Dec 8, 2009
Some Democrats pushing to change the name of the annul state Jeff-Jack dinner
One thing I like about being a Democrat is that there are so many different kinds of people in the party with many different views.
We have Blue Dogs, pro-life Democrats and Pro-choice Democrats. Try finding a pro-choice Republican; They are few and far between and becoming more scarce everyday. We often fight with each other because we have such a big tent. Unlike the Republicans, we don’t have a purity test. I guess that’s why more people call themselves Democrats.
So, it was with surprise that I learned that the Livingston County Democratic Party recently passed a resolution asking the Michigan Democratic Party to remove the name of President Andrew Jackson’s name from the title of the annual Jefferson-Jackson Day Dinner, the MDP’s largest annual fundraising event held at Cobo Hall in March, known affectingly as the Jeff-Jack.
The resolution objects to the 7th President’s human rights record and his actions toward Native Americans. The notorious Indian Removal Act of 1830 forcibly removed Native American tribes from their traditional tribal lands in the southern states of Georgia and Florida to west of Mississippi, and it became known as the “Trail of Tears.”
Despite that record, someone told me Jackson should not be viewed in the light of today’s policies. Regardless, it raises an interesting debate. The Indian Removal Act was very popular at the time, and many Americans favored extermination of the Native American tribes instead of removal.
The Livingston County Republican Party calls their annual fundraising dinner the Reagan Dinner, and Reagan was no great shakes as a president; he wasn’t even the best Republican president.
Jackson, like many of the Founding Fathers, was a slave holder. But unlike previous presidents, he was the first president that was not born an aristocrat.
He was born in poverty from Irish immigrant parents in 1767 in Coastal Carolina, and his father died while his mother was pregnant with him. Jackson and his brother joined the Continental Army as boys serving as messengers during the Revolutionary War, and they served where the most vicious fighting of the war occurred in the Carolinas where atrocities on both sides occurred. Jackson and his brother contracted Small Pox while captives of the British, but his brother did not survive, leaving Jackson with no family.
Jackson was a self-made man and a frontiersman that became rich farming and raising race horses, but, unfortunately, he became rich on the work of slaves in Tennessee.
Jackson became a nationally recognized cultural hero following his defeat of the British in the Battle of New Orleans in 1815, earning the nickname “Old Hickory.” The only thing close is the adoration of General Dwight Eisenhower following World War II.
This is an interesting question that should be examined and debated. There is no doubt Jackson was a great man, but he needs to be viewed in the time he lived. No one is denying George Washington was a great man, but he owned some 300 slaves when he died. There is also no doubt Abraham Lincoln was a great man, but he was actually hated by many during his time. And, even though he signed the Emancipation Promulgation freeing the slaves, he favored colonizing them outside of the United States.