U.S. History/US History


QUESTION: Evaluate the strenghts and weaknesses of Andrew Jackson as president

ANSWER: Jackson was a rather popular President, but also controversial.  Although he was fairly wealthy, he was seen as a politician for the common man because he did not come from powerful eastern families like his predecessors.  He opposed eastern banking interests which were seen as abusing farmers.  Jackson was also a strong leader, putting down secession talk in the south.  He was also the only President to pay off the entire national debt and run a surplus.

Many disliked Jackson too.  As a former military man, he did not always appreciate the limitations of his power in a Constitutional democracy.  He ignored orders of the Supreme Court and frequently ignored Congress.  He also ignored a number of laws and treaties that he found inconvenient.  His policies of Indian removal are judged by many as genocidal.

- Mike

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QUESTION: Thanks, your answer was very helpful.

I would like to know a little bit more about Jakson government.

ANSWER: The main points of Jackson's administration included:

The spoils system.  Jackson was one of the strongest advocates of all the Presidents for ensuring that government employees were loyal to him.  He went out of his way to terminate the jobs government employees who supported his opponents and replaced them with members of his own party.

Terminating the Bank of the US.  Many at the time thought the Bank was a fundamental pillar of the US economy.  Jackson had been highly critical of the bank as many of its actions benefited wealth easterners at the expense of farmers.  Congress tried to call his bluff by forcing him to renew the Bank's charter early.  Jackson refused and allowed the bank to go under.  The US economy did just fine.

There was also great opposition to US tariffs at the time.  This was the primary way the federal government raised money.  Several States threatened to leave the Union over the issue.  Jackson not only stopped the threat of secession, but also worked out a compromise to lower tariffs while still keeping enough funds to end the federal debt.

Jackson was also a strong advocate for Indian removal.  He force the removal of most of the southern tribes in the US, despite treaties and court orders preventing such action.

For more on Jackson, you may find this site helpful:


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QUESTION: Thank you so much for all your help! I've been getting perfect grades at school!

Can you please help me to answer these questions.
I really appreciate any kind of help :)

If civil war deaths as a % of the total us population were extrapolated to todays population, how many died?

What kind of "responsibilities to the dead" did the federal gov't not recognize until after the civil war?

How can we configure the Civil War as the first industrial War?

Explain what a war of attrition meant?

what do people mean when they call it, "A Railroad War?"


Most historians have estimated that at least 620,000 died in the US Civil War.  Some estimates put that much higher since good records of all the deaths were not maintained.  The US population was about 1/10 the size it is today.  So as a percentage of the population, it would be the equivalent of about 6.2 million people dieing today.  

Prior to the Civil War, the government did not much focus on dealing with the dead.  Field officers were tasked with burying the dead if practicable.  But in many cases, the demands of battle meant that many dead were simply left to rot in the fields and have their bodies eaten by animals.  The government did not have a systemic way of tracking the identities of casualties and notifying family.  If did not have an organized method for burying the dead, let alone sending their bodies home to families.   The Civil War saw the first development of national cemeteries for burial and honoring of the dead by the end of the war, and in the years following the war's end.  It also led to the development of better notification system for the families.

The Civil War has been called the first industrial war.  I've never been a big fan of this term since industry had been evolving for some time and every new war took advantage of industrial innovations along the way.  But the Civil War's outcome was definitely impacted by the ability of the national industry to produce weaponry and supplies for their armies.  It provided soldiers with a better level of food, supplies, and ammunition than earlier armies.  The fact that the South could not compete with the North's industrial base put it at a major disadvantage.

A war of attrition basically means the two sides keep fighting until one side is completely destroyed and wiped out.  It is contrasted with the way many wars work where it becomes clear early on that one side has the advantage and a negotiated settlement is created.

The Civil War was generally considered a "railroad war" because men and supplies could be moved to where needed by railroad.  This allowed for much faster and larger movement of men and supplies than earlier methods (which on land were mostly walking or horses).  It again gave advantage to the north with its much larger system of railroads the ability to move resources to where they were needed much more quickly.

I hope this helps!
- Mike  

U.S. History

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Michael Troy


I can answer just about any question on early American History. My specialties are the American Revolution through the Civil War/Reconstruction. I also have greater expertise in matters relating to military, political or legal history.


I have lectured at George Washington University regarding the Civil War, as well as several elementary school Civil War demonstrations. I was also a member of a Civil War reenactment group for about 10 years.


J.D. University of Michigan B.A. George Washington University

Awards and Honors
Truman Scholar

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