Was Andrew Jackson an effective or ineffective president?

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pohnpei397 eNotes educator| Certified Educator

If we define “effective” as “being able to get things done,” then Andrew Jackson was clearly an effective president.  It is certainly possible to argue that he was not a good president because you might think that the things he got done were bad things.  However, it is hard to argue that he was not effective.  Let us look at three instances in which he got his way, thus showing his ability to get things done.

One of these was Indian Removal.  Jackson wanted to move the Native Americans out of the Southeast so that white people could have the Indians’ land.  Jackson was able to make this happen even though the Supreme Court said that he could not.  This shows that he was powerful and able to get things done in the face of important opposition.

A second episode that shows Jackson’s effectiveness was the Nullification Crisis.  In this episode, South Carolina tried to nullify a tariff passed by Congress.  If it had succeeded, the Union would have been severely weakened.  Jackson made it clear that he would oppose South Carolina’s efforts vigorously.  His actions caused South Carolina to back down and accept the tariff (though Jackson was able to get it lowered as a sort of compromise).

Finally, there was Jackson’s “war” with the Second Bank of the United States.  Jackson felt that the bank was run by rich elites for their own benefit.  He felt it was harmful to the interests of the common people.  Through a number of maneuvers, he succeeded in destroying the bank.  Regardless of whether this (or any of the other incidents mentioned above) was a good thing, it clearly shows that Jackson was effective in accomplishing his goals.

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