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The man against whom these powerful leaders were directing all their energies was still counted an amateur in politics, irascible and indiscreet. He was laughed at in the cities as a boor and condemned in New England as an ignoramus, though Harvard College, under some strange inspiration, was soon to award him the doctorate of laws. Having come to power by means of a combination of South and West, Jackson had found his followers divided and somewhat unmanageable.

Half the members of his Cabinet, S. D. Ingham, Secretary of the Treasury; John Branch, Secretary of the Navy; and John M. Berrien, Attorney-General, looked to Calhoun as their chief, while the others, Martin Van Buren; Secretary of State, John H. Eaton, Secretary of War, and William T. Barry, the Postmaster-General, distrusted their colleagues and clung to the President. It was natural, therefore, that cabinet meetings should be embarrassing and that a nondescript group of clerks and newspaper editors, William B. Lewis, Frank P. Blair, and Amos Kendall, all from the West, should become a sort of closet cabinet with whom Jackson should take council.

Moreover, Jackson increased his difficulties by gratifying the Western demand that a clean sweep in the offices should be made. New and untried men and hot-headed partisans were placed in the thousands of vacancies created by removals. Such a change in the civil and subordinate offices of the Government had never before been made, and Washington society, which always takes a hearty interest in the offices, was not slow to manifest its contempt for "the man of the people" and his "hungry" followers. But there was still another trouble. Secretary Eaton had married the daughter of a tavern-keeper; her reputation was unsavory and notorious. She now proposed to enter Washington social life as a leader, and Jackson gave her his blessing. The wives of the members of the Cabinet refused to recognize Mrs. Eaton, and a social war followed, in which President, preachers to the various local churches, and newspaper editors had their say. Division in the Cabinet, bitter enmity between certain leaders of the party, and the greater war between the powerful industrial and agricultural sections of the country gave every assurance that a storm was approaching.

To postpone the evil day Jackson resorted to evasions and oracular utterances on the tariff and the other serious problems in all his public papers and speeches. But the South pressed every day its free-trade program; the East demanded at least a continuation of the measure of protection already accorded to its interests; and the West, really needing roadways and canals, insisted on the building of these improvements and on the opening of the public lands to settlement on easier terms. If the President yielded to any of these groups, his administration was likely to fail. He naturally sought to shift the issue and felt the public pulse on the question of a renewal of the charter of the National Bank, which was not to expire till 1836. This was looking to the future; but on this subject it was possible to continue the union of South and West. The first annual message, in which the Bank was discussed, aroused at once the great financial interests, and they set in motion influences which speedily isolated the President and secured to the Bank the enthusiastic support of a Cabinet, divided on everything else, and of a majority of both houses of Congress. Instead of preventing a disruption of his party, Jackson had only hastened the event.

