United States and American History: 1829

About the history of the United States in 1829, Andrew Jackson and his kitchen cabinet, revising the post office, the first encyclopedia, rise of anti-Catholic sentiment.


--President Andrew Jackson surrounded himself with a group of unofficial advisers who became known as his "Kitchen Cabinet." Jackson was accused of giving jobs to his royal supporters at the cost of throwing out dedicated office-holders. Jackson supporters claimed those replaced were careless and inefficient, having grown old in their jobs. Actually during his 1st year in office, Jackson's Administration replaced only 9% of the office-holders.

Public officials in high office were one thing, but when it was reported that 300 postmasters had been replaced, a mighty hue and cry arose. The local postmaster, after all, was a man everyone knew. Further, it was said, those postmasters who had lost their jobs had lost them simply because they voted for Adams. Not so! declared administration spokesmen, who insisted that the postal system needed updating--and officials who executed the laws echoed this sentiment, pointing out that in the 40 years since Washington's Administration, the number of post offices had grown from 75 to 7,600.

Postage for a single letter now ran from 6 cent to 25 cent, depending on the distance it traveled. There had been laxity in enforcing the postage rates and Jackson's Administration sought to remedy this. It was a tremendous job. In some places, especially big cities like New York, lines of people were kept waiting while every item of mail was opened before a clerk to determine correct postal charges. A proposal for establishment of a private carrier between Boston and Baltimore was made by indignant citizens who were angered over these long lines at the post office and by the Government's enforcement of postal rates.

--David Walker, a free Negro living in Boston, outraged Southern whites when he wrote:

Let 12 good black men get armed for battle and they will kill and put to flight 50 whites. . . . Kill or be killed. Had you rather not be killed than be a slave to a tyrant who takes the life of your wife and children? Look upon your wife and children and mother and answer God Almighty, and believe this that it is no more harm to kill a man who is trying to kill you than to take a drink of water when you are thirsty.

Walker was arrested in Richmond, Va., and never seen again.

--Encyclopaedia Americana, the 1st American encylopedia, was published in Philadelphia.

--The Mormon Church was founded in New York and Joseph Smith published his Book of Mormon.

--Increased immigration from Catholic countries fostered anti-Catholic sentiment. Anti-Catholic literature and Protestant sermons added to the agitation.

Mar. 2 The 1st U.S. school for the blind was founded in Boston, Mass., by John Dix Fisher. It was called the New England Asylum for the Blind.

Apr. 6 Mexico's revolutionary government forbade further colonization of Texas by Americans and abolished slavery.

Aug. 25 President Jackson offered to purchase Texas from Mexico, but his offer was turned down.

Oct. Two young mechanics established The Workingman's Advocate. The 2 editors commented that something was radically wrong with a country when one part of its society lived in idleness and luxury, a 2nd segment was engaged in worthless employments, and the 3rd and largest part of its society suffered from deprivations caused by the other 2, and existed in an ignorance caused by poverty.

--"Workers," members of workingmen's parties, agitated for the rights of laborers. They particularly objected to imprisonment of debtors and the militia system, which required all males to receive military training 3 times a year. Those who didn't report were fined $12 or jailed. The wealthy could easily afford the $12 fine, but workers could not.

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