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tv   The Presidency Andrew Jackson the Bank War  CSPAN  December 10, 2017 8:00pm-9:06pm EST

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history tv, all weekend, every weekend on c-span3. on the presidency, a historian daniel revisits presidents andrew jackson's war of the 1830. a political struggle that crippled the powerful bank of the united states. the young countries only financial institution. he teaches at the university of tennessee and directs the papers of andrew jackson project. the white house historical association hosted this hour-long event. welcome, i am dr. curtis of the, the director national center for white house history. i have this long title. i am concurrently the association senior vice president for educational resources. i would like to put this all into a nice picture. share a background about the and do the talking
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to a proper context. some of you may know already, but we are a private, nonprofit organization. the mission of the place is to enhance the understanding of the appreciation of the executive mansion. one time, in 1961, during the kennedy administration, the first lady, jackie kennedy founded the administration to help the white house collect and exhibit the absolute best of american history and culture. underscoring all of that, to inform and incite the public about the history of the mansion. today, we are still doing this or it, reservation, research continues through the sale of our books, our products. official white house ornament, which some of you may know as well. privatet years, from
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and corporate donations. to strengthen our goal, the over arching goal, which is to widely share white house history with the public, last year we created to bringure service well-known authors and historians to the association to share their knowledge and insight with the public. and to humanize the white house, its inhabitants and things that happen. we are delighted to have professor feller. will speak about andrew jackson and the white house, also the origin, the events and andrew jackson spank war. . taking that a step forward, the impact of that on the role of the president and later generations. we do anniversaries. 2017, this year is also a benchmark because jackson was born in 1767. that makes it 250 years. that box is being checked as well. podiumr turning the
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over, it is important to share a few salient elements about his really impressive and far-reaching background. he is a professor at the university of tennessee. more about this momentarily. he is the editor of the papers of andrew jackson. on the curriculum part, prior to faculty, he was the university of new mexico, outlook -- albuquerque. his connection with the papers of andrew jackson goes all the way back in time to that period. he has contributed to numerous historical publications. university press volume, which is a very cool title called when life strikes the president. essay and review article of many scholarly provocations. televisionbeen on
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shows, including history detectives, who do you think you are and cnn's race for the white house. and among his pursuits, he continues to carry out research that contributes to all of our understanding and appreciation of america's history. in closing, we will have a moment of bookkeeping. i think some of you may have gotten these in the way in. we are offering a 10% discount on everything over there in the store. it will be open until 6:00. it encompasses the totality of the evening and event. there is a very wonderful andrew jackson ornament that comes in a box set. there are a couple of other set come with it. that is the thought among our many white house ornaments. please all of you join me in welcoming professor andrew feller. [applause] thank you, curtis. thank you all for being here. this is a very timely visit.
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as curtis said, i am the editor of the papers of andrew jackson. we are publishing all of andrew jackson's papers. at least all of the surviving ones in chronological order. our last fine cover the year 1832. i will draw on that in a few minutes. in 1833, which is the year we are working on now, just last week i was sitting at my desk, editing and preparing for publication the letters that sues indicators, living in -- susan decatur's, living in the decatur's house said, we just ought -- auctioned off my furniture and i am still broke, which you buy for me out of charity, all my tableware and silver, which jackson did. i am not sure where this stuff is now. today isy subject
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president andrew jackson spank war. i will begin by asking a favor. you have perhaps heard or read something about jackson of late. he has been very much in the news. that something may have left an impression in your mind about his character and his presidency. please put it aside because it may very well be wrong. we seem to be engaged to date and a kind of public war on many fronts. between loud fictions and quiet facts. in jackson's case the fictions seem to be winning. they come from all sides. everyone from the president to the united states and his acolytes at one side to his severest critics at the other, have joined in an image of jackson as a bumptious cowboy in the white house. image that lies between misleading and plain false. as example, president trump at the hermitage laying a wreath on
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jackson's birthday for the 250th anniversary said, tough guy jackson laid tariffs on foreign imports. the truth of that is exactly the reverse. the national review called a highly nationalistic, even onacing presidential address foreign relations a few weeks ago. in its words, a very jacksonian speech. there was nothing, whatsoever, jacksonian about it. on the other side of the political fence, a magazine declared that jackson fought at least 14 duals. newsweek magazine, not to be outdone, upped that number to 100 duals. do know how many duals andrew jackson actually fought? one. count them, one. the new york times declared that "annihilated" the
