Andrew Jackson As A Treason Project - Pt 3
April 29, 2012 • 3:14PM

By Anton Chaitkin

This report was originally published in Executive Intelligence Review in December 2007 as part of The American Patriot series. We have published it here as part of a blog series. This is the third and final installment. Part 1 Part 2


Van Buren and the Slave Power Bargain

But Jackson's elevation to the White House was only achieved after the Burr clique brought about a newly unified oligarchy, under the management of Martin Van Buren, who was known universally as "the Little Magician," the most cunning, artful intriguer.19Frontier political leader David Crockett, who was to die at the Alamo, wrote that Van Buren was appropriately caricatured in his day as "half fox and half monkey, [or] half snake and half mink, [the cartoonists] designating him by some animal that most resembled his traits of character." David Crockett, The Life of Martin Van Buren (New York: Nafis & Cornish, 1845), p. 101. Crockett contrasts the manipulable, revenge-mad Jackson and the calculating Van Buren.

Van Buren was described as very agreeable and urbane, with impeccable manners, even if he were stabbing someone in the back. An unbeliever, he would attend a politically useful Sunday worship service, dressed in "white duck trousers, snuff-colored broadcloth coat, a tie of brilliant orange, a vest of pearl hue, and yellow kid gloves...."20Robert V. Remini, Martin Van Buren and the Making of the Democratic Party (New York: Columbia University Press, 1959), p. 190.

Martin Van Buren, at about age 18, was picked up and initiated into politics by Aaron Burr. In 1801-02, William P. Van Ness, Burr's aide in charge of local political arrangements, took Van Buren into his law office and trained him as an attorney. Burr, then the Vice President, and Van Ness brought Van Buren as apprentice into the New York Tammany Hall organization created by Burr. In 1804, Van Ness served as Burr's intermediary with Alexander Hamilton in making the challenge and securing the fatal duel. Van Ness fled, along with Samuel Swartwout's brother, to avoid prosecution.

Van Buren swiftly ascended to power in New York State, along the way opposing the plan to build the Erie Canal, then shifting to position himself in authority over the canal when its construction proved overwhelmingly popular. He and his followers mocked the 1812 declaration of war against Britain, and tried to whip up a mob spirit against the Madison Administration. Later, when the Federalist Party was dead, Van Buren condemned his opponents as Federalists.

He entered the U.S. Senate in 1821. Van Buren had by then assembled a New York State ruling apparatus nicknamed the Albany Regency, which had many of the trappings of Stalinism a century later. Judges, newspapers, banks, social and political institutions which were not directly controlled by the Regency, must follow the party line or suffer serious consequences. Dissent, breaking "party unity," was an unpardonable offense. Candidates were chosen in closed sessions called "caucuses," and the Regency aimed to direct the appointment or election to every level of public office in the state, down to the smallest local posting. The only real doctrine of the party, was that government will do nothing that might interfere with the interest of Wall Street.21Van Buren initiated a law to insure the banks in the state, a "government interference" which supported Wall Street's power.

Leading this Democracy, the new Senator Van Buren went on the attack against President Monroe. The national unity behind the administration, fed by Monroe's non-partisan appointments and acceptance of former Federalists as allies, was stifling American democracy, Van Buren charged.

Van Buren made his first in a series of trips to the South in March 1822. To counteract the North-South republican alliance, best represented by the politics of Secretary of War John C. Calhoun, Van Buren began seeking a New York-Virginia alliance, based on the power of unbridled aristocracy.

In 1823, he took up a crusade to boost the anti-nationalist, "states' rights" Georgian, William H. Crawford, for President. He also worked to isolate Calhoun from his allies outside the South—to make Calhoun adhere to Southern sectionalism, or be crushed.

