Andrew Jackson


Log Cabin to White House”

a democratic autocrat’ and ‘an atrocious saint.’

Table of Contents

Early Life

He was born in the decade before the American Revolutionary War (10) on March 15th, (2,5) 1767, (2,3) in Waxhaw, (7,11a) [OR] the Waxhaws region (14,15) a backwoods (9) community (9,13) on Twelve Mile Creek (13) near Lancaster (19) in the colonial Carolinas, (10,13) The exact location of his birth is uncertain: (14) It is presumed to have been at one of his uncles’ houses (17) [OR] was a log cabin within a quarter of a mile of the (20) remote (17) western (16) border between North and (8a,13) South Carolina, (7,8a) an area that was in dispute between North Carolina and South Carolina, (15) since the precise border had yet to be surveyed. (17) The people of the neighbourhood do not seem to have had a clear idea as to which province it belonged. (20) Both states have claimed him as a native son; (14,15) though Jackson himself maintained (14,15) he was from South Carolina, (14,15) [OR] his mother moved just over the border in South Carolina after he was born. (2) Andrew Jackson began life quite differently compared to the previous six presidents. (11) He was a first-generation American, (4,13) the son of (2,4) poverty stricken (8,8a) Scottish- (8a,10) [OR] Scotch- (10) [OR] Scots- (17) Irish (8a,10) [OR] Irish immigrants, (2,4) linen weavers (13,20) Andrew and Elizabeth Hutchinson Jackson. (13) His grandfather, Hugh Jackson, had been a linen-draper. (20) His mother’s name was Elizabeth Hutchinson, and her family were linen-weavers. (20) They had emigrated from (17,19) Carrickfergus, on the north coast of (20) Ireland in 1765. (17,19) Andrew was the third child, and the first one born in the Americas (13) and the first U.S. president ‘born in a log cabin’. (15) His father died (8a,11) suddenly, at the age of 29, (17) three weeks (16,17) [OR] a few days (20) before his birth. (8a,11) some stories say he was crushed by a falling tree (13) [OR] in a logging accident, (8a) and his mother raised the family alone. (8a,11) Jackson grew up with a large extended family that were also Scots-Irish immigrant farmers. (13,19) Five of Elizabeth’s married sisters lived nearby, (13) so Elizabeth (13,20) and her sons (13) moved in with her brother-in-law (13,20) her sister Jane’s husband James (13) Crawford (13,20) and she helped raise Jane’s eight children, (13) Three weeks after the birth of her son Mrs. Jackson moved to the house of, Mr. Crawford, , near the Waxhaw creek, and there his early years were passed. (20) His education, obtained in an ‘old-field school,’ consisted of little more than the ‘three R’s,’ and even in that limited sphere his attainments were but scanty. (20) He never learned, in the course of his life, to write English correctly. (20) His mother had hopes of him becoming a Presbyterian minister, but young Jackson quickly dashed those hopes with his propensity for pranks, cursing and fighting. (19) The area offered little opportunity for formal education. (14,15) He taught himself to read, (11) and the sporadic (9,11) ‘erratic’ (17) schooling he received (9,11) was interrupted by (15) the British invasion of the western Carolinas in 1780-1781. (14,15)

Boy soldier

All three of the Jackson boys took part in the American Revolution. (13,14) Andrew’s older brother Hugh died (13,16) of exposure (13) [OR] heatstroke (16) after the Battle of (13,16) Stono (13,17) [OR] Stone1 (16) Ferry in 1779. (13,16) In the spring and early summer of 1780, after the disastrous surrender of Lincoln’s army at Charleston, the whole of South Carolina was overrun by the British. (20) Andrew joined the Continental Army as a courier at the age of thirteen in 1780. (8a,11) He was the last president to have served during the Revolutionary War. (11) On 6th August, 1780 (20) [OR] 1781 (15) he and Robert witnessed the Battle of Hanging Rock (13,20) when Sumter surprised and destroyed a British regiment. (20) Andrew and Robert were (13) captured by the British. (8a,13), He nearly starved there. (20) When Jackson refused to shine one officer’s boots, the officer struck him across the face with a sabre, (14,15) leaving lasting scars (14,16) on his face and one hand. (16) Both brothers caught smallpox (13,16) while in Camden jail. (13,20) Learning of their capture, his mother Elizabeth made the trip to Camden (13) and arranged for their release (13,16) in exchange for some captured British soldiers. (13) A few days after the British authorities released the brothers, (17) Robert died (13,16) on April 27th, 1781, (16) and while Andrew laid in a delirium, (13) [OR] after Andrew recovered (16) Elizabeth went to Charleston (13,16) to visit quarantined Waxhaw community members (13) [OR] to nurse sick and wounded soldiers (16,17) on board a ship in the harbour. (13) She contracted cholera and died (13,16) on November 2nd, 1781. (16) The war had thus obliterated Jackson’s family. (11,13) Losing his two brothers and mother during the war (11,14) [OR] his ill treatment as a prisoner (8a) [OR] both (15) fostered an intense hatred for the British that Jackson maintained his whole life. (8a,11) With his mother and both brothers deceased, Andrew was a complete orphan (8a,11) at the age of fourteen. (8a,11) He lived briefly with his extended family in Waxhaw (13,16) and in 1781 (20) he was apprenticed to a saddle maker, (8a,20) but he no longer got along with his relatives. (13) Tall and lanky with red hair and piercing blue eyes, (19) he was a bit wild, (13,16) and became known for his daring, playfulness, and hot-headed temper. (16,19) He burned through an inheritance, and then (13,19) was a teacher for a short time (16,19) in an ‘old field school’. (20) In 1784 (13,16) at the age of 17, he decided to become a lawyer (16,19) and left Waxhaw for Salisbury, North Carolina (13,15) [OR] He went to Charleston to finish his schooling. (16) [OR] and embarked upon a campaign of youthful adventure and mischief. (19), left quite alone in the world, he was apprenticed for a while to a saddler. (20)