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southeastern indians. not expelled, not deported, not even did, but "annihilated," which meant he killed them all. and to top it off, a washington post security and analysis, and in article about political insults reported that jackson said to his vice president, " john c calhoun, if uses feed from my nation, i will secede your head from your body." charming and completely false, fake. jon meacham's recent time magazine special issue on jackson concludes with a page of old quotations, several of which are dubious or just plain made up. theof the made-up ones is first one on the page. "take time to deliberate, but when the time for action
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arrives, stop thinking and go in." in short, regrettably bombarded from all sides by fake history on andrew jackson. much to suggest that andrew jackson as president was impulsive and uncontrollably violent. jackson,here to defend but i will sell you a story which i think challenges that perception. one that is closely grounded in contemporary sources, the ones that i work with. especially in jackson's own surviving papers. best ofthat is, to the my knowledge, actually true. on july 5, 1830 two, martin van buren, who had been jackson secretary of state, was now his running mate in the presidential election, arrived at the white house at midnight. day before, the that, landed in new york city after almost a year abroad and rushed down to washington in one summons.ckson's urgent
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he found the president's out on a sickbed and jackson took his head and said, and these are van buren's words, "with the clearest indications of a mind composed and in a tone entirely devoid of passion or bluster, he said, the rank is trying to kill me, but i will kill it." buren told this story later in his autobiography and explained he kept it secret until then for the fear that "casual hearers would misinterpret it to mean that jackson acted against the bank and offended personal feelings." which van buren said was without the slightest foundation in truth. van buren was right to worry because from his day to our own comment andrew jackson's
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distraction of the bank of the united states has been denounced by critics as reckless and private,e, an active peevish spleen on which the nation had to pay dearly. calling from andrew jackson's eviction from the $20 bill. i have no opinion on that. [laughter] prof. feller: they want to change the face is, that is fine with me. the new york times charged him lee andting outrageously destroying the bank. as the times pronounced, a predecessor of the federal reserve. going to try to convince you that killing the bank was wise, i am not sure that it was. i will try to persuade you that it was no means hasty or impulsive, and that the concerns that motivated it were far from merely personal. at the heart of jackson waralled bangor -- bank were serious and weighty then and perhaps the same today.
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theme begin by setting stage. in 1816, congress had chartered, or incorporated the second bank of the united states for 20 years. until 1836. remember that year. the bank was headquartered in philadelphia with powers to establish branches wherever it wanted to. by 1832, four years before the charter was going to run out, the bank had 25 branches in 20 different states and the district of columbia. the bank's capital stock was set at $35 million. at a time when the annual entire federal budget was about $20 million. neither simply a private concern, nor was it an arm of government, but it was a hybrid of both. of united states owned 1/5 its capital stock, $7 million, and the president of the united states appointed five of the
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bank's 25 board members of -- member of the board of directors. did the functions of today's treasury department. it broke her to federal loans, it received a stored, it transported and paid out government funds. it issued bank notes, which were the countries only paper currency. the bank was also a commercial business. it loaned money in competition with other banks. it made profits, and it paid dividends. with --by its charter and these words are in the charter -- with exclusive privileges and benefits. operating throughout the land when every other bank in the country was confined to a single state and most to a single city. at a time when the treasury department itself consisted of a few dozen washington clerks on a
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scattering of land offices and custom offices throughout the country. the united states was literally the only national financial institution in the country. it held immense power over the functions of government, the solvency of other banks, the stability of the nation's economic system, and the welfare of the citizens. while this mix of private and public in the bank's organization was a deliberate feature of alexander hamilton's design for the second bank of the united states predecessor, the first bank of the united also charteredas from 1791 and expired in 1811. hamilton deliberately mixed public and private interest in the bank because it but it was necessary to fortify confidence in the soundness of the new government's finances. by the time andrew jackson took the inaugural oath in 1829, the ability of the united states,
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and the willingness of the united states to pay its bills , and to pay its bills, which was no longer in question, was stood out for other reasons. the origins of andrew jackson's hostility to the bank are of scared. they are sometimes attributed to the ferry him persuasively to a financial disaster of his own or he was burned by endorsing another man's bad notes. jackson purportedly said during his presidency that he had always opposed all banks. thee have learned at jackson papers, he had a notoriously planed memory, and a pronounced habit of believing that he always believed whatever he believed at the current moment. there were plenty of good reasons to distrust banks.
