On this date in 1832 President Andrew Jackson vetoed the bill that would have rechartered the Bank of the United States. Jackson, like Thomas Jefferson before him, was an adamant opponent of a national bank, believing such a bank would be inherently corrupt and would favor the interests of the rich. In his veto message Jackson wrote:
“It is to be regretted that the rich and powerful too often bend the acts of government to their selfish purposes. Distinctions in society will always exist under every just government. Equality of talents, of education, or of wealth can not be produced by human institutions. In the full enjoyment of the gifts of Heaven and the fruits of superior industry, economy, and virtue, every man is equally entitled to protection by law; but when the laws undertake to add to these natural and just advantages artificial distinctions, to grant titles, gratuities, and exclusive privileges, to make the rich richer and the potent more powerful, the humble members of society–the farmers, mechanics, and laborers–who have neither the time nor the means of securing like favors to themselves, have a right to complain of the injustice of their Government. There are no necessary evils in government. Its evils exist only in its abuses. If it would confine itself to equal protection, and, as Heaven does its rains, shower its favors alike on the high and the low, the rich and the poor, it would be an unqualified blessing. In the act before me there seems to be a wide and unnecessary departure from these just principles…”
The image is a political cartoon purporting to show Jackson “slaying the many-headed monster” (the bank interests). The cane in his hand is labeled “Veto.”
Andrew Jackson delivered his veto message against rechartering the Second Bank of the United States one hundred ninety years ago today. Not until 1913 with the creation of the Federal Reserve would a new type of national bank come into existence.
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