Thursday, February 28, 2013

Second add on to the Jackson book report

Excerpts from President Jackson’s Second Inaugural Address …. Without Union our independence and liberty would never have been achieved; without Union they can never be maintained, Divided into twenty-four or even a smaller number, of separate communities, we shall see our internal trade burdened with numerous restraints and exactions; communication between distant points and sections obstructed or cut off; our sons made soldiers to deluge with blood the fields they now till in peace; the mass of our people borne down and impoverished by taxes to support armies and navies, and military leaders at the head of their victorious legions becoming our lawgivers and judges. The loss of liberty, of all good government, of peace, plenty, and happiness, must inevitably follow a dissolution of the Union. In supporting it, therefore, we support all that is dear to the freeman and the philanthropist. The time at which I stand before you is full of interest. The eyes of all nations are fixed on our Republic. The event of the existing crisis will be decisive in the opinion of mankind of the practicability of our federal form of government. Great is the stake placed in our hands. Great is the responsibility which must rest upon the people of the United States. Let us realize the importance of the attitude in which we stand before the world. Let us exercise forbearance and firmness. Let us extricate our country from the dangers which surround it and learn wisdom from the lessons they inculcate. ….foster with our brethren in all parts of the country a spirit of liberal concession and compromise, and, by reconciling our fellow citizens to those partial sacrifices which they must unavoidably make for the preservation of a greater good, to recommend our invaluable government and Union to the confidence and affections of the American people.

This is an add on to the Andrew Jackson book report

Daniel Webster’s speech in defense of preserving the Union January 27, 1830. I have not allowed myself, sir, to look beyond the Union, to see what might lie hidden in the dark recess behind. I have not coolly weighed the chances of preserving liberty, when the bonds that unite us together shall be broken asunder. I have not accustomed myself to hang over the precipice of disunion, to see whether, with my short sight, I can fathom the depth of the abyss below; nor could I regard him as a safe councilor in the affairs of his Government, whose thoughts should be mainly bent on considering, not how the Union should be best preserved, but how tolerable might be the condition of the People when it shall be broken up and destroyed. While the Union lasts, we have high, exciting prospects spread out before us and our children. Beyond that I seek not to penetrate the veil. God grant that in my day, at least, that curtain may not rise. God grant that on my vision never may be opened what lies behind. When my eyes shall be turned to behold, for the last time, the sun in Heaven, may I not see him shining on the broken and dishonored fragments of a once glorious Union; on States dissevered, discordant, belligerent; on a land rent with civil feuds, or drenched, it may be, in fraternal blood! Let their last feeble and lingering glance, rather behold the glorious Ensign of the Republic, now known and honored throughout the earth, still full high advanced, its arms and trophies streaming in their original luster, not a stripe erased or polluted, not a single star obscured-bearing for its motto, no such miserable interrogatory as, What is all this worth? Nor those other words of delusion and folly, Liberty first, and Union afterwards- but everywhere, spread all over in characters of living light, blazing on all its ample folds, as they float over the sea and over the land, and in every wind under the whole Heavens, that other sentiment, dear to every true American heart- Liberty and Union, now and forever, one and inseparable!

