Donald Trump has a lot of similarities to the first Democratic president, Andrew Jackson.
To start and to be clear, the Democratic Party of the 1830s and the Democratic Party of the present are drastically different. In fact, it is hard to compare the political parties of today with the parties of the yesteryears. Times were different; however, some issues have always been at the forefront of politics. The early Democratic Party fought for the common man (actually, the common white man). They did not believe in a strong central government and believed in states’ rights. They also waged war against the Second National Bank and successfully let it expire (the U.S. wouldn’t have another national bank until the Federal Reserve in 1913). Some of these values resemble Republican values today, while others resemble Democratic values today.
Nonetheless, this article is not about the differences of the historical political parties; it’s about the similarities of Donald Trump and Andrew Jackson.
Andrew Jackson was a winner. A winner doesn’t just mean somebody who is nice, friendly, and moral; a winner is somebody who wins. After losing to John Quincy Adams, he spent four years preparing to win the election of 1828. Through campaigning (which was new at the time) and character assassination attacks, Jackson would ultimately win. Donald Trump is also a winner; he wins. Love him or hate him, it is hard to argue against this. Nobody thought he would win the election of 2016. News hosts, celebrities, people on the street, mocked his attempt. But he won.
Resignations and Dismissals
Both Jackson and Trump have seen many of their administration and cabinet members leave. For Andrew Jackson, he got caught up defending John Eaton, his Secretary of War (similar to today’s Secretary of Defense). Eaton was ostracized about the character of his wife who had supposedly had an unfavorable past (again, times were much different back then). For whatever reason, all but one of Jackson’s cabinet members resigned, including his vice president, John C. Calhoun. Donald Trump, who is notoriously famous for the line “You’re fired!”, has also seen many members of his administration and cabinet resign or be terminated.
Both Jackson and Trump are controversial; they are admired and loathed. Andrew Jackson was a very popular president during his time; his popularity helped get his second vice president, Martin Van Buren, elected after him. However, he was also despised by many. In fact, the Whig Party, which would last until the 1850s, was created primarily to oppose Jackson. Andrew Jackson’s legacy would become more controversial after his presidency because he was a slave-owner who instigated the Indian Removal Act that forced Native Americans to move from their native lands to the other side of the Mississippi River. Yes, very controversial, but at the time, many southerners applauded such bold actions. Fast forward to today, President Trump surely has not implemented such extreme racist tactics. However, some of his stances on immigration have been met by deep anger and opposition (e.g. building a wall between the United States and Mexico). President Trump is not afraid of controversy, and I’m sure there is plenty more ahead.
Though the Tariff of 1828 officially started in John Quincy Adam’s presidency, it went into effect after Jackson became president. More famously known as the “Tariff of Abominations”, the tariff was a way to protect American industries. The Democrats of the 1830s generally opposed tariffs; nonetheless, Jackson supported this one. The tariff was so unpopular in the south, South Carolina almost seceded from the union. However, Jackson sent in the troops and stopped any acts of sedition. Maybe Trump was right when he said “had Andrew Jackson been a little later you wouldn’t have had the Civil War.” Nonetheless, look what is happening today, tariffs here, tariffs there, … all to protect the American economy.
This is not a pro- nor an anti- Trump article. Since President Trump has spoken favorably of Andrew Jackson, it is worth noting some of the similarities in these two historical figures.