Jacksonian Democracy in Mississippi

By Edwin Arthur Miles | Go to book overview

CHAPTER VII
THE JACKSON STAR

"[ Walker] wavered a little on the Deposite Question as did some of your best friends. They could not anticipate upon the wise & timely attack of the 23rd the glorious victory of the 8th. But Mr. Walker is now one of your most devoted friends."

William M. Gwin1

It hardly seemed likely, in March, 1834, that Robert J. Walker would be the choice of the Mississippi Democracy to oppose Senator George Poindexter in his bid for re-election. Not only had he written Senator John Black urging a restoration of the deposits, but he had also publicly denounced the President's financial policies in the manner of an "irreclaimable whig." According to one report, he had declared in the presence of sundry witnesses that "in the removal of the deposites, Gen. Jackson had usurped powers totally foreign to the Constitution--that the act amounted to little less than idiotism--that it would ruin the country--that Gen. Jackson had proved himself a fool & a tryrant." He was apparently inexorably resolved to cast off the oppressive yoke of Jacksonism; and on one occasion he allegedly "tore his stock from his neck, with the exclamation that 'that d--d collar had been too tight for him for some time.'"2

Walker's desertion from the Democratic ranks seriously jeopardized a political career that had been assiduously sustained through fulsome adulation of the Old Hero. For more than ten years he had "supported Andrew Jackson for the presidency, with a zeal and devotion equal to that with which a crusader ever started upon his pilgrimage to the Holy Land."3 The beginning of his crusade for Old Hickory antedated his residence in Mississippi.

Robert John Walker was born in Northumberland, Pennsylvania, in 1801, the son of Jonathan Walker, a distinguished state and federal jurist. Educated at the University of Pennsylvania, he graduated at eighteen with "the first honor of his class, unrivaled and undivided." After studying law in the Philadelphia office of state Chief Justice William Tilghman, he was admitted to the bar. In September, 1821, he

____________________
1
Gwin to Jackson, August 9, 1834, Jackson Papers.
2
Niles' Register, XLIX ( October 10, 1835), 93; Vicksburg Register, September 25, 1934, December 24, 1835; Rodney Telegraph, October 23, 1839, quoting Vicksburg Whig.
3
Jackson Mississippian, September 12, 1834.

-87-

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Jacksonian Democracy in Mississippi
Table of contents

Table of contents

  • Title Page iii
  • Preface v
  • Contents vii
  • Chapter I - "The Hog Round for Old Hickry" 3
  • Chapter II - A State Divided 18
  • Chapter III - Whole Hogs, Half Hogs, and Aristocrats 33
  • Chapter IV - A Senator of Lofty Bearing 44
  • Chapter V - A Nation Dividing 55
  • Chapter VI - Mr. Biddle's Bank 70
  • Chapter VII - The Jackson Star 87
  • Chapter VIII - An Angry and Embittered Contest 102
  • Chapter IX - Flush Times 117
  • Chapter X - Hard Times 130
  • Chapter XI - The Bargain of 1839 146
  • Chapter XII - A Last Look 160
  • Bibliography 172
  • Index 187
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