Bancroft originally pursued his career as a Democrat and even delivered the official eulogy following the death of Democratic President Andrew Jackson. However, because Democrats promoted slavery and strongly supported the secession of the South from the Union during the Civil War, Bancroft supported Republican leaders and even delivered the official eulogy following the death of Republican President Abraham Lincoln.
On the national scene, James Monroe was President and the nation was experiencing what today’s historians describe as the “Era of Good Feelings”—a period marked by a lack of partisan political feeling. Indiana, Illinois, and Maine had just been added as States; America had obtained the Florida territory; Stephen Austin was leading settlers into Texas; the Seminole War had just been ended by General Andrew Jackson; Philadelphia organized the first school for African-Americans; and Liberia had been founded so that free blacks in America who wished to do so might return to their homeland.
Andrew Jackson (who later became a U. S. President) was serving as a soldier in the American Revolution when only fourteen years old; he was captured and made a prisoner of war by the British.
Isaac Shelby helped General Andrew Jackson negotiate a treaty with the Chickasaw Indians
Jefferson considered it a “perversion of law” that the Judiciary should tell the Executive what to do. The precedent provided by Jefferson’s and Madison’s flat refusal to allow the Judiciary to interfere with Executive decisions was followed by other prominent Americans. For example, when the Court ruled that President Andrew Jackson was to take *certain actions, he also ignored the Court’s order. On what grounds? Jackson explained:
Each public officer who takes an oath to support the Constitution swears that he will support it as he understands it, and not as it is understood by others.… The opinion of the judges has no more authority over the Congress than the opinion of Congress has over the judges, and on that point the President is independent of both. The authority of the Supreme Court must not, therefore, be permitted to control the Congress or the Executive.
President Abraham Lincoln once reminded his audience of another occasion when President Jackson had ignored the Court:
Do not gentlemen here remember the case of that same Supreme Court … deciding that a national bank was constitutional? [see McCulloch v. Maryland and Osborne v. United States Bank**].… [Jackson] denied the constitutionality of the bank that the Supreme Court had decided was constitutional … [saying] that the Supreme Court had no right to lay down a rule to govern a coordinate branch of the government, the members of which had sworn to support the Constitution—that each member had sworn to support that Constitution as he understood it.
*See Cherokee Nation v. Georgia, 8 L. Ed. 25 (1831), and Worcester v. Georgia, 31 U. S. 515 (1832).
**Osborn v. United States Bank, 22 U. S. 738 (1824).