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banking was not in the early republic as we hope it is today. a staid and upright profession operating on well-known principles and accepted standards. it was at best a half understood, half mysterious trade, and at worst banking was something close to a con game. bank charters were produced from state legislators throughout the country for political influence. people seeking those charges were not men with money to lend, but ambitious men who wanted to create banks so they could borrow from them. the hard capital with which think supposedly started it was fictitious. it consisted of ious that were paid into the bank with the idea that you would read deem the ious from the profits that the bank would make after you set it up. among bank officers was routine. corruption was not uncommon and failures were frequent.
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even the second bank of the united states chartered back in 1816, had begun its career with a spree of speculation, in puzzlement and fraud, that by 1820 had brought it to the edge of insolvency and required a wholesale purge of its management. know of saint thomas jefferson's politics, it would be no surprise to learn that he condemned all chartered , "a sacrifice of public and private interest to a few aristocratic friends and favorites." the man who said that was jefferson's federalist opponent and federalist john adams of massachusetts. inc. of the united states kept a low and confident profile through the 1820's under the deft management of its president . an issue of the
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presidential campaign when jackson defeated john quincy adams. jackson said nothing about it in in 1820gural address nine. the first inklings of trouble came afterward when reports reached jackson that certain branches of the bank had tried to wield their influence against him in the 1828 election. he heard about this afterwards. jackson sense of grievance over that election, in election in which jackson believed, "the virtuous human re-of the united emanry and all the corruption wickedness could event, circulated through subsidized presses in every way before to buy the patronage of the government." if you look at the election that
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way, learning that the bank of the united states was part of that horrid of wickedness and abuse would be enough to set you off against it. june of 1829 when he was president of three-month, jackson was writing friends that the only thing that can prevent our liberties to be crushed by the bank and its influence would be to kill the bank itself. well, jackson challenged both the constitutionality and the of the bankficacy of the united states and his for his annual message to congress in december of 1829. this attack came out of the blue. it startled his audience went against the advice of several members in his cabinet. he got backing from his confidential inner circle, including a treasury auditor and presidential wordsmith.
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attorney, whom jackson appointed district attorney from the southern district of new york. a man named james a hamilton who was martin van buren rose political sidekick and a son of the former secretary treasury, alexander hamilton. jackson'sge of official criticism of the bank in his first annual message was somewhat restrained, but his private words were not. he wrote hamilton that he was being opposed by all the sordid who prided self interest and more in the perpetuity of our liberty and the blessings of our free republican government. he was opposed again by this by its aristocracy corrupting influence, preparing for renewal of its charter, which i view as the death brooke -- deathblow to our liberty.