First steps

He worked hard to advance socially and politically. (4,7) In his late teens he read law (9,11) so that he could find work as a lawyer. (11) He apprenticed in (15,19) the law-office of Spruce McCay, (20) in Salisbury (15,19) with other attorneys (13) [OR] with prominent lawyers (16,18) for three years (16,19) [OR] about two years, (9) and was admitted to the (11a,13) North Carolina (13,14) bar (11a,13) in 1787, (13,14) receiving a license to practice law in several backcountry counties. (16,19) To supplement his income, he also worked in small-town general stores. (19) While there he was said to have been charismatic, wild and ambitious. (19,20) ‘the most roaring, rollicking, game-cocking, horse-racing, card-playing, mischievous fellow’ that had ever been seen in that town. (20) He loved to dance, entertain, gamble and spend his free time with friends in taverns. (19) Many and plentiful were the wild-oat crops sown at that time and in that part of the country; and in such sort of agriculture young Jackson was much more proficient than in the study of jurisprudence. (20) He had always taken a keen interest in public affairs, (15) and in December 1787, his friend John McNairy was elected by the North Carolina legislature as a judge in the state’s westernmost district, (16,19) an area stretching from the Appalachian Mountains to the Mississippi River, (19) which is now part of Tennessee. (16) McNairy appointed Jackson, (16) soon after his 21st birthday (19) as a public prosecutor. (16,19) He never had a legal tone of mind, or any but the crudest knowledge of law; but in that frontier society a small amount of legal knowledge went a good way, and in 1788 he was appointed public prosecutor for the western district of North Carolina, the district since erected into the state of Tennessee. (20) So, as the fruit of a political contact he had made, (15) in 1788, (16,19) still a young man, (7,8a) he followed the Wilderness Road across the rugged Allegheny Mountains (19) west (14,15) to Nashville (16) [OR] the Cumberland region (15) west of the Appalachians (14,15) in the territory of Tennessee. (7,8a) On the way there, he fought his first duel and bought his first slave, a woman not much older than himself. (13) He practised law briefly in Jonesborough and Greeneville. (19) In the fall of 1788, (19) he moved to Nashville (19,20) [OR] the settlement that became Nashville, (14)

Lawyer in Nashville

He became an outstanding young (8a,9) frontier (10,11) lawyer (2,7) as a prosecuting attorney (14,15) in Nashville (11a,15) in the middle of (13) the western (soon to be) state (11,15) of Tennessee. (8a,9) He was appointed public prosecutor (11a,13) in Nashville (11a) [OR] at the age of 21 in 1788. (11a,13) The emigrant wagon-train in which Jackson journeyed there carried news of the ratification of the Federal constitution by the requisite two thirds of the states. (20) When Jackson arrived in Nashville, the community was still a frontier settlement. (15) For the next two years, he practised law in Nashville and Jonesborough and travelled to several frontier forts. (16) From 1788 till 1795 Jackson performed the journey of nearly two hundred miles between Nashville and Jonesboro twenty-two times; and on these occasions there were many alarms from Indians, which sometimes grew into a forest campaign. (20) In one of these affairs, having nearly lost his life in an adventurous feat, Jackson made the characteristic remark: ‘A miss is as good as a mile; you see how near I can graze danger.’ (20) It was this wild experience that prepared the way for Jackson’s eminence as an Indian-fighter. (20) He seems soon to have found business enough. (20) In the April term of 1790, out of 192 cases on the dockets of the county court at Nashville, Jackson was employed as counsel in 42; in the year 1794, out of 397 cases he acted as counsel in 228; while at the same time he was practicing his profession in the courts of other counties. (20) The great number of these cases is an indication of their trivial character. (20) As a general rule they were either actions growing out of disputed land-claims or simple cases of assault and battery. (20) Court day was a great occasion in that wild community, bringing crowds of men into the county town to exchange gossip, discuss politics, drink whiskey, and break heads. (20) Probably each court day produced as many new cases as it settled. (20) Amid such a turbulent population the public prosecutor must needs be a man of nerve and resource. (20) It was a state of chronic riot, in which he must be ever ready to court danger. (20) The wild frontier life suited Jackson, (11,20) who proved himself quite equal to the task of introducing law and order in so far as it depended on him. (20) ‘Just inform Mr. Jackson,’ said Governor Blount when sundry malfeasances were reported to him: ‘he will be sure to do his duty, and the offenders will be punished.’ (20) As prosecuting attorney, Jackson was principally occupied with suits for the collection of debts. (15) He was so successful in these litigations that he soon had a thriving private practice and had gained the friendship of landowners and creditors. (15) For almost 30 years Jackson was allied with this group in Tennessee politics. (15) In the autumn of 1794 the Cherokees were so thoroughly punished by General Robertson’s famous Nickajack expedition that henceforth they thought it best to leave the Tennessee settlements in peace. (20) With the rapid increase of the white population which soon followed, the community became more prosperous and more orderly. (20) In the general prosperity Jackson had an ample share. (11,20) He went from poverty (8,11) experiencing bankruptcy (11) to wealth (8,11) because of his slave ownership (8) [OR] by his own hard work and merit, (11,20) through judicious purchases and sales of land, (20) and because he became (2,7) a prominent (8a,9) lawyer, (2,7) then a judge. (7,8a) He became a leading citizen in Nashville. (13)


