Our seventh and twenty-sixth presidents, Andrew Jackson and Theodore Roosevelt are both recognized for their subsequent impact on history. These two men are considered two of the greatest presidents of our history for their reformative actions. Despite their obvious differences such as backgrounds, time period and political stand points, their personalities, moral opinions, and character link each another. Furthermore, the different contributions that both presidents have made have left a great impact on the history of the United States.
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The two opposing political parties today, Democrat and Republican, were also the different standpoints of Presidents Jackson and Roosevelt. Andrew Jackson’s presidency, also known as the “Jacksonian Democracy” was based on the ideals of the old Republican party of Jefferson. It positioned itself around a limited government, white male suffrage and strong state governments. The Democratic Party mostly consisted of people like Jackson himself- Southern farmers, Westerners and urban workers. Theodore Roosevelt however, differed completely. Born into wealth, he automatically took the position of any other wealthy men, northern businessmen and professional workers- a Republican. Republicanism, based on former Whigs, and free-soil Democrats believed in supporting banks, business and gold standard- the complete opposite of democratic ideals. The different time periods of Jackson and Roosevelt’s presidencies also increased their dissimilarities because of the different issues each had to suffice. Due to the time difference of approximately 70 years from when Jackson was in office to Roosevelt’s administration, the different time periods have emerged and resolved different social issues. Because Jackson’s term in office lasted from 1829-1837, his presidency concerned social issues that did not also exist during Roosevelt’s term which lasted from 1901 to 1909. For example, Roosevelt is responsible for adding the corollary to the Monroe Doctrine which expanded it and authorized the United States to intervene with any foreign powers and affairs. This was a result of the Venezuelan incident with Great Britain and Germany. Germany and Great Britain were attempting to collect money owed them by Venezuela, but Roosevelt considered this a violation of the Monroe Doctrine. He then “took out his big stick” and ordered a U.S. fleet to the coast of Venezuela. It was then decided by the British, Germany and Venezuela to negotiate with Roosevelt as their mediator. This declaration was called the Roosevelt Corollary. Rather than letting Europeans intervene in Latin America, Roosevelt declared that the United States would intervene instead. Roosevelt, unlike Jackson, had to encounter foreign matters such as the Venezuelan incident, and the Panama Canal. Nevertheless, Jackson also had to resolve other issues that did not exist in the later years, the opposition and dispute of the National Bank, the issue of the Nullification theory and the debate over the Indian Removal Act of 1830. These two men with different views however, had the same approach to dealing and reforming America- they did not have the same ideals but they both had the same moral principles and same approaches in resolution and reformation.
Theodore Roosevelt and Andrew Jackson were both known for their “tough”, aggressive tactics in resolving issues and these two presidents have shown activism in government. President Roosevelt, who did not only believe in Republican ideals, was also considered a “Progressive President” for the social reformations he completed. Roosevelt, unlike his precedent Republican presidents did not only side with big business, but tried to mediate the workers and their employers instead. In 1902, the United Mine Workers held a strike and Roosevelt became the first President to intervene in a labor management dispute by forcing both sides to settle on a compromise. This was called the “Square Deal” for labor. It helped improve the equality between laborers and workers rather than just siding with the wealthy as former presidents have always done. Roosevelt further increased reformation when he enforced the Sherman Antitrust Act, regulated railroads, and passed laws such as the Pure Food and Drug Act and the Meat Inspection Act. During his two terms, he helped increase labor standards which helped the poor, and working class. Andrew Jackson, as a Southern famer, also revolved his presidency around helping and favoring the low, working and middle class. Jackson believed that the bank hurt the working class and only benefitted the upper classes and therefore vetoed the second re-chartering of the National Bank. He once said “It is to be regretted that the rich and powerful too often bend the acts of government to their own selfish purposes.” (sfgjkkdfjsodkfj) It was Jackson’s belief that the bank hurt the working class while benefiting the wealthy upper class, and he never stood for the disenfranchisement of the working class. The bank’s charter expired in 1836 after Jackson refused to renew it and used one of his presidential vetoes to override congressional votes. This was one of many battles that Jackson felt strongly about, fought, and won. Similarly, Roosevelt fought against institutions he felt harmed the working class.
