The Root Of Old Hickory—True Jeffersonian Liberalism

For Jackson was nothing of the kind. It is difficult to generalize about Jackson; his fiery temperament, his capacity for bitter personal hatred, his autocratic taste for personal power which blossomed in his early military campaigns, and his weak grasp of political principles led him into many inconsistent and wrong-headed acts. Underneath these weaknesses, petty whims, hatreds, and inconsistencies, however, there is clearly discernible a basic set of political and economic principles. These were, in brief, the principles of pure Jeffersonian Democracy: thorough-going “hard money,” with the eradication of inflationary paper money and reliance on gold and silver; laissez-faire-strict adherence to free enterprise in a market unhampered by government subsidies, tariffs, heavy bureaucratic expenditures, special privileges, or heavy taxation; firm insistence on states’ rights. In foreign policy, the guide is America first, last, and always, with no entangling alliances and an attitude of firmness, cordiality, but profound suspicion toward all foreign countries, particularly Great Britain.