7th President of the United States, 1829-1837
Biography Read: “Andrew Jackson” (1966) by Robert V Remini
Key Facts: Born in 1767 in South Carolina and Died in 1845. He was the first President from the West and he didn’t go to College.
- Andrew Jackson had a HUGE temper. Also, in many ways he seems similar to Donald Trump. I couldn’t help thinking of many things Trump is currently doing when reading about Jackson’s more outrageous moves.
- His father died before he was born.
- He was a terrible speller (like me), but he was eloquent and persuasive in his speeches.
- In 1780 he was taken prisoner by the British (age 14). He was order to clean the British Commander’s boots, but he refused and was hit with his sword giving him a head and hand wound.
- He was taken to Camden and held in the prison camp along with his brother in poor conditions. His mother rescued him with a prisoner swap (along with his brother). His brother died days later of disease leaving Andrew the only remaining child (his oldest brother had died of heat exposure during the war).
- Shortly after his rescue, his mother died of a diseases acquired while helping other POWS. At age 14, Andrew Jackson was an orphan having lost most of his family at the hands of the British.
- At age 17 he became a school teacher despite having little schooling himself.
- He became bored with this and decided law was the way to go. He worked for a lawyer and picked up enough to pass the bar at age 20.
- He was now a lawyer, but had no work, so he convinced a lawyer friend to hire him as the Prosecutor for the Western District of North Carolina. He moved to Nashville to take the job. This was several years before the founding of Tennessee.
- Multiple times Jackson participated in old west style duels.
- Jackson’s arrival in Nashville was 8 years after its founding and it was a dangerous place to live due to the Native American threat (called Indians in the book). At the time, the town consisted of two stores, two taverns, a distillery, and various cabins, houses or tents.
- He married his wife Rachel twice because the first time she was still legally married to another man.
- By the time Nashville became a state in 1796, Jackson had large amount of land that he acquired through his law work. Jackson was elected to attend the state constitutional convention.
- Jackson was the first Congress Man for the State of Tennessee.
- Jackson challenged his rival for the Office of Major-General of the militia to a duel. When John Sevier refused, he published a statement in the paper calling him a coward.
- He was also a slave owner and on several occasions aided in the slave trade. All presidents until this point were slave owners except for both Adams.
- He had no children, but he did adopt a son named Andrew Jackson Jr.
- After a Native American attack of a white fort, Andrew Jackson lead an army that slaughtered many villages. However, when he found an infant in his dead mothers arms, he tried to turn the child over to the remaining tribe. They refused and said the kid should be killed since his family was dead. Instead, Jackson took him home and raised him until he died of disease at age 17.
- During the War of 1812, he was a General and lead the US to Victory at the Battle of New Orleans. 2057 British died at the battle and only 13 Americans.
- Andrew Jackson lead an assault into Florida (owned by Spain) which eventually caused them to sell the territory to the USA. Jackson served as Florida’s first Territorial Governor.
- He lost his first run for President to John Quincy in a vote by the House.
- Four-years later he was back and won with the help of his newly formed “Democratic Party.”
- His wife Rachel died the same year he won the Presidency.
- He was the first President from the West.
- He believed a national debt was “incompatible with real independence.”
- Martin Van Buren (8th President) was Jackson’s Secretary of State.
- Andrew Jackson was responsible for the “trail of tears” forced migration of Native Americans to lands West of the Mississippi.
- He was the first President to use the Power of Veto for reasons not related to the Constitutionality of the Law.
- Jackson killed the Second Bank of the United States (precursor to the Federal Reserve). He thought it was to much centralized power controlling the economy with no oversight. He called it a “monster” and wanted to stop its “power to control the Government and change its character” through the power of spending money “as a means of operating upon public opinion.” He called this early version of the Fed a “vast electioneering engine.”
- “It is to be regretted that the rich and powerful too often bend the acts of government to their selfish purposes. Distinctions in society will always exist under every just government. Equality of talents, of education, or of wealth can not by produced by human intuitions. In the full enjoyment of the gifts of heaven and the fruits of superior industry, economy, and virtue, every man is equally entitled to protection by the law; but when the laws undertake to add to these natural and jest advantages artificial distinctions, to grant titles, gratitudes, and exclusive privileges, to make the rich richer and the potent more powerful, the humble members of society- the farmers, mechanics and laborers- who have neither the time nor the means of securing like favors to themselves, have a right to complain of the injustice of their Government. There are no necessary evils in government. Its evils exist only in its abuses. If it would confine itself to favors alike on the high and the low, the rich and the poor, it would be an unqualified blessing.”
- This battle with the Bank played out during the re-election year of 1832. At the time there were 3 parties (The Democrats, National Republicans, and the Anti-Masons). This is an area where Andrew Jackson seems to compare to Trump. He was dead set in the evils of the bank and fought against it despite public opinion or advice from his cabinet.
- The Whig Party was later formed in opposition to Andrew Jackson’s killing of the Second Bank.
- On May 6th, 1833 the President was assaulted aboard a steamship by a dismissed Naval Lieutenant. This is an example of the love/hate feelings he engendered in the country and another point of comparison with Trump.
- The first attempted Presidential assassination in US History was against Jackson. The attempt was made by shooting him twice at point blank range (with two guns). Luckily, guns weren’t very good in 1835 and the assassin failed. He was attacking Jackson because he felt that he was the rightful heir to the British Crown and that Jackson was attempting to keep him from it. He was taken to the insane asylum.
- On Jackson’s last day in office, he recognized Texas Independence from Mexico.
- Jackson was the “first, last, and only” President to pay off the national debt.
- Jackson, the First Democrat President, now found himself with a surplus of cash. He paid it to states and became a “Santa Claus” like figure to the people. This helped to insure his party would stay in power with the election of his pick to replace him, Martin Van Buren.
- After Van Buren’s election he returned to Tennessee. He died at the age of 78.
May 11th, 2018