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Roger B. Taney, photograph, n.d.

Roger Taney shared President Andrew Jackson’s distrust of the national bank. As attorney general, Taney advised Jackson to withdraw the bank’s federal deposits. When the secretary of the Treasury refused to do so, Jackson appointed Taney to head the Treasury. In what many in Congress considered an abuse of executive power, Taney transferred the federal deposits to private banks in 1833.

Prints and Photographs Division, Library of Congress

Roger B. Taney, photograph, n.d.

Congress Defies President Andrew Jackson

Conflict between Congress and the White House marked the administrations of President Andrew Jackson, particularly concerning the second Bank of the United States, which Jackson opposed. During a congressional recess in 1833, he appointed Attorney General Roger B. Taney as secretary of the Treasury. As a recess appointee, Taney could act without Senate confirmation to remove the bank’s federal deposits. When the Senate reconvened, it refused to confirm Taney’s appointment––for the first time formally rejecting a cabinet secretary.

To the Senate: Commissions having been granted during the recess of the Senate to Roger B. Taney, of Maryland, as Secretary of the Treasury… I now nominate them to those offices respectively.

Andrew Jackson, Message to the Senate, June 23, 1834