Domestic and Foreign Policies in Andrew Jacksons Administration

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A person born in a poor family, Andrew Jackson ( 15th March, 1767- 8th June , 1845) became a rich Tennessee lawyer and rose to politics by 1812. At this time, Britain and United States were in war; Jackson has earned national fame because of his leadership in the conflict between the Britain and the United States. In 1796, Andrew Jackson became one of the members of the convention, which established the Constitution of Tennessee. He was elected as the first representative of Tennessee in the in the United States House of Representatives. The following year, Andrew was elected to the senate but gave up his duties after serving the senate for eight months. Jackson served in the position of circuit judge in Tennessee Superior court from 1798-1804. During the 1812 war between the Americans and Britons, Jackson led the troops of the United States against the Creek Indians, who were British allies. Creek Indians had initially killed hundreds of Fort Mims settlers in Alabama. Jacksons campaign against the Creek Indians made him popular at the Horseshoe Bends Battle in 1814. This resulted to the killing of approximately 800 warriors and procurement of 20 million acres of land in Alabama and Georgia by the United States. After his success in the military, Jackson was eventually promoted to the position of major general.

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Andrew Jacksons exploits in the military facilitated his rise in the politics. In 1822, the Tennesse Legislature designated him for presidency. In order to enhance his credentials, Andrew ran for the position of Senator in 1823 and won the election. The state factions campaigned for the Old Hickory as he was nicknamed and 1824 he was nominated by Pennsylvania convention for the United States presidency. Even if he won the more votes, there was no candidate who gained the majority vote of the Electoral College. Therefore, the House of Representatives had to determine the winner. Henry Clay, the speaker of the House of Representatives supported John Quincy Adams, Jacksons main opponent. Given the negative reaction regarding the decision of the House, Jackson was nominated to run for presidency by the Democrats in 1825 and in 1828 he won the election and was declared the 7th president of the United States, and was re-elected again in 1832. In the light of domestic and foreign policies, there are controversies regarding the executive powers of Jacksons policies in implementation of various bills focusing on domestic and foreign relations.

Foreign policies were not considered adequately by the administration of Andrew Jackson. The agents of the president negotiated various agreements to settle exceptional damage claims as well as protect the foreign trade openings. Out of all the treaties, only the agreement between Britain and U.S in regards to the West Indies trade was achieved. In regards to this treaty Jackson said, To the interpretation given by them to that act I did not hesitate to agree. It was quite clear that in adopting the amendment referred to Congress could not have intended to preclude future alterations in the existing intercourse between the United States and other parts of the British dominions (Jackson, 1831).

During his presidency, there was an unseemly conflict between the United States and France, which almost brought the two nations to war. In regards to the 1831 accord, France accepted to pay for the losses because of Napoleonic depredations on United States shipping. However, the Chamber of Deputies from France declined to pay the necessary amount. Jackson requested the House of Congress to consent to reprisals if the necessary funds were not appropriated. The government of France demanded retraction of Jacksons insults being the condition of payment of the claims. Jackson said, I transmit herewith a report from the Secretary of State, correcting an error made in the report recently communicated to the Senate in answer to the resolution of the 16th instant, respecting the number and amount of claims for spoliations presented to the commissioners under the French treaty of 1831 which were rejected(Jackson 1836). The dispute became intensive in 1836: the ministers of the United States were recalled and the military started preparing for a war. The British urged the two nations to come to an agreement through which France accepted to interpret the conciliatory passage in the past Jacksons message as a sufficient apology.

In addition, there were challenges with United States foreign relations with Mexico. Jackson bought the Mexican border province of Texas as a priority as a priority of his diplomatic relations. Given the suspicions of United States design, and economic and political instability of Mexico, the Texas treaty needed great patience and discretion. However, Jacksons careless instructions to Anthony Butler facilitated Butlers awkward dabbling personal influence as well as diplomatic underworld characterized with bribery. This resulted to mutual distrust between Mexico and United States that lasted for decades.