American Lion by Jon Meacham-A book report

Andrew Jackson in the White House A friend loaned me this book while I was attending Ron Rude’s class on Presidential Endings. He is allowing me to make a short presentation on 2/28, 2013 to the class. This book is very well written. It is a New York Times Best Seller published in 2009. I judge the veracity also by the number of pages of reference. This book has 100 pages. Andrew Jackson He was the first President from a State not one of the original 13 colonies. He was considered a man of the people not the establishment or elite class. He was born in March 1767 and was eight when Congress declared independence. In 1779 his older brother died while fighting the British in the Carolina’s. He was living in Waxhaw, a village near Charleston which was attacked brutally by the British in April, 1781. Hundreds were killed. He was 14 when captured. An officer told him to polish his boots. He refused and was struck on his upraised hand and forehead by a sword. He carried those scars for life. It was said that he was strengthened by the blows, for he would spend the rest of his life standing up to enemies, enduring pain and holding fast until, after much trial, victory came. His mother was a strong independent woman who cared for her two sons after the death of his father. It is said that it was from her that he obtained the fortitude which enabled him to triumph with so much success over the obstacles which have diversified his life. She was deeply religious and hoped that Andrew would become a minister. He attended Presbyterian Church services his first 14 years. Throughout life he would quote bible verses. He was most inspired by the struggle David had against Goliath and being a ruler who rose from obscurity to secure his nation and protect his people. He felt this was his destiny as well. He read the Bible daily. In the end Jackson chose to serve God and country not in a church but on battlefields and at the highest levels. He had little formal education but was a well-read person. He did study in Salisbury N. Carolina and received his license to practice law. He worked hard and played hard. A contemporary said “He was the most roaring, rollicking, game-cocking, card-playing, mischievous fellow who ever lived in Salisbury”. I added this in the interest of showing he was not a saint but had human failings as we all do. When he was 21 he moved to Nashville, Tennessee. It was not yet a State. He took up residence at Colonel Donelson’s home who had a daughter named Rachel. She is described as a beautiful young woman with a strong sense of fun. She was married. The marriage was not a happy one. She was living in Kentucky with her husband. He was abusive so her brothers went there to bring her home. That is when she met Jackson. In the winter of 1790-91 Jackson learned that her husband had obtained a divorce. He promptly married her. It was two years later that he found out that the husband had only filed for divorce. It was granted in 1793. They became legally married a few months later. They formed a strong bond, each giving to the other the support needed. This became a bitter subject 30 years later when running for the Presidency. There are many pages describing the close relationship they had and how much she meant to him. In 1803 in Knoxville she was insulted by Governor Sevier. Shots were exchanged between the two men. No one was hit but in 1806 another slur by Charles Dickinson led to a duel. Jackson let him shoot first. He was hit in the chest, and then he fired and killed Dickinson. He carried the bullet in his body his whole life. As an Indian fighter it was written “Jackson’s gallantry and enterprise were always conspicuous, attracted the confidence of the whites and inspired honor and respect among the savages”. By projecting personal strength, Jackson created an aura of power, and it was this aura, perhaps more than any particular gift of insight, judgment, or rhetoric, that propelled him throughout his life. Once as a Judge he confronted an armed man Russell Bean. The Sheriff was afraid to bring him in but he surrendered to Jackson. He became Attorney General of Tennessee, was elected to the U.S. House of Representatives, then the U.S. Senate, a Judge and in 1802 became a Major General of the State militia. He was 45 when the War of 1812 started. He deeply cared about the soldiers under his command and felt of them as family. There was a situation just before the war commenced while leading his troops towards New Orleans he was ordered to return. 150 were sick. He refused to leave them behind, ordering all able bodied men including him and officers to give up their places in the wagons or on horseback to the sick. It was at this time the phrase “Old Hickory” was coined. On September 4, 1813 he confronted a man he had a disagreement with. His name was Jesse Benton. He pointed his gun but Benton shot first and hit Jackson in the upper arm. The doctor wanted to amputate but Jackson said no. A month later the Creek Indians massacred settlers in Fort Mims forty miles North of Mobile. 