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In Person and in Print

October 20, 2014

When President Jackson proposed a toast at the 1830 Jefferson Day dinner, his exact words were: “Our Union – it must be preserved!”  When his toast appeared in print, one word was added, and the toast has often been quoted with that additional word.  Jackson did not believe the additional word would change the meaning, so he honored Senator Hayne’s request that the toast be recorded as: “Our federal Union – it must be preserved!”

Apparently Hayne thought there was a difference.  Hayne had recently been bested by Daniel Webster in Senate debate regarding the nature of the Union, and he believed Webster’s view went far beyond the meaning of the U.S. Constitution.  If Jackson did not toast the federal Union, Hayne believed newspaper readers would conclude Jackson was on Webster’s side.

Within three years everyone would know with certainty what Jackson really meant, and many, including Hayne, would not like it.

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