"Jackson's quick temper was notorious. Brands says, "His audacity on behalf of the people earned him enemies who slandered him and defamed even his wife, Rachel. He dueled in her defense and his own, suffering grievous wounds that left him with bullet fragments lodged about his body." However, Remini is of the opinion that Jackson was often in control of his rage, and used it (and his fearsome reputation) as a tool to get what he wanted in his public and private affairs.
Brands also notes that his opponents were terrified of his temper:
- Observers likened him to a volcano, and only the most intrepid or recklessly curious cared to see it erupt…. His close associates all had stories of his blood-curling oaths, his summoning of the Almighty to loose His wrath upon some miscreant, typically followed by his own vow to hang the villain or blow him to perdition. Given his record – in duels, brawls, mutiny trials, and summary hearings – listeners had to take his vows seriously.
On the last day of the presidency, Jackson admitted that he had but two regrets, that he "had been unable to shoot Henry Clay or to hang John C. Calhoun. " Wiki on Jackson's Temperament
Some themes remain vital in human affairs for a very long time. A long standing one in the history of the English speaking peoples (Churchill's phrase) is the issue of whether or not government and its control over people's lives should be highly centralized in the service of the interest of metropolitan elites or widely dispersed among the people. This difference of opinion developed after Magna Carta and by the 17th Century had become a split in English life between the Country Party and the Court Party. That distinction was imported to North America and has remained an enduring feature of US political life to the present day.
In 1828, the main issues in the US presidential election were related to this old disagreement concerning governance. The incumbent president, John Quincy Adams, was in many ways an archetypical establishment figure. The son of the second president, he spent his entire life in the federal government, advocated positions that would be popular today in the Borg; emancipation, centralization of financial services and debt in the Second National Bank, etc. He so loved the federal government that, deprived of the White House in 1828, he ran for the House of Representatives where he then served for many years as a figure of the emerging Northern nationalist faction along with Daniel Webster and Henry Clay.
Opposing Adams was Andrew Jackson, the man he had defeated four years before when what was called a "corrupt bargain" was struck in the House of Representatives. Neither man had enough votes in the electoral college to be elected. Jackson was anything but an establishment creature. He was altogether a self made man who had clawed his way up from the bottom of the social order to become rich, powerful and a national military hero. He was rough and crude and he told the ordinary people that he would level the playing field for white men in the USA. He did not hesitate to encourage harsh and violent behavior and had himself personally supervised the removal to the trans-Mississippi of the highly Europeanized tribal Indians of the Southeastern US. Why? The Indians were in the way of the establishment of large scale agribusiness and the settlement of the region by whites and their black slaves. He was quite un-apologetic about all this. When Jackson was inaugurated he threw open the doors of the White House for a reception to which one and all were invited. The crowd famously tracked mud all over the rooms and carpets, stood on the needle point embroidered chairs and got gloriously drunk while they sang bawdy songs. He was re-elected for a second term and to this day is thought of by the Democratic Party as one of their two founding figures. The other being Thomas Jefferson, a somewhat different man, an aristocrat who chose to side with his beloved yeomen farmers.
Now we have Donald Trump, the grandson of a German immigrant from a little country town. The name was originally "Drumpf." Donald Trump's father and his son after him strove mightily and became rich in the dog eat dog world of New York City business where sharp elbows and an abrasive, abusive, bullying manner are requirements for success unless you have that magic commodity, "old money." If you have that, then you can be gracious. Donald trump's daughter, Ivanka, now has old money and is reported to me to be gracious. Donald Trump tells the mainly white spiritual descendants of Jackson's supporters that he will make them whole again both in their self image and in their pocketbooks. That is a powerful message in the face of left wing insistence that white voters are a wasting asset in America.
Opposing him we have the John Quincy Adams figures of the "modern" age; Hillary Clinton, who openly advocates minority interests in what Trump's supporters see as a zero-sum game of political and economic warfare, Bernie Sanders who seems a gentle, well mannered man but who nevertheless is openly in favor of the same kind of re-distributionist policies that most Trump supporters see as an effort to deprive them of control over their own destiny. And then in the background are the politicians, media flunkies, and political consultants for whom Trump threatens a re-definition of politics and parties. pl