of ground troops. It is a bad thing to fight an unnecessary war, but it is inexcusable and dishonorable to lose one once it has begun.