The people of South Carolina, supported as they hoped by most of the South, pressed through Calhoun, during the winter of 1828-29 and again in 1829-30, for some assurance that the President would aid them in their attack upon the protective policy of the Government, threatening state intervention in case of refusal. The East was no less insistent that nothing should be done. Congress seemed to be completely deadlocked. Under these circumstances Senator Foote, of Connecticut, voicing the fears of his section, introduced December 29, 1829, his famous resolution which contemplated the discontinuance of the federal land sales and the substantial curbing of the growing West. It was a blow at Benton and Jackson which was at once accepted by all the West as a challenge. The representatives of all three sections were deeply interested. Benton took the lead in the discussion which followed, and he urged once more his preëmption and graduation bills. In the former he would guarantee the prior claims of squatters on lands they had already unlawfully taken up; in the latter he meant to regulate the price of public lands according to quality and location. In both the object was to make the way of the pioneer easy; and the West supported him solidly. Whether the South would keep its tacit pledges in the face of Jackson's non-committal attitude on the tariff was the query of all until Hayne, an intimate friend of Calhoun and the recognized spokesman of his section, arose on January 19, 1830, and took the strongest ground on behalf of Benton and the West, and attacked the East for its long-continued resistance to westward expansion. The next day Webster made reply, and the debate between the two representative men continued to the end of the month. The importance to the present-day reader of this discussion consists in the revelation of the directly opposing and hostile attitudes of South and East on the great problems then before the country: (1) the South would support the West in its policy of easy lands and rapid development; the East would resist that policy; (2) the East would appeal to the nationalist sentiment of the interior and the West on behalf of its program of protection to industry, while the South would resist that program even to the extent of declaring national tariff laws null and void. Hayne and Benton showed in their speeches the substantial solidarity of the alliance of South and West. Webster undertook to break that alliance by his powerful appeal to the feelings of Western men who loved the Union, which the New Englander sought to show to be in especial danger. What was really on trial was the American system, the Tariff of 1828. It was a serious national crisis, as Calhoun wrote in May following: "The times are perilous beyond any that I have ever witnessed; all the great interests of the country are coming into conflict." The protectionists thought they must control the country or the Union would be worth little to them; the Southern free traders insisted upon the mastery of the Government or else they would have a quiet dissolution of the Confederation; while the Western men must have freer control of the public lands and more immigrants or their sturdy nationalism would rapidly disappear.

Having failed for the moment to rally the leaders of his disintegrating party on the Bank issue, Jackson and his intimate advisers decided that above all things it was necessary for the old hero to stand again for the Presidency in the next election. Van Buren, who had been steadily growing in the estimation of Jackson, while Calhoun had been losing ground, was the foremost to urge a second term despite the understanding and the public promises that Jackson was to hold office only one term. Amos Kendall and William B. Lewis supported his view heartily, fearing as they did that Henry Clay would otherwise be the next President. At the dinner on Jefferson Day, April 13, 1830, for which elaborate preparations had been made, the President chose to give expression to more decided opinions than had been customary during his first year in office. His toast, "The Union, it must be preserved," was akin to the utterances of Webster in the debate with Hayne. It was plain to the South that he would not longer support their contentions, that he would appeal to the same nationalist sentiment which had been shown to exist by the speeches of the great New England orator. The cause of the Southern radicals was lost in so far as it depended on the President, and, moreover, the arrangement whereby Calhoun was to succeed Jackson was dissolved. South Carolina, so long a leader in public life, was isolated.

Meanwhile the friends of Clay and the devotees of the tariff had prepared an internal improvements measure which was drawn so that the appropriation would apply to purposes wholly within the State of Kentucky. The Maysville Road Bill proposed to build a national highway from Maysville on the Ohio to Lexington, Clay's home, and it was drawn in order to compel the President to exercise his right of veto on a proposition in which the West was interested, and thus break down his popularity in that region. The proposed law came to him in May. Van Buren had been sounding public opinion in the Middle States, and with some hesitation he advised a veto. The President was of the same mind, and a vigorous veto message was sent to Congress. To the dismay of the tariff men, the country approved heartily, the West giving every evidence of its continued faith in the Executive. The atmosphere in Washington began to clear up; it was plain that a reorganization of the Cabinet must ensue, and that the lower South, as yet in sympathy with the stern anti-tariff policy of Calhoun, must be won away from the South Carolinian. It seemed that the West would support the President even if it were called upon to give up something that was held to be very important.

In due time William B. Lewis produced a letter from William H. Crawford which showed, what Jackson must have known since the summer of 1828, that Calhoun had not been the President's defender in 1818, when he was threatened with court-martial for his conduct during the Seminole War. Jackson now made an issue of this, and welcomed a controversy with the man who had done most to elevate him to the Presidency. Mrs. Eaton also became a more important character, and the attitude of the families of other members of the Cabinet were made subjects of official discussion and displeasure. Calhoun's friends were commanded to receive her into their circle or take the consequences. When these refused, it seemed that this tempest in a teapot was about to become a grave matter of state. None knew better than Jackson and Calhoun that other and deeper causes were forcing the disruption of the party of 1828, the alliance which had driven Adams and Clay from office.

