Wednesday, December 28, 2011

He's So Money, And He Doesn't Even Know It

Next time you go to an ATM and are greeted with portraits of Andrew Jackson, take a moment to consider how angry that would make Jackson. It's not that Jackson was against people having easy access to their personal finance. No, he was against the idea of a national bank and paper money.
Oh, the irony.
When Jackson took office in 1829, he had a few things he wanted to change, and he wasn't exactly shy about changing them. One thing in particular was getting rid of the Second Bank of the United States. He felt the bank put too much power in the hands of a select few.
That was a problem that never really went away.
As someone who was once in debt, Jackson knew the plight of the common man who would have their possessions repossessed over unfair agreements. He also felt the bank favored the richer states in the Northeast over the South and the West. When Jackson started talking about not renewing the bank's 20-year charter -- due to expire in 1836 -- Senator Henry Clay led a charge to impeach Jackson. It should be noted that Clay owned shitload of banks, which kind of proved Jackson's point that a select few wealthy people had too much power.

Jackson was able to shake off any talk of impeachment and closed the bank. In 1914, the nation's third central bank, the Federal Reserve, opened in 1914. In 1928, the Federal Reserve put Jackson's portrait on the $20-bill.
"Take a hike, Grover."
Just as he was against a central bank, Jackson also didn't like the idea of paper money, whose value is decided through government regulation. What would happen if that government suffered some crisis? He disliked the idea so much, he warned Americans to stay away from paper money in his farewell speech in 1837.

And now he's on one of the most widely-used denominations of money. We'd have to imagine that if some Whigs could see that today, they'd have a chuckle over that one... until they realize that they're not on any money.
Oooh, suck it, whoever you are. I don't know who you are, because you're not printed on money.
(No, really though, it's Henry Clay.)
To add another layer of someone honoring Jackson by forgetting what he stood for, we need to go South. Not that far South, just our South.

When the South seceded from the Union after Abraham Lincoln's 1860 election victory, they decided that their new nation, the Confederate States of America, would need its own currency. Who better to put on their $1,000-bill than Southerner Andrew Jackson?
Sure, Jackson was from Tennessee, and proud of it. One of the reasons why he hated the central bank was because it favored the North; so that right there shows that he's all for the South. Except, Jackson ruled with an iron fist, which implies that he was kind of big on the idea of a strong federal government. While he did support states' rights, he did step up and say that states do not have the right to nullify federal law. Now, if the official reason for seceding from the Union was because the federal government has too much power, it would seem odd to put the first guy to beef up the American presidency on your money.

To add to this, Jackson was forced to share the bill his first vice president, John C. Calhoun. Jackson didn't really care for Calhoun. So much so that Jackson didn't invited him to be his running mate in 1832. If that's not enough evidence to show Jackson's dislike, upon leaving the White House, Jackson said his only two regrets about his eight-year term were, that he "had been unable to shoot Henry Clay or to hang John C. Calhoun."

But that didn't matter, because there he was on the $1,000 bill. And when the South lost the Civil War, the Confederate money lost all value... which was one of the reasons why Jackson was against paper money in the first place.

Jackson is going up against Dwight D. Eisenhower this week in the last fight of 2011. If you haven't already, vote and be heard!

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