This time Trump has told Jon Meacham that if he were in Lincoln’s shoes, he would have prevented the Civil War. Maybe if he was in Andy Jackson’s boots, the he would have avoided the Battle of New Orleans and made a deal to trade Louisiana for the Stone of Scone. The King of Self, in the Civil War tradition that he knows so much about, has placed a monument on his golf course in his Lowes Island GC in Virginia commemorating a battle that was supposedly fought there. Sorry, another lie by the King. There was no “river of blood” there!
Speaking of the King of Self, it wasn’t so bad that the old warts, wounds and historical impurities of Old Hickory, Andrew Jackson, were exposed to today’s generation by the most ill-informed and ignorant person to reside at 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue. Poor Andy Jackson, who was slashed by a British Recoat during the Revolutionary War and went on to be the first real Democratic President, was, for most of the 180 years since he was president, rated as a great or near great president. Of course, up until 1945, we only had 32 presidents, and since Jackson, only two presidents had served out two full terms; Woodrow Wilson and FDR.
Many, in the period from the 1840s to the 1970s ignored some of Jackson’s most notorious warts; the Cherokee relocation, or the “Trail of Tears,” the fact that Jackson owned about 150 slaves at his death, and that he was an acclaimed “Indian” fighter and a very successful duelist. Obviously, early generations admired Indian fighters and tough guys like Jackson, who was the hero of the Battle of New Orleans that theoretically taught the British a costly lesson, when they invaded Louisiana, weeks after they actually lost the War of 1812 and signed a peace treaty. Jackson was always given high marks as a leader. Eventually, he was nominated and almost won the presidency in 1824, (defeated in the Electoral College), but was finally elected and re-elected in landslides in 1828 and 1832. He was a reformer, a nationalist, an opponent of John C. Calhoun’s opposition to the Tariff of Abominations, was the only president to pay off the National Debt, established relations with European countries regarding trade, opposed the 2nd Bank of the United States, which unfortunately was a contributing factor in the bank crisis of 1837 and the resulting panic and long recession. But, all in all, he was given very high marks and even today he is highly rated, even in this politically correct era.
But, here we are 172 years after his death and over 150 years after the Civil War, where probably over 700,000 Americans died (a new estimate). That high death total represented one out of every 44 Americans in 1860. With today’s population of 320 million, those deaths, with todays’ numbers, would represent over 7 million. Of course, of these 700,000, a vast percentage were men from the ages of 16 to 45. In fact, that number of 7 million, would be almost greater than all the soldiers lost in WWII by Germany, Japan, Britain and the United States combined. In fact, the population of those countries in 1939, totaled 319 million, almost exactly what today’s population of the United States. In other words, it was a pretty large conflict.
So, how does a president of the United States be so functionally illiterate about the history of the United States and the immensity of the Civil War? Aside from the fact that Jackson died 16 years before the Civil War, he, like most Americans did not want war. A vast amount of Americans were ambivalent about slavery (there were very few Abolitionists even in 1860) and there was general support for compromises regarding slavery, from the Missouri Compromise in 1820 (Missouri and Maine would come into the Union as Slave and Free states,) to the Great Compromise of 1850 and the Kansas-Nebraska Act of 1854. Of course, that last attempt to stave off a fratricidal war over slavery, led to the rise of John Brown, Bloody Kansas and his ill-fated raid on Harper’s Ferry’s Federal Arsenals. The Election of 1860 of Abraham Lincoln as President, with his opposition to the spread of slavery to the western part of America, promised to change the slave/free balance in Congress, and would lead to the promised Secession of seven (SC seceded in 1860) Southern States. But, the King of Self could make a deal!
So assuming Andrew Jackson was alive or even president in 1861, which is patently idiotic, how would he have stopped Secession? Even some historians in the distant past have speculated that the Federal government could buy out slavery, by paying the market price for the slaves. There were approximately four million slaves in America in 1860 and the average price of a slave has been estimated at $800, which would put their total value at $3.2 billion. The whole GNP of the United States in 1860 was only $4.3 billion. So could the fictional President Jackson have raised that money? Not really, remember, he had paid off the National Debt in 1835, which was only $58 million when he came into office. Therefore, where would America get $3 billion to buy the slaves? Maybe this fictional President could have borrowed money from the Chinese and the Russians like our present incumbent. Of course, the truth and myth are always swirling in the head of the King of Self aka the Moron-in-Chief. Recently we were astounded by the King as he was applauding the great efforts of Frederick Douglass, who happened to have died in 1895. Is the King that uninformed? The King likes to drop names of his buddies, even if they are long dead. Recently, he claimed he was a great friend of the great tenor Luciano Pavarotti, who died in 2007. Interestingly, Pavarotti’s family can’t stand the King. It seems that the King wanted to stiff Pavarotti after a performance he didn’t like. But, that’s nothing new for the King, because he has been stiffing people and vendors for years. Maybe that is why he has been in court over 4000 times. So now, after all has been said, the King really isn’t sure about Old Hickory’s ability to avoid the Civil War, but for sure, as he told historian Jon Meacham, he could.