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hamilton for a plan for a government owned institution to take over the official functions of the bank, if he should kill the bank himself. hamilton gave him one, a plan for government substitute, beginning with a bill of particulars against the existing bank of the united states. that bill of particulars was under two headings. one, it is unconstitutional, too, it is dangerous to liberty. the text under dangerous to liberty began with this. wealth, in the number power to makeits loans or withhold them, to call oppressively upon its debtors or to indulge them. to build houses, to rent lands, to make donations for political or other purposes, the bank embodies a fearful influence which may be wielded for a
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favorite individual, a particular interest, or a separate party. two, because it concentrates in the hands of a few men, a power over the money of the country, which may be perceived -- may be preferred it -- perverted to the people and to the calamity of the embarrassment of the government. this is what alexander hamilton son thought of the bank of the united states. jackson kept a private memorandum book in which she jotted down occasional notes to himself. really short things. memo book hevate copied hamilton's entire memorandum on the bank, 6.5 , parts of it are traceable and jackson's own fee till of the bank of the united states 2.5 years later. in january, 1832, four years before its charter was due to
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expire, the bank formally applied to congress for a renewal. this timing was not accidental. a presidential election was coming up in the fall. jackson had declared against the bank, now in three annual messages, his opponents for the presidency in 1832, henry clay was an advocate for the bank. they calculated that the bank was so obviously indispensable to the country that jackson would not dare to veto a recharter. if he did make an issue about it. some of jackson's counselors, even within his own, favorite return during the bank. that has full dress story and there wasg that possibly some compromise that could've been worked out.
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two pair of kuwait -- paraphrase trawled and heston, who made it playing andrew jackson, the only way he would sign a recharter bill was with a cold,sert it into his dead fingers. in fact, it jackson, drawing on ideas that were gathering for more than two years, had started assembling materials for a veto the minute it landed before congress. in june of 1832, he gave the kendall.this guy, amos after a few weeks he gave it back to jackson, a closely written draft for a veto. theages long, just as recharter bill finally passed congress and was presented to jackson with deliberate timing on july 4, 1832. roger, the same guys who jackson
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appointed chief justice of the supreme court and is now forever branded as the man who delivered the dred scott decision. at this time he was jackson's attorney general. he left a picture of what came next. jackson wanted someone to work over kendall's draft. was the one member of jackson's cabinet who is in favor of vetoing the charter. he was the only one that jackson thought he could trust. jackson had a professional artist living with him in the white house. painted landscapes and historical scenes, and any number of portraits of jackson himself. ofyou have seen a portrait jackson, it is almost certainly his portrait. had converted one room in the white house, unfortunately i don't know which. 1 -- converted one
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room in the white house into a studio. and is where it on any andrew jackson secretary set themselves up to work. they spent three days going over kendall's draft. jackson himself would occasionally wander in, approve a passage, make some suggestions, then go back out. over the entire time, earl was painting away, paying absolutely no attention whatsoever. oblivious. as we know from this draft, because the draft survived and we printed it in the last volume of the papers of andrew jackson. draft, mostrom that of his revision consisted of mostly crossing things out. if you take in his original 59 page draft and leave out all the cross outs, when his left is the bank's alito almost word for
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word in final form. reprinted it with all the cross out there, see you could see what was crossed out. kendall wandered off in a rant in the tick all of those out. in -- took all of those out. as jackson delivered it to congress, the bank veto is a hodgepodge of arguments. some constitutional argument, some financial arguments, some historical arguments, some nationalistic arguments, even xena phobic. some arguments that are rather silly. it's most enduring passage was this. this is from the bank veto. "it is to be regretted that the rich and powerful to end the acts of government to their selfish purposes.
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enjoyment of the gifts of heaven and the economy and for two, every man is equally entitled to protection by law. law undertakes to add to those natural and just advantages, artificial to grant titles, gratuities and exclusive , to make the rich richer, when the laws undertake to make the rich richer and the potent more powerful. and the humble members of society, farmers and laborers, who have neither the time or means to securing these labors, have a right to complain of the injustice of their government. " no president before had said anything like this.
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other presidents had warned americans against into english against entailing foreign alliances. jackson warned them against control of their own government by, in his words, the rich and powerful. the language was unpresidential. he called it the effective documents among the people that nicolas called thatmanifesto of anarchy might have issued to the mob. the veto did not end the war, it just escalated it. yearsnk still have four to live under its original 1816 charter. it was still rich, still
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powerful and still bent on recharter. if it had stayed out of politics down to this point, it dropped that forbearance after the veto. in the 1830 two presidential contest, the bank campaigned openly for henry clay and against jackson. spent thousands of dollars on loans to newspaper editors and congressman, and on publication ,pposing the bank veto including one piece that he wrote himself, in which he called jackson emitter of the -- -- told hervote her -- miserable. there were subject to treasury inspection and reported under the heading of printing and stationary.