250 whites were killed. Even though still recovering from his wound he led forces and won a bloody victory at Tallushatchee, a Creek village. A small Indian boy was found after the battle. He adopted the boy and sent him to Hermitage to live with his family and be a playmate for his other adopted son Andrew Jackson Jr. The Donelson family became part of the household of Jackson. When he was elected as President they lived with him at the White House. He enjoyed family and children. He followed the Indians to Spanish Florida to drive them out of the country. Then he turned his attention to New Orleans. Dec, 16, 1814 he imposed martial law on the city, defying a writ of habeas corpus and jailing the Federal judge who issued it. He engaged the British on January 8, 1815 winning a great victory. The British lost 300 dead, 1,200 wounded and hundreds more taken prisoner. Only 13 Americans died with 39 suffering wounds. This victory elevated him to national status. Between 1816 and 1820 he continued his battles with the Indians in the South and West, signing treaties that added tens of millions of acres to the United States. President Monroe authorized Jackson to quell the Seminole threat emanating from Spanish Florida. With that authority he did move against the Seminoles and Spanish and conquered Florida. In 1824 he ran for President. In a four man race he garnered the most votes but not enough. The House of Representatives chose John Quincy Adams mainly due to Henry Clay who felt Jackson was not qualified to serve. Jackson was quite bitter and felt the establishment was stacked against him. Clay became Secretary of State under Adams. His dear wife Rachel died before he was elected President in 1828. He blamed her death of the accusations of adultery from their non-marriage years ago. He won handily winning 56% of the popular vote and the Electoral College by a margin of 178 to 83. This time it was Adams who was bitter. He left Washington without attending the inauguration. John C. Calhoun was his Vice President. He gave nothing but trouble. He was from S. Carolina and was in favor of nullification. Their main complaint was the tariff which they believed favored the Northern States. The issue of secession would continue throughout both of Jackson’s terms. He fought against it. He believed strongly that the Union must be preserved. The Donelson family moved in. Niece Emily became the hostess and did well. The family was of great benefit to Jackson as a counter to the duties of being President. There are many pages devoted to them. Due to the disapproval of Emily and others to the wife of his Secretary of War John Henry Eaton, disharmony was the result. Her name was Margaret. They felt that she was not acceptable. There were unproven rumors of sexual exploits. This became intolerable to Jackson and the wives and children were returned to Nashville. This created a hardship for Jackson. An interesting but little known piece of Legislation was proposed on December 29, 1829 by Connecticut Senator Samuel Foot. It would limit the sale of public lands in the Western part of the country, thus checking expansion and settlement. The impetus was to retain cheap labor for the manufacturers in New England. The debate continued until May 21, 1830. 65 Senators spoke. It brought forth passions on all sides including slavery and threatened to break the Union apart. Daniel Webster delivered an address that became one of the noblest passages in American canon. He strove to assure the continuation of the Union. I have handouts of this speech to share. Jackson was greatly relieved. Jackson was the first to rely on the veto to control the Congress. The first six presidents vetoed a total of nine bills. Jackson vetoed a dozen. He believed that America East of the Mississippi belonged to people of the white race and was determined to remove Indians from the South. The legislation was entitled “The Bill for an Exchange of Lands with the Indians Residing in Any of the States or Territories, and for Their Removal West of the Mississippi”. After impassioned debate it was approved. Jackson considered himself to be a father to the Indians and was doing the right thing. He met with the Chiefs personally. He said “Friends and Brothers; You have long dwelt on the soil you occupy, and in early times before the white man kindled his fires too near to yours…. You were a happy people, “, Now your white brothers are around you….Your great father….asks if you are prepared and ready to submit to the laws of Mississippi, and make a surrender of your ancient laws….you must submit-there is no alternative…. Old men! Lead your children to a land of promise and of peace before the Great Spirit shall call you to die. Young Chiefs! Preserve your people and nation.” And so the process referred to later as the Trail of Tears began. He was totally opposed to the Bank. Mr. Biddle, the head of the Bank encouraged Congress to extend the Charter before the election in November 1832. It did pass. In July Jackson vetoed it. The veto stood. He was vehement that the Bank was being used to influence Congress with loans and was being used as an instrument to maintain the status of the elite in the country rather than the people. Biddle’s strategy backfired as the people strongly supported their president. Another accomplishment was obtaining moderate tariff reform. He hoped it would be sufficient to curtail S. Carolina’s nullification efforts. In this he failed. Jackson won re-election overwhelmingly. He carried the Electoral College by 219-49 and the popular vote with 55%. It would have been greater but a new party entered the race called Anti-Mason which believed the Mason’s represented a conspiracy. (That remains to present day). Seven days later in Columbia, the South Carolina convention nullified the Tariff of 1832. What this meant was they were defying the authority of the Federal Government. Jackson took the first step to remove officers and men from Federal Forts there and replace