Jackson's authoritarian will, his eagerness with the veto pen, his unprincipled use of federal power against non-whites, and his ugly patronage schemes changed forever the character of the Republic. Jackson pushed America's fragile Republican institutions down in front of the march of mass democracy. He put the executive branch on a tilt that eventually made it superior to Congress, and made the president himself into a kind of populist king and symbol of the people's will. The American nation has suffered from infantalized [c.q.] Congresses, cowardly judiciaries, and "great presidencies" ever since.Perhaps, though, it requires the overreach of such an aspirational president for the voters to be receptive to a more modest approach to governing.
THE BEGINNINGS OF THE PRESIDENTIAL CULT.
Michael Brendan Dougherty suggests Andrew Jackson was the prototype. Perhaps he couldn't help it, he was reared that way. "Jackson was the embodied zenith of Southern Scots-Irish honor culture." For a fuller understanding of what that means, and what it might have metastasized into, read and understand Thomas Sowell's Black Rednecks and White Liberals, as well as Colin Woodard's American Nations. We focus today on how Old Hickory laid the foundation for the expectation that a president would deliver bright shiny things.