In regards to the internal national affairs, there were incidences where the Jacksons administration established poor relationship with religious and cultural organizations in the country. For instance, the Indian Removal Act of 1930 gave the president the powers to set aside the public lands in Mississippi under the Indian Territory. According to this act, the native Indians living in West of Mississippi were supposed to be evicted to pave way for the white settlers. The act affected both the relations between t internal relationship between the government and non-governmental organizations fighting against racism and oppression of the minority groups.

Andrew Jackson was different from other American presidents who served before him and those who served after his term. Jackson made the executive decisions depending on what he would do in order to defend a common man and his beliefs. Even if the presidents official messages were delivered to the House of Congress, in a powerful and plain language, he reversed the tradition of legislative to executive supremacy. By holding his executive strength over the Congress, foreign and domestic policies were implemented via the coterie of private publicists and advisors. His policy positions reflected a coherent political philosophy.

In reference to the foreign policies, Jackson had a belief that United States was powerful in comparison to other foreign nations. He had a belief that the national treaties with other governments were not legally binding to the government of the Unites States. In reference to the French treaty, Jackson said, In compliance with the resolution of the House of Representatives of the 17th of December last, calling for information on the subject of internal improvement, I submit herewith a report from the Secretaries of War and Treasury, containing the information required. This showed that if the government of United States had powers to start a war with the French government if the latter did not abide by the terms of the treaty. He was never concerned about the consequences of poor diplomatic relations with France as well as other countries allied to France but was interested with the benefits to his country derived from the treaty. In addition, his foreign policy ideals show that during his time, United States was not dependent on other nations in terms of trade and military power but other nations were dependent on his country.

The enactment of Indian Removal Act of 1830 was based on the notion that the state governments had the sovereign powers of passing laws which could apply to any person living within the boundaries of those states and the federal government had no jurisdiction of interfering with the internal affairs within the states. Numerous petitions pushed by the benevolent societies and religious groups opposing the removal of the Indians showed that Jacksons administration was violating the constitution by enacting a bill that would suppress the rights and freedoms of the Indians. According to the bill, there would be separation in terms of immediate contact between the Indians and White settlers. Through this act, Jackson was only protecting the rights and interests of the Whites and Christians by suppressing the rights of the Indians. By believing that inequities and social cleavages as being fostered instead of being ameliorated through government intervention, Jackson embraced the ideals of laissez-faire as most appropriate to the political liberty as well as economic equity. Both the foreign and domestic policies reflected his nationalism based on the instrumental role of presidency and the powerful position of the United States in the world. His detractors can refer him as an incipient tyrant close to Caesar but to his supporters, Jackson appears as a symbol of American success, the eventual democrat and capitalist who protected the rights of Americans both locally and internationally.


Andrew Jackson: "Special Message," January 3, 1831. Online by Gerhard Peters and John T. Woolley, The American Presidency Project.

Andrew Jackson: "Special Message," January 5, 1831. Online by Gerhard Peters and John T. Woolley, The American Presidency Project.

Andrew Jackson: "Special Message," January 7, 1831. Online by Gerhard Peters and John T. Woolley, The American Presidency Project.

Andrew Jackson: "Special Message," January 12, 1832. Online by Gerhard Peters and John T. Woolley, The American Presidency Project.

Andrew Jackson: "Special Message," February 25, 1836. Online by Gerhard Peters and John T. Woolley, The American Presidency Project. Jackson: "Special Message," February 29, 1836. Online by Gerhard Peters and John T. Woolley, The American Presidency Project.

Firsts, Andrew. "Andrew Jackson - U.S. Presidents - HISTORY.Com". HISTORY.Com. Last modified 2016. Accessed October 21, 2016., Carl Cavanagh and Cathal J Nolan. U.S. Presidents And Foreign Policy. Santa Barbara, Calif.: ABC-CLIO, 2007

Senate, U.S. "S.102", 1830.


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