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Contents > Author > Andrew Jackson > Second Inaugural Address, 1833 1767- 1845
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Andrew Jackson
Second Inaugural Address, 1833
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Fellow-Citizens:

The will of the American people, expressed through their
unsolicited suffrages, calls me before you to pass through the
solemnities preparatory to taking upon myself the duties of
President of the United States for another term. For their
approbation of my public conduct through a period which
has not been without its difficulties, and for this renewed
expression of their confidence in my good intentions, I am
at a loss for terms adequate to the expression of my gratitude.
It shall be displayed to the extent of my humble abilities in
continued efforts so to administer the Government as to
preserve their liberty and promote their happiness.

So many events have occurred within the last four years
which have necessarily called forth?sometimes under
circumstances the most delicate and painful?my views of the
principles and policy which ought to be pursued by the
General Government that I need on this occasion but allude to
a few leading considerations connected with some of them.

The foreign policy adopted by our Government soon after
the formation of our present Constitution, and very generally
pursued by successive Administrations, has been crowned with
almost complete success, and has elevated our character among
the nations of the earth. To do justice to all and to submit to
wrong from none has been during my Administration its governing
maxim, and so happy have been its results that we are not only
at peace with all the world, but have few causes of controversy,
and those of minor importance, remaining unadjusted.

In the domestic policy of this Government there are two objects
which especially deserve the attention of the people and their
representatives, and which have been and will continue to be the
subjects of my increasing solicitude. They are the preservation of
the rights of the several States and the integrity of the Union.

These great objects are necessarily connected, and can only
be attained by an enlightened exercise of the powers of each
within its appropriate sphere in conformity with the public will
constitutionally expressed. To this end it becomes the duty of all
to yield a ready and patriotic submission to the laws constitutionally
enacted, and thereby promote and strengthen a proper confidence
in those institutions of the several States and of the United States
which the people themselves have ordained for their own
government.

My experience in public concerns and the observation of a life
somewhat advanced confirm the opinions long since imbibed by
me, that the destruction of our State governments or the
annihilation of their control over the local concerns of the people
would lead directly to revolution and anarchy, and finally to
despotism and military domination. In proportion, therefore, as the
General Government encroaches upon the rights of the States, in
the same proportion does it impair its own power and detract from
its ability to fulfill the purposes of its creation. Solemnly impressed
with these considerations, my countrymen will ever find me ready
to exercise my constitutional powers in arresting measures which
may directly or indirectly encroach upon the rights of the States
or tend to consolidate all political power in the General Government.
But of equal, and, indeed, of incalculable, importance is the union
of these States, and the sacred duty of all to contribute to its
preservation by a liberal support of the General Government in the
exercise of its just powers. You have been wisely admonished to
"accustom yourselves to think and speak of the Union as of the
palladium of your political safety and prosperity, watching for its
preservation with jealous anxiety, discountenancing whatever
may suggest even a suspicion that it can in any event be abandoned,
and indignantly frowning upon the first dawning of any attempt to
alienate any portion of our country from the rest or to enfeeble the
sacred ties which now link together the various parts." Without union
our independence and liberty would never have been achieved;
without union they never can be maintained. Divided into twenty-four,
or even a smaller number, of separate communities, we shall see
our internal trade burdened with numberless restraints and exactions;
communication between distant points and sections obstructed or
cut off; our sons made soldiers to deluge with blood the fields they
now till in peace; the mass of our people borne down and impoverished
by taxes to support armies and navies, and military leaders at the
head of their victorious legions becoming our lawgivers and judges.
The loss of liberty, of all good government, of peace, plenty, and
happiness, must inevitably follow a dissolution of the Union. In
supporting it, therefore, we support all that is dear to the freeman
and the philanthropist.

The time at which I stand before you is full of interest. The eyes
of all nations are fixed on our Republic. The event of the existing
crisis will be decisive in the opinion of mankind of the practicability
of our federal system of government. Great is the stake placed in
our hands; great is the responsibility which must rest upon the
people of the United States. Let us realize the importance of the
attitude in which we stand before the world. Let us exercise
forbearance and firmness. Let us extricate our country from the
dangers which surround it and learn wisdom from the lessons
they inculcate.

Deeply impressed with the truth of these observations, and
under the obligation of that solemn oath which I am about to take,
I shall continue to exert all my faculties to maintain the just
powers of the Constitution and to transmit unimpaired to posterity
the blessings of our Federal Union. At the same time, it will be my
aim to inculcate by my official acts the necessity of exercising by
the General Government those powers only that are clearly
delegated; to encourage simplicity and economy in the expenditures
of the Government; to raise no more money from the people than
may be requisite for these objects, and in a manner that will best
promote the interests of all classes of the community and of all
portions of the Union. Constantly bearing in mind that in entering
into society "individuals must give up a share of liberty to preserve
the rest," it will be my desire so to discharge my duties as to foster
with our brethren in all parts of the country a spirit of liberal
concession and compromise, and, by reconciling our fellow-citizens
to those partial sacrifices which they must unavoidably make for
the preservation of a greater good, to recommend our invaluable
Government and Union to the confidence and affections of the
American people.

Finally, it is my most fervent prayer to that Almighty Being
before whom I now stand, and who has kept us in His hands from
the infancy of our Republic to the present day, that He will so
overrule all my intentions and actions and inspire the hearts of
my fellow-citizens that we may be preserved from dangers of all
kinds and continue forever a united and happy people.
 

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