Convinced that Van Buren had been the marplot of the Administration, Calhoun attacked him publicly, and all the world saw what some astute minds had long seen, that the two wings of the party in power were irreconcilable enemies. Congress adjourned in March, 1831, and in April the President demanded the resignations of all the friends of the Vice-President in the Cabinet. Calhoun and Hayne returned sadly to their constituents to advise actual resistance to the tariff, since both the President--"an ungrateful son of Carolina"--and Congress had, during two years, refused all relief to the suffering planters. Not one of the problems, the solution of which had been the purpose of Jackson's election, had been settled or seriously attacked. The East had defeated Benton's land program; the President had refused to take up the tariff; and internal improvements as a national policy had only been toyed with in the Maysville Bill. As Calhoun had said, all the great interests of the country had come into conflict, and even the most resolute of men knew not how to proceed.

But Jackson gathered about him a new official family who were supposed to owe no double allegiance. Edward Livingston, of Louisiana, protectionist, became Secretary of State in place of Van Buren, who had resigned for appearance' sake; Louis McLane, of Delaware, a conservative party leader of protectionist views, was made Secretary of the Treasury while Roger B. Taney, a former Federalist of Maryland, became Attorney-General. Lewis Cass, Secretary of War, was the only distinctly Western man in this new body. Jackson seems to have expected to make the Bank question the great issue between his party and that of Clay, but the new Cabinet soon proved as strongly pro-Bank as the old one had been, and he must still rely on the "kitchen council" for support in that direction.

The initiative in the great sectional struggle which all foresaw was left to South Carolina, but the men of that planter Commonwealth refused to throw discretion to the winds. The price of cotton was falling and the tribute to the manufacturer under the law of 1828 seemed to be more burdensome than ever; yet it might be well to try Congress again. The new Congress, which would assemble in December, 1831, might give relief. This was Calhoun's last recourse; if it failed nullification must follow.

When the next Congress assembled, Clay was in the Senate and John Quincy Adams, his former ally, was just beginning his long career as a member of the House. Webster and the other New England tariff advocates were there, and as unbending as the Southerners themselves. The President sent in a non-committal message on the burning question, and even on his favorite Bank problem he showed signs of yielding. Clay took the message as preliminary to surrender, and his proverbial boldness rapidly grew to arrogance. On the tariff, on the Bank, and on the proposed nullification problems, he would give the deciding word and that word was defiance.

When, therefore, the cotton and tobacco interests presented once more their demand for immediate downward revision of the tariff, Clay and his more ardent protectionists brushed aside the cautious Adams and defied "the South, the Democratic party, and the Devil." The revision of the tariff which was made in 1832 was no revision, save in a few unimportant schedules in which the planters were not interested; but the vote on this measure showed a curious combination of the Jackson and the Clay politicians in the West and considerable indifference in New England, as the accompanying map shows. Having challenged Calhoun to do his worst, Clay now pressed upon Jackson the question of renewing the Bank charter. Under his instructions the president of the Bank, Nicholas Biddle, a very able man, hitherto inclining to settle matters with Jackson and his friendly advisers, offered a memorial for a re-charter. That is, the Bank men thought the President of the United States was losing ground and they would take their chances with the party of the future. The Maysville veto was thought to have weakened Jackson; he had lost the support of Calhoun and had been compelled to reorganize his Cabinet; on the tariff he had no opinions, and he had done nothing to weld to him the Westerners. It seemed a very simple matter, with the East behind the brilliant Kentucky leader, to make the American System the law of the land and to drive the Goths and Vandals from the capital.