Calhoun counterattacked. His staunch allies, Gen. Winfield Scott; Gen. Joseph Gardiner Swift, the former West Point superintendent; and Samuel Gouverneur, President Monroe's son-in-law, founded in 1823 The Patriot, a New York political newspaper devoted to bringing down Van Buren. The Calhoun paper struck at Van Buren's power by demanding a change in New York election law, to allow citizens, not the Van Buren-run state legislature, to vote for the U.S. Presidency.22This election reform was finally adopted over Van Buren's opposition, but the Albany Regency continued to rule New York through the 1820s and 1830s. For the anti-Van Buren paper The Patriot, see Anton Chaitkin, "The Patriot Files, Unearthed," EIR, Oct. 27, 2007, www.larouchepac.com/files/pdfs/patriot_file_unearthed.pdf.

In 1823, Van Buren visited Richmond and secured a union between his organization and that of Thomas Ritchie, leader of the "states' rights" radicals in Virginia Calhoun wrote to Monroe's son-in-law, "Between the Regency at Albany and the junto at Richmond there is a vital connection. They give and receive hope from each other, and confidently expect to govern this nation."23Calhoun to Samuel Gouverneur, Nov. 9, 1823, quoted in Remini, op cit., footnote 20, page 41.

Faced with an Adams-Clay Administration and a steamroller of American industrialization, Van Buren sought a vehicle to fundamentally reorient U.S. politics. The means selected was Jackson's military-hero Presidential candidacy, deceptively presented to the public as a continuation of nationalist aspirations, while a contrary, anti-national machine was locked into power behind Jackson.

Van Buren wrote in January 1827 to Thomas Ritchie in 1827, calling for a great political combination "between the planters of the south and the plain Republicans of the North"—the plain Republicans meaning the London-New York financiers' axis. He rebuked the "prejudice" against "the Southern Influence" and against "African Slavery." Van Buren wrote that the "all powerful sympathy" Northerners felt for Southern slaveowners "has been much weakened, if not, destroyed by the amalgamating policy of Mr. Monroe."24Van Buren to Thomas Ritchie, Jan. 13, 1827, Ibid., pp. 131-132. In April 1827, Ritchie and his Richmond junto accepted Van Buren's plan for a seizure of power behind Jackson.

James Monroe, in his first (1817) Inaugural Address, had warned the people never to act as a bestial anti-government mob, manipulated by populist demagogues. Such degradation would lead to the loss of the republic: "It is only when the people become ignorant and corrupt, when they degenerate into a populace, that they are incapable of exercising the sovereignty. Usurpation is then an easy attainment, and an usurper soon found. The people themselves become the willing instruments of their own debasement and ruin. Let us, then, look to the great cause, and endeavor to preserve it in full force. Let us by all wise and constitutional measures promote intelligence among the people as the best means of preserving our liberties...."25The Inaugural Addresses of the Presidents (New York: Gramercy Books, 1997), page 53.

The populace Monroe warned against, roaring its approval for the people's hero, elected Jackson in 1828. Jackson's managers projected directly contrary images of the candidate to the different sections. The North voted for a protectionist Jackson; the Southern voters chose the states' rights Jackson.


The Jackson Presidency

Martin Van Buren was appointed Secretary of State. Under his guidance, Jackson inexorably moved to break apart the nationalist consensus of the previous era, vetoing Congressional acts for Western transportation projects, and wrecking the Bank of the United States.

Meanwhile Van Buren proceeded to finish off Calhoun, who had been re-elected Vice President after backing Jackson. Van Buren resuscitated an old letter Calhoun had written attacking Jackson's conduct as a general, thus driving Jackson into a revenge-mad fit against Calhoun.

South Carolina's Anglophile establishment, drumming up hysteria over slave revolts and Northern "oppressive tariffs," put Calhoun in a pincers movement. He cracked, and became the main spokesman for a state's right to nullify Federal laws. South Carolina's threat of nullification of the tariff laws was the first serious Southern secession threat.

In this growing crisis, Jackson was steered away from outright disunion by advisors such as Poinsett and Houston. They turned Van Buren's dirty work to good advantage, directing Jackson's personal rage at Calhoun into a positive stance against the threats from Calhoun's state.

