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The Senate Reacts

November 28, 2018

Andrew Jackson had won the battle to eliminate the 2nd Bank of the United States (B.U.S.).  By transferring Federal deposits from the B.U.S. to state banks, he hoped for a more constitutional and ethical monetary system.  Whether that happened is a matter for debate, but he did get a less efficient system.

The B.U.S. had controlled inflation by keeping a tight rein on the state banks.  These same banks would now be free to expand credit beyond reasonable limits.  In order to make Jackson look bad, the president of the B.U.S. took additional steps to harm the state banks.

The Senate also looked for ways to discredit and hinder Jackson.  When he asked them to confirm the recess-appointed Treasury Secretary, they rejected his nominee.  This was the first time a Cabinet appointee had been rejected by the Senate.  When he tried to put the same individual on the Supreme Court as an Associate Justice, they once again rejected Jackson’s choice.  They were simply not going to reward the man who had followed Jackson’s order to transfer the Federal deposits.

The 1st Session of the 23rd U.S. Congress, which met from December 2, 1833 until June 30, 1834, had a slight Anti-Jacksonian bias.  Senator Henry Clay, who had lost the 1832 Presidential election to Jackson, proposed a resolution that Jackson deliver the paper he had read to his Cabinet the previous September regarding the B.U.S.  The Senate approved this resolution even though the document had already been published in the newspapers.  Clay’s resolution was not an attempt to gain information but merely to humiliate Jackson.  Obviously, Jackson denounced the Senate for exceeding its authority and disregarded their request.

On March 28, 1834 the Senate reacted by doing something that had never been done before.

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