Figure 1 ‘shy and pious’ – Rachel Jackson


With most men marriage is the most important event of their life; in Jackson’s career his marriage was peculiarly important. (20) Andrew Jackson boarded in the home of the late Col. John Donelson, who had been a prosperous Virginia surveyor, but had been murdered, either by Indians or by white desperadoes. (20) His widow, albeit in easy circumstances, felt it desirable to keep boarders as a means of protection against the Indians. (20) To her house came Andrew Jackson on his arrival at Nashville, and thither about the same time came Overton, also fresh from his law studies. (20) These two young men were boarded in the house and lodged in a cabin hard by. (20) At Mrs Donelson’s Jackson met (15) Colonel Donelson’s daughter, (15,20) Rachel (9,10) Donelson (10,13) Robards, (10,14) a woman in a troubled marriage. (16,17) Rachel was a native of North Carolina, (20) who in 1780 migrated to the neighbourhood of Nashville in a very remarkable boat-journey of 2,000 miles down the Holston and Tennessee rivers and up the Cumberland. (20) During an expedition to Kentucky some time afterward, the blooming Rachel was wooed and (20) won by Captain Lewis Robards. (15, 20) She was an active, sprightly, and interesting girl, the best horsewoman and best dancer in that country; her husband seems to have been a young man of tyrannical and unreasonably jealous disposition. (20) In Kentucky they lived with Mrs. Robards, the husband’s mother; and, as was common in a new society where houses were too few and far between, there were other boarders in the family – among them the late Judge Overton, of Tennessee, and a Mr. Stone. (20) Presently Robards made complaints against his wife, in which he implicated Stone. (20) According to Overton and the elder Mrs. Robards, these complaints were unreasonable and groundless, but the affair ended in Robards sending his wife home to her mother in Tennessee. (20) This was in 1788. (20) At about the same time that Jackson arrived, Robards became reconciled with his wife, and, having bought land in the neighbourhood, came to dwell for awhile at Mrs. Donelson’s as well. (20) Throughout life Jackson was noted alike for spotless purity and for a romantic and chivalrous respect for the female sex. (20) In the presence of women his manner was always distinguished for grave and courtly politeness. (20) This involuntary homage to woman was one of the finest and most winsome features in his character. (20) As unconsciously rendered to Mrs. Robards, it was enough to revive the slumbering demon of jealousy in her husband. (20) According to Overton’s testimony, Jackson’s conduct was irreproachable, but there were high words between him and Robards, and, not wishing to make further trouble, he changed his place of abode. (20) After some months Captain Robards left his wife and went to Kentucky, threatening by and by to return and ‘haunt her’ and make her miserable. (20) In the autumn of 1790 Rumours of his intended return frightened Mrs. Robards, and determined her to visit some friends at distant Natchez in order to avoid him. (20) In pursuance of this plan, with which the whole neighbourhood seems to have concurred, she went down the river in company with the venerable Colonel Stark and his family. (20) As the Indians were just then on the war-path, Jackson accompanied the party with an armed escort, returning to Nashville as soon as he had seen his friends safely deposited at Natchez. (20) While these things were going on, the proceedings of Captain Robards were characterized by a sort of Machiavelian astuteness. (20) In 1791 Kentucky was still a part of Virginia, and, according to the code of the Old Dominion, if a husband wished to obtain a divorce on account of his wife’s alleged unfaithfulness, he must procure an act of the legislature empowering him to bring the case before a jury, and authorizing a divorce conditionally upon the jury’s finding a verdict of guilty. (20) Early in 1791 Robards obtained the preliminary act of the legislature upon his declaration, then false, that his wife had gone to live with Jackson. (20) Robards deferred further action for more than two years. (20) Meanwhile it was reported and believed in the west that a divorce had been granted, and, acting upon this report, Jackson, (16,20) whose chivalrous interest in Mrs. Robards’s misfortunes had ripened into sincere affection, (20) went, in the summer of 1791, to Natchez (16,20) and married her (13,15) [OR] may have married her there although there is no record of the marriage. (16) He was certainly to blame for not taking more care to ascertain the import of the act of the Virginia legislature. (20) He brought her to his home at Nashville. (16,20) in 1791, (16) [OR] In 1792, (16) [OR] in the autumn (20) of 1793 (13,20) they discovered the divorce had not occurred, (13,16) when Rachel’s husband sued for divorce on grounds of bigamy, (16) on the strength of the facts that undeniably existed since the act of the Virginia legislature. (20) He obtained the verdict completing the divorce. (20) By a carelessness peculiarly striking in a lawyer, he had allowed his wife to be placed in a false position. (20) before her divorce was officially complete, (13,16) they were not officially married, (16,17) and marriage was therefore tainted with gossip of bigamy. (11,13) On hearing of this, to his great surprise, in December, Jackson concluded that the best method of preventing future cavil was to procure a new license and have the marriage ceremony performed again and this was done in January, (20) 1794. (16,17) Jackson and Rachel repeated their vows again, (13,17) and the irregularity of the marriage was indeed atoned by forty years of honourable and happy wedlock, ending only with Mrs. Jackson’s death in December, 1831 and no blame was attached to the parties in Nashville, where the circumstances were well known. (20) But the story, half understood and maliciously warped, grew into scandal as it was passed about among his personal enemies or political opponents; and herein some of the bitterest of his many quarrels had their source. (20) His devotion to Mrs. Jackson was intense, and his pistol was always ready for the rash man who should dare to speak of her slightingly. (20) Together the Jacksons had no children, (8a,13) but were close to their nephews and nieces. (14) They adopted three: (13,16) [OR] four (14,17) Andrew Jackson Jr., Rachel’s nephew (8a,13) (the son of her brother Severn Donelson), (13,17) a pair of Native American infants, Theodore, who died in early 1814, (17) and Lyncoya (13,17) (1811–1828), (13) a Creek Indian orphan adopted by Jackson (13,17) and named by him. (16) after he was found in his dead mother’s arms on the battlefield (13,17) of Tallushatchee, (13) [OR] Talladega. (16) Jackson may have intended him simply as a playmate for Andrew Jackson, Jr., but as things developed, the general arranged for Lyncoya to be educated along with Andrew, Jr. (16) They also adopted Andrew Jackson Hutchings (1812–1841), the grandson of Rachel’s sister. (13) The couple also took guardianship of several other related and unrelated children, some of whom only lived with them a short while. (13) Lyncoya died of tuberculosis in 1828. (16)

