Saturday, June 1, 2013

Jun 1 (1812) Pres. Madison Asks for War; "The rich and powerful too often bend the acts of government to their selfish purposes."

 Print shows a music sheet cover depicting Andrew Jackson, the General who lead the US victory over the British in the Battle of New Orleans.

On this day in 1812, President James Madison asked Congress to declare war on the United Kingdom. The idea of war with Britain was not popular, and Congress had let the charter for the First National Bank lapse in 1811. Without a bank to issue debt, manage revenues, and pay its bills, the government had a hard time paying for the war, and limited options for establishing a stable currency after it ended.

Debate regarding a Second National Bank of the United States took years, but a sour economy drove its creation in 1817.  Just like its predecessor, the Second Bank was a fiscal agent of the government with private shareholders.

When he vetoed its charter in 1832, President Andrew Jackson--a War of 1812 hero--argued that the Second Bank was unconstitutional, an unfair competitor to state banks, and "dangerous to the liberties of the people."

In his veto he said:

"In the full enjoyment of the gifts of Heaven and the fruits of superior industry, economy, and virtue, every man is equally entitled to protection by law; but when the laws undertake to add to these natural and just advantages artificial distinctions, to grant titles, gratuities, and exclusive privileges, to make the rich richer and the potent more powerful, the humble members of society--the farmers, mechanics, and laborers--who have neither the time nor the means of securing like favors to themselves, have a right to complain of the injustice of their Government. 

In the act before me there seems to be a wide and unnecessary departure from these just principles."


Image is from the Library of Congress: Shows a music sheet cover depicting Andrew Jackson, the General who lead the US victory over the British in the Battle of New Orleans.


Further Reading
A great article from the Federal Reserve Bank of Philadelphia regarding the history of the Second Bank of the United States

President Jackson's complete veto


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Flannery O'Connor

You shall know the truth and the truth shall make you odd.