USA

Trump makes puzzling claim about Andrew Jackson, Civil War

"Could that one not have been worked out?"

Critics suggested the president appeared to believe Jackson was still around during the secessionist conflict, although he died 16 years beforehand.

Donald Trump thinks President Andrew Jackson could have prevented the Civil War. The question "Why could [the Civil War] not have been worked out?" implies that there could have been a satisfactory compromise between North and South.

"People don't realize, the Civil War - you think about it, why?" Such was the case over the weekend when he gave a double-header to the Washington Examiner's Salena Zito and CBS's John Dickerson in which he managed to fundamentally misunderstand USA history (to Zito), implicitly diminish the horror of slavery (to Zito), dodge questions about making unfounded accusations about President Barack Obama (to Dickerson), and abruptly walk away when he got frustrated (Dickerson again).

President Trump doesn't understand why there was a Civil War.

- Chelsea Handler (@chelseahandler) May 1, 2017The civil war? The northern and southern states did not get along for a number of social and economic reasons, which all boiled down to one core issue-what the southern states called a "peculiar institution", but was otherwise known as slavery.

Chelsea and Barbara Lee say the cause was slavery.

A professor of history at Columbia University, Eric Foner, notes that slavery was a root cause of the war and that the South feared for the future of slavery. "As a historian, I would prefer the president had a better handle on American history".

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Still, I see why Donald trump is such an admirer of Andrew Jackson; they have so much in common. "He was a very tough person, but he had a big heart", said Trump. "He said, there's no reason for this". "My campaign and win was most like Andrew Jackson, with his campaign".

Re-enactors fire mortars at the Pitt Street Bridge in Charleston, S.C., near Fort Sumter - where the first shots of the Civil War were fired - on April 12, 2011, the battle's 150th anniversary.

Late Monday, Trump took to Twitter to stress that he did in fact know when Jackson died, writing: "President Andrew Jackson, who died 16 years before the Civil War started, saw it coming and was angry".

"Would never have let it happen!" he added.

During Jackson's presidency, southern planters - especially in SC - threatened to "nullify" a federal law, the Tariff of 1828, also known as the "Tariff of Abominations". Rather, he cited Andrew Jackson's toughness. "The situation in 1861 was far more dire than in the 1830s during the Nullification Crisis". 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. The answer, as Lincoln put it, is because the U.S. "began by declaring that all men are created equal; but now from that beginning we have run down to the other declaration, that for some men to enslave others is a 'sacred right of government.' These principles", Lincoln wrote, "cannot stand together".

And, as it turns out, Jackson was president during a precursor incident, the Nullification Crisis (see wikipedia as well as a PJ Media article by Tyler O'Neil), in which SC asserted that it nullified federal tariffs that it opposed. Over the past week, Trump has bragged about his ability to negotiate with Egyptian president Abdel-Fattah el-Sisi, Filipino president Rodrigo Duterte, and other leaders viewed with skepticism by the global community.

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