Back in Washington: Crockett's Third Term (1833-1835)

David Crockett

“I do believe the house will order the deposits back in to the united states bank and I also believe the president will tell us to go to hell.”


 Unlike the previous election, Crockett’s election in 1833 against Fitzgerald took on a more civil tone.  Crockett’s ideas about the land bill and internal improvements did not change.  However, with the development of the Bank War over the preceding couple of years, Crockett adopted a pro-bank position. This election coincided with the rise of Crockett’s legend that would play out in the years and decades to follow for which he is more well known.  Crockett leaned into the new popular image to a certain extent and ended up winning the election by a total of 173 votes.  The unique significance of this election was the fact that Tennessee had extending voting rights to all white males.[1]  When more common people had a choice, they chose David Crockett.

 Again, as soon as the first session of Congress began Crockett attempted to work towards passage of his land bill.  He successfully motioned for a select committee, to be headed by himself, to deal with the issue.[2]  Throughout the first half of 1834, Crockett attempted to get the land bill and variations of it through Congress, but to no avail.  As the years wore on, the chances of its passage decreased.  The pure relentlessness of his desire to get the bill passed for his constituents shows time and time again the genuineness of his common man politics.

 Throughout his last term in Congress, Crockett vehemently attacked Jackson over the bank issue.[3]  A debtor and small farmer himself, Crockett saw the value of a credit system that the bank provided to people like him in his district.  He played a small role in the grand scheme of things, but this is yet another instance where he made the interests of his district a priority.

Crockett was also concerned about the power that Jackson had been able to consolidate in the executive branch.  He saw it as a threat to the republic and the American way of life.[4]  As a member of Congress, the closest link the people have to government, Crockett was suspicious of one man collecting power and performing actions that seemed somewhat removed from the actual people. 

 Despite his three terms in Congress, David Crockett never was able to have a significant impact on the national stage. Adam Huntsman ran against him in 1835 and won pointing to Crockett’s results in Congress, or lack thereof.[5]  Huntsman won the election, effectively ending Crockett’s political career and rumored presidential aspirations.  It is perhaps easy to see Crockett as an ineffective politician who failed to accomplish anything of note.  However, his consistent advocacy for poor Western Tennesseans, his willingness to break away from partisan ranks, and the genuineness that stemmed from his humble, frontier upbringing all reveal a man that truly cared for the interests of common people and did his best to better their circumstances.

[1]Davis, Three Roads, 315-316

[2]Ibid., 326.

[3]Ibid., 326-327.

[4]David Crockett to William Rodgers, January 8, 1834, in Crockett in Congress, ed. James R. Boylston and Allen J. Wiener (Houston: Bright Sky Press, 2009), 229-230.

[5]Davis, Three Roads, 406.

Back in Washington: Crockett's Third Term (1833-1835)