Trump makes puzzling claim about Andrew Jackson, Civil War

Commenting for Mother Jones, noted Yale University Historian and Civil War expert David Blight had a little bit to say about Donald Trump's unusual view of history. Such was the case over the weekend when he gave a double-header to the Washington Examiner's Salena Zito and CBS's John Dickerson in which he managed to fundamentally misunderstand US history (to Zito), implicitly diminish the horror of slavery (to Zito), dodge questions about making unfounded accusations about President Barack Obama (to Dickerson), and abruptly walk away when he got frustrated (Dickerson again). People don't ask that question. But, come on. Everyone knows why there was a Civil War. Immigrants seeking to become naturalized are sometimes asked to name a cause of the war in their citizenship tests. "SLAVERY. The thing southern states were most concerned about in 1861 was the right to perpetuate slavery". He's probably right. Indeed, any Democratic president of that era might well have prevented it.

In an interview Mr Trump praised the accomplishments of Jackson, the populist 19th Century president he has cited as a role model. Others have suggested that Trump was, in a roundabout way, referencing Jackson's opposition to his VP and the Nullification Crisis of the 1830s, which involved a confrontation between SC and the federal government over tariffs. He was really angry that he saw what was happening with regard to the Civil War.

"Exactly, Andrew Jackson said, 'There's no reason for this, '" he deadpanned. Jackson died in 1845.

As for the half-dozen deals that were struck over slavery before the Civil War broke out, most American students would likely be unable to name them.

Presidential historian Jon Meacham said Tuesday that President Donald Trump told him previous year that he could have negotiated a deal to avert the Civil War.

"Would never have let it happen!" he added.

Jackson was a slave-holding plantation owner. 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.

It is a comment on the intelligence and honesty of Clinton and Lee that they do not say their Democratic Party was the party of slavery that ultimately caused the war.

The Civil War was decades in the making, stemming from disputes between the North and South about slavery and whether the union or states themselves had more power. Abraham Lincoln, opposed to slavery's expansion, was elected president in 1860 and the path to the South's seceding from the Union was set. So the solution was to either break up the union (and leave almost 4 million people enslaved) or fight a war that would end slavery, and keep the country together. The conflict lasted four years.

Politico's 100 days visit to the White House - which Trump was advised to keep off the record; he didn't - featured staffers literally saying the words, "This shit is hard", and confirmed that not only is Steve Bannon still active in the administration, but so is Matt Drudge now.

But the journalist who conducted the interview played down the criticism of Mr Trump.

It's because my ancestors and millions of others were enslaved. "It's a very intensive process", Trump told his interviewer of the presidency.

Meacham said he thought that Trump may have been referring to the nullification crisis, which did occur during Jackson's lifetime. Trump said in the interview.

Trump, prompted by his chief strategist Steve Bannon, embraced the legacy of Jackson soon after his election. It's not clear he would have favored those two positions equally. On March 15, Trump also visited Jackson's 1,000 acre estate in Nashville, Tennessee, to mark Jackson's 250th birth anniversary. What does that mean for you?

Why couldn't we all just get along?

Thanks for your continued support.


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