On this one count, turning back South Carolina's Nullification, Jackson is blithely denominated a "nationalist"!

But the deal he struck with the South was a severe moral and economic setback for the country. It was agreed that the tariff would in fact be rolled back, to suit the slaveowners and the British.

And to get other Southern states' cooperation, Jackson ordered the Army to evict the Cherokee Indians from land that the United States had guaranteed to them by solemn treaty. Thousands of Cherokees died on the resultant "Trail of Tears," exiled 1,000 miles away to the western wilderness. Georgia rowdies, up-and-coming Masons such as Howell Cobb, demanded the Cherokees' land on the rumor that there was gold underneath it. Georgia's governor ordered the arrest of U.S. government-financed Protestant missionaries who were teaching the Cherokees mathematics, science, and literature. This Indian education program had deeply embarrassed the slave system, which had no public schools even for whites. In the cultural desolation of the South, it gave the slaves a nearby example of intellect and advancement, and it demonstrated that the Southern way of life was anti-Christian.

In his perfidy, Jackson ignored an order of the Supreme Court confirming the treaty rights of the Cherokees. The Chief Executive famously said: It was Justice John Marshall's decision, so let him enforce it—and Jackson slaughtered those who were under his lawful protection. His lifelong racist treachery towards the Indians marked Jackson off sharply from his colleagues Sam Houston and David Crockett, who followed the Benjamin Franklin-George Washington policy of amity and peace.

Jackson was usually a rather loud chauvinist, but his foreign policy was the most nakedly pro-British of any administration up to his time. The first challenge to the Monroe Doctrine came in 1833, when the British Navy seized and Britain occupied Argentina's Malvinas Islands, strategically located in the Atlantic on the route to Cape Horn. Jackson backed the British takeover, and threatened to send U.S. forces to "punish" the Argentines for asserting their sovereignty over the islands, which the British called the Falklands.

The Bank of the United States, which Jackson was to destroy, was the chief instrument for American national resistance to the British Empire and the City of London financial power.

It is chiefly due to Jackson's breaking of the Bank, that academic historians and grossly misinformed populists say that "Andrew Jackson didn't trust the bankers," and "Jackson was for the little people, against the aristocrats."

Congress had chartered the second Bank of the United States (for 20 years) in 1816. Seven years later, in 1823, James Monroe appointed his former diplomatic aide and Latin American intelligence officer Nicholas Biddle as the Bank's president.

Biddle was an outstanding Greek scholar, his Philadelphia family passionate republicans whom Benjamin Franklin had included in his personal "junto."

Biddle had earned appointment as a leading campaigner for re-establishing the Bank of the United States after its original charter had expired in 1811. He explained that without a national bank, working people were defenseless against the usury of the British Empire and its allied financiers:

"Without credit or money, while your commerce is stopped and your manufactures languish ... [in] the total want of money, the demand for specie [coins] will place the poorer classes at the mercy of the rich, and the great money lenders will issue abroad to prey upon their fellow citizens. In the general submersion of small traders, the only beings who will be seen floating on the wreck are those very 'monied aristocrats' whom the [anti-Bank] resolutions denounce with such indignation."26Speech to the Pennsylvania Senate, Jan. 8, 1811, quoted in Thomas Payne Govan, Nicholas Biddle: Nationalist and Public Banker, 1786-1844 (Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 1959), pp. 31-32.

Under Biddle's presidency, the second Bank steered the national economy upward, with precision and vigor. Railroads were introduced, with heavy local and state government spending for their construction. The Bank invested in railroads and purposefully bid up the price of their securities. Canal projects, which opened up the West to settlers and brought coal out to create American industry, were backed to the hilt by Biddle's Bank.

When London or Wall Street drove the prices of some commodity too high or too low, Biddle intervened into the market to counteract the speculators, and restore steady growth and prosperity for the producers. Biddle used the Bank of the United States in the same war that Alexander Hamilton had fought, against the international bankers who claimed the right to dictate to the world.

