Isaiah, age 14
by Isaiah Durand
Taken Off the Shelf
Hidden, as it were, deep in the pages of an ancient manuscript, the true story and lesson of Andrew Jackson, the seventh President of the United States, has been laid on a shelf, unheeded, and nearly forgotten. Born on March 15, 1767, Jackson was raised in Tennessee and had a fascinating early life. However, passing over this and his extraordinary military achievements through which he gained public recognition, Jackson's major contributions to history fall in some of his actions as President.
Elected in 1828, one of Andrew Jackson's important goals was to abolish the second Central Bank. Since most of the stock was held by foreigners and because it was subject to political abuse and corruption, Jackson felt it unwise to concentrate the nation's financial strength in a single institution. Having received a 20 year charter during James Madison's presidency, the National Bank's destruction was in Jackson's reach when he successfully vetoed the renewal of its charter in 1832. Withdrawing U.S. funds from it a year later, Andrew Jackson sealed the death warrant of the Central Bank and began a chapter which would lead to his next great accomplishment.
On January 8th, 1835, Andrew Jackson paid off the entire national debt of the United States of America, the one and only time in history this has been achieved. Having previously learned from unhappy experience to hate debt, personal and national, he considered it to be a moral failure. Therefore, once he was President, Andrew Jackson determined to make the United States a debt-free nation. Assisted by an advantageous real-estate bubble in the west, Jackson began to sell federal land located there. Besides that, he blocked every government spending bill possible. In only six years, the complete debt of $58 million had disappeared and the government was solvent, a unique achievement in the volume of U.S. history.
A fitting climax of the story of Andrew Jackson's life would be his attempted assassination. As Jackson was departing from the Capitol on January 30, 1835, the would-be murderer drew two pistols and fired at the President. They both misfired! It has been suggested that the humidity of the weather contributed to the double misfire. Whether or not it is true that Jackson attacked him with his cane, as legend says, his assailant was overcome and detained. Public curiosity led to the pistols being tested multiple times, in which they always worked flawlessly. This providential victory over his enemies is an appropriate culmination of Jackson's story.
Having arrived at the final chapter of this great champion's true story, the lessons to be learned in this ancient script are still relevant today. Andrew Jackson showed courage and fortitude in the face of opposition by rich, powerful bankers and would-be assassins. Most importantly, he successfully dismantled the second Central Bank and completely paid off the national debt. His is a remarkable story that needs to be taken off the shelf, heeded, and remembered if the United States is to continue as a prosperous and blessed nation.