History for the Rest of Us

Andrew Jackson – State of the Union – December 5, 1836

Andrew Jackson – State of the Union – December 5, 1836

Oct 19, 2012

Fellow Citizens of the Senate and of the House of Representatives: Addressing to you the last annual message I shall ever present to the Congress of the United States, it is a source of the most heartfelt satisfaction to be able to congratulate you on the high state of prosperity which our beloved country has attained. With no causes at home or abroad to lessen the confidence with which we look to the future for continuing proofs of the capacity of our free institutions to produce all the fruits of good government, the general condition of our affairs may well excite our national pride. I can not avoid congratulating you, and my country particularly, on the success of the efforts made during my Administration by the Executive and Legislature, in conformity with the sincere, constant, and earnest desire of the people, to maintain peace and establish cordial relations with all foreign powers. Our gratitude is due to the Supreme Ruler of the Universe, and I invite you to unite with me in offering to Him fervent supplications that His providential care may ever be extended to those who follow us, enabling them to avoid the dangers and the horrors of war consistently with a just and indispensable regard to the rights and honor of our country. But although the present state of our foreign affairs, standing, without important change, as they did when you separated in July last, is flattering in the extreme, I regret to say that many questions of an interesting character, at issue with other powers, are yet unadjusted. Amongst the most prominent of these is that of our north east boundary. With an undiminished confidence in the sincere desire of His Britannic Majesty’s Government to adjust that question, I am not yet in possession of the precise grounds upon which it proposes a satisfactory adjustment. With France our diplomatic relations have been resumed, and under circumstances which attest the disposition of both Governments to preserve a mutually beneficial intercourse and foster those amicable feelings which are so strongly required by the true interests of the two countries. With Russia, Austria, Prussia, Naples, Sweden, and Denmark the best understanding exists, and...

Andrew Jackson – State of the Union – December 7, 1835

Andrew Jackson – State of the Union – December 7, 1835

Oct 19, 2012

Fellow Citizens of the Senate and of the House of Representatives: In the discharge of my official duty the again devolves upon me of communicating with a new Congress. The reflection that the representation of the Union has been recently renewed, and that the constitutional term of its service will expire with my own, heightens the solicitude with which I shall attempt to lay before it the state of our national concerns and the devout hope which I cherish that its labors to improve them may be crowned with success. You are assembled at a period of profound interest to the American patriot. The unexampled growth and prosperity of our country having given us a rank in the scale of nations which removes all apprehension of danger to our integrity and independence from external foes, the career of freedom is before us, with an earnest from the past that if true to ourselves there can be no formidable obstacle in the future to its peaceful and uninterrupted pursuit. Yet, in proportion to the disappearance of those apprehensions which attended our weakness, as once contrasted with the power of some of the States of the Old World, should we now be solicitous as to those which belong to the conviction that it is to our own conduct we must look for the preservation of those causes on which depend the excellence and the duration of our happy system of government. In the example of other systems founded on the will of the people we trace to internal dissension the influences which have so often blasted the hopes of the friends of freedom. The social elements, which were strong and successful when united against external danger, failed in the more difficult task of properly adjusting their own internal organization, and thus gave way the great principle of self-government. Let us trust that this admonition will never be forgotten by the Government or the people of the United States, and that the testimony which our experience thus far holds out to the great human family of the practicability and the blessings of free government will be confirmed in all time to come. We have but to look...