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noted, sincemself the united states owned 1/5 of campaign stock, this to sway government policy and to defeat a president was in fact being waged with the governments, or rather the people's own money. while the campaign failed miserably, jackson was overwhelmingly reelect did and the banks stake was sealed. another episode that played out simultaneously helped convince jackson that he can now not wait patiently for the bank to wrap up and go out of business in 1836, that it needed to be defanged, stripped of its power to do further damage, right now. that concerns the so-called 3%. the three presents were outstanding government bonds by british and european investors, representing nearly the last of the federal debt.
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early in 1832, jackson's treasury secretary notified biddle of the government intent to redeem most of the 3%. with government funds ample to that purpose, which are on deposit with the bank of the united states. the united states had seven or $8 million in its account. there were going to redeem about six minutes -- $6 million. he requested a three-month extension from july until october. he then arrange with the banks corresponding house in britain, bearings of london. to buy upth bearings the debt certificates and hold them for redemption later on. with the bank paying the regular interest in the interval. this was a little complicated. took me a while to figure out what was going on.
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spreading out of the redemption was smart and even brilliant because if you did not do that, the bank of the united states was going to have to make a massive cash payment all at in gold and it silver. to do that it would have to curtail its business, call and its moans and threat and commercial stability at a time werefinancial markets unusually vulnerable. everything worked. baumholder still got paid, just a few months later. the government suffered no loss, the business of the country went on without a ripple of disruption. everybody one. that is not how it looked to andrew jackson. for this reason, he had handled the whole transaction through the banks exchange committee, which was a personally
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hand-picked subcommittee of the full board of directors on which none of the government director sat. remember the president of the united states appointed five of the 25 directors. they conducted their operations in strict secrecy. not only secrecy from the government, but secrecy from the other members of the board of directors. it was only after the operation was complete that the treasury even learned what had gone on. another thing about the operation was that it slightly violated some of the terms and the details of the thanks charter. -- banks charter. repeated known and he it after it became known of what he was doing. until that point, the government knew nothing about any of this. what it then learned, after the it hadas that, although ample funds on deposits in the
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bank to redeem the last of the debt, and had ordered it theemed, months later bondholders were still unpaid, the government was still liable to them, and the bank still had the money. follows, it was this brazen violation of law and jackson andrompted his advisers to question not only the banks honesty but its solvency. they decided jackson to order the removal of the deposits. that is to stop using the bank of the united states is a trod onnt depository, the balance in the banks and deposit its money in whatever state chartered thinks could be found that would be willing to take them. of the government funds, the banks ability to wage war against the government would be drastically curtailed.
