One of the most controversial acts of its time, the Maysville Road veto, occurred on May 27, 1830. United States President Andrew Jackson vetoed a bill that allowed the federal government to purchase stocks from Maysville, Washington, Paris, and Lexington Turnpike Road Company.


The building of this road was a very important step in developing construction technologies. The four-mile macadamized road between Maysville and Washington was passable in almost any weather conditions and greatly reduced transportation costs. Its width was fifty foot and it consisted of such innovative construction techniques as drainage ditches.

Despite all of the advantages brought by this road, it had more important national implications. While Congress passed a bill that provided federal funds to the project, President Jackson vetoed it explaining it with the fact that federal funding of such intrastate projects was unconstitutional.

Jackson stated that the government should not be involved in regional economic affairs and also noticed that funding will interfere with national debt payment. Congress believed that the federal government should support the internal development of the states but southerners claimed that such investments give federal government direct control which infringed on the state’s rights.

Jackson also believed that power which Central Government would get from this project was potentially dangerous and many southerners agreed with this point of view stating that such improvements should be done on a local, private or state level. In this case, Jacksonian Democracy shows an unturned stone of the U.S. constitutional past.

This veto was vital in establishing federal policy which limited the use of federal funds in interstate projects including projects that served foreign trade. While Jackson was president, the only interstate project that was approved was a Cumberland Road which connected Cumberland, Maryland and Illinois.