Under the advice of two particular men, Wall Street's Martin Van Buren, and Baltimore slaveocrat Roger Taney, Jackson vetoed the bill to renew the charter for the Bank of the United States, and ordered the removal of the government's deposits from the Bank. These actions ended the protective and nurturing role the Bank had played in the American economy. After the 1836 expiration of the Bank's Federal charter, the Bank of England and British merchants withdrew loans and investments from the financially helpless republic. Jackson also issued an order known as the "specie circular," prohibiting settlers from purchasing public lands with anything but gold or silver. These measures combined to drastically shrink available credit, and threw the country into a chaotic depression-collapse in 1837.

The Bank of the United States, located on Chestnut Street in Philadelphia, run by Biddle and the Pennsylvania nationalists, had controlled American credit to the advantage of internal industry, and subdued the influence of the private banker-oligarchs centered in New York. The latter wanted to have all government finances run through a new "government depositary" controlled by Wall Street—just like today's Federal Reserve. Biddle wrote in 1833, that Jackson's war against the Bank was "a mere contest between Mr. Van Buren's government bank and the present institution—between Chestnut Street and Wall Street-between a Faro [card-game] bank and a national one."

The leading American players in the attack on the Bank were

Martin Van Buren, Secretary of State 1829-31, ambassador to Britain 1831, Vice President 1833-37, President 1837-41;

John Jacob Astor, New York slumlord and international fur and opium trader, who had been started in business in London by the British East India Company in the 1780s; Astor was chief owner of the Bank of the Manhattan, founded by Aaron Burr, and later called Chase Manhattan Bank;

Churchill C. Cambreleng, Van Buren's chief lieutenant in the House of Representatives and a paid agent of Astor;

Alexander Brown & Sons, Baltimore and London merchant bankers who got their start serving the enemy British in the War of 1812, and financed 75% of the slave cotton going to England. Brown Brothers Harriman was a later descendant of that firm;

Roger B. Taney (pronounced "tawny"), Baltimore lawyer and banker, U.S. Attorney General 1831-33, Treasury Secretary 1833-34, Chief Justice of the U.S. Supreme Court (appointed by Jackson) 1836-64;

Thomas Hart Benton, U.S. Senator from Missouri, who got a law enacted overthrowing the government monopoly on the fur trade (instituted by George Washington to protect the Indians and the nation from British intrigues), in favor of the Astor company. Then he became counsel to the Astor company. Benton called the government fur-trade monopoly a "monster," and later called the Bank of the United States a "monster" as well.

Roger Taney drew up Jackson's veto of the Bank recharter. Jackson fired two successive Treasury Secretaries, who wouldn't remove the government deposits from the Bank of the United States. He then appointed Taney, who removed the deposits; Taney put the money into the Union Bank of Baltimore, of which Taney himself was co-owner and chief counsel, into John Jacob Astor's Bank of the Manhattan, and several other "pet banks."

Taney was from the nastiest element of Maryland's Anglophile, fox-hunting, slave-plantation aristocracy, and was a leader of the Boston-run Federalist Party. When John Quincy Adams ran for President in 1824, Taney backed Jackson against him, and went from being a Federalist to a Jackson Democrat without missing a step. In Congress in 1834, Adams skewered Taney with this sarcastic proposal: "Resolved that the thanks of the House be given to Roger B. Taney, Secretary of the Treasury, for his pure and disinterested patriotism in transferring the use of the public funds from the Bank of the United States, where they were profitable to the people, to the Union Bank of Baltimore, where they were profitable to himself." Adams' speech containing this mock resolution was suppressed by the Jackson forces in Congress, so he privately printed it, and Nicholas Biddle distributed 50,000 copies; a copy is in the Library of Congress rare book collection.

