Trump’s An­drew Jack­son, Civil War claim, in­com­pre­hen­si­ble

South Florida Times - - FRONT PAGE - By JONATHAN LEMIRE

NEW YORK - Pres­i­dent Don­ald As­so­ci­ated Trump made puz­zling claims about An­drew Jack­son and the Civil War in an in­ter­view, sug­gest­ing he was un­cer­tain about the ori­gin of the con­flict while claim­ing that Jack­son was up­set about a war that started 16 years af­ter his death.

Trump, who has at times shown a shaky grasp of U.S. his­tory, said he won­ders why is­sues “could not have been worked out” in or­der to pre­vent the se­ces­sion of 11 South­ern states and a war that lasted four years and killed more than 600,000 sol­diers.

“Peo­ple don't re­al­ize, you know, the Civil War, if you think about it, why?” Trump said in an in­ter­view with The Wash­ing­ton Exam

iner, ac­cord­ing to a tran­script re­leased Mon­day. “Peo­ple don't ask that ques­tion, but why was there the Civil War? Why could that one not have been worked out?”

Trump ru­mi­nated af­ter laud­ing Jack­son, the pop­ulist pres­i­dent whom he and his staff have cited as a role model. He sug­gested that if Jack­son had been pres­i­dent “a lit­tle later, you wouldn't have had the Civil War.”

“He was re­ally an­gry that he saw what was hap­pen­ing with re­gard to the Civil War. He said, `There's no rea­son for this,’” Trump con­tin­ued.

But Jack­son died in 1845, and the Civil War didn't be­gin un­til 16 years later, in 1861.

Jack­son was a slave-hold­ing plan­ta­tion owner. Some his­to­ri­ans do credit him with pre­serv­ing the union when South Carolina threat­ened to se­cede in the 1830s over an in­di­vid­ual state's abil­ity to void fed­eral tar­iffs. That con­tro­versy, though, was not about slav­ery, and the even­tual com­pro­mise that pre­served states' rights is viewed as a mile­stone on the way to the Civil War.

The Civil War was decades in the mak­ing, stem­ming from dis­putes be­tween the North and South about slav­ery and whether the union or states them­selves had more power. The ques­tion over the ex­pan­sion of slav­ery into new west­ern ter­ri­to­ries sim­mered for decades and South­ern lead­ers threat­ened se­ces­sion if anti-slav­ery can­di­date Abra­ham Lin­coln was elected in 1860.

Af­ter Lin­coln won with­out car­ry­ing a sin­gle South­ern state, South­ern lead­ers be­lieved their rights were im­per­iled and se­ceded, form­ing the Con­fed­er­ate States of Amer­ica.War erupted soon af­ter­ward as the North fought to keep the na­tion to­gether.

The White House did not im­me­di­ately re­spond to a re­quest for an ex­pla­na­tion of Trump's rea­son­ing.

Trump, dur­ing an African Amer­i­can his­tory month event, seemed to im­ply that the 19th cen­tury abo­li­tion­ist Fred­er­ick Dou­glass was still alive. Trump said in Fe­bru­ary that Dou­glass “is an ex­am­ple of some­body who's done an amaz­ing job and is get­ting rec­og­nized more and more, I no­tice.”

While jus­ti­fy­ing the need for a south­ern bor­der wall, Trump said last week that hu­man traf­fick­ing is “a prob­lem that's prob­a­bly worse than any time in the his­tory of this world,” a claim that seemed to omit the African slave trade.


An­drew Jack­son


Union vs. Con­fed­er­ate

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