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Veto! The Jacksonian Revolution in Constitutional Law

Gerard N. Magliocca

Indiana University Robert H. McKinney School of Law


Nebraska Law Review, 78, 205

This Article explores the debate over the presidential veto power during the 1830s and 1840s. Prior to this period, James Madison and other legal luminaries held that legislative precedent constrained the president's discretion in using this authority. Andrew Jackson repudiated this view, most famously with his veto of the Bank of the United States, and in so doing transformed the veto power into its modern form. That change was vigorously contested by the Great Triumvirate of Clay, Webster, and Calhoun and was not resolved until John Tyler faced down his own party on the issue in the early 1840s.

Furthermore, the Article shows how the veto debate fit into the broader legal struggle that accompanied the rise of Jacksonian Democracy. This generation represents an important missing link in our constitutional tradition, and recognizing the creativity of that period opens the door to many new insights about the foundations of our Republic.

Number of Pages in PDF File: 58

Keywords: Jacksonian democracy

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Date posted: September 5, 2006 ; Last revised: May 6, 2014

Suggested Citation

Magliocca, Gerard N., Veto! The Jacksonian Revolution in Constitutional Law (1999). Nebraska Law Review, 78, 205. Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=928147

Contact Information

Gerard N. Magliocca (Contact Author)
Indiana University Robert H. McKinney School of Law ( email )
530 West New York Street
Indianapolis, IN 46202
United States
317-278-4792 (Phone)

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