Tuesday, January 13, 2009

Party like it's 1829

I am pretty sure Obama's inauguration as President of the United States is going to be an affair the likes of which hasn't been seen since Andrew Jackson's inauguration.

Nearly 200 years earlier, the first territorial governor of Florida, Andrew Jackson, had his own mind for change:

Jackson resigned from the Senate in October 1825, but continued his quest for the Presidency. The Tennessee legislature again nominated Jackson for President. Jackson attracted Vice President John C. Calhoun, Martin Van Buren, and Thomas Ritchie into his camp (the latter two previous supporters of Crawford). Van Buren, with help from his friends in Philadelphia and Richmond, revived the old Republican Party, gave it a new name as the Democratic Party, "restored party rivalries", and forged a national organization of durability.[16] The Jackson coalition handily defeated Adams in 1828.

During the election, Jackson's opponents referred to him as a "jackass." Jackson liked the name and used the jackass as a symbol for a while, but it died out. However, it later became the symbol for the Democratic Party when cartoonist Thomas Nast popularized it.[17]

The campaign was very much a personal one. Although neither candidate personally campaigned, their political followers organized many campaign events. Both candidates were rhetorically attacked in the press, which reached a low point when the press accused Jackson's wife Rachel of bigamy. Though the accusation was true, as were most personal attacks leveled against him during the campaign, it was based on events that occurred many years prior (1791 to 1794). Jackson said he would forgive those who insulted him, but he would never forgive the ones who attacked his wife. Rachel died suddenly on December 22, 1828, prior to his inauguration, and was buried on Christmas Eve.

Jackson was the first President to invite the public to attend the White House ball honoring his first inauguration. Many poor people came to the inaugural ball in their homemade clothes. The crowd became so large that Jackson's guards could not hold them out of the White House. The White House became so crowded with people that dishes and decorative pieces in the White House began to break. Some people stood on good chairs in muddied boots just to get a look at the President. The crowd had become so wild that the attendants poured punch in tubs and put it on the White House lawn to lure people out of the White House. Jackson’s raucous populism earned him the nickname King Mob.
From, Wikipedia.

Of course, as many of us know Andrew Jackson went on to commit some of the most horrible atrocities against human life, tantamount to the Holocaust: he is the one responsible for banishing Native Americans living in Georgia to their death, on what came to be known as the Trail of Tears. I'm pretty sure Obama is far more even-keeled a personality than that ... but one never knows. The future is rich with potential; hopefully that future is in good hands with Obama, but only time will tell ...

1 comment:

  1. Hi Sarah!
    Great post. Some of this I knew, some I forgot. Thanks for the mini-history lesson, I obviously needed it!
    Also, thanks for visiting my blog, and leaving a comment. I appreciate it!