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Jackson Wins the Bank Battle

November 21, 2018

There had been some question as to whether there were enough solvent state banks to receive the Federal deposits.  Amos Kendall’s report answered that question with a clear affirmative.  Still there was strong sentiment among the Cabinet to delay the transfer of deposits until January 1, 1834.  Jackson insisted on October 1, 1833.  After all, there was now even more evidence that the 2nd Bank of the United States (B.U.S.) was making secret loans to congressmen.  Also, James Gordon Bennett of the New York Herald had been bought by the B.U.S. along with several other newspaper editors.

The Vice President thought it would be okay to delay, but promised to support whatever the President decided.  The Treasury Secretary was against it and refused to transfer the deposits.

The Secretary of State, who had been Treasury Secretary until a few months before, was also against the transfer.  The Secretary of War agreed with them.  Only the Attorney General and the Secretary of the Navy agreed wholeheartedly with Jackson.

Four days later Jackson asked the Treasury Secretary to resign.  He refused.  Five days after that Jackson read a prepared statement to the Cabinet detailing his reasoning on the matter.  Even though the Treasury Secretary admitted the strength of Jackson’s argument, he still refused either to transfer the deposits or to resign.

On September 23 Jackson fired the Treasury Secretary and named the current Attorney General to replace him.  The new Treasury Secretary wasted no time in carrying out the President’s order.

Jackson had won the battle, but the issue would not die.  Even though Congress could not restore the B.U.S. without Jackson’s signature, they were determined to take some sort of action against him.

 

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