ANDREW JACKSON A POLITICAL TESTAMENT (FAREWELL ADDRESS)
The document was prepared by Andrew Jackson who was the President of the United States from 1829 to 1837. He enjoyed popularity in the country primarily due to his policies that aimed at improving the lives of the common man. Besides, Andrew Jackson helped in creating the Democratic party of America. President Andrew Jackson had immense support and loyalty from his followers who supported the changes he championed in politics. He left office on the 4th day of March 1837 after completing his two terms in office. After the end of his term, he used his farewell address to present his experiences during his presidency in the 8247 words document.
Andrew Jackson drafted the message of his address with the aim of reaching the future presidential aspirants and the American public. The document primarily highlights the achievements of Andrew Jackson’s leadership with the purpose of shoring up the support of his ideas. For instance, he begins his speech by thanking the public for the confidence and kindness they gave his leadership. Also, he addresses the issue of politics and administration by advising future politicians to regulate the currency to protect the welfare of the citizens. Therefore, Andrew Jackson used his speech to persuade his fellow citizens and political candidates to continue championing governance policies.
The other important aspect of the document is that the author used the text to illustrate the importance of the federal constitution. Jackson argues in the paper that the constitution was a success in the United States and should no longer be seen as an experiment. In this instance, he believed that its success exceeded the expectations of the patriots and sages of the revolution. According to Jackson, the constitution preserved and improved the rights and liberties of people. Besides, he promoted equity and justice as documented in the law by opposing unequal taxation measures of the banks. Jackson believed that the Second national bank had powers that would affect the lives of the people. In essence, the author used his text to illustrate that the constitution is a critical aspect of American society. Therefore, he hoped that his fellow citizens would continue following the core principles advocated by the law.
President Jackson wrote the document to wish the country well after his successor took office. Jackson sought to reaffirm the country’s national purpose and make recommendations to the new leaders. Besides, the president tried to record his experiences as the president of the country. The document offers a reference for future historians and leaders to use in decision making. In this instance, the document offered Jackson an opportunity to put politics aside and speak like a patriot. Also, the text provided President Jackson the opportunity to assure his supporters of a bright future despite him not running for a political office again. In essence, Jackson used the farewell speech to offer counsel based on his experience and age in leadership.
The other important aspect of the document is that the society at the time supported populism in the country. After reading the paper one can argue that Andrew Jackson was a populist leader because of his rhetoric concerning the Native Americans. Jackson believed that the Indian tribes were against development and were an obstacle towards prosperity. For instance, he notes in his speech that the comfort and safety of the American citizens improved after the removal of the Indian tribes. Many American citizens admired President Jackson due to his rhetoric illustrating the culture of hatred that existed in society. In essence, some of the contents of the documents were influenced by populist ideologies in the American community.
Also, while the speech represented the ideals and beliefs of the supporters of Jackson, the Native Americans felt left out of the address. At the time the Native Americans were unhappy with the European Americans who occupied their lands. Besides, most of them were displaced as they desired to maintain their traditions. However, President Andrew Jackson would have none of that and during his speech he referred them to an impediment to development. Also, the author argues that the Indians caused destruction and degradation in the states they occupied due to their resistance to civilization. Therefore, the speech discriminates against the Native American Cultural groups.
After reading the document, the Native Americans would not be happy with the sentiments raised by the president. Besides, they viewed themselves as the legitimate owners of the lands in the United States. The viewpoints describing them as the obstacles to development would not resonate well with them. In this instance, the section of the speech was insensitive and would likely incite conflict in the country. The document did not, therefore, take into account the desires and wellbeing of every cultural group residing in the United States.
The speech also raises the ethical issue of Congress taking money away from its citizens. According to Jackson the authority or powers bestowed upon the federal government were enough, and there was no need for expansion. Besides, he adds in the speech that allocating the powers of taxation to the federal government amounts to abuse. Jackson mainly fought for the rights of the poor and protected them from exploitation. He, therefore, believed that it was morally wrong for the federal government to oppress its people through taxation. For instance, Jackson notes that the tariffs led to the oppression of the labor class and the agricultural sector. Also, he warned that politicians would use the funds raised from the high taxes to purchase the influence of the citizens. Lavish spending of finances arising from high taxation would increase the national debt and affect the country negatively.
To solve the moral issue of executing taxation and the resulting unconstitutional expenditure used in corrupt influence the author proposes that the authority of the federal government remained fixed. In this instance, Congress should only be allowed to take money from people that meets the existing powers of the government. Besides, raising excessive money through taxation amounted to oppression. He also recommended that the American public made an effort to guard against those who sort to expand the powers of the national government. Therefore, to prevent the misuse of funds the government needed to collect funds that met the objectives of the federal government as enshrined in the constitution.
Jackson, Andrew. “Farewell Address, March 4, 1837.” Oxford dictionary of quotations (2nd ed., p. 167). New York, NY: Oxford University Press. (Original work published 1837) (2014).
Parton, James. Life of Andrew Jackson. Mason brothers, 1863.
Rogin, Michael Paul. Fathers and children: Andrew Jackson and the subjugation of the American Indian. Routledge, 2017.
Whitney, Gleaves, ed. American Presidents: Farewell Messages to the Nation, 1796-2001. Lexington Books, 2003.