The Imperial Presidency

Another purpose for this series of posts is to take my mind off the current election season.

Andrew Jackson in kingly robes
The Mighty Veto King


Tune— “The Little Tailor Boy

In Andrew Jackson’s reign,
The mighty Veto King,
There were three varmints in this land,
And of these three we sing,

The one was the Pole-Cat — Kendall,
The other was the Beagle— Duff Green;
The third, he was the Little Red Fox,
From the Empire State, I ween.

The Skunk he defiled his friend,
The Beagle he gave the alarm,
The Little Red Fox stole the President’s robe,
To keep these three rogues warm.

We smothered the Pole-Cat in Clay,
The Beagle stole off to Calhoun,
While the little Red Fox was caught by the tail,
And worried to death by the Coon!


President Andrew Jackson vetoed the recharter of the Second Bank of the United States.

The Whigs really wanted a central bank.  Jackson … didn’t.

Amos Kendall, editor-in-chief of the influential Argus of Western America, was a staunch Democrat, and was notably sharp-tongued.  He was a member of Jackson’s “Kitchen Cabinet” (an informal group of advisers).  Being Jackson’s friend did not stop Kendall from writing editorials against him.

Duff Green was the editor of the St. Louis Examiner and later the United States Telegraph, other highly influential newspapers.   Although Green had initially supported Jackson and was another member of the Kitchen Cabinet, he broke with Jackson in 1831 to support John C. Calhoun.  Green supported Harrison and Tyler, the Whig candidates, in 1840.

The Little Red Fox was Martin Van Buren of New York (the Empire State), Jackson’s vice president, who followed Jackson as president. Some said that Van Buren would never have been elected if he hadn’t been Andy Jackson’s vice president (thus stealing his robe).

Clay is Henry Clay of Kentucky, “the Coon.”

“Worried” here doesn’t mean “caused to fret” or “given low self-esteem.”  “Worry” means “tear at, gnaw on, or drag around with the teeth.”

Jackson reputedly once said that his only regrets in life were that he hadn’t shot Henry Clay and hanged John C. Calhoun.

Tomorrow: Kilkenny Cats, to the tune of “Old Dan Tucker”!

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