Political Career in Tennessee

In 1796 (15) he became a member of the convention that (13,14) drafted a constitution for Tennessee. (11a,13) In that capacity, in 1796 he travelled to Philadelphia to lobby Congress for statehood. (16) When Tennessee became a state, he became (7,8a) in 1796 (11a,13) its first (7,9) member of the US House of Representatives. (7,8a) When the house had assembled, he heard President Washington deliver in person his last message to congress. (20) Jefferson himself reported in 1824, that he had often, when presiding in the senate, seen the passionate Jackson get up to speak and then choke with rage so that he could not utter a word. (20) An undistinguished legislator, he refused to seek re-election and served only until March (14,15) 4th, (15) 1797. (14,15) Jackson returned to Tennessee, vowing never to enter public life again, (15) but was almost immediately (14) in 1797 (7,11) elected Senator. (7,8a) His willingness to accept the office reflects his emergence as an acknowledged leader of one of the two political factions contending for control of the state. (15) He served (7,9) briefly (9,13) [OR] for a year (7,14) [OR] eight months (13) in the US Senate, (7,9) and then resigned (15,16) after an uneventful year (15) in 1798, (15,16) cutting his senatorial career short due to boredom (19) and mounting financial difficulties at home. (16,19) He returned to Nashville. (16)

Tennessee Supreme Court Justice and Planter 1798-1804

After resigning, he was elected (14,15) to be a judge on the Tennessee superior court (15) (in effect, (15) its Supreme Court. (7,10) He served from 1798 (10,11) until 1804. (10,11a) Simultaneously, Jackson maintained a law practice in Nashville and established several commercial business ventures at his plantations in northeastern Davidson County, including general merchandise stores, whiskey distilleries and boat making. (19) During this period, he managed his credit (13) and prospered sufficiently to buy slaves. (9,10) [OR] he was much harassed by business troubles arising from the decline in the value of land consequent upon the financial crisis of 1798. (20) In that year (17) he sold his plantation (16) and bought a new parcel of land, (13) a smaller farm (16) [OR] a moderate sized plantation (8a) [OR] an expansive plantation in Davidson County (17) near Nashville. (9,16) He took many buying trips to stock his stores, traveling to major cities like New Orleans, New York, Baltimore, and Philadelphia. (16) In addition to his business ventures, he formed partnerships that speculated in land sales; he was nearly bankrupted in 1804 after one partnership failed. (16) He paid up all his debts and engaged extensively both in planting and in trade. (20) He was noted for fair and Honourable dealing, his credit was always excellent, and a note with his name on it was considered as good as gold. (20) He had a clear head for business, and was never led astray by the delusions about paper money by which American frontier communities have so often been infested. (20) Despite Jackson’s presumed retirement from public life, he continued to correspond with important political leaders, such as President Thomas Jefferson. (19) He also maintained other connections of a more risky nature, such as that with former Vice President Aaron Burr. (19) Jackson’s friendship with Burr, who conspired to break up the U.S. for his own personal advancement, almost cost Jackson his future. (19) Luckily, he realized Burr’s intentions in time to separate himself from Burr’s plot. (19) At length, in 1804, he resigned his judgeship in order to devote his attention exclusively to his private affairs. (20)


