Andrew Jackson: Veto Message Regarding the Second Bank of the United States

(1832)

Andrew Jackson’s Veto Message Regarding the Second Bank of the United States was one of the most important presidential vetoes ever issued. Of the few vetoes employed by earlier presidents, only a tiny number had dealt with important matters, and all had rested on the single argument that the legislation in question violated the U.S. Constitution. In Jackson's refusal to recharter the Second Bank of the United States, he cites unconstitutionality but also states that a president could kill a bill for any reason if he thought that it injured the nation. This radical view essentially gave the chief executive a more substantial role in the legislative process. In the veto, Jackson also emphasizes a philosophy of minimal centralized government and his belief that the judiciary did not have sole responsibility for interpreting the Constitution. Although it is seriously flawed in its logic and economic reasoning, the veto is a masterpiece of propaganda, virtually a call to class...

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A cartoon depicting Andrew Jackson's battle to destroy the Second Bank of the United States (Library of Congress)

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