Trump makes puzzling claim about Andrew Jackson, Civil War

by Marta Holmes May 7, 2017, 12:57

"He said, 'There's no reason for this.'" That's pretty incredible since the Civil War started 24 years after the end of the "swashbuckler's" term and 16 years after his death.

Hearing donald trump talk about the civil war, &Andrew jackson having a "big heart", is like hearing honey boo boo talk about the Big Bang. He said, 'There's no reason for this.' People don't realize, you know, the civil war - if you think about it, why? "Saying that if Jackson had been around we might not have had the Civil War is like saying that one strong, aggressive leader can shape, prevent, move history however he wishes". Immigrants seeking to become naturalized are sometimes asked to name a cause of the war in their citizenship tests. The first five words say it all: "Don't know much about history". But on this historical argument, the president is arguably in the right. Zito's interview with the president has yet to aired in full, but part of their conversation was already making waves Monday morning after audio was released of Trump discussing his admiration for Andrew Jackson, the nation's controversial seventh president, whose portrait now hangs symbolically in the Oval Office.

When Zito asked about his visit to Jackson's estate The Hermitage, Trump gushed about the 7th president's preference for decisiveness over diplomacy.

Trump's initial comments in the Sirius XM interview confused listeners when he said Jackson "was really angry that he saw what was happening with regard to the Civil War". After Jackson signed the Indian Removal Act of 1830 into law, more than 45,000 Native Americans were relocated to the West during his administration.

Could the Civil War had been averted?

President Trump seems to think that if his slave-owning predecessor Andrew Jackson had lived a little longer, or at least been around a bit later, the Civil War could have been avoided. "Would never have let it happen!"

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Jackson did own approximately 150 slaves, according to the website for The Hermitage, his former plantation and occasional home in Tennessee. Jackson responded by sending warships to SC, rejecting the notion that a state had the ability to nullify a federal law as tantamount to treason, and worked to get Congress to pass a bill authorizing military force to enforce the tariffs, while at the same time, compromising by reducing the tariff itself, and SC backed down.

Jackson warned a SC congressman that "if one drop of blood be shed there in defiance of the laws of the United States, I will hang the first man of them I can get my hands on to the first tree I can find". "The situation in 1861 was far more dire than in the 1830s during the Nullification Crisis".

Most mainstream historians conclude that the Civil War was prompted by both a desire to maintain slavery by southern states in conjunction with the north's efforts to preserve the union.

And Southern states felt they had no real bargaining power after Lincoln won the White House -- despite receiving zero Southern electoral votes. That an estimated 750,000 died in the four-year bloodbath is proof enough that "that one [could] not have been worked out". His comments on the Civil War drew swift criticism from some civil rights groups and Democrats, including Rep. Barbara Lee of California who tweeted "President Trump doesn't understand the Civil War". The answer, as Lincoln put it, is because the USA "began by declaring that all men are created equal; but now from that beginning we have run down to the other declaration, that for some men to enslave others is a 'sacred right of government.' These principles", Lincoln wrote, "cannot stand together".

During the interview, Trump extolled the virtues of his favorite predecessor and rewrote some United States' history at the same time.

Trump's appeal has drawn comparisons to Andrew Jackson, which he accepts. (Dubito ergo cogito ergo sum, as Descartes would say.) Trump has even started reading.

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