The Jackson Era Timeline
How It All Went Down
John Quincy Adams Elected
The House of Representatives elects John Quincy Adams as the sixth president of the United States of America. Adams receives the votes of thirteen states, while seven states vote for Andrew Jackson and four vote for William Crawford. The election has been thrown into the House after none of the five candidates (Adams, Jackson, Crawford, John C. Calhoun, and Henry Clay) receive a majority of the Electoral College votes cast. Jackson does receive the largest number of popular votes cast: 152,901, against Adams's 114,023.
The Cherokees adopt a national constitution, completing a decade of political development. Modeled after the United States Constitution, with three branches of government and an abbreviated bill of rights, the Cherokee constitution furthers the transfer of Cherokee political power from the villages to a national government.
Jackson Tariff Dispute
Andrew Jackson's supporters in the House of Representatives pass tariff legislation aimed at drawing mid-Atlantic voters to the coalition formed to defeat President John Quincy Adams in the upcoming election. The Senate passes the measure on 13 May. Southerners oppose the tariff package; their opposition to the measure will culminate in the nullification crisis of 1832.
The Tennessee State Legislature nominates Andrew Jackson for the presidency.
Andrew Jackson is elected as the seventh president of the United States of America. He receives 178 votes in the Electoral College; incumbent John Quincy Adams wins just 63. Jackson wins 56% of the popular vote and every state south of the Potomac and west of New Jersey. John C. Calhoun is elected vice-president.
Georgia Claims Sovereignty
A bill is introduced into the Georgia state legislature asserting the sovereignty of state government over all land and people within its geographical boundaries—including the Cherokees, who maintain that they enjoy territorial and legal autonomy through treaties negotiated with the federal government.
South Carolina to Nullify Tariff
The South Carolina state legislature declares the tariff legislation enacted by Congress the previous May unconstitutional. John C. Calhoun secretly authors Exposition and Protest, which accompanies the declaration, explaining the doctrine of nullification—the "right" of individual states to nullify federal legislation that they consider unconstitutional.
Rachel Jackson Dies
Rachel Jackson dies of a heart attack. President Andrew Jackson blames her death on the vicious personal attacks leveled against her during the recent presidential campaign.
Andrew Jackson is inaugurated as the seventh president of the United States of America. During his inaugural ball Floride Calhoun, the wife of Vice-President John C. Calhoun, refuses to speak to Margaret (Peggy) Eaton, the wife of Secretary of War John Eaton. The incident initiaties the "petticoat war."
Sex in the Cabinet
President Andrew Jackson calls a cabinet meeting to discuss the charges of sexual impropriety against Peggy Eaton, the wife of Secretary of War John Eaton. Jackson will conclude that the charges are false.
A weeklong Senate debate begins between Robert Hayne of South Carolina and Daniel Webster of Massachusetts over states' rights and the meaning of the Union. Triggered by a bill involving western lands, Hayne and Webster summarize the conflicting positions on state and federal authority that that will lead to the 1832 nullification crisis.
"Our union. It must be preserved."
At a dinner celebrating the birthday of Thomas Jefferson, President Andrew Jackson answers a series of speeches espousing the doctrines of states' rights and nullification with the simple but powerful toast: "Our union. It must be preserved." Vice President Calhoun immediately follows with his own defiant toast: "The union, next to our liberty, most dear."
President Andrew Jackson vetoes a congressional act that would have authorized the federal government to invest $150,000 in the Maysville, Washington, Paris, and Lexington Turnpike Company.
Indian Removal Act
Congress passes the Indian Removal Act, authorizing the president to pursue ownership of all Indian lands east of the Mississippi River. The Indians would be compensated with new lands drawn from the public domain west of the Mississippi River.
Washington Globe Founded
The Washington Globe publishes its first edition. Jackson urges the creation of a pro-administration newspaper as tensions with his vice-president, John Calhoun, increase. Jackson believes the United States Telegraph, formerly the administration paper, is more loyal to Calhoun.
Samuel Worcester Arrested
Samuel Worcester and several other missionaries are arrested when they refuse to obtain a license to reside among the Cherokees, as required by a recently passed Georgia law. In September they will be convicted and sentenced to four years in the state prison.
Peggy Eaton Affair
Secretary of War John Eaton resigns from President Andrew Jackson's cabinet. Secretary of State Martin Van Buren will do the same on 11 April. Jackson's most loyal cabinet officers, Eaton and Van Buren both resign so that Jackson can request the resignations of all his other cabinet officers as part of a general reorganization of his government, thus ending the political infighting caused by the Peggy Eaton affair.
Worcester v. Georgia
The United States Supreme Court rules in the case of Worcester v. Georgia that the Georgia law requiring white residents to obtain a license to reside on Cherokee lands violates the political rights of the Cherokees. The Court rules that the Cherokees are separate nation, subject to the authority of the federal government, but only the federal government, as stipulated by treaties.