with those who would defend the Union. There was a confrontation which could have started a conflict. I never realized that secession was so possible 30 years earlier than the Civil War. Some feared he would take action. He was determined to only strike back if attacked. In S. Carolina militias were formed, armed and trained. He gave impassioned speeches in defense of the Union and tried to lower tension by proposing legislation to incrementally lower the tariff over a ten year period but at the same time ask Congress for authority to put down rebellion with force. He got approval for both. The other Southern States decided not to support S. Carolina and in March 1833 South Carolina rescinded their previous edict and the crisis was over. However Jackson and others understood peace was only temporary and that the slave issue was still simmering and could explode at any time. Jackson’s Second Inaugural address was stated to be one of the great passages of oratory of his long public life. I have a handout of the most important parts of that speech for you. On a steamboat trip May 8, 1833 a disturbed naval officer leaped at the president as if to assault him. Jackson was injured but the assailant was subdued. Just after this episode the president named a postmaster from New Salem, Illinois, a twenty-four year old lawyer who had lost a race for the state legislature. His name was Abraham Lincoln. With this crisis over he concentrated on eliminating the Federal Bank. He was nearly alone. Most of his Cabinet and Congress disagreed. He took the direct approach of ordering the Secretary of the Treasury to transfer funds to state banks. He refused. Jackson fired him. The funds were transferred. The next part was confusing to me. The President of the Bank Biddle stopped lending funds to business and industry causing havoc. If the funds were no longer there how could he do that? Perhaps one of you knows. At any rate petitioners called on the President. He referred them back to Biddle. In the end Jackson won. On April 4, 1834 the House voted to not re-charter the bank. The House was elected by the people, the Senate by State legislators. In retaliation the Senate on a 26 to 20 vote censored Jackson. It stated “Resolved, That the President, in the late Executive proceedings in relation to the public revenue, has assumed upon himself authority and power not conferred by the Constitution and Laws, but in degradation of both.” This was a severe blow followed shortly thereafter by the French government voting to not repay funds owed for damage to American ships during the Napoleonic wars violating the signed treaty. The action of France triggered tensions between the countries. Legislation was passed increasing the naval fleet and fortifying the coastal cities. France readied their frigates to attack American ships. England acting as intermediary was able to achieve a compromise. France agreed to pay the debt. January 8, 1835 it was announced that the National Debt had been eliminated. This had been Jackson’s goal from the beginning. Keeping the tariffs high had been necessary to accomplish. Twenty two days later while walking out of the House chamber an unemployed house painter within ten feet of Jackson aimed a pistol at him. He fired. The cap exploded but it misfired. Jackson charged him with his cane. A second pistol was fired with the same result. Jackson pursued him until satisfied he was controlled. The Seminoles refused to leave Florida. The Seminole War lasted for seven years. Americans had been settling in Mexico’s Texas for some time and wanted independence from Mexico. On March 6, 1836 Santa Anna attacked and killed all the defenders of the Alamo. A month later under General Sam Huston the Mexican army was defeated. Santa Anna was taken prisoner. Jackson while happy with the outcome did not interfere as we had a treaty with Mexico. He supported Van Buren for president through supporters. It was unseemly in those days for a president to actively engage in politics. Van Buren was elected. Jackson’s last request of the Senate was to expunge the Censor against him. After lengthy debate it was granted. With that he retired to Tennessee. He communicated with officials with his thoughts until his death. He died peacefully surrounded by family June 8, 1845. He had lived 78 years which was remarkable in those days. On January 8, 1853 thousands gathered for the commemoration of a statue of Jackson. Senator Stephen Douglas was the keynote speaker. He pointed out that Jackson had lost his mother, father and two brothers and that orphaned he found his family in his country. Many presidents have given praise to him. Lincoln read his Proclamation to the people of S. Carolina as he was drafting his own inaugural address. He looked to Jackson to arm himself against disunion and despair. Theodore Roosevelt said “Jackson had many faults, but he was devoted to the Union, and he had no thought of fear when it came to defending his country.” FDR on a visit to the Hermitage insisted on walking with his heavy braces in respect for Jackson. In 1941 he said” Responsibility wore heavy on the shoulders of Andrew Jackson. In his day the threat was from within…Ours comes from a great part of the world that surrounds us…”.Harry Truman, while a judge in Kansas, commissioned a statue of Old Hickory to sit outside the court house in Kansas City. President Truman said “He wanted sincerely to look after the little fellow who had no pull and that’s what a president is supposed to do”. Jack B. Walters February, 24, 2013

