JACKSON, Andrew. Letter signed ("Andrew Jackson") as President, to James Kirke Paulding (1778-1860), Washington, 1 January 1834. 1 page, 4to, tiny holes along folds, otherwise in very fine condition.
JACKSON PURSUES THE MONSTER BANK: "IF IT IS EVER RECHARTERED...IT SHALL NOT BE MY FAULT"
In his typical forthright fashion, Jackson affirms to the future Secretary of the Navy his determination to permanently dismantle the Second Bank of the United States. Jackson entered the Presidency with a decided bias against banks in general, which he linked "to the general corruption of the times--indeed he regarded them as a major cause--and condemned them as dangerous to the safety of free institutions" (R. Remini, Andrew Jackson, p. 162). The greatest menace, he believed, was the Second Bank of the United States, which he regarded as an unconstitutional, elitist monopoly dominated by eastern manufacturing interests. The Bank's charter would end during Jackson's second term and the institution's supporters rallied to assure that it would be rechartered. Jackson was equally determined, however, and when the rechartering bill came before him in 1832, he promptly vetoed it, all but assuring that the Bank would cease to exist in 1836. Additionally, in late 1833, he authorized Secretary of the Treasury Roger Taney, to remove the federal funds from the bank for redistribution in various state banks. The bank's supporters including Henry Clay and Daniel Webster, promptly assailed Jackson's actions as an abuse of executive power and the Senate voted to censure the President.
Here, at the height of the debate, Jackson thanks Paulding for his support: "Your favor of the 27th ulto is just recd and with it the German Pipe you have so kindly offered to my acceptance. As a mark of your respect and as an innocent instrument of pleasure allow me to assure that this new year token is highly acceptable. I am pleased at the sentiments...in regard to the course I have felt it my duty to pursue respecting the U.S. Bank. If it is ever rechartered or any institution with similar powers it shall not be my fault."
The furor over Jackson's uncompromising bank policy coalesced into the Whig Party. The Panic of 1837 was widely ascribed to the destruction of the Second Bank, and Martin Van Buren, Jackson's hand-picked successor, was defeated by the Whig Presidential candidate, William Henry Harrison, in 1840.