a million more.
569. The enlarged vote called for new political machinery.
Each party created a hierarchy of permanent committees to man
age its interests. From a National Committee there radiated
downward the many State Committees. From each of these
branched the committees for the counties and Congressional
districts of the State ; and from these, the committees for the
precincts in the smallest voting units.
Tliis committee system was soon interwoven with a convention
system. The division into parties had made it advisable to agree
upon candidates for President in advance of the campaign,
something never contemplated, as we have seen, by the Consti-
1 McMaster (V, 521 if.) gives a graphic picture. There is a briefer but more
caustic one in McLaughlin's Cass (136, 137) : "The scrambling, punch-drink
ing mob which invaded Washington at the inauguration, crowding and push
ing into the White House, tipping over tubs of punch and buckets of ices,
standing with muddy, hobnailed shoes on the damask furniture, thrusting
themselves into the nooks and corners of the executive mansion with the air
of copartners, who at last had an opportunity to take account of the assets of
the firm. . . ."
2 The "spoils system " came into force in some States, notably in New York,
sooner than in the Nation at large ; and it has persisted longer as a serious ob
stacle to reform in city and State even than in the National government.
482 JACKSONIAN DEMOCRACY [ 570
tution. For a while this was accomplished by the Congressional
caucus ( 389). But at such a caucus the members were Con'
gressmen who had been chosen two years before, on wholly
different issues. Men resented it that such uncommissioned
" representatives " should presume to speak for the party on
this vital matter, and the repute of " aristocratic King Caucus "
had been dissipated finally in the campaign of 1824 ( 517).
The same causes which discredited the Congressional caucus
for the Nation had also discredited legislative caucuses for
nominating State officers ; and New York and Pennsylvania
had devised State Conventions, chosen in party gatherings in
the various election districts. This step was extended to the
Nation at large in the campaign of 1832.
570. For the next three quarters of a century, this machinery
worked in the following way. The National Convention of a
party (1) nominated candidates for President and Vice
President ; (2) adopted a statement of principles (" plat
form," on which the candidate was to stand) ; and (3)
appointed a new National Committee, one member from
each State and Territory. Some months in advance of the
next presidential election, this committee issued a call for
a new National Convention of its party. Below the National
Committee were State, County, Town, and Precinct commit
tees, each chosen by party gatherings or conventions. During
the campaign the National Committee collected funds, secured
and distributed campaign literature, and sent speakers and
money to the critical States, to be used as the State Com
mittees should direct.
571. This complex machinery called for an immense body of
workers, "more people," said a competent. authority twenty
years ago, " than all the other political machinery in the world."
It was natural, therefore, that its development should have
gone along with the appearance of the spoils system ( 568), to
pay the necessary recruits.
Quite as naturally the new machinery created "bosses," to
direct it. In theory, the political machinery was to repre-
572] " SPOILS " AND " BOSSES " 483
sent the people's will. In practice, among a busy, optimistic
people, it was admirably fitted to fall into the hands of " pro
fessionals." For half a century, while the system was at
its worst, the average citizen (unless with an " ax to grind ")
largely withdrew from all political duties, except that of
voting for the names put before him. Officeholders of various
grades managed the committees of the party in power; and
expectants for office managed those of the other party. Such
conditions gave a low tone to politics. A campaign, to the
most active participants, was dangerously like a struggle for
mere personal preferment.
"Ward heelers " and the lowest grade of active workers, taking orders
from a city boss, managed ward and precinct primaries. The pro
fessionals were often the only voters to appear; and if other citizens
came, they found the chairman, judges, and printed tickets all arranged
for them by the " machine." The managers were usually unscrupulous
players of the game, and, at a pinch, did not hesitate to "pack" a
meeting in order to secure the election of their delegates. Arrived at
State or county convention, such delegates, with disciplined obedi
ence, put through the "slate" drawn up in advance by the bigger
bosses, who commonly had arranged all details with a nicety and
precision found until recently in few lines of business.
