Andrew Jackson vs. Henry Clay - Essay Example

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An author of this paper will reveal his thoughts on the activity of two known politicians: Andrew Jackson and Henry Clay. In retrospect, both men were doing what they thought was correct for the nation at the time but went about it in a different way…
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Andrew Jackson vs. Henry Clay
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Download file to see previous pages Both men also served in the War of 1812, with Andrew Jackson commanding forces at New Orleans and Henry Clay acting as a War Hawk from Kentucky (Davidson, and Stoff 333). However, it was through their political sparring and verbal fencing that Jackson and Clay would gain historical fame, each man trying to defend their views of what they thought best for the country. Clay supported a strong federal government with what he called the “American System”, a system of proposals that would have meant a national bank and high tariffs, along with using sale proceeds from public lands to finance improved roadways and canals, while Andrew Jackson supported the opposite, calling for a federal government with limited powers, lower tariffs, and a banking system that would be controlled by gold and silver, not paper banknotes, but most importantly, it would belong to the states. Henry Clay, in short, advocated a path for the development of America that would have kept power in the hands of the federal government, with very little of that power belonging to any state, while Jackson advocated for the rights of states and their citizens. Both Clay and Jackson are remembered for what is commonly known as the Bank War. Henry Clay was a staunch supporter for the Bank of the United States, and he incorporated the bank into his American System, by “interlocking” it with all stages of the proposals, including high tariffs and land sales (Watson 83). Andrew Jackson, however, did not only hate the bank, he loathed the bank. First and foremost, he thought that the bank was far too powerful, as well as undemocratic, as it was controlled by private bankers (Davidson, and Stoff 335). Even after Congress renewed the charter, Jackson vetoed it harshly, stating that only states should charter banks, not the federal government (Davidson, and Stoff 335). With the power of the presidential office behind Jackson, Henry Clay had lost a great proposal piece of his American System, and Jackson had asserted his authority to keep power in the hands of the states. Jackson and Clay both waged another type of war, over tariffs, which caused both men political agony. Clay was in favor of high tariffs, especially on imported goods, using those tariffs to protect domestic, or American-made, products and manufacturers (Watson 21). American manufacturers were considered to be a profitable competition for British manufacturers, and Clay wanted nothing more than to see America produce all of the goods that it needed on its own (Heidler, and Heidler 125).  ...Download file to see next pagesRead More
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