[Illustration: The Vote in the House of Representatives on the Tariff of 1832, In Eastern and Western States]

Mr. Clay had been nominated for the Presidency by an enthusiastic convention of his followers in December, 1831; and his friend William Wirt had also been nominated three months earlier by the Anti-Masons, who, it was supposed, would draw supporters from the Democrats, especially in Virginia, where Jackson had never won the approval of the ablest leaders. Never did the outlook of a political party seem so bright as when the plans of the tariff and Bank men were being laid in the spring of 1832. John Sargent, one of the directors of the Bank and brother-in-law of Henry A. Wise, a shrewd politician of Virginia, was made candidate for the Vice-Presidency; a large majority of the Senate was committed to the renewal of the charter,--even the Calhoun men agreed as to this,--and in the House John Quincy Adams and George McDuffie led a decided majority in the same direction. All the industrial forces of the country were enlisted and well organized. If there was any doubt that the old hero would be reëlected, there was none that the Bank and the tariff groups would retain control of Congress.

If Jackson was less confident than his opponents, he was not afraid. The effects of his "Union, it-must-be-preserved" speech were becoming evident; he gradually came to stand for the budding nationality among the self-seeking groups who would have their way or break up the Confederation. With the large majority of the up-country of the Middle States and South in favor of a tariff, even a high tariff, he promptly accepted the proposed revision. Already nominated by many of the States, his friends had no difficulty in securing him a unanimous renomination from the Democratic National Convention which met in Baltimore late in May, 1832. Meanwhile Van Buren had been appointed Minister to England. After reaching his post, the Senate, to gratify Calhoun as well as strike at the President, rejected the nomination. The humiliated minister was now nominated Vice-President and plainly marked by Jackson as his successor.

When the votes of both houses were shown to be decidedly for a continuation of the protective system as enacted in 1828, Calhoun and the planter party gave every assurance that South Carolina, at least, would resist. The President gave out no indications of what his attitude would be, but the extreme Southerners could not expect that Jackson would support their contentions; nor could they think Clay, if elected, would yield the very base of the system on which he proposed to stand as President. But as the tariff bill came to its final reading, it was seen that even New England hesitated, and many voted against the measure; many districts of the Southern up-country gave their votes for the proposed law. In the West most men favored the bill. The tariff was, therefore, a local issue, and the test must come on the Bank. The bill for a re-charter of the National Bank reached the President on July 4. It was considered most carefully, and doubtless the desperate situation of the Administration was duly canvassed. With every evidence of a strong Southern secession from his party, with Clay and Webster leading the solid ranks of the East, it did seem that Jackson would fail if he vetoed the bill passed by great majorities in both Senate and House.

On July 10 the veto message went to Congress. Its contention about the constitutionality of the Bank was not important, for it was not a question of what was constitutional, but of sheer power. The majority of the votes in the coming election was what each side sought. Jackson appealed to the West and South, urging that the Bank was a sectional institution constantly drawing money to the big cities of the East, or worse still, sending it to England; that it was a monopoly which had given millions of the people's money to a few men, and that it was then proposed to continue that monopoly. So certain were Clay and Biddle that they would defeat the President that they circulated at the expense of the Bank thirty thousand copies of this remarkable document. Biddle declared that Jackson was like "a chained panther, biting the bars of his cage." Webster and John Quincy Adams, taking counsel of their hopes, declared that the old man in the White House was in his dotage and at the end of his career.

A remarkable campaign ensued. While South Carolina prepared to put into effect its remedy of state intervention, the West and the lower South united, as in 1828, against the East. The gubernatorial contest in Kentucky, which came in August, showed that Clay had not regained his former hold on that State. From midsummer to November every effort was made to break the power of Jackson, but to no avail. Without the planter support of the older South the President proved stronger than he had been four years before with it; the plain people were now more of a unit than they had ever been before, though many of their number still voted for the industrial or planter interests. The outcome surprised all parties. Jackson received 219 electoral votes, while Clay received only 49. The popular majority over all other candidates, including William Wirt and John Floyd, for whom the Calhoun party of South Carolina cast its vote, was more than 125,000. No President has since received such a large proportion of the suffrages of the people. Only one Western State, Kentucky, supported Henry Clay; while Ohio, Pennsylvania, and New York gave Jackson larger majorities than ever. The alliance of the West and the up-country held together in spite of the untoward circumstances.