The big boss was not always an officeholder. His profit often came in
indirect ways and sometimes in corrupt ways. Corporations wishing
favors or needing protection against unfair treatment were willing to pay
liberally the man who could secure their will for them. Often the bosses
of opposing parties in a State have had a perfect understanding with each
other, working together behind the scenes and dividing the plunder.
572. The President's " patronage " gained new importance from
this " boss " system. It soon became the rule for him to
nominate postmasters and other Federal officeholders only on
the recommendation of the congressman of the district, if he
were of the President's party, or of the " boss " who expected
to become or to make a congressman. The congressman uses
this control over Federal patronage to build up a personal
machine, so as to insure support for his reelection. And the
practice gives a powerful weapon to a strong President, who is
often able to coerce reluctant congressmen into being "good"
by threatening not to approve their recommendations.
573. Famous among the tricks of the game, as professional
politicians came to play it, was the gerrymander. It is
the custom to choose congressmen by districts. A State,
therefore, is partitioned by its legislature into as many con
gressional districts as it has congressmen. Frequently, the
party in power shapes these districts with shameful unfair
ness. If it cannot control them all for itself, it can -usually
pack hostile majorities into two or three of many districts,
leaving the rest " safe " ; or it can add a strongly favorable
county to a doubtful district. State constitutions usually
require that a county shall
not be divided (unless of
itself it makes more than
one district) and that each
district must be made up
of " contiguous territory."
But such restrictions
amount to little in the ab
sence of popular opinion to
resent and punish trickery.
The first notorious use of this
device was in Massachusetts in
1812. The Republicans were in
power, but could not hope to
retain it against Federalist feel
ing regarding the War. To keep
a part, the legislature, with the
approval of Governor Gerry,
constructed a congressional district of atrocious unfairness. A Federalist
editor drew a map of this and hung it over his desk, to feed his wrath.
Gilbert Stuart, the famous painter, noticed the monstrosity one day, and
with ready pencil added wings and claws, exclaiming, "There's your
salamander !" "Better say Gerrymander," growled the editor, a bitter
hater of Governor Gerry ; and the uncouth name passed into current use.
STUART'S DRAWING OF THE ORIGINAL
"GERRYMANDER," used in 1813 as
part of an anti-Gerry handbill.
THE JACKSON PERIOD, 1829-1841
574. JACKSON had two thirds of the electoral votes, every one
south of the Potomac and west of the Appalachians, together
with those of Pennsylvania and New York. 1 The question for
his opponents was whether the alliance of West and South could be
broken. Those two sections were still united against the cap
italistic East by their bitterness toward the Bank and the
Supreme Court ; but neither Bank nor Court at this time was
in " practical politics." The pressing problems concerned
protection, nullification, and the public lands.
The North Atlantic section insisted on a continuance of high
protection, and (under the old apportionment of 1820) it still
had a powerful vote in Congress. But in the South, college
boys formed associations to wear homespun, as a protest
against the Northern manufactures ; and during 1828-1829
every legislature from Virginia to Mississippi had declared
for secession or nullification if the tariff policy were not radi
cally changed. (Review 506-511.)
The West, not very insistent either way on the tariff, 2 was
devoted to the Union, which the South threatened ; but, in
opposition to the East, it was even more devoted to securing a
freer, public land policy, to attract new settlers and to protect
old settlers against tribute to Eastern speculators.
575. This land reform was championed in Congress es
pecially by Thomas H. Benton, Senator from Missouri ( 503),
and the devoted follower of Jackson. The other great leaders
of the time were the trio Calhoun, Webster, and Clay, who had
filled the public eye since 1816.
1 These two manufacturing States the labor vote carried for Jackson.
2 The tariff favored wool and some other raw products of the West.
Calhoun, of strict Calvinistic training, keen in logic, austere
in morals, was no longer the ardent young enthusiast for
nationality that he had been just before and after the War of
1812. He had reversed his stand on the tariff, to go with his
PRESIDENTIAL ELECTION OF 11828
section. He was the chief spokesman of the planters, and the
most powerful advocate of the right of nullification. He still
loved the Union, but he believed it could be preserved only by
making it elastic enough so that the States might nullify
576] CALHOUN, WEBSTER, CLAY 487
Webster was a majestic intellect and a master in oratory.
