Better Know A President VII: Andrew Jackson

17 02 2009

I had this finished yesterday, but the post was lost. I had to revert to a semi-finished copy and rewrite a lot….so yeah. Enjoy.


-Served as President from 1829-1837

-Elected from Tennessee

-Prior to the Presidency, he served twice as a US Senator from Tennessee (during two different imes), territorial Governor of Florida, and a US Representative.

– He had previously served during the American Revolution (the last President to have done so). By the way, he was THIRTEEN when he signed up to serve. Jackson was a man’s man. He was a prisoner of war too, along with his brother. The British treated them like trash. Both nearly died of starvation and also contracted smallpox. Still, Jackson had the guts to stand up to British officers. When asked to clean shoes, he refused. One British officer retailiated and slashed him with his sword, giving Jackson the scars on his face and left hand. Jackson’s mother finally negotiated their release, but Jackon’s brother died shortly after. In fact, the rest of his family died not long after. Jackson was an orphan at 14. I guess that’s why he hated the British so much. During the War of 1812, he was named a colonel and served the Tennessee Militia as a commander. During the Creek War, he led the militia (which included such names as Davy Crockett and Sam Houston) and the Choctaw and Cherokee tribes against the Creek Indians, who had been attacking settlements in Alabama and Georgia. After a decisive victory at Horseshoe Bend, he was named Major General.

-The Battle of New Orleans is what really established Jackson as a hero. Jackson served the leader of the American forces during this battle. When he arrived in the city, he found that they had little defenses, so he requested the aid of an infamous pirate Jean Lafitte to help in the defense of the city. (There’s a really cool back story with Lafitte, so you should check it out.) He also got the help of the local Indians. If the thought of pirates and Indians and American men fighting on the same side doesn’t excite you, check your pulse. Jackson’s army dominated the British over the long haul of the battle. The British had suffered 2,332 casualties, while the Americans had only suffered 314. This battle became the greatest land victory in the war for the Americans, and it propelled Jackson to fame. By the way, the War of 1812 had already been over for a month when this battle occured. News of the Treaty of Ghent didn’t reach New Orleans until February, when it was signed in December. His service during the war gained him the name “Old Hickory” because he was as tough as old hickory. If you don’t know how hard hickory is, imagine the hardest piece of wood ever.

-He also served in the Seminole Wars at the order of then President Monroe. Seminoles had been attacking settlements in Georgia, and Jackson was needed to resolve the conflict. Jackson thought the best way to do this would be to take possession of Florida, even though it was owned by the Spanish at the time. Of course, in Jackson’s style he quipped, “Let it be signified to me through any channel… that the possession of the Floridas would be desirable to the United States, and in sixty days it will be accomplished.” Monroe approved. Jackson captured Pensacola without any conflict. Basically the Spanish heard Jackson was coming and surrendered immediately. He also executed some Brits, burned Seminole villages, and basically tore up the place. Spain ceded Florida after then Sec. of State Adams gave an ultimatum to Spain to either defend the land or give it to the US.

-Jackson’s 1828 Presidential run was historic. Running as a Democrat (the first person to do so) he received support from Martin Van Buren, then Vice Preisdent Calhoun, and others. He ran a ruthless campaign, and was referred to as a jackass. He loved this, and used the ass as the symbol for the Democrats. That’s why Democrats are represented by donkeys. His wife, Rachel was a target of the press, and was once accused of bigamy. Jackson was furious. He fought a total of 13 duels in his lifetime, which were all in defense of his wife. His wife later died after winning the election, but before his inauguration. He heled Quincy Adams personally responsible and never forgave him.

-Jackson invited the public to the White House for his inauguration, causing a wild mob to ensue. Punch was poured into bath tubs and laid out on the lawn for the public.

-Jackson is the only president to pay off the national debt. It was back the next year.

-He was vehemently opposed to a national bank. His regulations of money (such as forcing people to pay in gold and silver coins for land, which banks could not supply leading to their failure) were a direct result of the Panic of 1837.

-Jackson’s presidency is often looked down upon for the Indian Removal Acts. It authorized the removal of tribes from land within the current borders of the US and moving them farther West. Many of the tribes that were effected were the ones who served Jackson during the War of 1812. While Jackson implimented the acts, Van Buren, his successor, was the one who really put them into action, forcing the Cherokee West in the infamous Trail of Tears.


While in office, Jackson was the first President to have an attempt on his life. An English man confronted him after Jackson had left a politician’s funeral in Washington. The man tried firing two pistols, one after the other, but both failed. It is said but not proven that Jackson then went after the man with his own cane, and Jackson, not the would-be assassin had to be restrained.

One of the duels that Jackson participated in was against a man named Charles Dickinson. This man was widely renowned as the best shot in Tennessee. After insulting Jackson’s wife Rachel (Dickinson was instigated by politicians) Jackson felt it was his duty to defend her, even though in his mind it meant certain death. The two met in Kentucky (Tennessee had dueling laws). Dickinson fired on Jackson first, but because Jackson wore his jacket loose, Dickinson only glanced the bullet off his ribs and did not hit his heart. Stunned, Dickinson thought he had missed. Jackson then proceeded to raise his own pistol, and after a short malfunction, shot Dickinson dead. Jackson later said, “I intended to kill him. I would have tood up long nough to kill him if he had put a bullet in my brain.” In fact, Jackson maintained his pistols in perfect condition if he needed to defend Rachel’s honor for 37 years straight.

Jackson was known in some of his former hometowns to have caused bar fights.

Once, Jackson was stopped by two men in the Tennessee country side. They ordered him to get out of the wagon and dance for them (he was known for his dancing skills). Jackson said to them that if he was to dance, he must get his slippers from the back in his trunk. When he went to the back, he got two pistols instead and said to them, “Now, you infernal villains, you shall dance for me. Dance!”

One night, while serving as a judge in Tennessee, a town ruffian was causing trouble outside the courthouse. He ordered the sheriff to take care of the man, but he could not do it. He then ordered the sheriff to organize a “posse” to take him out. They also failed, since the ruffian had a gun and threatened to fire upon anyone with 10 feet. Jackson then asked the Sheriff to summon Jackson himself to take care of the matter. Jackson went out with his dial pistols, and threatened the man. Without another word the man surrendered.


“There are no necessary evils in government. Its evils exist only in its abuses.”

“It is to be regretted that the rich and powerful too often bend the acts of government to their own selfish purposes.” (Jackson was often called a President of the People)

“Heaven will be no heaven to me if I do not meet my wife there.”

“Never take counsel of your fears.”

“One man with courage makes a majority.”




One response

24 05 2009

thanks im doing a project on him and this helped. 🙂

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