The presidency changed in distinct ways under Andrew Jackson and Herbert Hoover. Hoover is widely considered as a weak president due to his failure to deal with the Great Depression of 1929, much how Jackson has been called an autocrat or a dictator by his opponents due to his excessive abuses of power. When Andrew Jackson becomes president, he will usher in a new era of reforms never before seen in the Oval Office. After Herbert Hoover leaves office, strong political wills like Franklin Delano Roosevelt's will lead to an expansion of presidential powers. Because of the failure of Hoover's laissez-faire economic policies, future presidents are likely to choose to intervene more heavily in economic matters. Jackson did it explicitly, while Hoover did so subtly, yet both men altered the role of president.
Since Jackson was so powerful as president, his administration is sometimes referred to as "the Age of Jackson" (M., and Nelson 122). A new era in American politics began with Jackson's presidency. Jackson was the first president of the United States who was not a member of the aristocracy, a class that had previously controlled American politics. This is why Jackson was able to connect with the average person. The federal government will expand by a factor of two under his presidency, a new class of professional politicians will emerge, powerful party machines will be established, and the first party convention will be conducted (lecture 2/14/11). The spoils system, named after Jackson's practise of rewarding loyalists with government jobs, was established during his presidency. It was during Jackson's 1828 campaign that political groups first played a significant role in securing voter support (M., and Nelson 123). Voter turnout was significantly higher than in previous elections, drawing widespread attention to the process for the first time (M., and Nelson 123) Due to the elimination of requirements such as property ownership or literacy, many more males were granted the franchise during this time period. As a result, members of the working class and middle class became increasingly politically active. As president, Jackson opened up new vistas of power for politicians.
Jackson significantly elevated the presidency throughout his presidency. Representatives of Congress, according to Jackson, solely have the people of their state in mind, whereas the president has the people of the United States at heart (M., and Nelson 126). The presidential veto was fundamentally changed by Jackson's use of it. Historically, the presidential veto has only been invoked when the president was certain that a law was illegal. Because he disagreed with official policy, Jackson was the first president to employ it. Additionally, he exercised the veto power more frequently than any other president in U.S. history. In the instance of the Second Bank Charter of the United States, Jackson used his veto to stop a policy he disagreed with. The Supreme Court upheld the bank's legality in McCulloch v. Maryland (M., and Nelson 127). Jackson did not agree with their verdict since he believed the bank was harmful to the country, therefore he vetoed the legislation. Jackson's defiance of the Supreme Court was not an isolated incident.
In Jackson's view, the executive branch should have equal footing with the legislative and judicial branches. Jackson was the first president to pick and choose which laws he would and would not enforce, despite the fact that it is the responsibility of the executive branch to do so. Jackson advocated a programme of forcible relocation of Native Americans to the western United States. The Supreme Court ruled in Worcester v. Georgia that state legislation conflicting with federal Indian treaty law was unconstitutional. According to the decision, the federal government must likewise take action to prevent trespassing by American individuals on Indian country. Angry, Jackson proclaimed, "John Marshall has made his decision; now let him implement it." M. and N. Nelson, p. The Indian Removal Act of 1830 was enacted thanks to Jackson's signature. As a result, some Native American groups were given the green light to be forcibly relocated. By showing that the executive can get away with not executing a law, Jackson bolstered the authority of the presidency.
The central government, in Jackson's view, was above all others, including the states. According to Jackson, a state that chooses to disregard a federal order is "incompatible with the survival of the Union, contradicted plainly by the language of the Constitution..." This is supported by a large body of research (M., and Nelson 123). The Tariff of Abominations was a southern tariff law that was repealed by South Carolina in 1828. (M., and Nelson 123). Even if Jackson disagreed with the tariff, he still found this to be outrageous. To impose the tariff in South Carolina, Jackson assembled an army. The Compromise Duty of 1833, negotiated and enacted by Henry Clay, reduced the initial tariff and averted disaster. By maintaining the precedent of federal dominance over the states by whatever means necessary, Jackson's display of power in this incident bolstered the federal government and the president. Herbert Hoover's presidency will not see any such expansion of presidential authority as that of Andrew Jackson.
Before becoming president, Hoover worked as a food administrator for Wilson during World War I and as secretary of commerce under Harding and Coolidge (M., and Nelson 271). Hoover had a stellar reputation before to taking office. His good name would be ruined in a year at most. Jackson was a "loose constructionist," meaning he believed the Constitution only prohibited him from doing what was specifically forbidden by the Constitution, whereas Hoover was a "strict constructionist," thinking he had only the powers specifically granted to him by the Constitution. When the Great Depression began in 1929, Hoover appeared helpless to stop its devastating consequences, contributing to the public's perception of him as a weak leader. Initially, Hoover played down the impact of the market crisis, but as time went on and nothing improved, Hoover refused to budge from his laissez-faire stance. Franklin Delano Roosevelt, the next president, will learn from Hoover's passivity and greatly expand the size of the federal government, concurrently expanding the power of the presidency.
It's likely that Hoover's efforts to improve the economy would fail. He was responsible for enacting the Smoot-Hawley tariff in 1830. (M., and Nelson 273). This resulted in a 100% increase in the tariff rate applied to imported products. The idea was to shield domestic industries from encroaching international rivals. However, this strategy backfired when other countries responded by imposing tariffs of their own on American exports. The Reconstruction Finance Corporation was founded by Hoover in 1932. Its mandate was to extend credit to corporate entities like banks and government agencies rather than private citizens (M., and Nelson 275). Hoover anticipated that this would have a domino effect. This was as far as Hoover would go, however, because he was opposed to the more socialist relief measures that his successor would institute. One may argue that Hoover's inability to mitigate the Great Depression's impact paved the way for Roosevelt's rise to prominence.
Although in separate ways, Presidents Andrew Jackson and Herbert Hoover both expanded their authority. Jackson accomplished it directly through his aggressive use of executive authority. When it came to the Federal Reserve Bank, he disregarded the will of Congress. By altering the veto's future use, he emphasised the federal government's primacy over the states and altered the way future presidents would utilise the veto. The perspective of Alexis de Tocqueville on Jackson's administration is worth considering. The president's authority is dwindling while that of General Jackson is expanding. If he leaves office, his successor will inherit a federal government that is weaker than it is now. He worries that the fact that President Andrew Jackson was so strong may cause the federal government, and especially Congress, to try to limit presidential power in the future. Hoover expanded the presidency while mostly ignoring it. Since it was so unsuccessful, future presidents will likely abuse their authority by enacting arbitrary new powers whenever they encounter a crisis. While both Jackson and Hoover left their mark on the presidency, they did it in very different ways.
M., Sidney, and Michael Nelson. The American presidency: origins and development, 1776-2007. Fifth Edition. Cq Staff Directories, 2007. 121-131, 271-275. Print