He, too, had reversed his stand both on the tariff and the Bank,
to go with his section. He was the leading champion in Con
gress of the manufacturing capitalists ; and, from an advocate
of States Bights in the War of 1812, be had become the great
defender of the Union.
Clay, impetuous, versatile, winning, was the only one of the
three who still held his old positions on leading questions.
Until 1820 he had been absolutely supreme in the West.
After that time he had lost influence because of his support of
the Bank ; and his alliance with Adams in 1824 had still
further undermined his popularity. However, he remained the
only leader who could at all withstand Jackson in his own
section ; and not even Jackson won such devoted personal en
576. The National Bank, like its predecessor of 1791, was a
huge monopoly one of the two or three greatest money monop
olies in the world at that time. It had special privileges not
open to other individuals or corporations. 1 It had vast power,
too, over State Banks' and over the business of the country : at
a word it could contract the currency in circulation by a third.
The Bank had used its tremendous power for the advantage of
the country in ways that Jackson could not appreciate ; but at
any time it might use its power in politics, and Jackson felt
this danger vividly.
The Bank's charter was not to expire until 1836, and Jackson's
term ended in 1833; but in his first message to Congress
(December, 1829) he called attention to the fact that within a
few years the Bank must ask for a new charter, and asserted
that " both the constitutionality and the expediency " of the
institution were "questioned by a large part of our fellow
citizens." Clay seized the chance to array the Bank against
Jackson, and persuaded Biddle (the Bank's president) to ask
1 Under the system of the past half-century, any body of men with a few
thousand dollars can open a "national bank." This is a situation wholly
different from that of 1816-1835.
488 THE "REIGN OF JACKSON" [577
Congress at once for a new charter. The bill passed, and
Jackson vetoed it (July, 1831), declaring the Bank's control of
the country's money a menace to business and to democratic
government. Again, too, despite the decision of the Supreme
Court in 1819, he called* the Bank charter unconstitutional.
577. Jackson's foes were jubilant. Webster and Adams both
declared that the " old Indian fighter " was in his dotage ; and
Clay and Biddle printed and circulated 30,000 copies of the
veto as a campaign document to defeat his reelection.
It proved an admirable campaign document for Jackson.
In the election of 1832 the foremost question was Jackson or the
Bank. The president was a novice in politics, but he had out
played the politicians and selected the one issue that could keep
his old following united. The West and Southwest hated the
Bank and loved Jackson ; the old South at least hated the Bank ;
and once more the workingmen of the Eastern cities declared
vehemently against all monopolies. The Bank went into politics
with all its resources, open and secret. In particular it made
loans on easy terms to fifty members of Congress ; it secured
the support of the leading papers ; and it paid lavish sums to
political writers all over the country to attack Jackson.
578. Jackson was reflected by 219 electoral votes, to 49 for
Clay, and he received a larger popular vote, in proportion to
population, than any president had ever had. For the first time,
a President had appealed to the Nation over the head of Con
gress ; and the Nation sustained him.
In this campaign the National Republicans ( 520), com
plaining of Jackson's attempts to dominate Congress, took the
name Whig which in England had long indicated opposition
to royal control over parliament.
579. Meantime the question of protection or nullification was
pressing to the front. In the summer of 1828, while the South
was seething with talk of secession, Calhoun had brought for
ward what he thought a milder remedy for the injustice of the
tariff. This was his theory of nullification, presented in his
famous Exposition, * ;- .
581] THE WEBSTER-HAYNE DEBATE 489
That paper argued (1) that the tariff was ruinous to the
South ; (2) that "protection" was unconstitutional ; (3) that, in
the case of an Act so injurious and unconstitutional, any State
had a constitutional right peacefully to nullify the law within her
borders, until Congress should appeal to the States and be
sustained by three fourths of them the number necessary to
amend the Constitution and therefore competent to say what
was and was not constitutional.