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the manual have legal authority to remove the deposits was not the president of the united states but the secretary of the treasury. who for this purpose was a autonomous agent. new secretary, who had purpose,inted for this gawked at ordering the removal of the deposit. convened hisson cabinet and read them a paper stating it as his decision, upon his responsibility to remove the deposits starting up over first, which is two weeks away. duane still do not get the message. or he got it but refuse to heated. sign the order onoving the deposit so
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september 23, a monday, not a saturday, jackson fired him and replaced him with roger tawney, previously the attorney general. three days after his appointment he signed the order to remove .he deposit all this is done while congress is out of session. in december, a new congress convened. housen then control the of representative, but they were in the minority in the senate and that is where the action to place. the senate began by officially demanding to see that people that jackson had read to the cabinet on september 18. this document was the opposite of secret. it was meant for public view. it was meant to explain his policy. not only to his cabinet but to everybody else. it appeared in the newspaper the day after jackson read it to the cabinet. invoking what today would be
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called executive privilege, when the senate called for a, jackson responded politely that what he told his cabinet was none of your business. on march 28, 1834, the senate 26-20. this is the language of the resolution. that the president in the late executive proceedings in relation with the public revenue has assumed upon himself authority and power, not conferred by the constitution and laws, but in derogation of both. was an official censure. this was the first and last time that the united states senate had officially censured a president. jackson replied with an official protest, a forceful one. issued the senate had what is a moral equivalent of an
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impeachment for it, but done so without an impeachment vote by the house of representatives. there were no specific charges, there was no evidence, there was no trial, and there was no majority, which is required to really convict somebody. these proceedings, jackson said, were "palpably repugnant to the constitution. " he said they were anti-democratic because the senate was a body not elected by the people and not to them directly responsible. while the president of the ,nited states, he did not say i was the direct representative of the american people. the senate stood its ground, the ground -- they branded his protest as a breach of privilege, refused to enter it on the journal and refuse to acknowledge it was received and
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denied jackson's right to officially challenge or criticize it in any way. even this did not stand. symbolic importance was cemented after the majority pass. they moved a resolution to expunge the censure. that is not resent you -- that is not to repeal it, but to cross it out. he introduced that resolution and it failed in 1834 and in 1835, and in 1836. jackson men are now calling themselves democrats, and are organizing with the revolution at their revolution -- rallying point. senators who are not pledged to vote for the expunging revolution were either voted out of office for state legislators or compelled to resign.
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by state legislators i should add, acting on cue from the white house. the crowning triumph came in generate, 18 37, 6 weeks before the end of jackson's presidency. the expunging resolution finally passed. handwritten manuscript journal of the senate from 1834 was brought out of the vault, they found the right page, and the crossed out the resolution of censure. the clarcor's order to draw black lines around as if it had never existed. -- the clerk was ordered to drop black lines around it as if it had never existed. the reported a new charter from the state of pennsylvania and continued as a state bank. speculations of it going bad and it close its doors, bankrupt and disgraced. what do we make out of all of this?
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i know you are thinking what is the point? here is the point. some historians and economists taken instrumentalist approach to history and they fall jackson severely for his actions in the bank war. they defend the bank of the united states as a modern style central-bank, and head of its time -- ahead of its time. they charged that jackson had no decent replacement for it, and they blamed his use of state thanks, which is where jackson put the money after he was taken out of the bank of the united states. blame that for triggering an inflationary boom that ended 1837, crash, the panic of that in turn ushered in a deep depression that lasted through the end of the 1830's and 1840's. all of this because of jackson's war on the bank. all of these propositions can be, and have been disputed. was not constructed
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like a modern central-bank. it is not clear that biddle was operating it as such, or would have understood what a modern central-bank does. the question of blame for the panic is basically irresolvable because the answer lies at the end of a long chain of hypotheticals. what would have happen if jackson had not removed the deposit? the would have happened if bank of england of england had not raised interest rates at a particular time? what would have happened if the chinese are not found a new way to finance their opium in points -- opium imports. ? that is a major part of the argument. you can go down the list of what caused this. we just do not know. it is true that jackson had no ready substitute for the bank. using state banks depositories was dubbed in experiment, and it would be fruitless to tried it
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claim a sophisticated grasp of .anking and finance a historian famously said once, of one of jackson's ideas for replacing the bank of the united "it may be intelligible to those whose understanding has not been corrupted by some knowledge and experience of the subject." if you know anything about thinking, you know. a primitive understanding is not a false one. then, and there -- and dare i say today, shrouded their operations in a forbidden mystery. a president or congressional committee inquired to them and a politelymay be phrased version of never you mind.
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we understand these matters, you do not. go away, be this alone. but there can also be moments, and it think we can always -- all remember one a few years later. collapsesankers of -- and that dismisses trust, a gives way to a kind of oops.assed it is debatable than the person who knows the subject is worse off than the person who thinks he does. jackson was not mainly concerned efficacy of as financial agent. his core concern was political. ofthought the intertwining thinking and corporate finance was inherently dangerous. politically corrupting a threat to democracy itself.