First Democratic Convention
The first national Democratic convention convenes in Baltimore, Maryland. Delegates from every state except Missouri attend. President Andrew Jackson is selected to represent the party as its presidential nominee; Martin Van Buren is chosen to run as Jackson's vice-presidential running mate.
Jackson Vetoes Bank of the United States
President Andrew Jackson vetoes the bill re-chartering the Bank of the United States. The Bank's current charter will expire on 1 March 1836.
The United States Congress passes another tariff measure with the support of President Jackson. As a concession to southern critics of the 1828 tariff, the new law reduces the tariff rates on most goods from a high of 47% to 25%. But implicit in the passage of the act is the administration's commitment to the tariff as a necessary revenue measure and a rejection of southerners' complaints as to its constitutionality.
A special state convention, called by the Georgia state legislature, convenes to discuss nullification. On 24 November, the convention adopts an ordinance nullifying the tariffs of 1828 and 1832. The ordinance further specifies that federal government attempts to implement the tariff by force would constitute grounds for secession.
Democrat Andrew Jackson defeats Republican Henry Clay to win reelection as president of the United States. Jackson receives 219 Electoral College votes; Clay receives 49. William Wirt, the nominee of the Anti-Masonic Party, carries Vermont and its seven Electoral College votes. Martin Van Buren is elected vice-president.
Jackson Condemns Nullification
Jackson issues a Proclamation to the People of South Carolina condemning nullification and asserting the sovereignty of the federal government.
John C. Calhoun resigns as vice-president of the United States. The Georgia state legislature has already selected him to replace Robert Hayne in the United States Senate.
Samuel Worcester Accepts Pardon
Samuel Worcester and the other missionaries imprisoned by Georgia for refusing to register with the state government before working on Cherokee lands accept a pardon from the governor of Georgia and are released from jail. Even though they prevailed in their case before the Supreme Court the previous March, they refuse to pursue further litigation in fear that it will exacerbate a growing crisis over states' rights and nullification.
Henry Clay Introduces Lower Tariff
Henry Clay introduces another tariff bill into the United States House of Representatives. It further reduces tariff rates. The bill passes the House on 26 February and the Senate on 1 March.
The United States Senate passes the Force Bill requested by President Andrew Jackson, authorizing him to use military force to implement the federal tariffs in South Carolina. The House of Representatives passes the bill on 1 March.
President Andrew Jackson signs both the new compromise tariff and the Force Bill into law.
South Carolina Nullification
South Carolina's special convention rescinds its ordinance of 24 November nullifying the tariffs of 1828 and 1832. Three days later (18 March) the convention nullifies the Force Bill, declaring it null and void in the state of South Carolina.
Deposits Pulled from Bank of the United States
Newly appointed Secretary of the Treasury Roger Taney issues an order declaring that beginning 1 October all federal government tax receipts will be deposited in one of seven state banks rather than in the Bank of the United States.
The United States Senate passes a resolution of censure against President Andrew Jackson for assuming "authority and power not conferred by the Constitution and laws, but in derogation of both," in removing the federal deposits from the Bank of the United States.
Support for Jackson
The United States House of Representatives votes a resolution of support for President Andrew Jackson and his policy toward the Bank of the United States. The House also votes to investigate the Bank of the United States and its role in creating the current economic crisis.
Cherokee Treaty Party
A small faction among the Cherokees, labeled the Treaty Party and led by Major Ridge, signs a treaty with the United States selling all of the Cherokees' territories to the United States for $4.5 million. The treaty will be rejected by an overwhelming majority (2225-114) at a subsequent gathering of Cherokees.
Treaty of Echota
A small group of about 500 Cherokees signs a second agreement with the United States government agreeing to the sale of their lands and removal west of the Mississippi River. The United States Senate ratifies the Treaty of Echota on 18 May 1836.
Bank of the United States Expires
Its charter expired, the Second Bank of the United States ceases to operate as a national bank. It receives a new charter from the state of Pennsylvania and reopens as the Bank of the United States of Pennsylvania.
Van Buren Elected
Martin Van Buren, Andrew Jackson's longtime right-hand man, is elected president of the United States. He receives 51% of the popular vote and 170 votes in the Electoral College. Three Whig candidates—William Henry Harrison, Daniel Webster, and Hugh L. White—collectively receive just 25,299 fewer popular votes than Van Buren. The election for vice-president is thrown into the Senate when none of the four candidates receives the necessary electoral majority. The Senate selects Richard Johnson as vice-president on 8 March 1837.
Trail of Tears
The first party of Cherokees that had resisted removal begins the forced march westward to their new lands in present-day Oklahoma, along a path later named the Trail of Tears.