580. Jackson's election in 1829 relieved this tension for a
time. His first inaugural declared his wish to show " a proper
respect for the sovereign members of our Union " ; and he was
supposed to dislike the existing tariff. Under these condi
tions, the South hoped that relief might come without its
taking extreme measures. During 1828-1829, Southern
leaders pressed upon Jackson unceasingly the need of securing
new tariff legislation. Then, unexpectedly, the question of
nullification was argued in " the great debate " on the floor of the
Senate (January 19-29, 1830).
Senator Foote of Connecticut voiced the Eastern jealousy
of Western growth by a resolution to stop the sale of public
lands. The Westerners resented this attack on their develop
ment vigorously. Benton gladly seized the chance once more
to set forth his plans for preemption laws and other schemes to
make easier the way for the pioneer. But soon the debate
ranged far from the original matter. Senator Hayne of South
Carolina denounced warmly the East's selfishness, pledged to
the West the continued support of the South, and at the same
time sought to draw the West to the doctrine of Calhoun's Exposi
tion. Webster replied to Hayne's argument for nullification in
two magnificent orations, stripping bare the practical absurdity
of the doctrine, and portraying in vivid colors the glory of
581. Webster argued that the Constitution made us a Nation.
To strengthen this position, he maintained that as one nation
" we the people of the United States " had made the Constitu
tion ( 362). Here facts were against him ; but this historical
490 ANDREW JACKSON [ 582
part of his plea ivas really immaterial. The vital thing was not
the theory of union held by a departed generation, but the will
and needs of the throbbing present. And when he argued that
the United States was now one Nation, and must so continue,
he gave deathless form to a truth which, inarticulate before, had
yet been growing in the consciousness of the progressive North
and West. A brilliant picture of the manifold benefits of the
Union closed with the splendid flight of eloquence which was
to count in years to come for more than argument and more
than armies :
"While the Union lasts, we have high, exciting, gratifying prospects
spread out before us, for us and our children. Beyond that, I seek not
to penetrate the veil. When my eyes shall be turned to behold, for the
last time, the sun in heaven, may I not see him shining on the broken
and dishonored fragments of a once glorious Union ; on States dissevered,
discordant, belligerent ; on a land rent with civil feuds, or drenched, it
may be, in fraternal blood ! Let their last feeble and lingering glance,
rather, behold the gorgeous ensign of the Republic, now known and
honored throughout the earth, still full high advanced, its arms and
trophies streaming in their original lustre, not a stripe erased or polluted,
not a single star obscured, bearing for its motto no such miserable inter
rogatory as, What is all this worth ? Nor those other words of delusion
and folly, Liberty first, and Union afterwards : but everywhere, spread
all over in characters of living light, blazing on all its ample folds, as
they float over the sea and over the land, and in every wind under the
whole heavens, that other sentiment, dear to every true American heart
Liberty and Union, now and forever, one and inseparable ! "
Says Professor MacDonald (Jacksonian Democracy, in) : "Hayne
argued for a theory, which, however once widely held, had been out
grown, and which could not under any circumstances be made to work.
Webster argued for a theory, which, though unhistorical in the form in
which he presented it, nevertheless gave the Federal government ground
on which to stand. The one . . . looked to the past, the other to the
present and future. Both were statesmen; both loved their country:
but Hayne would call a halt, while Webster would march on."
582. The Southern leaders now arranged a Jefferson Day
banquet at Washington (April 13, 1830), at which the toasts
were saturated with State sovereignty. Jackson, the guest
of honor, startled the gathering by proposing the toast " Our
584] AND NULLIFICATION 491
Federal Union : it must be preserved." And soon he took ad
vantage of several other opportunities to declare that he would
meet nullification with force.
Jackson, however, did now recommend revision and reduc
tion of the tariff ; but he failed to get what he wanted. Clay
thought he could defy both Jackson and Calhoun ; and the new
"tariff of 1832" removed only the absurd atrocities of 1828,
returning to about the basis of 1824. This merely strengthened
the principle of protection, and gave no relief to the South.
583. The South Carolina Congressmen now called upon their
people to decide " whether the rights and liberties which you
received as a precious inheritance from an illustrious ancestry
shall be surrendered tamely ... or transmitted undiminished
to your posterity." During the National campaign for Jack
son's reelection, a strenuous State campaign in South Carolina
elected a legislature which by large majorities called a State
convention. Jackson, meanwhile, strengthened the Federal garri
son at Fort Moultrie (in Charleston harbor).
