Skip to comments.Itís time for Democrats to ditch Andrew Jackson
Posted on 05/03/2013 10:38:58 PM PDT by neverdem
As Biden speaks at event named for Old Hickory tonight, more appalling stories show party should dump him as icon
Spring means that appeals for money are bursting forth from both major political parties. It also means Democratic officials in states and counties around the country are busy getting people out to their major fundraiser, the Jefferson-Jackson Day Dinner. And theyre bringing in the big guns: Vice President Joe Biden will keynote the South Carolina Democrats dinner tonight.
But after an election in which Democrats rode a wave of minority support to keep the White House and Senate, party activists should wonder about one of the founders for whom that event is named. If branding matters, then the tradition of honoring perhaps the most systematic violator of human rights for Americas nonwhites should finally run its course.
Renowned journalist T.D. Allmans gripping “Finding Florida: The True History of the Sunshine State” argues that brutality was a habit of mind for party icon Andrew Jackson long before he laid the groundwork, as president, for the Trail of Tears, the thousand-mile death march that killed 4,000 Cherokees in 1838−39.
Allman takes us back to July 1816 at a place called the Negro Fort in Floridas Panhandle, the site of modern-day Fort Gadsden. Florida then belonged to Spain, and the area around the fort was home to Spanish-speaking black and Choctaw Indian farmers who had settled along the Apalachicola River with permission from the Spanish. Unfortunately for them, then-U.S. Army Maj. Gen. Andrew Jackson hated the idea of a free colored community across the border that might serve as a magnet for runaway slaves.
So he invented a pretext for doing away with them, telling his subordinates they were villains bent on rapine and plunder. In reality, they were guilty of nothing more than raising crops, and Allman says no historian has ever produced a shred of evidence to the contrary.
No matter; Jackson illegally ordered troops into Spanish territory to destroy the fort, a wooden affair a little larger than a modern-day high school basketball court. Alerted to the attack and crowded into its walls for self-protection were about 330 civilians, more than 200 of them women and children. On July 27, 1816, Jacksons troops attacked the fort, slaughtering 270 of them. Mainstream histories claim that a single cannon shot blew up the structure, though Allman finds that account hard to square with the evidence, calling it one of the worst massacres in U.S. history. Jacksons forces then set off on a terror campaign along the river, kidnapping free blacks and marching them back into U.S. territory, where they turned them over to friends and associates to keep as slaves.
Jackson wasnt finished with Florida. In 1819, with its power waning, Spain traded the territory to the United States as part of the Adams-Onís Treaty. Florida historian Canter Brown documents(PDF) how Jackson, appointed Floridas provisional governor in 1821, proceeded in short order to violate the treatys terms guaranteeing the rights and privileges of Floridas free blacks. He had Native American allies launch a raid into western Florida to destroy the village of Angola, where black and mixed-race people lived, some of them descendants of escaped slaves. After razing the town, the allies seized 300 prisoners. No one knows exactly what happened to those captured, but Browns evidence indicates Jackson and the raids commander well may have profited personally by selling them back into slavery.
Seven years later, as president, Jackson would make way for the slave-based cotton empire in the South by forcing native tribes off their land. That he did so by violating the terms of his own Indian Removal Act, the precursor to the Trail of Tears, should matter at least a little. Indian tribes actually had the right under that law to voluntarily choose to give up their land in Alabama, Mississippi and Georgia, as University of Toledo history professor Alfred Cave demonstrated(PDF) in a 2003 article in the journal the Historian. What the law didnt authorize Jackson to do was precisely what he did allow the Indians to be removed from their land at bayonet point.
But is it unfair to hold Jackson to todays standards? It would be — had Jacksons contemporaries not tried their best to stop him. Cave documents a campaign against Jacksons Indian removal policy that continued throughout the 1830s; one signature petition from New York City was 47 yards long. From 1830 to 1842, 85 percent of opposition Whig Party congressional votes on removal were cast in opposition to Jacksons policy, according to a 1993 journal article by historian Fred Rolater. And Allman describes an 1837 investigation by congressman William Jay concluding that Jacksons destruction of the Negro Fort constituted an illegal use of taxpayer funds to support slavery.
Today, Democrats sound open to reconsidering whether honoring Jackson still makes sense. In Jacksons home state of Tennessee, party spokesman Brandon Puttbrese says, I think we welcome these kinds of conversations about our history. What he did in office these are not things we should be proud of, but theyre definitely things we must learn from. But if so, why keep Jackson as the partys brand? One explanation might just be inertia its been that way forever, so its still that way, says Puttbrese.
In Arkansas, party representative Candace Martin acknowledges that If you look at the overall values of the Democratic Party, then Andrew Jackson probably would not be representative … Its maybe something that we should be debating.
And a Democratic official in one state who didnt want to be named thinks Jacksons days are numbered as a fundraising brand: When I think of Andrew Jackson, I automatically think Trail of Tears the official says. If a bunch of people in my generation were creating this dinner, I dont think we would name it the Jefferson-Jackson Day dinner. I think a lot of things that happen in politics are just like, Well thats the way its always been.
