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Presidential Visit to Independence Hall - Andrew Jackson - June 10, 1833

Posted on Monday, February 15, 2021

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On a tour of the East Coast, President Andrew Jackson visited Independence Hall on June 10, 1833

On June 10, 1833, President Andrew Jackson, the 7th President of the United States, arrived in Philadelphia in the midst of a tour of the East coast of the United States that included stops in Baltimore, New York City and Boston. While in Philadelphia, Andrew Jackson visited the Philadelphia Navy Yard and Independence Hall, among other stops in the course of a three day visit to America's Birthplace.

Portrait of President Andrew Jackson

On June 8, 1833, Andrew Jackson rode into Philadelphia County, on his way North from Baltimore. Jackson's first stop as he approached the City was the Philadelphia Navy Yard. Jackson spoke before 30,000 people at the Navy Yard before continuing North into Philadelphia. On June 9, 1833, Jackson attended church services at Philadelphia's First Presbyterian Church, then located across from Washington Square at 7th & Washington Square.

First Presbyterian Church - Washington Square - Philadelphia

On June 10, 1833, Andrew Jackson visited Independence Hall in what was supposed to be a small gathering of City VIPs organized by Philadelphia Mayor John Swift. However, Jackson's visit had become a public spectacle, and Independence Hall was soon overrun with people attempting to catch a glimpse of the popular President. 

According to the Mississippi Free Trader on July 5, 1833:

"the vicinity of the Hall of Independence was thronged with multitudes desirous of paying their personal respects, to the President of the United States; and at other points the military, and those forming the civic portion of the procession were congregating in great force. It was evident that many had flocked from the surrounding country to mingle with the citizens on the occasion." 

The Mississippi Free Trader also noted that by the time that Jackson had actually made his way to Independence Hall, both the large public area in front of Independence Hall and the ample public square behind Independence Hall were packed with people and thousands more would eventually make their way into Independence Hall to greet President Jackson. It was said that some even entered by climbing in windows!

There is no indication as to the content of Jackson's public remarks on this day, however, those who got a chance to see President Jackson at Independence Hall were reportedly satisfied. In the words of the Mississippi Free Trader:

"It was amusing to hear the remarks among those who had not until then, seen the President, and who had drawn their ideas of his manners and personal appearance, from the sketches in opposition newspapers: they could scarcely believe their eye, when they beheld the upright form; the penetrating, yet bland expression, the venerable aspect, and the graceful, unconstrained deportment of Andrew Jackson' all of which formed a startling contrast to that which had be so strongly impressed upon their minds. As each series of citizens left the Hall, there seemed to be a general comparing of notes, and without knowing what opinions they once held, it was very evident that their feelings were, that they had some blind guides among them. The expression of gratitude was universal."

Following his appearance at Independence Hall, Jackson mounted his horse and continued his march North to New York City, accompanied by multiple infantry brigades and cavalry corps. Thousands more cheered Jackson on his route through Philadelphia as he departed.

Controversy with the Second Bank of the United States

While the general public in Philadelphia was very enamored with President Jackson in 1833, it is unlikely that all of Philadelphia was happy to see Jackson. Jackson spent much of his presidency in a very public and bitter debate regarding the role of the Federal banking system in America. The day of Jackson's appearance at Independence Hall, was exactly one year after Jackson had refused to renew the charter of the Second Bank of the United States. The Second Bank was located in Philadelphia and Jackson's public fight with the Second Bank and those that managed it in Philadelphia had enraged many involved in the Second Bank. Due to Jackson's maneuverings, the Second Bank of the United States, once one of the world's most important financial institutions, would eventually be closed in 1841.

The Second Bank of the United States

 

Jackson's Visit Today

The Philadelphia Navy Yard that Jackson visited on June 8, 1833 is not the same Philadelphia Navy Yard that Philadelphians know today. Today's Philadelphia Navy Yard is located at the Southern tip of Philadelphia, near the the Philadelphia Sports Complex. However, in 1833, the Philadelphia Navy Yard was located along the Delaware River between Reed and Federal Streets, and it was known as the Southwark Yard, as the yard was technically located outside Philadelphia in the independent town of Southwark. The land that Jackson visited in 1833 is adjacent to what is the Washington Avenue Pier today.

Today, Independence Hall and the Second Bank of the United States are both stops on The Constitutional Walking Tour of Philadelphia!

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