Andrew Jackson and the National Bank


During Andrew Jackson’s presidential term he decided that the National Bank must go. He decided that it did not warrant reform but rather needed to be destroyed. In 1832, a Renewal Bill for the United States Bank came to the President. Jackson chose to veto the Bill for the Bank, and the address that he included with the veto stated his clear reasoning for why he vetoed the bank. Jackson’s reasons for vetoing the bill were an amalgamation of his views that the bank was unconstitutional, a monopoly for the rich, and exposed the government to control of foreign interest.

National Bank Viewed as Unconstitutional

Jackson followed Thomas Jefferson in his strict interpretation of the Constitution. The Constitution did not give Congress the power to create a bank. Hamilton created the doctrine of “implied powers” saying that because Congress had the power to do anything “necessary and proper” (Article 1, Section 8) to carry out fiscal duties that it was implied that they had the authority to create a bank. Jackson rejected this view and subscribed to the view that if the Constitution did not strictly say a power of Congress then Congress did not have that power.

The National Bank violated the system of checks and balances for it did not answer to anyone within the government. It also dominated the banking system and in affect closed out all smaller state banks. Jackson viewed this as strictly unconstitutional. Jackson in his veto stated that he believed that there are no evils in government, but evils in its abuse. He viewed the violation of implying a power of Congress to create a bank as an abuse of the Constitution and its interpretation.

Jackson’s Veto Message

In Jackson’s veto message he appealed mostly to the common citizens while attacking the wealthy. Jackson warned strongly that the principles of the bill contravened the principles of Republican equality. He believed that the Bank was a corrupt institution concentrated in the rich and creating political power for those of wealth. Jackson spoke for equal opportunity and claimed that the bank promoted special privilege, monopoly for the rich, and a dangerous degree of inequality.

He pointed out the majority of share holders were a select few of the wealthy upper-class. He sympathized with the farmers, mechanics, and laborers for the injustice they were receiving. Jackson’s background affected his veto for this bill. Growing up under his aunt’s care in the backwoods of Tennessee he was familiar with the lower-class. His personal experience affected his view that the National Bank was a monopoly for the rich and in response vetoed the bill.

Foreign Control

Jackson also pointed out the fact that the National Bank exposed the American government to control of foreign interest. He cited that more than a fourth of the shareholders of the National Bank were foreigners. He attacked this citation stating that this excludes and disregards the whole of the American people. By select foreign and elite citizens holding the stock for the bank, it in effect goes against a government balanced on equality, honesty, and fairness.

The bank was controlled greatly by foreign investors and the Bank of England. These foreign investors profited greatly from the National Bank by charging interest for the use of their paper American currency. The United States Bank began to place the American people in debt by printing and charging interest on the circulation of currency. This debt was of course to be paid by the American citizens. The National Bank was a corrupt institution that benefited foreign investors and put American citizens in debt.

He saw the underlying corruption of power that the United States Bank was using. In his veto message he stated many obvious reasons for not rechartering the National Bank. Jackson proved that the bank was unconstitutional, a monopoly for the rich, and exposed the government to control of foreign interest.