Both these presidents believed in actively participating in the government but still, these actions could not have been achieved if it weren’t for the unconventional techniques they used. These two war-time heroes displayed their aggression in dealing with political issues. For example, Theodore Roosevelt had only accomplished the Square Deal by threatening to take over the mines with his federal troops if they did not compromise. He also displayed hostility while dealing with foreign affairs, referred to as the “Big-Stick” policy by acting boldly and decisively and intimidating other foreign powers. Jackson also threatened and used aggression to achieve what he wanted. During the nullification theory crisis, Jackson debated against John C. Calhoun of South Carolina against the tariff of 1828. Calhoun argued that each state had the right to decide whether to obey a law or to declare it null and could leave the union. Jackson, who wanted to preserve the union, passed the Force Bill which gave him the authority to use military action against any state who threatened the union. At the same time, he privately threatened to kill Calhoun by public hanging. Calhoun gave into Jackson’s demands and compromised, thus upholding the tariff without bloodshed and winning a battle against the doctrine of nullification. And although the Indian Removal Act of 1830 was ultimately overturned in the case of Worcester v. Georgia, he supported forcing the Cherokee Indians to move and resettle in the West of the Mississippi to satisfy American citizens. In effect, both these presidents earned the reputations of being “tough” because of their assertive actions. They both believed in the morality of helping the working class and used aggression to achieve reformation.
Reform of social equality for the common man was the principle improvement during both administrations, but Jackson and Roosevelt found different institutions to reform. The contributions and accomplishments that Jackson made during his presidency were mostly political- the spoils system, the pet banks, and the specie circular. Andrew Jackson started the spoils system which rewarded people to federal jobs for one term if they voted for his Democratic party. Because he did not believe in a national bank which he considered to be “constitutionally impute, socially unequal, corrupted and instable”, (ndfujsfkgjdfg) he vetoed the re-charter of the second bank and withdrew all federal funds and transferred them to various state banks referred to as pet banks. He then hoped to help the effect of inflation by requiring purchases of federal land to be made in gold and silver rather than in paper banknotes. The contributions that Roosevelt made were predominantly social- the Panama Canal, the Roosevelt Corollary, railroad regulation, the Square Deal of labor, natural conservation and regulatory laws. Roosevelt also worked to “trust-bust” by enforcing Sherman Act and protective tariffs effectively. He also supported bills for shorter workdays for women and children and state safety inspection of factories. “When these bills passed, he appointed inspectors to oversee enforcement of the new rules. He was applauded by working people, social workers, union officials, and citizensâ€¦” (Whitelaw, 107) Of the two, President Roosevelt had a greater impact on American history because unlike President Jackson, Roosevelt’s reformative actions and policies are still adequate today. The actions by President Jackson were however, later reversed or repealed. Although his spoil system helped build a strong two-party system, it was later criticized for being corrupted and was later destroyed. Jackson’s pet banks eventually caused inflation and specie circular did not help the crisis but instead caused the Panic of 1837. This too was eventually overturned and formed into what we have today, a national bank and paper money. President Roosevelt, known as the first modern president has made a bigger impact because his ideals have lasted and has helped politically improve the nation. Trust-busting, the square deal and railroad regulation has economically and morally helped the low working class, and regulatory laws have improved consumer protection. Roosevelt also set aside 150 million acres of land to help build parks. His nature conservation is one of the biggest impacts that still exist today. Though they improved different areas of society, the impacts of their actions were significant.
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Both Roosevelt and Jackson took on duties that Presidents before them would not have imagined. Their assertive personalities allowed them to get things done that other presidents could not have achieved. They are known as presidents who have set lessons for future leaders. For example, “Jackson stood up against a strong British army and won. That gave him the courage to take on foes like the Second U.S. Bank” (Kliff) and Theodore Roosevelt
“understood the power of personality and how much it can aid a president’s success.” (Kliff) They protected the common man, and stood up for the working class. Jackson worked to cripple an aristocracy driven, government monopoly in the Second Bank of the United States. Roosevelt used his power to foster a settlement between miners and their employers who mistreated them. They pioneered new policies, while ensuring old laws already in place. Although Roosevelt and Jackson’s lives and presidencies were not exactly similar, they share some very unique parallels such as their moral principles and characteristics.
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