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he worried about the presence within a republic of a financial institution that was so huge, and with its powers so fortified that ital privilege could, even in defiance of the people's own will, run the country to suit itself. was jackson wrong to worry about that? of theduct of the bank united states offers no reason to say that he was. we can blame biddle for descending into politics. the fact was that the banks very nature was a profit-making core position -- corporation and was inescapably political. as he remarked, when it came to loaning money to congressman, he was dammed if you did an dammed if he did not. it was political either way. to thek may barge loans
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, whongton printing house were publishers of the countries leading anti-jackson newspaper, the washington national intelligencer. loans austified these solid business transactions that were made on good security. was thethat security anticipated profits from government printing contracts, which were awarded by congress on a party boat. what message are lessened as the bank war leave for us today? i do not think that it can burn or some kind of politics point. ,istory does not repeat itself at least not in any precise or printed away. our circumstances may now days, but ninen others.
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the differences matter as much as the similarity. the bank of the united states was indeed a predecessor of the .ederal reserve the federal reserve is a privately controlled, profit-making shop run by the -- by they the boers boys. it is not so much a prescription as a caution. speaking of governmental checks time of the, at the option of the constitution, james madison in federalist paper number 51 famously said, " it may be a reflection on human devices shouldh be necessary to control the abuses of government, but what is government itself but the greatest of all reflections of
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human nature. if men were angels, no government would be necessary. ." " biddle had repelled those accusations of political favoritism on the part of the the 1828 campaign by telling jackson's treasury that the 500 men who ran the bank in its branches that nodisinterested loan had ever been made or refused on account of political partiality or hostility. income challenged what he calls biddle's assertion of universal. he. human and institution exemptionm an entire from the influence of feelings and passions inseparable from
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human nature. jackson reading this exchange, wrote in the margin opposite that, "well said." and he underlined it. james madison and andrew jackson were saying the same thing. human institutions. they can to a degree be bytrolled and circumscribed checks and balances, ultimately they cannot be made more infallible than the people who run them. the ultimate question posed by post by was the same government itself. how can a system of financing wasit be created, which sufficiently stable in uniform, to perform its necessary tasks properly. without becoming so powerful that it would use its powers in ultimately become a
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threat for the citizens it was supposed to serve. that riddle confronted andrew jackson and the bank in the bank war. it still confronts us today. banks, as that the well as the government are still there watching. thank you. [applause] >> this was wonderful. we have a few minutes for questions before you all go and then we have a recession. there is a microphone which is back here with our senior historian. don't leave us up her alone. -- here alone.
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i have two questions. of first is which biography andrew jackson would you recommend for people looking for inaccurate scholarly study? alexander's barter fee of martin van buren, he suggests that van buren went along with jackson's inc. policy but did not really believe in it. do you believe that was correct? prof. feller: who was the author? get another biography. [laughter] would it help answer that to tell you that when jackson was collecting ideas for the bank deal, then buren wasas a -- van
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a willing contributor. he had been pushing it on jackson from the beginning. did publish the autobiography were he talked about how the bank veto was wonderful. , whenen as president andrew jackson was still looking over his shoulder, but when van buren was president he took the policy to the next level, since the state banks were an interim experiment. the next thing to do was divorce bank and stay. separate out the federal government's finance arrangement so they have nothing to do with thanks, whatsoever. -- banks whatsoever. the independent treasury was the leading policy of the van buren administration. he was 100% behind it.
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good biography. the best biography that i can recommend to you was published .n 1860 it is rather long, it is in three volumes. an early historian name james, today three volume life of andrew jackson. it is very critical of jackson. i still think it is the best biography. this is the biography if you ever have seen the famous phrase about jackson's ignorance was a wall around him. a high impact at your wall -- a wall.mpenetrable he paced back and forth like a chained panther. that comes from the biography. surprisecent port winning biography -- pulitzer
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prize winning biography is a good one. robert remini spent a career .riting biographies of jackson frankly they got sloppier as he went on. the first one, which is still out, which was written in the 1950's, than later updated to include things he left out of it, like slavery and the indian removal. that is still a good breed. the updated -- a good read. the updated version is good.