This same Roger B. Taney, as Chief Justice in 1857, wrote the Supreme Court's infamous Dred Scott decision. Taney ruled that black people could never be U.S. citizens, and that the slave Dred Scott was not legally free by having gone into the Northwest Federal territories, where Congress had outlawed slavery, because—according to Taney—Congress had no Constitutional power to prohibit slavery in the territories. Abraham Lincoln enraged his opponents by declaring that the Dred Scott decision was part of a "conspiracy" by Taney and other anti-national operatives.

Jackson's Chief Justice Taney, during the Civil War, held that the government had no right to stop the breakup of the Union. Taney worked constantly with pro-Confederate intriguers in Maryland, although that state remained in the Union. He sought the arrest of U.S. military officers, because they were obeying Lincoln's orders to stop saboteurs and spies, but could find no one to serve his writs.

During the Jackson Presidency, a national free-trade movement formed and began holding conferences. This businessmen's movement paralleled and gave doctrine to Van Buren's broader Democratic Party. It combined the various elements of the slave cotton business, from plantation owners, brokers, and factors, to the Wall Street and London financiers, shippers, and insurers. Their main spokesman was former Treasury Secretary Albert Gallatin, in his old age the president of the Astor Bank.27Not to be confused with John Jacob Astor's other enterprise, the Bank of the Manhattan, in which Astor merely held a controlling interest.

When Van Buren himself took the Presidency, the Democratic Party of usury and slavery was well entrenched in power. Its popularity was quite variable, however. Van Buren presided over a terrible economic depression, and he was solidly defeated for re-election in 1840 by William Henry Harrison, from Henry Clay's Whig Party. But Harrison died almost immediately after taking office. Again, in 1848, the voters chose a Whig President, Zachary Taylor, but he too died in office, only a year and a half into his term, and his Whig successor, Millard Fillmore, trembled at his fate. Indeed, the deaths of nationalist Presidents would become an almost routine means by which the Anglo-Wall Street axis retained or increased its power.

In the darkening crisis over slavery and the existence of the nation, before the Civil War broke out, Abraham Lincoln attacked this Democratic Party of Van Buren and his successors. He said that, devoted as they were to slavery and to the rule of money, they falsely posed as the heirs of Thomas Jefferson, author of the Declaration of Independence.

Lincoln's own revolution revived that of 1776, and defined American nationality for all time. This was the heritage of President Franklin Roosevelt, who remade the Democratic Party in the 20th Century, and whose legacy must prevail today.

Footnotes

19Frontier political leader David Crockett, who was to die at the Alamo, wrote that Van Buren was appropriately caricatured in his day as "half fox and half monkey, [or] half snake and half mink, [the cartoonists] designating him by some animal that most resembled his traits of character." David Crockett, The Life of Martin Van Buren (New York: Nafis & Cornish, 1845), p. 101. Crockett contrasts the manipulable, revenge-mad Jackson and the calculating Van Buren.
20Robert V. Remini, Martin Van Buren and the Making of the Democratic Party (New York: Columbia University Press, 1959), p. 190.
21Van Buren initiated a law to insure the banks in the state, a "government interference" which supported Wall Street's power.
22This election reform was finally adopted over Van Buren's opposition, but the Albany Regency continued to rule New York through the 1820s and 1830s. For the anti-Van Buren paper The Patriot, see Anton Chaitkin, "The Patriot Files, Unearthed," EIR, Oct. 27, 2007, www.larouchepac.com/files/pdfs/patriot_file_unearthed.pdf.
23Calhoun to Samuel Gouverneur, Nov. 9, 1823, quoted in Remini, op cit., footnote 20, page 41.
24Van Buren to Thomas Ritchie, Jan. 13, 1827, Ibid., pp. 131-132.
25The Inaugural Addresses of the Presidents (New York: Gramercy Books, 1997), page 53.
26Speech to the Pennsylvania Senate, Jan. 8, 1811, quoted in Thomas Payne Govan, Nicholas Biddle: Nationalist and Public Banker, 1786-1844 (Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 1959), pp. 31-32.
27Not to be confused with John Jacob Astor's other enterprise, the Bank of the Manhattan, in which Astor merely held a controlling interest.

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