Andrew Jackson – State of the Union – December 1, 1834

Andrew Jackson – State of the Union – December 1, 1834

Oct 19, 2012

Fellow Citizens of the Senate and of the House of Representatives: In performing my duty at the opening of your present session it gives me pleasure to congratulate you again upon the prosperous condition of our beloved country. Divine Providence has favored us with general health, with rich rewards in the fields of agriculture and in every branch of labor, and with peace to cultivate and extend the various resources which employ the virtue and enterprise of our citizens. Let us trust that in surveying a scene so flattering to our free institutions our joint deliberations to preserve them may be crowned with success. Our foreign relations continue, with but few exceptions, to maintain the favorable aspect which they bore in my last annual message, and promise to extend those advantages which the principles that regulate our intercourse with other nations are so well calculated to secure. The question of our North East boundary is still pending with Great Britain, and the proposition made in accordance with the resolution of the Senate for the establishment of a line according to the treaty of 1783 has not been accepted by that Government. Believing that every disposition is felt on both sides to adjust this perplexing question to the satisfaction of all the parties interested in it, the hope is yet indulged that it may be effected on the basis of that proposition. With the Governments of Austria, Russia, Prussia, Holland, Sweden, and Denmark the best understanding exists. Commerce with all is fostered and protected by reciprocal good will under the sanction of liberal conventional or legal provisions. In the midst of her internal difficulties the Queen of Spain has ratified the convention for the payment of the claims of our citizens arising since 1819. It is in the course of execution on her part, and a copy of it is now laid before you for such legislation as may be found necessary to enable those interested to derive the benefits of it. Yielding to the force of circumstances and to the wise counsels of time and experience, that power has finally resolved no longer to occupy the unnatural position in which she stood to the...

Andrew Jackson – State of the Union – December 3, 1833

Andrew Jackson – State of the Union – December 3, 1833

Oct 19, 2012

Fellow Citizens of the Senate and of the House of Representatives: On your assembling to perform the high trusts which the people of the United States have confided to you, of legislating for their common welfare, it gives me pleasure to congratulate you upon the happy condition of our beloved country. By the favor of Divine Providence health is again restored to us, peace reigns within our borders, abundance crowns the labors of our fields, commerce and domestic industry flourish and increase, and individual happiness rewards the private virtue and enterprise of our citizens. Our condition abroad is no less honorable than it is prosperous at home. Seeking nothing that is not right and determined to submit to nothing that is wrong, but desiring honest friendships and liberal intercourse with all nations, the United States have gained throughout the world the confidence and respect which are due to a policy so just and so congenial to the character of the American people and to the spirit of their institutions. In bringing to your notice the particular state of our foreign affairs, it affords me high gratification to inform you that they are in a condition which promises the continuance of friendship with all nations. With Great Britain the interesting question of our North East boundary remains still undecided. A negotiation, however, upon that subject has been renewed since the close of the last Congress, and a proposition has been submitted to the British Government with the view of establishing, in conformity with the resolution of the Senate, the line designated by the treaty of 1783. Though no definitive answer has been received, it may be daily looked for, and I entertain a hope that the overture may ultimately lead to a satisfactory adjustment of this important matter. I have the satisfaction to inform you that a negotiation which, by desire of the House of Representatives, was opened some years ago with the British Government, for the erection of light houses on the Bahamas, has been successful. Those works, when completed, together with those which the United States have constructed on the western side of the Gulf of Florida, will contribute essentially to the safety...

Andrew Jackson – State of the Union – December 4, 1832

Andrew Jackson – State of the Union – December 4, 1832

Oct 19, 2012

Fellow Citizens of the Senate and of the House of Representatives: It gives me pleasure to congratulate you upon your return to the seat of Government for the purpose of discharging your duties to the people of the United States. Although the pestilence which had traversed the Old World has entered our limits and extended its ravages over much of our land, it has pleased Almighty God to mitigate its severity and lessen the number of its victims compared with those who have fallen in most other countries over which it has spread its terrors. Not with standing this visitation, our country presents on every side marks of prosperity and happiness unequaled, perhaps, in any other portion of the world. If we fully appreciate our comparative condition, existing causes of discontent will appear unworthy of attention, and, with hearts of thankfulness to that divine Being who has filled our cup of prosperity, we shall feel our resolution strengthened to preserve and hand down to our posterity that liberty and that union which we have received from our fathers, and which constitute the sources and the shield of all our blessings. The relations of our country continue to present the same picture of amicable intercourse that I had the satisfaction to hold up to your view at the opening of your last session. The same friendly professions, the same desire to participate in our flourishing commerce, the same dispositions, evinced by all nations with whom we have any intercourse. This desirable state of things may be mainly ascribed to our undeviating practice of the rule which has long guided our national policy, to require no exclusive privileges in commerce and to grant none. It is daily producing its beneficial effect in the respect shown to our flag, the protection of our citizens and their property abroad, and in the increase of our navigation and the extension of our mercantile operations. The returns which have been made out since we last met will show an increase during the last preceding year of more than 80 thousand tons in our shipping and of near $40,000,000 in the aggregate of our imports and exports. Nor have we less...