President Andrew Jackson put his political career on the line in 1832 by vetoing renewal of the charter for the Second Bank of the United States. He called the Bank a monster and declared: "I am ready with the screws to draw every tooth and then the stumps." Voters approved and re-elected him by a large margin.
As the name of Andrew Jackson faded into history, so did the dream of honest banking.
One cannot blame Jackson for accepting the support of these groups in his effort to slay the dragon. In politics, it often is necessary to make temporary alliances with one's opponents to achieve occasional common objectives. [...] He led the nation away from the new concept of diffused powers, carefully worked out by the founding fathers, back towards the Old-World tradition of concentration and monarchy. By strongly challenging the right of the States to secede from the Union, he set into motion a concept that, not only would lead to civil war, but which would put an end forever to the ability of the states to check the expanding power of the federal government. [...] he changed the perception of the role of President from public servant to national leader. [...] One of the sad facts of history is that good causes often are the occasion for establishing bad precedents. Jackson's fight against the Bank of the United States was one of those events.
Soon after the election, he [Jackson] ordered Secretary of the Treasury, William Duane, to place all new deposits of the federal government into various state banks around the country and to pay current expenses out of the funds still held by the Bank of the United States until that account was drained to zero. Without the use of federal money, surely the monster would perish.
Jackson had awakened the indignation of the American people. When the November ballots were cast, he received a mammoth vote of confidence. He received fifty-five per cent of the popular vote [...] and eighty per cent of the vote in the Electoral College. But the war still was not over. Jackson won the election, but the Bank had four more years to operate, and it intended to use those years to sway public sentiment back to its support. The biggest battles were yet to come.
[...] he pointed out that the stock of the Bank [Second Bank of the United States] was owned only by the richest citizens of this country [...] but it is even worse when the people receiving those benefits are not even citizens at all but are, in fact foreigners. Jackson said:
It is not our own citizens only who are to receive the bounty of our Government. More than eight millions of the stock of this bank are held by foreigners. By this act the American Republic proposes virtually to make them a present of some millions of dollars.... It appears that more than a fourth part of the stock is held by foreigners and the residue is held by a few hundred of our own citizens, chiefly the richest class.
Jackson decided to place his entire political career on the line for this one issue [ending the Second Bank of the United States] and, with perhaps the most passionate message ever delivered to Congress by any President, before or since, he vetoed the measure [the early renewal of the bank charter].
If Congress has the right under the constitution to issue paper money, it was given them to be used by themselves, not to be delegated to individuals or corporations.