The significance of the election was that the President could rely upon the people in a fight with Congress; it was the first appeal to the country made over the heads of the national legislature. To this triumphant President, Calhoun and his ardent nullifiers must refer their case; the Bank would also have to reckon with a much stronger man than its spokesmen had contemplated.

Without awaiting the results of the election, Calhoun, Hayne, and their allies called South Carolina into special convention to consider the state of the Union. The nullification program was carried by safe majorities, despite the most strenuous resistance on the part of the minority who called themselves Unionists. South Carolina now formally declared the tariff laws of the United States suspended after February 1, 1833, unless the Federal Government gave some relief; and it was further declared that in case no relief were accorded, and the national authority should be enforced within the boundaries of their State, war would immediately ensue. The new governor, James Hamilton, and the legislature, which might be called into extra session at any time, were authorized to call out the militia, purchase arms, and organize for the conflict.

Meanwhile Jackson had been preparing for the contest in the Southwest. In 1827-28 all the legislatures of that region had declared the protective tariff unconstitutional and some had threatened secession. But after the election of 1828 these same legislatures refused to concur in the doctrines of nullification which South Carolina submitted to them. The situation had changed. John Quincy Adams, the New Englander, was President in 1828; Andrew Jackson, the Westerner and the most popular man in the country, was at the head of the Union in 1832. Besides, Jackson was already moving the Indians from the cotton lands, going so far as to acquiesce in the flagrant nullification of the federal law by the Georgia governor and legislature. The decision of the Supreme Court in favor of the Cherokees, who refused to surrender their lands, was publicly flouted by the President. It was plain that the planters of the Southwest would get what they wanted even if they had to violate treaties of the Federal Government. They refused to sustain South Carolina. Had not the President carried every county in Alabama and Mississippi in the recent election?

And in the older South the anti-national feeling had wonderfully cooled since 1828. North Carolina reversed her attitude; Tennessee would not consider Calhoun's plan of bringing the Union to terms. In Virginia the tobacco counties of the Piedmont section united with the tidewater counties and made a show of supporting South Carolina. New England men who had as recently as 1820 declared the protective system unconstitutional had no thought of maintaining such a doctrine when advocated by Calhoun.

Thus, instead of a solid group of planter States, South Carolina's proposed national referendum met with almost unanimous opposition. Jackson had undermined the party of Calhoun, which at the time of the break-up of the Cabinet in 1831 seemed more powerful in the South than any other. Jackson and Van Buren had proved to be master politicians, and when Congress met for the short session in December, 1832, it was plain that Calhoun was practically alone and that the President would have to deal with only one recalcitrant State.

From this vantage-ground, Jackson issued his proclamation of December 10, in which he plainly told South Carolina that the federal laws would be enforced at the point of the bayonet, and that, furthermore, the Union was an indissoluble nation, as Webster and himself had declared; and he at the same time urged upon Congress the so-called "Force Bill," granting him full power to punish all infractions of the national revenue laws. And now for the first time he expressed his real view that the tariff was unjust. The Verplanck Bill to reduce the tariff to a twenty-five per cent basis was the President's confession that Calhoun had been right. The two measures were pressed by the Administration, the one strongly national and supported by a strong majority, the other strongly Jacksonian and opposed by most of the leaders who desired to see Calhoun humiliated. It seemed almost certain, early in 1833, that this program would be carried out to the letter.