The small cabin on it was expanded, remodelled and rebuilt into a spacious plantation house. (8a) [OR] a large mansion (7) the Hermitage (9,14) [OR] later known as The Hermitage, (9,10) where he would live for most of his life. (13) He resigned his position as circuit court judge and opened a general store, tavern, and horseracing course, focusing on his business ventures until the War of 1812. (16) He became a wealthy, slaveowning planter. (8,10) He bought and sold more slaves, using their labour to build his fortune. (8) At the outset, nine (17) African-American slaves worked on the cotton plantation. (8,17) They grew his cotton, built and tended his house, and helped him gain a social foothold in Southern society. (8) and even bringing them to the White House to work for him. (8) By the time of Jackson’s death in 1845, however, approximately 150 [OR] as many as 161 (8) slaves laboured in the Hermitage’s fields. (8,17) His plantation was well managed, and his slaves were always kindly and considerately treated. (20) [OR] Records show he beat his slaves, including doling out a brutal public whipping to a woman he felt had been ‘putting on airs.’ (8) And when slaves ran away, he pursued them, putting them in chains when they were recovered. (8) In 1804 Tom, one of his slaves aged 30, ran away; and Andrew put in a newspaper advertisement offering an extra $10 for every 100 lashes doled out to Tom. (8)


But while genial and kind toward his inferiors, he was among his fellow-citizens (20) apt to be rough (9,20) and quarrelsome. (17,20) Fiercely jealous of his Honour, he engaged in brawls (9) and was quick to grab his pistols when he felt someone had offended him (5) or his wife. (7,9) He engaged in numerous duels. (5,20) In 1795 he fought a duel with Avery, an opposing counsel, over some hasty words that had passed in the court-room. (20) Next year he quarrelled with John Sevier, governor of Tennessee, and came near shooting him ‘at sight.’ (20) Sevier had alluded to the circumstances of his marriage. (20) He is widely remembered for killing a man (5,7) called Charles Dickinson (17,20) during a duel (5,7) in 1805 (20) while defending his wife’s honour (7,9) though the long and extremely silly quarrel was complicated with other matters. (20) Despite being wounded in the chest by his opponent’s shot, (17,20) Jackson stood his ground and fired a round that (17) mortally wounded Dickinson. (17,20) He was shot twice in duels (5,17) once in the Dickinson fight and again in a subsequent duel. (17) He never recovered from the effects of (17,20) the bullet from Dickinson, which remained in his chest the rest of his life. (17) In later years, when he was a candidate for the presidency, the number of his violent quarrels was variously reckoned by his enemies at from a dozen to a hundred. (20)

Soldier in Tennessee Militia

Jackson was already a wealthy Tennessee lawyer and rising young politician. (14) He did maintain connections with public figures, including President Thomas Jefferson and Vice-President Aaron Burr. (16) His friendship with Burr almost cost him his future—Burr was tried for treason in 1807—but Jackson was able to distance himself. (16) His accomplishments2 set Jackson apart from most men, yet they would pale3 in comparison to his military career (11) He was a soldier (2,3) in the Tennessee militia. (8a,10) In 1801 (10) he was chosen to head the state militia (10,14) as its colonel. (10) In 1802 he was elected major general of the Tennessee militia (15,16) a position he held when the War of 1812 (3,4) broke out between the United States Great and Britain in 1812. (14,15) At that moment Jackson’s political career was at a standstill, his social standing had fallen, and his finances were in shambles. (19) He was disillusioned not only with the state of his own life but also with the inability of his country to protect its citizens and their property. (19) Since 1801 he had been commander-in-chief of the Tennessee militia, but there had been no occasion for him to take the field. (20) The war opened the door to a command in the field and a hero’s role. (15)

War of 1812


When it appeared that war with Great Britain was imminent, In March 1812, Jackson issued a call for 50,000 volunteers to be ready for an invasion of Canada. (15) When war was declared, (13,14) in June 1812, Jackson offered his services and those of (15,16) the 2,500 men in (20) his militia to the United States. (15,16) The government was slow to accept this offer: (15,16) President James Madison refused to employ Jackson (16,20) for six months due to his reputation for rashness (16) the fact that he had declared his preference for Monroe over Madison as candidate for the presidency (20) and his association with Aaron Burr. (16,20)

The Natchez Fiasco

Late in 1812, (16,20) in December (16) after the disasters in the northwest, it was feared that the British might make an attempt upon New Orleans, (20) and Jackson was finally commissioned a major general. (16) [OR] He was not appointed to that rank until the Creek War in 1813. (7,8a) He was ordered down to Natchez (16,20) at the head of (16,20) 2,000 (20) [OR] 2500 (11a) [OR] 1,500 (16) men (16,20) with the intent to go on to defend New Orleans. (16) Jackson went south (16) to Natchez (11a,16) in high spirits, promising to plant the American eagle upon the ramparts of Mobile, Pensacola, and St. Augustine, if so directed. (20) but in March4 (16) [OR] on 6th February, (20) 1813, when it was evident that the British were not meditating a southward expedition (16,20) the new secretary of war, Armstrong, (20) dismissed Jackson and his troops (11a,15) without compensation or the means to return to Tennessee. (16) Outraged, Jackson vowed to get his men home (16,20) if he had to pay for it himself. (16) During the month-long march home, (11a,16) to Nashville. (11a) he earned the respect of his men and the nickname ‘Old Hickory’ for sharing their hardships, (16,20) marching with his men while allowing the wounded to ride. (16) He was known as ‘Old Hickory’ among his friends and followers for the rest of his life. (20) At last, he had begun to move out of the shadow of his past. (19) The government afterward acquiesced and reimbursed Jackson for the expense involved. (20) But his temper quickly got him in trouble once again. (19,20) Instead of acting as peacemaker in a dispute between two of his officers, Jackson took sides causing the argument to expand. (19) [OR] There was an affray between Jackson and Thomas H. Benton, growing out of an unusually silly duel in which Jackson had acted as second to the antagonist of Benton’s brother. (20) Jackson and Benton had formerly been friends. (20) In a tavern at Nashville, Jackson undertook to horsewhip Benton, and in the ensuing scuffle the letter was pitched down-stairs, while Jackson get a bullet in his left shoulder which he carried for more than twenty years. (20) The quarrel ignited into a gunfight in the streets of Nashville that left Jackson horribly wounded in the upper left arm. (19)