After five days of deliberation, the convention (November 19),
by a vote of 136 to 26, adopted an Ordinance of Nullification, de
claring the tariff laws void within South Carolina, and threaten
ing war if the Federal government should attempt to enforce
584. December 10, 1832, Jackson issued an admirable procla
mation to the people of South Carolina, warning them of the
peril into which they were running, and affirming his determina
tion to enforce the laws by the bayonet if necessary. But to
Congress, a few days before, he had once more recommended
further revision of the tariff. The legislature of Virginia, at
the .suggestion of members of the Cabinet, urged compromise.
Clay felt the whole protective system endangered, and he
joined hands with Calhoun to draw a tariff bill acceptable to
South Carolina, providing for a reduction of the duties in the
tariff of 1832, to be made gradually, so that by 1842 no rate
should exceed 20 per cent. This was a return to something
lower than the practice in 1816.
492 ANDREW JACKSON [ 585
On March. 1, 1833, Congress passed both this compromise
tariff and a Force bill giving the President forces to bring rebel
lious South Carolina to obedience ; and the President took what
satisfaction he could get by signing the Force bill a few min
utes sooner than the Tariff bill. March n, the South Carolina
convention reassembled and rescinded the nullification ordinance.
Both sides claimed victory. South Carolina certainly had not
yielded until she got all she had asked.
585. Whatever victory the President might possibly have
boasted in South Carolina he weakened by permitting Georgia
to nullify a treaty of the United States and a decision of the
Georgia had enacted laws regarding certain lands which
United States treaties declared to be Indian lands. A mis
sionary to the Indians disregarded these pretended laws ; and
a Georgia court sentenced him to imprisonment for four
years at hard labor. In March, 1832, the Supreme Court of
the United States declared the Georgia statute void and or
dered the release of the prisoner. " Well," exclaimed Jackson,
" John Marshall has made his decision. Now let him enforce
it." The missionary remained in prison.
Jackson's conduct in the two cases is partly explained by the
fact that in one case he hated Indians, while in the other case
he hated Calhoun. Moreover, Georgia's success humiliated
only John Marshall, whom Jackson disliked : South Carolina
would have humiliated the authority of the President of the
United States, who happened just then to be Andrew Jackson.
Jackson had discovered that, years before, Calhoun had tried to per
suade Monroe's Cabinet to have him (Jackson) censured for exceeding
his military authority. Moreover, a frontiersman like Jackson was certain
to sympathize with Georgia's attempts to rid her soil of the Indians.
Jackson urged Congress repeatedly to remove all Indian tribes to the
"Indian Territory" beyond the Mississippi. This policy was finally
adopted in his second administration, giving rise to the brief " Black
Hawk War" in the Northwest, and to the long-drawn-out Seminole War
in the Everglades of Florida. No act, however, did more to confirm
Jackson's popularity in the land-hungry and somewhat ruthless West.
586] AND THE BANK 493
586. Jackson took his reelection in 1832 as a verdict from
the people against the Bank. Its charter had three years still
to run ; but in 1833 Jackson insisted that the Secretary of the
Treasury should thereafter deposit government funds, as they came
in, with certain " pet " State banks instead of with the National
Bank. Two Secretaries had to be removed before he found
one willing to take this step ; and the Senate, still controlled
A CONTEMPORARY JACKSON PRINT. Part of a large sheet presenting " Inci
dents in the life of General Jackson," published in 1840 in New York.
From an original in the Collections of the Massachusetts Historical Asso
ciation. The scene represents a rustic festival gathered to honor "the
old hero." Girls will notice the gowns and bonnets of the belles in the
by the hold-over Whigs, passed a formal censure of the Presi
dent which his followers some months later managed to have
The "dying monster," as Jackson men called the Bank,
fought savagely. Indeed it did not believe it was dying.
Biddle was confident he could force a new charter through
Congress over Jackson's veto. August 1, 1833, he ordered the