As President Andrew Jackson began to remove money from the National Bank and deposit it in the so-called "pet banks," the Senate voted to officially censure him in 1834.  Jackson filed a protest with the Senate, saying the Bank's abuses of power made it his "duty" as chief executive to rid the country of the Bank.  He carefully ended with an appeal to the people, explaining anew his reasons for opposing government monopolies and saying that he was proud of his actions.

      Jackson symbolized what Americans perceived (or wished) themselves to be--defiant, bold, independent. He was someone with whom they could identify. Thus, Jackson was reelected by an overwhelming majority and was able to transfer that loyalty to his successor, a man who hardly lived up to the image. But all this left a curious question unanswered. Was this new democracy voting for leaders whose programs they favored or, rather, for images that could be altered and manipulated almost at will? The answer was essential for the future of American politics, and the election of 1840 gave the nation a clue.