“Those who cannot remember the past are condemned to repeat it.” – George Santayana Prior to the Presidential election of 1832, a new political party formed – The “Anti-Mason Party”. This party was formed primarily by concerned persons with political influence to openly warn the American People about the power and influence the Masons, also known as the Freemasons, held. It was also formed after a prominent, infamous mason, one Captain Morgan, who wrote a 110 page booklet exposing Masonic “secrets” was carried off and allegedly killed by Masons who saw Morgan as an oath breaker. The allegation about the responsible parties for Captain Morgan’s death were made in a book entitled The revolutionary Age of Thomas Jefferson written by Robert Remini, who stated “…the Masonic Order had arranged his (Captain Morgan’s) abduction and probable murder”. A Meeting Of The Minds The Anti-Masons met on September 11 (!!), 1830 in Philadelphia, where delegates from 11 states met to “denounce the Freemasonic Order and to call upon their countrymen to join a political crusade to save the nation from subversion and tyranny at the hands of the Masons”. It should be noted one of the attending delegates was William Seward, from New York, who was later to become Secretary of State under President Abraham Lincoln. Another staunch Anti-mason was former President John Quincy Adams, who published a series of letters that were abusive of Freemasonry and directed at political leaders. These letters were published in the public journals from 1830-1833. The Anti-Masons were able to get their candidate on the 1832 Presidential ballot, adding further pressure against Andrew Jackson’s chances of getting re-elected. The Real Issues The real issue at hand for the 1832 election was the renewal of the charter of the Second Bank of the United States. Nicolas Biddle, the President of this organization, decided to ask Congress for renewal of the banks charter in 1832, a full 4 years before the charter was set to expire. This move was simple, it made the charter’s renewal an issue for the Presidential candidates, thus permitting the charter’s renewal through force of political maneuvering. Henry Clay, later to become the Republican candidate against Andrew Jackson, and Daniel Webster both took the lead in pushing the legislation through Congress. Their efforts were not disappointing. The charter passed the Senate by 8 votes and Congress by 22 votes. President Jackson, however, had his chance as sitting President to act, and act he did. He resoundingly vetoed the bill on July 10, 1832, just under 4 months until the election. He again stated, rather emphatically that “the belief that some of the powers and privileges possessed by the existing bank are unauthorized by the Constitution, subversive of the rights of the States, and dangerous to the liberties of the people…” The Votes Are In While Andrew Jackson risked the ire of the pro-bank Americans he was not concerned. He ran on the platform: “Bank and no Jackson, or No Bank and Jackson”. He faced great opposition, especially in the press, largely from “advertizing pressure”. This meant that large, wealthy segments of the business sector had something to gain by the rechartering of the Bank. The only ones, apparently, who did oppose the rechartering of the Second Bank were the American People. They re-elected Andrew Jackson with 55 percent of the vote, with the Anti-Mason Party gaining just 8%. That left only 37% of the vote to Clay, who was openly pro-Bank. Screw You, Jackson. I Have Other Plans. After the election, Jackson ordered Biddle to withdraw all Government funds on deposit at the Bank. Biddle refused, and to show his vast displeasure at Jackson, he ordered a “general curtailment of all loans in the banking system”. This order was so sudden, it threw the country into economic panic, which was exactly what Biddle wanted. The awesome power a central bank holds to destroy an economy was now being used against the very people who did not want the bank, the American people. The people were right. They wanted no part in an institution that could destroy them economically, and now they were being punished. Biddle embarked on a campaign to force the American people into capitulation and acceptance of the Bank. He is quoted as saying: “Nothing but the evidence of suffering abroad will produce any effect in Congress. . . My own course is decided – all other Banks and merchants may break, but the Bank of the United States shall not break.” Jackson saw the efforts of the Second Bank as not only dangerous to the American economy, but also the economy of Europe. He also felt the Bank posed a real threat to his personal existence. He is know to have said to his Vice President Martin Van Buren “The Bank, Mr. Van Buren, is trying to kill me. But I will kill it”. It is not absolutely certain if President Jackson meant that the bank was trying to destroy his political career or to murder him, but on January 10, 1835, would-be assassin Richard Lawrence stepped into his path and fired two pistols at Jackson at close range. Both pistols misfired, and President Jackson was unhurt. Lawrence later claimed he had “been in touch with the powers in Europe who promised to intervene is any attempt was made to punish him”. Jackson’s Parting Shots In President Jackson’s 1836 farewell address he once again warned the American people. “The Constitution of the United States unquestionably intended to secure the people a circulating medium of gold and silver. But the establishment of a national bank by Congress, with the privileged of issuing paper money receivable in payment of public dues… drove from general circulation the constitutional currency and substituted one of paper in its place.” Jackson’s final words are also said to have been “I killed the bank!” The United States was free from a National Bank from 1836 until the Civil War Started in 1861. So for that time, the United States was free of the bankers attempts to enmesh the American people in a web of permanent banking control.