Andy Jackson: Deserving of Dishonor

Andy Jackson: Deserving of Dishonor March 21, 2015

Andrew Jackson was a maniac, racist, and perpetrator of a lawless attempt at genocide. Andy Jackson was a war hero (War of 1812) and if there is a monument to his deeds in that battle, he earned it. There is a memorial to Benedict Arnold’s heroism in the Battle of Saratoga after all. Leave his battlefield memorial and let him rest in peace with moral failures like Arnold.

Outside of the battle of New Orleans, the American nation should apologize for having put the Father of the Democratic Party in the White House and after putting him there, for not impeaching him for high crimes and misdemeanors. Do I exaggerate? Shouldn’t we cut old Andy some slack because he lived so long ago? After all, he didn’t grow up on Sesame Street, but was ill-educated and abused. Sadly, there is no excuse for the man Jackson was: not in history, not in Christianity, not in practical politics.

I stand against Andy Jackson
I stand against Andy Jackson

Andy Jackson was a moral monster and he should have known better. Christianity would have instructed him if he had paid attention to the Faith outside of the narrow limits of  the United States. He was no hero and he engaged in antichrist behavior.

Moral progress is real inside of Christianity as we move  toward justice, chastity, and liberty. The concepts of the New Testament were hard to digest and on issues such as torture, it took Christians hundreds of years to learn moral lessons. We always knew that we had to love our enemies, but the temptation to rationalize evils for “their good” was very great.

By the time of the founding of America, slavery was morally indefensible from a global Christian perspective. The “peculiar institution” was peculiar because Americans had to cut themselves off from Christian history, the judgment of the Church universal over time, and the evidence of their own senses to justify the deeds done. The rest of Christendom mostly shuddered in horror as they looked at American moral cowardice. Critics of the republics could point to the lash as a good reason to dismiss our nattering about “liberty” as cant and the Founders as moral hypocrites.

And our critics were right: we were hypocritical. The blood of the Civil War was the downpayment of the price we are still paying for the evils done by race-based slavery. Does this mean the Founders cannot be honored or admired?

Washington was a slaveholder. He knew better and he deserves the judgment of moral cowardice that is now made about his refusal to free his slaves until after the death of his wife. There is some mitigation in his upbringing and in the fact that he did eventually free his slaves. George Washington was a gentleman, won the Revolutionary War, and helped create a stable nation as our magnificent first president. He refrained from seizing dictatorial powers when he easily could have had them. Washington was a great man with a great moral problem.

Jackson was a slaveholder who should have known better, but who called abolitionists “monsters” He might have “hoped” slavery would vanish through some act of Providence, but he did not have the courage to free his slaves. He was an anti-intellectual and a boor. About the best that can be said of his election is that it set the precedent that meant a man like Abraham Lincoln, outside the normal elite, could hold the office, but it is his treatment of Native Americans that washes out any good “Old Hickory” might have done for  the nation.

Jackson encouraged lawlessness in state and local government in removing Indian nations from land that was their own. He defied the Supreme Court when it refused to sanction his thievery. His chief motives in removing the Native Americans were racism and greed. There was no excuse for what he did: Christians of the time knew better or should have known better. His actions led to the Trail of Tears which murdered thousands.  For the modern Democratic Party to hold a dinner in the name of Jackson is to celebrate getting away with murder.

If that were not enough, his administration was foolish, stoking class envy, and bringing the predictable economic depression. His wrongheaded crusade against the Bank of the United States has more than a touch of mania. He was not just a knave, but a fool. Tear down his statues and put a disclaimer on any shrine built to his memory. Remove Andy Jackson from the twenty and put a representative of the Cherokee nation, preferably a courageous person like John Ross who resisted Jackson, on the bill.

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