Such a victory for the Union forces and especially for Jackson was too much for the opposition. Henry Clay stopped in Philadelphia on his way to Washington and held a conference there with the industrial leaders of the Middle States. He went on to the capital with a plan of his own. Its purpose was to keep the control of things in the hands of the friends of the American System and to deprive the President of the prestige of settling the tariff and the nullification problems at the same time. He held a _carte blanche_ from the leading protected interests to do what he thought best. Webster and John Quincy Adams hesitated. They urged the passage of the "Force Bill" at once; but hoped to defeat the Verplanck measure, its counterpart. Clay made overtures to Calhoun, and Washington was surprised to see the two great antagonists associating and planning together, apparently in concert as of old when they forced the War of 1812 upon an unwilling President.

The "Force Bill" was to be accepted by the Calhoun men; but a new and final tariff measure was to take the place of the one upon which Jackson had set his heart. The famous compromise law of 1833 was the result. This gave the planters a reduction to twenty per cent, a lower rate than Jackson had offered, but the reductions were to be made gradually during a period of ten years, thus giving time for the industrial men to readjust their affairs without great losses. There was one joker in the scheme which the Southerners seem to have winked at: that which exempted the wool-growers of the Middle States and the West from the reductions. The author of the American System now hotly urged the men who a year ago would defy the "South, the Democratic party, and the Devil" to undo all their work. On March 1, three days before the close of the session, both the President's "Force Bill" and Clay's compromise tariff passed.

Meanwhile South Carolina, acting on Calhoun's advice, had postponed the enforcement of her nullifying ordinance, and now, as Congress adjourned, the former Vice-President, ill and greatly discouraged, hurried by rapid stages to Columbia to make sure that the crisis should be brought to a peaceful close. The convention was reassembled; an embassy from Virginia was on the ground urging peace, and, as was natural, the ordinance was repealed. The planters had really won a victory and the rising industrial groups understood this both at the time and later, when they clamored for the restoration of their privileges. The cotton and tobacco men, producing the larger part of the national exports, had shown their strength. Their opponents, the manufacturers and the bankers of the East, with a much greater income, were as yet not so strong as the planters. The West and the South were their markets, and concessions must be made; the Union was to them essential, while to the South, selling its huge crops in European markets, it was less important. As yet the West, with its hero the master in Washington, had obtained none of the reforms for which it had so long striven. Benton and his friends looked to the next Congress for results. Would they be disappointed?

Bibliographical Note

_The Messages and Papers of the Presidents_ (1900), vol. _II_, gives Jackson's official statements. Bassett's and Parton's biographies, already mentioned, are still very serviceable. There is no full biography of Clay, but C. Colton's _The Private Life of Henry Clay_ contains some of Clay's letters. Carl Schurz's _Henry Clay_ and T. H. Clay's _Henry Clay_, already noted, offer some good information. The best source for Calhoun is J. F. Jameson's _The Correspondence of John C. Calhoun_ (1899). G. Hunt's _Life of Calhoun_ (1908), in _American Crises_ series, is excellent, while D. F. Houston's _Critical Study of Nullification_, already referred to, and W. E. Dodd's _Calhoun_, in _Statesmen of the Old South_ (1911), offer still further information as to Calhoun and nullification. C. H. Van Tyne's _Letters of Daniel Webster_ (1902) supplies information about Webster which is lacking in the older _Works_ by Everett (1851) or F. Webster (1857). H. C. Lodge's _Daniel Webster_, in _American Statesmen_ series and J. B. McMaster's _Daniel Webster_ (1902) are the standard biographies. Thomas H. Benton has told his own story in his _Thirty Years' View_ (1854), though Roosevelt's _Thomas Hart Benton_, in the _American Statesmen_, and W. M. Meigs's _Thomas Hart Benton_, in the _American Crises_ series, are good brief portraits. William McDonald's _The Jacksonian Democracy_ (1906), in the _American Nation_ series, is an excellent general survey, while E. Stanwood's _American Tariff Controversies_ (1903) is the best account of the tariff disputes.