Monday, February 18, 2013

Luke's Popular Air Show Canceled-Letter to the Editor

The above was a front page article in The Arizona Republic 2/16.2013. The essence was that due to impending military budget cuts next month the show was cancelled. This is the traditional response to budget cuts whether in the military or transportation or anything else. Do something that directly impacts the public. Not fixing potholes is the response those of us living in Tucson well understand. An air show has a number of good things attributed to it; entertaining citizens, in particular children, showcasing the latest equipment, meeting military personnel and creating a positive relationship between citizens and the Air Force. By cancelling, the hope undoubtedly, will be a groundswell of public support to not cut funding. It, no doubt, will be successful. It always is. There are any number of cuts that could be made without decreasing military preparedness, known to many. Shame on Brig. Gen. Rothstein and his superiors in Washington. Jack B. Walters February 18,2013

Sunday, February 3, 2013

Letter to Senator's McCain and Flake

HR325 Amendment You owe it to the citizens of Arizona and all the rest of the States to explain why you voted yes to kill the amendment that would have stopped giving F-16 fighter jets and Abrams tanks to Egypt. Ever since the US sponsored overthrow of President Mubarak the Muslim Brotherhood has created havoc in this country. President Morsi has compared Jews with apes and pigs. Those who rebelled initially for freedom have been denied, chaos is the current situation. The only country that these advanced weapons will be used against is Israel. The Republican Party is supposed to support Israel. The only reason to proceed with this give away is to promote jobs in the Defense Industry. If that is your reason why not give to anyone, how about Iran or N. Korea. I’m sure they could put these weapons to good use. We, as a nation, are drowning in debt. You and others continue to talk about domestic programs such as Social Security and Medicare, all the while continuing to give billions to countries that basically dislike us intently. Just look at their voting records in the United Nations. They oppose us the majority of times. You are concerned about upending relations. Let me state for the record, ever since President Carter got Begin and Sadat to shake hands it has cost America billions in aid to both countries, a great way for him to receive a Nobel Peace prize. I am a stanch supporter of Israel. They are surrounded by those of the Muslim faith who hate them and will not stop until that country is destroyed. When that occurs, the rest of civilization will die along with them. President Obama lauds Islam continually. It had been my hope you would recognize the situation and do whatever you could to support Israel. You cannot begin to understand my disappointment with your latest vote. Jack B. Walters February3, 2013

Saturday, February 2, 2013

We are being taken for a ride again, stay alert

Most who pay any attention to the subject of illegal immigration know that in 1986 President Reagan granted amnesty to over 3 million immigrants who were in our country illegally. As kind and generous people we accepted with the assurance that steps would be taken to secure the border and that E-Verify would be mandatory for employers to use to determine the citizenship of employee prospects. A stab was made. Over the 23 intervening years an additional 12 million or so are known to be in America without proper documentation. They find ways to procure fake Social Security Cards, Drive’s licenses, etc. with ease. No matter how many billions have been spent on border fences, border patrol agents or electronic surveillance they keep coming. They are only slowed down when our economy tanks, otherwise it is business as usual. The bleeding hearts among us think that this is OK, the more the merrier. Most of these types have never seen the inside of a factory nor have any idea what it is like to do manual labor by the hour, day after day, year after year. There are Americans who do. These are the ones who are robbed of decent wages for performing these tasks. My constant theme is to create an environment to where good wages can be earned by those willing to work at something other than sitting in front of a computer. Spending additional funds on fences, etc. are only wasted dollars, only done to con the American people into thinking they are serious. E-verify was never made mandatory. We, the citizens of Arizona tried. We voted for it several years ago. To my knowledge there have been no serious efforts on the part of our State officials to penalize employers. SB 1070, wow, how much slack have we received over this? How many dollars have we taxpayers spent taking it all the way to the Supreme Court? Have any of you read about someone being pulled over on suspicion of being here illegally? I haven’t either. What is happening now is a political reaction of Republicans to the defeat they endured in the last election when over 70% of Hispanics voted Democrat. In my naivety I want to think that American citizens who are Hispanic think as I do and all other American citizens regardless of race or ethnic background. I guess I am wrong. What does that say about our long term survival as a country? Isn’t it interesting how politicians change their mind when they deem it necessary? Do you remember when McCain and Kennedy proposed amnesty? I heard him ask the question, “What should we do with these people”. He was deriding those of his own party who wanted them returned to their own countries. Then when he was running for President he wanted huge fences built to keep them from continuing to flood into our country. Mitt Romney softened his comments when he realized the Hispanic vote was against him. That didn’t fool anyone. I predict that not one additional Hispanic voter will vote Republican next time. It is a futile gesture that will backfire on them. During the decades this farce has been going on the Democrats loved the new voters and the Republicans liked the cheap labor. Lobbyists, I am sure, pummeled anyone who was serious about control. President Obama is being taken to Court by a group of Border Patrol agents for issuing orders contrary to the legislation enacted from which they get their orders on how to perform their duties. Perhaps the Supreme Court will put an end to his Executive orders in question. I don’t have much hope after witnessing their decisions on health care and political contributions by Corporations. On a talk show program last evening the question was asked about how illegals would be treated the day after amnesty is granted. The answer was they would not be treated the same. I consider that baloney. Once the door is opened it will never be closed. We might as well annex Mexico and the rest of Central America into a larger country rather than continue this farce. They will continue to desecrate Arizona wilderness areas. For an avid hiker like me this is sacrilege. I will only be convinced when I am assured that employment verification is in place and being monitored on a continuous serious basis. I don’t mean decades from now, I mean now. For whatever good it might do I intend to send this message to our elected officials. They can add it to the short stack of zealots like me and ignore as they usually do. Jack B. Walters