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The Jackson Era Timeline

How It All Went Down

Feb 9, 1825

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.

Jul 4, 1827

Cherokee Constitution

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.

Apr 23, 1828

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.

Oct 1828

Jackson Nomination

The Tennessee State Legislature nominates Andrew Jackson for the presidency.

Dec 3, 1828

Jackson Election

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.

Dec 3, 1828

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.

Dec 19, 1828

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.

Dec 22, 1828

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.

Mar 4, 1829

Petticoat War

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."

Sep 10, 1829

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.

Jan 19, 1830

Hayne-Webster Debate

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.

Apr 13, 1830

"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."

May 27, 1830

Turnpike Veto

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.

May 28, 1830

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.

Dec 7, 1830

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.

Mar 12, 1831

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.

Apr 7, 1831

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.

Mar 3, 1832

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.

May 21, 1832

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.

Jul 10, 1832

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.

Jul 17, 1832

1832 Tariff

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.

Nov 19, 1832

Nullification Crisis

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.

Dec 5, 1832

Jackson Reelection

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.

Dec 10, 1832

Jackson Condemns Nullification

Jackson issues a Proclamation to the People of South Carolina condemning nullification and asserting the sovereignty of the federal government.

Dec 28, 1832

Calhoun Resigns

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.

Jan 1833

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.

Feb 12, 1833

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.

Feb 20, 1833

Force Bill

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.

Mar 2, 1833

Compromise Tariff

President Andrew Jackson signs both the new compromise tariff and the Force Bill into law.

Mar 15, 1833

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.

Sep 25, 1833

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.

Mar 28, 1834

Jackson Censure

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.

Apr 4, 1834

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.

Feb 1835

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.

Dec 29, 1835

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.

Mar 1, 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.

Dec 7, 1836

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.

Apr 5, 1838

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.

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