Creek War 1813-4


The war with Great Britain was complicated with an Indian war which could not in any case have been avoided. (20) This ‘Creek War’ is considered a part of that War. (12) The westward progress of the white settlers toward the Mississippi river was gradually driving the red man from his hunting-grounds. (20) Shawnee leader (16) Tecumseh (16,20) had formed a scheme, quite similar to that of Pontiac fifty years earlier, of uniting all the tribes between Florida and the Great Lakes in a grand attempt to drive back the white men. (20) This scheme was partially frustrated in the autumn of 1811 while Tecumseh was preaching his crusade among the Cherokees, Creeks, and Seminoles. (20) During his absence his brother, known as the Prophet, attacked General Harrison at Tippecanoe and was overwhelmingly defeated. (20) The war with Great Britain renewed Tecumseh’s opportunity. (20) He was backed by the British, (15,16) and his services to the enemy were extremely valuable until his death in the battle of the Thames. (20) Tecumseh’s main ally in the south was a half-breed Creek chieftain named Weathersford. (20) Weathersford led (20) the Red Sticks (18,19) a hostile (19) traditionalist (12) faction of (12,19) the Native American Creek people, also supported by the British. (12,14) On the shore of Lake Tensaw, (20) in the southern part of what is now Alabama (19,20) was a stockaded fortress known as Fort Mimms (20) [OR] Mims. (17,19) There many of the settlers had taken refuge. (20) While Jackson was recovering from his wound, (19) on 30th August, 1813, Fort Mimms was surprised by Weathersford at the head of 1,000 Creek warriors, (20) and hundreds of (17,20) [OR] more than 400 men, women, and children (20) were massacred. (17,19) The news of this dreadful affair aroused the people of the southwest to vengeance. (18,20) Jackson asked: ‘Is a citizen of the United States, to remain under the barbarous lash of cruel and unrelenting savages?’ (18) The resulting ‘Creek War’ was fought between U.S. state militias and the Red Sticks. (12)


Jackson was given a command in the field. (15,19) He was appointed to the command of the South (10,11a) with orders to fight against the Creek Indians (15,19) and put down their uprising. (19) Men and money were raised by the state of Tennessee, and, (20) before he had fully recovered from the wound received in the Benton affray, (19,20) Jackson gathered his forces (19,20) in October (19) in the autumn of (16,19) 1813 (19) 1813 Jackson took the field, (10,11a) leaving Fayetteville, Tennessee (16) and marching south (19) at the head of 2,500 men (20) on a five-month campaign (14) against the Creek Indians. (10,11a) Among the officers who served under Jackson in this remarkable campaign were two who in later years played an important part in the history of the southwest – Samuel Houston and David Crockett. (20) Now for the first time he had a chance to show his wonderful military capacity, his sleepless vigilance, untiring patience, and unrivalled talent as a leader of men. (20) The difficulties encountered were formidable in the extreme. (20) He had many brushes with death. (11) In that frontier wilderness the business of the commissariat was naturally ill managed, and the men, who under the most favourable circumstances had little idea of military subordination, were part of the time mutinous from hunger. (20) More than once Jackson was obliged to use one half of his army to keep the other half from disbanding. (20) In view of these difficulties, the speed of his movements and the force with which he struck the enemy were truly marvellous. (20) In November, (19) Jackson was victorious in significant battles against the Creeks at (19,20) Tallushatchee (19) [OR] Talluschatches (20) and Talladega. (19,20) At length, having been re-enforced by a regiment of United States infantry, (20) he won the (10,11a) decisive (11a,14) Battle of (10,11a) Tohopeka (or (14,15) Horseshoe Bend) (10,11a) or the Tallapoosa river, (18,20) in Alabama (15) on March (11a,13) 27th (11a,13) [OR] mid- (14) 1814. (11a,12) He had tracked the Red Sticks to Horseshoe Bend, a peninsula formed by the Tallapoosa River in what is now Alabama, and launched a frontal assault on their breastworks. (18) In this bloody battle no quarter was given. (20) His troops might have been repulsed had his Cherokee allies not crossed the river and attacked from the rear. (18) Caught between two attacking forces, the Red Sticks were defeated in what proved to be the decisive battle of the war. (18) Jackson pursued the remnant to their place of refuge called the Holy Ground, upon which the medicine-men had declared that no white man could set foot and live. (20) Some 800 (17) [OR] nearly 900 (18) warriors were killed. (17,18) Such of the Creek chieftains as had not fled to Florida now surrendered, (20) and the strength of the Creek nation was finally broken. (18,20) Jackson’s men were ready to kill Weathersford in revenge for Fort Mimms; but Jackson, who was by no means wanting in magnanimity, spared his life and treated him so well that henceforth he and his people remained on good terms with the white men. (20) This effectively ended the Creek War. (12) The Creeks were forced to sign a treaty (10,16) at Fort Jackson (10) in August (16) that ceded (10,16) 20 million acres of land (17,18) (about half of their territory) (16) in present-day Georgia and Alabama (17,18) to the U.S. (10,16) Throughout the whole of this campaign, in which Jackson showed such indomitable energy, he was suffering from illness such as would have kept any ordinary man groaning in bed, besides that for most of the time his left arm had to be supported in a sling. (20) The tremendous pluck exhibited by William of Orange at Neerwinden, and so justly celebrated by Macaulay, was no greater than Jackson showed in Alabama. (20) His pluck was equaled by his thoroughness. (20) Many generals after victory are inclined to relax their efforts. (20) Not so Jackson, who followed up every success with furious persistence, and whose admirable maxim was that in war ‘until all is done, nothing is done.’ (20) His military reputation was enhanced by his leadership (4,12) and bravery (12) against the Indians in both this War (4,8a) and the First Seminole War. (8a)


