The First Presidential Succession

Portrait of John Tyler
Depiction of John Tyler.

Following William Henry Harrison’s death just a month into his presidency in 1841, John Tyler rose to the presidency, in the first instance of a president dying while holding the office. See Daniel Walker Howe, What Hath God Wrought: Transformation of America, 1815-1848, 589.

Read more

The Most Important Veto

old_hickory_and_bully_nick
Political Cartoon of Andrew Jackson and Nicholas Biddle. Published in Harpers Weekly in 1834.

President Andrew Jackson did not want banknotes in the American economy, as he was an adherent to the gold standard. Daniel Walker Howe, What Hath God Wrought: Transformation of America, 1815-1848, 376. He would be forced to confront Nicholas Biddle, the President of the Second Bank of the United States.

Read more

The Panic of 1819

william-jones
William Jones. Artist Unknown.

America’s reliance on cotton as an economic staple presented an opportunity for prosperity and an accompanying risk. In late 1818, the value of cotton fell as supply outpaced demand and “London banks decided there was no longer a need to extend more credit.” Daniel Walker Howe, What Hath God Wrought: Transformation of America, 1815-1848, 142. Then, the Second Bank of the United States, just two years into its life, “responded by shifting suddenly away from its own expansionist policy,” by the direction of William Jones, which only exacerbated the credit problem. See id. at 142-43. The Panic of 1819 erupted.

Read more