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>> it is two parts, but i don't know if it is related. it is related. was there any commodity with the currency in that time? what was the inflationary climate that the bank was being opened on. i know it was a precursor to the federal reserve's. prof. feller: it was a "precursor" of the federal reserve. not an accepted part of the economic system at the time. there was inflation and then there was at times, deflation. when prices and values change, the assumption was that something had gone wrong. iod of time,per you can chart inflation.
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generally, in the 19 century, when there was measurable , it was when there was some disruptive event. like during the civil war there was plenty of inflation. the assumption of economist at the time was prices, wages, values ought to be stable. the first part of the question? i did not want to get into bank notes, because it takes a whole hour to explain bank notes. sayou thought what i did was less than exciting, then you should hear that part of it. [laughter] the. feller: supposedly only real money was gold and silver.
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everything else was a representation. did when they got charters was that they allegedly had a certain amount of gold in their vaults. notes, whichsue functioned as money but they were ious from the cashier of the bank, saying this thing is worth $10, if you want you can bring it in and i will give you 10 real gold dollars. the banks hoped that not too many people brought them in at the same time because there was no deposit insurance. what often happened was that there were some banks that were created where the specie was backing the paper money and it did not exist. today, i think a modern economist would say it does not really matter. what under wise -- underlies the
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soundness of our currency -- why isn't a $20 bill worth $20 today? as long as we all except that, it is were $20 wherever you go. a doesn't matter if there is hypothetical gold piece behind it or not. that is a 20th-century economical understanding. >> at the time when they had election of president, in that , is it in issue for the bank to control our government? and the in issue election, or is that all the cover up and people do not know about it?
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prof. feller: it was a real issue. i could answer this in several different ways. was it a decisive issue? nobody could ever tell. the only thing you could tell at the end of a presidential election was that one person won. jackson had rechartered a bill in early july of 1832. then the election was in november. jackson himself took that overwhelming reelection because it was reclaimed pretty badly as a mandate. said that people had spoken. this issue was before them. if they did not want me to kill the bank can proceed further, they would have put it me out of
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office and therefore i have been in powered to proceed further in killing the bank. if you read the newspapers, pamphlets, literatures, the bank issue is all over it. rupee paul also voting on other grounds, sure. -- were people also voting on other grounds, sure. as i said earlier in one ofcing dr. keller, our overarching goals is to bring professors and experts in the fields and family members to the association to enlighten the public. what we have seen here tonight momentreathe life into a in the 1820's and 1830's that happened over there and around the square here. thee are people looking out
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window and tucking in these rooms over here while all this was happening. join me in thanking professor feller, for making this happen. [applause] [captioning performed by the national captioning institute, which is responsible for its caption content and accuracy. visit] watching american history tv all weekend, every weekend on c-span3. to join the conversation, like a son face pic on c-span history. >> number one, it to regulate broadband. outakes broadband oversight of the fcc entirely and gives it to the federal trade commission, which doesn't have a strong tool. theer two, it eliminates
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throttlinging the traffic. what we call fast lane. charging providers to get to the serviced fastly. thirdly, a it preempts or similars consumers with roles. >> there are three that affects consumers. preempts theys it states from being less but what --does not do is present prevent states attorney generals providing consumer protection levels at the state level.
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at 8:00 monday night p.m. eastern on c-span2. is onrican history tv c-span2 every weekend featuring warival films on the civil and more. here is a clip. mean engaging i regionally,cally, supporting social inequities. harlems taking place in by jim crow. a funeral service for jim crow that took place. so the social inequities. jim crow, racial apartheid. economic disparities, in a way it is different than wait
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counterparts. kind of the religious lives of their own people but the very laws of their people. announcer: you can watch this and other american history programs on our website where all of our video is archived. announcer: this year marks the 100th anniversary of the u.s. entry into world war i. college professor richard folder talks about american soldiers positive views the american. of american museum in kansas city, missouri, hosted this event. >> it is now with great pleasure that i introduce a longtime supporter and advocate


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