The Creek war was one of critical importance. (20) It was the last occasion on which the red men could put forth sufficient power to embarrass the United States government. (20) More than any other single battle that of Tohopeka marks the downfall of Indian power. (20) Its immediate effects upon the war with Great Britain were very great. (20) By destroying the only hostile power within the southwestern territory it made it possible to concentrate the military force of the border states upon any point, however remote, that might be threatened by the British. (20) More specifically, it made possible the great victory at New Orleans. (20)


When British again threatened the coast along the Gulf of Mexico in the War of 1812, (16) Jackson was finally promoted to Major General (7,8a) in the regular army (11a,20) in May (11a,13) 1814, (13,20) [OR] 1813 (10,11a) and was appointed to command the Department of the South. (16,20) Florida was a Spanish possession. (20) It was a matter of dispute whether Mobile belonged to Spain or to the United States. (20) In August 1814, (15,20) Jackson moved his army south to Mobile (15,16) to prevent a British landing there. (16) He made his headquarters there. (20) With the consent of Spain (20) the British used Florida as a base of operations. (11a,15) On 14 September the British advanced against Mobile; but in their attack upon the outwork, Fort Bowyer, they met with a disastrous repulse. (20) They retreated to Pensacola, (20) and established themselves there. (11a,15) Jackson wrote to Washington for permission to attack them; but the government was loth to sanction an invasion of Spanish territory until the complicity of Spain with our enemy should be proved beyond cavil. (20) The letter from Sec. Armstrong to this effect did not reach Jackson. (20) [OR] The capture of Washington by the British prevented his receiving orders and left him to act upon his own responsibility, a kind of situation from which he was never known to flinch. (20)) In the first week in November, he led his army into Florida, (15) invading Spanish soil. (11a,15) Jackson’s justification for this bold move was that Spain and Great Britain were allies in the wars in Europe. (11a,15) He followed the British to Pensacola with 3,000 men. (20) He aimed at taking at Pensacola as a prelude for U.S. occupation of Florida. (15) On November 7th, (15,20) he stormed and (11a,20) occupied that city just as the British evacuated it to go by sea to Louisiana. (15) By thus driving the British from Florida-an act for which he was stupidly blamed by the Federalist press-Jackson now found himself free to devote all his energies to the task of defending New Orleans. (20) He marched his army (15,16) overland (15) to New Orleans (15,16), to defend it against an imminent British invasion (16) and after an arduous journey, he arrived on 2nd (20) December. (15,20)

Battle of New Orleans

The British expedition directed against that city was more formidable than any other that we had to encounter during that war. (20) Its purpose was also more deadly. (20) In the north the British warfare had been directed chiefly toward defending Canada and gaining such a foothold upon our frontier as might be useful in making terms at the end of the war. (20) The burning of Washington was intended chiefly for all insult and had but slight military significance; but the expedition against New Orleans was intended to make a permanent conquest of the lower Mississippi valley and to secure for Great Britain the western bank of the river. (20) The fall of Napoleon had set, free some of Wellington’s finest troops for service in America, and in December a force of 12,000 men, under command of Wellington’s brother-in-law, the gallant Sir Edward Pakenham, was landed below New Orleans. (20) To oppose these veterans of the Spanish peninsula, Jackson had 6,000 (20) [OR] 5,000 (17) of that sturdy race whose fathers had vanquished Ferguson at King’s Mountain, and whose children so nearly vanquished Grant at Shiloh. (20) After considerable preliminary manoeuvring and skirmishing, Jackson entrenched himself in a strong position near the Bienvenu and Chalmette plantations and awaited the approach of the enemy. (20) A series of small skirmishes between detachments of the two armies culminated in (15) the Battle of New Orleans on 8th (15,16) [OR] 5th, (11) [OR] between 8th and 18th (12) January (11,11a) 1815. (4,11) Jackson and his (12,16) 5,000 (12,17) men (12,16) rebuffed a frontal assault (16,20) by the invading British force (12,16) of 7,500 (12) [OR] 10,000 (17) at Chalmette Plantation outside New Orleans. (16) In less than half an hour the British were in full retreat, leaving 2,600 (20) [OR] about 2,000 (12,16) [OR] 2,037 (12) of their number killed and wounded. (20) Among the slain was Pakenham. (11a,20) the Americans had only about 70, (12,16) [OR] 71, (12) [OR] eight killed and thirteen wounded. (20) It was the last major battle of the War of 1812 and the most one-sided. (12,20) Never, perhaps, in the history of the world has a battle been fought between armies of civilized men with so great a disparity of loss. (20) It was also the most complete and overwhelming defeat that any English5 army has ever experienced. (20) Although outnumbered nearly two-to-one, Jackson had led his soldiers to an unexpected victory over the British, (17) helped by the British having had very bad luck. (16)

