Biddle had done his best to stay out of the political area and to keep his focus on the financial systems of the nation. If Biddle saw Jackson has uneducated in banks, Clay saw Biddle as naive in terms of politics, and Clay set out teach Biddle the ways of DC. The charter of the BUS was set to expire in 1836, and Jackson was intent on allowing the charter to run out. But the investors and customers of the BUS wanted reassurance that the institution would last beyond 1836, which led to support for an early renewal of the charter.
Clay thought he could manage the renewal through Congress, and even though Jackson would veto the bill, the BUS would become an even greater campaign issue, and perhaps Jackson’s veto might cost him re-election. It was Clay’s only hope since Jackson looked to be virtually unbeatable, so getting Jackson to veto the BUS bill might not only politically damage Jackson, but his veto might create an anti-Jackson coalition that would support Clay. Clay didn’t show all his cards to Biddle, especially his knowledge of how Jackson would react to being openly challenged during the campaign.
Webster congratulated Biddle on his decision to do so and did his best to get the bill through the Senate. The enemies of the BUS were galvanized, and Senator Thomas Hart Benton (MO) called the BUS unconstitutional, immoral, and a conspiracy. Benton’s tirade played well in the West and among the vast majority of Jacksonians. However, Clay was able to get the votes in both houses to renew the charter of the BUS. The margin was comfortable in the House, but in the Senate is was a close call, which led to charges of bribery and shenanigans by the opponents of the BUS.
McCulloch v. Maryland (1819) only meant that the lower courts had to follow the Supreme Court decisions, not Congress. Jackson stated that each branch of the government could have its own interpretation of the Constitution.
Jackson simply didn’t believe that the “necessary and proper” clause authorized a national bank. In Jackson’s time, the precedent and practice of judicial review in the hands of the Supreme Court hadn’t yet been set in stone. Jackson’s statements against the BUS were bold, but not original. Jackson went on to say that the BUS was a monopoly that enriched its shareholders at the expense of regular Americans, which aggravated the nation’s inequalities.
1832 marked the first year of political party nominating conventions, and the Anti-Masons were first, nominating Maryland’s William Wirt (what Clay had done in terms of revolutionizing the role of Speaker, Wirt had done with the Cabinet post of Attorney General). The idea of a convention caught on, with the National Republicans nominating Clay . . . the Democrats (nee Republicans), had officially started to fracture apart. A convention of Jacksonians (now calling themselves Democrats for the first time), officially, nominated Jackson as President and MVB as VP. The
Election of 1832 was not close, with Jackson tallying 219 Electoral Votes to Clay’s 49, and Jackson won 16 states to Clay’s 6 (Wirt carried one state, and a Nullification candidate carried South Carolina).
Jackson calculated that the BUS would collapse if he
removed government deposits. Jackson had to remove SecTreas William Duane, who refused to remove the deposits, and moved Roger Taney (Attorney General) in as Acting SecTreas to do so. Biddle was neither alarmed nor surprised, knowing that the crisis would come to exactly that point. Biddle believed that he held the advantage using strategic bribes to keep the people in the BUS system that would not cooperate with Jackson’s goal of removing the deposits. At the same time, Biddle ordered the BUS to call in loans and to stop issuing loans. Biddle’s idea was that he would starve the economy of the money it needed to flourish; in essence, Biddle tried to show that the US could not possibly survive without the BUS.
Calhoun joined Clay in opposition to Jackson’s attempt to remove government deposits. Benton believed that Jackson was in the right, since he also distrusted banks. From the moment the deposits were removed, Benton observed that the BUS and Biddle were doing their best to create a crisis that would be to their advantage, especially Biddle’s squeeze on the money supply and credit. Jackson concluded that the shenanigans of the BUS were due to Clay and Biddle, and he viewed it as a personal challenge in that it was either his Presidency or the BUS. Jackson held Biddle responsible for the tactics, but he held Clay responsible for the overall strategy.