After his landslide reelection, President Jackson sought a means of withdrawing federal funds from the National Bank and depositing them in local banks. His Secretary of the Treasury Louis McLane refused to make the withdrawals, so Jackson removed him. Jackson removed McLane’s successor for the same reason. The new Treasury Secretary, Roger B. Taney, took the bold step, signing the order to remove the funds. The National Bank was now separate from the federal government.
Senators Clay and Calhoun were furious. They sponsored a resolution criticizing President Jackson for his actions, which the Senate passed. Jackson responded that the Senate was trying to break down the division of powers provided by the Constitution.
The second major incident in Jackson’s second administration was the Nullification debate. The South Carolina legislature voted to nullify the tariff (which it dubbed the Tariff of Abominations). If the federal government would not accept the attempt by SC to veto the act, the state was ready to secede from the union. While President Jackson favored a lower tariff, he disliked nullification more. Jackson was prepared to lead the armed forces to SC himself in order to quell the nullification murmuring. In the end, Henry Clay worked out a compromise between the two parties which ended the stalemate.
As the 1836 election approached, Jackson’s supporters were united in their support of VP Martin Van Buren. The opposition Whigs, however, were badly div[More...]