WebQuest The Impeachment of Andrew Jackson

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WebQuest – The Impeachment of Andrew Jackson

In many ways the presidency of Andrew Jackson transformed the United States. Heralding the “common man”, Jackson did a great deal to expand popular democracy within the U.S., open up government service to many, and promote political campaigning such as we might see today. He strengthened the power of the presidency, shaped political views of many, and helped expand the United States. He also contributed to an economic panic, was a violent, domineering individual, and made more enemies than all presidents before him. Some of these actions as president are, to modern eyes, exceptionally questionable. To his contemporaries, some of these actions were criminal.


For this assignment, you and a group are going to investigate the presidency of Andrew Jackson and take part in a mock impeachment of our 7th president. Three articles of impeachment have been prepared:

  1. President Jackson has violated the separation of powers in his actions to destroy the Bank of the United States.

  2. President Jackson violated states' rights in his dealings with South Carolina in the nullification crisis.

  3. President Jackson violated laws, treaties, and Supreme Court orders in his dealings with Native Americans.

In groups you will prepare position papers, argue your points, and hear the arguments of other groups. In the end, the trial will take place and some resolution will occur.




The trial of Andrew Jackson is a seven step project:

Step #1: The class will be divided into six groups [one for each of the three impeachment articles]. One group per article will represent House Judiciary Committee members who will attempt to persuade the rest of the House to indict President Andrew Jackson on that impeachment article. One group will represent Jackson's supporters in the House who will argue against an impeachment indictment on that article.

Step #2: ALL students will read these primary/secondary source documents as background for the "trial:" Andrew Jackson is Accused of Serious Crimes

  • First Inaugural Address (March 4, 1829)

  • Second Inaugural Address (March 4, 1833)

Step #3: Each group will then research their particular impeachment article topic by starting with the web links below:

Information for all Indictments Can be Found Here [These are just ADDITIONAL sites. You do not have to read any or all of them, but some may add weight to your arguments.]:

  • Jackson's First Annual Address to Congress – 1829: http://www.presidency.ucsb.edu/ws/index.php?pid=29471

  • Jackson's Second Annual Address to Congress – 1830: http://www.presidency.ucsb.edu/ws/index.php?pid=29472

  • Jackson's Third Annual Address to Congress – 1831: http://www.presidency.ucsb.edu/ws/index.php?pid=29473

  • Jackson's Fourth Annual Address to Congress - 1832 : http://www.presidency.ucsb.edu/ws/index.php?pid=29474

  • Jackson's Fifth Annual Address to Congress – 1833: http://www.presidency.ucsb.edu/ws/index.php?pid=29475

  • Jackson's Sixth Annual Address to Congress – 1834: http://www.presidency.ucsb.edu/ws/index.php?pid=29476

  • Jackson's Seventh Annual Address to Congress – 1835: http://www.presidency.ucsb.edu/ws/index.php?pid=29477

  • Jackson's Eighth Annual Address to Congress – 1836: http://www.presidency.ucsb.edu/ws/index.php?pid=29478

  • The Presidency of Andrew Jackson. Digital History.

"Indictment" 1: President Jackson has violated the separation of powers in his actions to destroy the Bank of the United States.

  • "Andrew Jackson and the Bank War" - Tony D'Urso (essay). From Revolution to Reconstruction

  • Letter from Nicholas Biddle to Samuel Smith about President Jackson's message of 1829 - 1830

  • Letter to Nicholas Biddle from Henry Clay - advises Biddle not to seek re-charter - 1831

  • Henry Clay's Speech on Jackson's Bank Veto - 1832

  • Jackson's Bank Veto Message - 1832

"Indictment" 2: President Jackson violated states rights in his dealings with South Carolina in the nullification crisis.

  • Veto of the Maysville Road Bill - 1830

  • Webster-Hayne Debate - 1830

  • "Jackson and the Nullifiers" - song lyrics - 1832

  • Jackson's Proclamation Regarding Nullification - 1832

  • Force Bill - 1833

  • Letter from Jackson to Van Buren Concerning Nullification - 1833

"Indictment" 3: President Jackson violated laws, treaties, and court orders in his dealings with Native Americans.

  • Andrew Jackson Speaks: Indian Removal. The eJournal Website.

  • Cherokee Indian Removal Debate - 1830

  • Indian Removal Act - 1830

  • Cherokee Nation v The State of Georgia - 1831

  • Worcester v The State of Georgia - 1832

You may use any other documents that you feel are pertinent to your position from any other legitimate sources that you may find on the web which will support your position in the "trial."

Step #4: Decide amongst the other members of your group how you wish to divide your presentation on the day of the "trial"--who will present the argument, who will challenge/ask questions of the other side, who will respond to questions/challenges by the other side to your group, etc. Each individual group member will create a "position outline" [a 1 1/2 to 2 page, single-spaced, typed outline of their argument, including quotes from appropriate primary sources], that they will use in their part of the group presentation of their position, pro or con, on a particular impeachment indictment.

Step #5: Come to class prepared with all required printouts! Make sure that you know your role within the group.

Step #6: Each group will be given up to 4 minutes to make their presentation and up to 2 minutes for questioning by the other side.

Step #7: While the other groups are making their presentations, you will be taking notes on those presentations and will fill out the "Discussion Sheets" [PRINT OUT 3 COPIES of these sheets and bring them to class!]. They will be handed in at the end of the "trial."

Step #8: When all of the arguments, pro and con, have been made, the full "House of Representatives" [the entire class] will vote on each article of impeachment.

Step #9: Each student will PRINT OUT the "Evaluation Sheet," fill out the "Self-Evaluation" columns, and hand it in along with their individual position outline and discussion sheets for a grade.



50% of your grade is based on your individual position paper and your class discussion sheet.  The other 50% is based on your individual and group presentation of the particular impeachment indictment or on your defense of the President against that indictment [depending on which role was assigned to you in the first place].


Grading Scale


Very Good












http://www.historyteacher.net/ahap/webquests/wq-impeachjackson/images/redhand.gifRemember, 5 points will be deducted from your final grade if you do not have all worksheets printed out and brought into class on the day(s) of the "trial!"


Rubric Categories for the Trial

Possible Points


Teacher Assessment

Provided depth in coverage of the topic.




Presentation was well planned and coherent.




Explanations and reasons given for positions and conclusions.




Showed sophistication in refuting opposing arguments.




Referenced primary sources throughout the presentation.





Rubric Categories for the Written Work

Possible Points


Teacher Assessment

Position Paper:

Extensive background on the impeachment issue is present.




Arguments are logical and clear.




Mechanics --> Everything is typed, single-spaced,
1 1/2 to 2 pages in length, with a 1" border all around, in black ink, and arial font.




Discussion Sheet:

Clear, extensive bulleted notes on both the pros and cons of one of the other remaining impeachment indictments presented by the other groups.




Clear, extensive bulleted notes on both the pros and cons of the other remaining impeachment indictment presented by the other groups.




Clear, extensive bulleted notes on the other side of YOUR impeachment indictment.



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