Mississippi party chairman Rickey Cole does offer a robust defense of Jackson, the namesake of that states capital. Cole argues that Jackson was committed to public investment, a value that carried through Democrats from Woodrow Wilson to Franklin Roosevelt and todays party leaders. And it was Jacksonians who got rid of the requirement that white men had to own property to vote, he says. For that day, for that time, it was progressive, Cole says.
But the historical record casts doubt on even those parts of Jacksons legacy. His states’ rights, small-federal-government philosophy led him to veto much-needed federal money for transportation improvements like one extending the National Road in 1830. And Allman doesnt buy the idea that Jacksons expansion of suffrage to all white men eventually led to freedom for everyone else. That cover story papers over Jacksons violent expansion of slavery into the Southeast, which dramatically strengthened the Southern slave powers and fueled the Civil War. I dont accept the argument that Jacksons main contribution to history was expanding freedom, Allman says. His main contribution was expanding slavery.
Should Jacksons history matter to Democrats? If not, its hard to explain why Republicans went to such lengths before the presidential campaigns in both 2008 and 2012 to paint themselves as the historic defenders of minority rights by recounting the crimes of Southern Democrats before the civil rights era. Todays Democrats play into their hands by continuing to embrace Jackson; in the battle for minority votes, branding could prove to be the difference.
State parties have dumped Jackson before. In 1978, Minnesota Democrats renamed their Jefferson-Jackson dinner for Hubert Humphrey. Oklahoma Democrats replaced him with former Majority Leader Carl Albert in the 1990s. And in 2010, the North Dakota party picked legendary Sen. Quentin Burdick as the fundraisers namesake instead.
With Republicans also raising money with Lincoln-Reagan dinners this spring, Democrats have to take a harder look at what the past means for their future. If so, theyll find its not hard to do better. Roosevelt-Kennedy has a nice ring to it.
So Jackson stood for disregard of the law, for slavery, oppression, murder ? Well, that's pretty much the hallmark of the values of today's Democrat Party.
Lol. A small crumb isn't a whole pie.
The Dems will come to love Jackson again once understand that some States today are passing laws with the idea of disregarding Federal Guns laws and Obamacare. The age of Nullification will hid the papers again.
P.J. O’Rourke refers to Jackson as an “ignorant backwoods thug who perpetrated genocide upon the Indians, created the spoils system in Washington, and fathered that bastard political party of rum, rebellion, and Hillary Rodham.”
Battle of New Orleans, baby.
Since the Whig Party was founded by those opposed to Jackson, it shouldn't be surprising that its members opposed his policies.
As democrat presidents go, I’d say A.J. was probably one of the better ones. So I can see how they might want to disown him.
|GGG managers are SunkenCiv, StayAt HomeMother & Ernest_at_the_Beach|
Thanks neverdem.In 1819, with its power waning, Spain traded the territory to the United States as part of the Adams-Onís Treaty. Florida historian Canter Brown documents(PDF) how Jackson, appointed Floridas provisional governor in 1821, proceeded in short order to violate the treatys terms guaranteeing the rights and privileges of Floridas free blacks. He had Native American allies launch a raid into western Florida to destroy the village of Angola, where black and mixed-race people lived, some of them descendants of escaped slaves. After razing the town, the allies seized 300 prisoners. No one knows exactly what happened to those captured, but Browns evidence indicates Jackson and the raids commander well may have profited personally by selling them back into slavery. Seven years later, as president, Jackson would make way for the slave-based cotton empire in the South by forcing native tribes off their land. That he did so by violating the terms of his own Indian Removal ActJust adding to the catalog, not sending a general distribution.
Roosevelt-Stalin would be more accurate. Kennedy's likely been rolling in his grave since the communists took over the rat party.
But he was a GREAT thug. He blew off the SCOTUS, man! Anybody could relate to that.
Maybe it was just subject to interpretation- like Obamacare's fines/fees/taxes and its reviewboard/deathpanel.
Jackson was an out and out populist demagogue. A good fit for today’s Democrats.
To Hell with the premise that Jackson was a slave/indigen killer unlike today’s angelic Democrat.
The form of today’s Democrat fealty is soviet style submission.
'Normandy Invasion' for the win.
and I quote from the article “And theyre bringing in the big guns: Vice President Joe Biden will keynote the South Carolina Democrats dinner tonight.”
That’s just too sweet in light of recent gun control debate! I’d like to see them try firing their “Big Gun” 3 times into the air to see if it will scare off the bad guys! haha! and he is a big gun??!!
What about the Republicans’ dumping their Lincoln Day dinners because he would be charged with war crimes today for his systematic destruction of civilian homes in the South during the War Between the States?
Considering that the Democrat Party fought for slavery, created and passed all the Jim Crow laws, and have treated blacks as second-class citizens since their creation (treating them differently by statute, including Affirmative Action and hiring quotas), they should toss out their entire party, past and present.
Jackson, not Jefferson, was the true founder of the Democratic Party.
If democrats are beginning to get uncomfortable with the history of their party, wait till they get to the segregation and the lynchings!