How was Jackson a manipulator?

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Ashley Kannan | Middle School Teacher | (Level 3) Distinguished Educator

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One can make the argument that Jackson was a manipulator because he understood how to parlay public image with advancement of his own agenda.  For example, Jackson championed and is toted as an example of egalitarian democracy.  Jacksonian Democracy is viewed with awe as to the people it brought into the process.  Yet, Jackson manipulated this with stocking his cabinet with people who were loyal to him.  At the same time, Jacksonian democracy did not expand the political capacity of women and people of color. Jackson demonstrated himself as an expert manipulator of being able to control his image and consolidating his process at the same time.  

Certainly, Jackson could be a manipulator in how he was able to use his power as President to subject the Native Americans to unspeakable cruelty.  What Jackson did in his zealous support of Indian Removal was manipulative because he was able to hide the true force of his policy through language and perception:

This emigration should be voluntary, for it would be as cruel as unjust to compel the aborigines to abandon the graves of their fathers and seek a home in a distant land. But they should be distinctly informed that if they remain within the limits of the States they must be subject to their laws. In return for their obedience as individuals they will without doubt be protected in the enjoyment of those possessions which they have improved by their industry.

Forcing the hand of Native American leaders, Jackson's zeal behind targeting Native Americans was nowhere near the manner he depicted as a "voluntary" movement.  When Jackson's language derides "unjust" and "cruel" actions, his work as President represented the opposite.  It is in this regard where Jackson could be seen as a manipulator.

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