Trump makes puzzling claim about Andrew Jackson, Civil War

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President Trump is taking heat for questioning why the Civil War had to be fought and suggesting President Andrew Jackson could have mediated the dispute without bloodshed. President Abraham Lincoln invoked Jackson's efforts against rebellious South Carolinians (who tried to raise an army against him) as precedent for some of his own actions during the war. Nothing in Trump's statement, however, indicates knowledge of the earlier episode, which was not part of the civil war.

I do understand that he's an admirer of Andrew Jackson, whom he regards as a populist like himself. He said, "There's no reason for this".

He dived into Civil War history after citing comparisons between his and Jackson's campaign for the presidency, describing that race as "nasty" and calling Jackson a "swashbuckler".

As any student of Jackson's career and/or person with access to Wikipedia could tell you, Andrew Jackson died in 1845, and his presidential term ended in 1837, which was a solid quarter-century before the Civil War began. Why could that one not have been worked out? Trump has called Jackson "an unbelievable figure in American history - very unique so many ways" and said that he identifies with his populist forebear. People don't ask that question, but why was there the Civil War?

On the one hand, though Andrew Jackson died in 1845 - almost two decades before the Civil War began - Trump's belief that Jackson would have prevented the war from happening, while impossible to prove, does have some connection to the real events that happened during Jackson's presidency. During that episode, SC asserted the state's right to void federal law, a preview of the Confederate view that those states could withdraw from the Union.

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The federal government also, however, compromised on the tax to which SC had objected. As president, Jackson, a slaveowner, famously led the forced removal of 17,000 Cherokees across the country, which resulted in the deaths of thousands.

Jackson, who died in 1845, 16 years before the Civil War began, did in fact own approximately 150 slaves, according to the website for The Hermitage, his former plantation and occasional home in Tennessee.

1 word answer: Slavery.

And former New Mexico Gov. Bill Richardson, a Democrat, called Trump's question "an unfortunate remark". "I mean, the whole issue of land and slavery and sovereignty, it's clear". "Really intense. I get up to bed late and I get up early".