Trump Being Compared to Former President Andrew Jackson

29 January, 2017

Donald Trump has done a lot in his first week as president of the United States.

Trump canceled several of former President Barack Obama's executive orders. He signed some of his own executive orders. He also met with members of the U.S. intelligence community.

In between, the new president chose artwork to hang in his office at the White House. One is a painting of former President Andrew Jackson.

From left, President Donald Trump, the 45th president of the United States, President Andrew Jackson, the seventh president of the United States.
From left, President Donald Trump, the 45th president of the United States, President Andrew Jackson, the seventh president of the United States.

Some Americans say his choice of the painting is not a surprise. Many have been comparing President Trump with the former president.

Jackson became America's seventh president in 1828. Historians consider the 1828 election one of the more negative presidential campaigns. Many people say the 2016 election campaign was also extremely negative.

That is just the beginning of the comparisons between Trump and Jackson, observers say. Both men campaigned as populists – candidates who say they represent ordinary people. Both are also known as political outsiders and conservatives. And, both are known for having strong personalities.

Jackson, like Trump, was fiercely independent. He said that he alone would define his administration's policies.

Trump spoke about conditions in the United States, and around the world, at the Republican Party's national convention last summer.

"I alone can fix it," he said. Trump was talking of, in his words, "poverty and violence at home," and "war and destruction abroad."

Observers have also noted similar parts of his inaugural speech to the speech given by former President Jackson.

Andrew Jackson served two terms in office. He was a member of the Democratic Party -- the conservative party at that time in American history.

Donald Trump once considered himself a Democrat. He was also, at one time, an independent. He is now a Republican -- the major conservative party in America today.

But there are some clear differences between the two presidents, says writer Richard Dean Young. He has argued that Trump is not exactly a modern-day Jackson.

"Historical comparisons are tricky," Young told VOA.

One difference is that Jackson served in the U.S. military, Young said. He fought in battles against Native Americans and, later, against British forces.

Trump, on the other hand, is a billionaire businessman from New York City. In Young's words, Trump is "a city boy with absolutely no experience in military matters."

"Jackson was ‘one of the people,' definitely not a city boy," Young said.

Margaret O'Mara is a professor of history at the University of Washington in Seattle. She said Trump's populist-conservative message does resemble that of Andrew Jackson's.

O'Mara said, "Trump is extraordinary." And the country, she said, has never elected a populist quite like him before.

O'Mara said it is still too early to predict Trump's place in history.

"It is too soon to make judgments about his place in presidential history. That will depend on what he does, how he does it," O'Mara said.

I'm Caty Weaver.

Catherine Maddux wrote this report for VOANews. Ashley Thompson adapted it for Learning English. George Grow was the editor.


Words in This Story

resemble – v. to look or be like (someone or something)

negative – adj. showing or talking about the bad qualities of someone or something

ordinary – adj. normal or usual: not unusual, different, or special

convention – n. a large meeting of people who come to a place for usually several days to talk about their shared work or other interests or to make decisions as a group

inaugural – adj. happening as part of an official ceremony or celebration when someone (such as a newly elected official) begins an important job: happening as part of an inauguration