Jackson Versus Biddle: The Struggle over the Second Bank of the United States

By George Rogers Taylor | Go to book overview

THE CLASH OF ISSUES

Jackson's Veto Message:

"It is to be regretted that the rich and powerful too often bend the acts of government to their selfish purposes. . . . In the full enjoyment of the gifts of Heaven and the fruits of superior industry, economy, and virtue, every man is equally entitled to protection by law; but when the laws undertake to add to these natural and just advantages artificial distinctions, to grant titles, gratuities, and exclusive privileges, to make the rich richer and the potent more powerful, the humble members of society -- the farmers, mechanics, and laborers -- who have neither the time nor the means of securing like favors to themselves, have a right to complain of the injustice of their Government. . . . In the act before me there seems to be a wide and unnecessary departure from . . . just principles."

Daniel Webster, Jackson's political opponent:

"This message . . . manifestly seeks to inflame the poor against the rich; it wantonly attacks whole classes of the people, for the purpose of turning against them the prejudices and the resentments of other classes. It is a state paper which finds no topic too exciting for its use, no passion too inflammable for its address and its solicitation."

Ralph C. H. Catterall, the historian of the Bank:

" Jackson and his supporters committed an offense against the nation when they destroyed the bank. The magnitude and enormity of that offense can only be faintly realized, but one is certainly justified in saying that few greater enormities are chargeable to politicians than the destruction of the Bank of the United States."

Claude G. Bowers, a historian sympathetic to Jackson:

"Even among the ultra-conservatives of business, the feeling was germinating that Jackson was not far wrong in the conclusion that a moneyed institution possessing the power to precipitate panics to influence governmental action, was dangerous to the peace, prosperity, and liberty of the people."

-viii-

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