Effects of the Battle

For Jackson

Jackson, who before the Creek war had been little known outside of Tennessee, (20) by this overwhelming (4,12) victory against British troops at the Battle of New Orleans, (4,7) became at once the foremost man in the United States. (20) People in the north, while throwing up their hats for him, were sometimes heard to ask: ‘Who is this General Jackson? To what state does he belong?’ Henceforth until the civil war he occupied the most prominent place in the popular mind. (20) The news of this victory reached Washington at a time when morale was at a low point: (15) The win (12,14) like the three last naval victories of the war, (20) occurred after the War of 1812 officially ended (12,14) but before news of the Treaty of Ghent (14,15) (signed between the United States and Great Britain on December 24, 1814) had reached Washington. (14,15) giving the country a morale boost just after Washington had been burned by the British. (8a) The twin tidings brought joy and relief to the American people and (15) made Jackson the hero not only of the West but of a substantial part of the country as well, (11,14) and solidified Jackson’s status as a commander. (16) Dubbed a national hero, Jackson received the thanks of Congress and a gold medal. (17)

For the USA

No American can regret that the battle was fought. (20) The insolence and rapacity of Great Britain had richly deserved such castigation. (20) Moreover, if she once gained a foothold in the Mississippi valley, it might have taken an armed force to dislodge her in spite of the treaty, for in the matter of the western frontier posts after 1783 she had by no means acted in good faith. (20 Jackson’s victory decided that henceforth the Mississippi valley belonged indisputably to the people of the United States. (20) It was the recollection of that victory, along with the exploits of Hull and Decatur, Perry and McDonough, which caused the Holy Alliance to look upon the Monroe doctrine as something more than an idle threat. (20) The battle marked the last attempt by any foreign nation to invade the United States. (16)

Seminole War 1817-19

After the close of the war, Jackson was named commander of the southern district. (15) He entrusted the command of the troops in the field to subordinates while he retired to his home at the Hermitage, near Nashville. (15) After his victory Jackson remained three months in New Orleans, in some conflict with the civil authorities of the town, which he found it necessary to hold under martial law. (20) In April he returned to Nashville, still retaining his military command of the southwest. (20) In Jackson’s eyes, the southern United States suffered from two security problems, the Native Americans and Spanish Florida. (19) Jackson used his reputation as a fierce fighter and the threat of force to get the Creeks, Chickasaws, Cherokees and Choctaws to sign treaties ceding huge tracts of land to the U.S. and confining their tribes to much smaller territories. (19) For the Native Americans, these accords proved disastrous and were the first step in their eventual removal to the west. (19) He soon became involved in a quarrel with Mr. Crawford, the secretary of war, who had undertaken to modify some provisions in his treaty with the Creeks. (20) Jackson was also justly incensed by the occasional issue of orders from the war department directly to his subordinate officers; such orders sometimes stupidly thwarted his plans, and in 1817 forbade his subordinate officers to pay heed to any order from the war department unless issued through him. (20) General Scott suggested that Jackson’s action savoured of mutiny. (20) This led to an angry correspondence between the two generals, ending in a challenge from Jackson, which Scott declined on the ground that duelling is a wicked and unchristian custom. (20) Florida had become a nest of outlaws, and chaos reigned supreme there. (20) Many of the defeated Creeks had found a refuge in Florida, and runaway Negroes from the plantations of Georgia and South Carolina were continually escaping thither. (20) During the late war British officers and adventurers, acting on their own responsibility upon this neutral soil, committed many acts which their government would never have sanctioned. (20) They stirred up Indians and Negroes to commit atrocities on the United States frontier. (20) The Spanish government was at that time engaged in warfare with its revolted colonies in South America, and the coasts of Florida became a haunt for contraband traders, privateers, and filibusters. (20) In this case the Spaniards were ready to leave to United States troops a disagreeable work, for which their own force was incompetent. (20) Every day made it plainer that Spain was quite unable to preserve order in Florida, and for this reason the United States entered upon negotiations for the purchase of that country. (20) Meanwhile the turmoil increased. (20) White men were murdered by Indians, and United States troops, under Colonel Twiggs, captured and burned a considerable Seminole village, known as Fowltown. (20) The Indians retorted by the wholesale massacre of fifty people who were ascending the Appalachicola river in boats; some of the victims were tortured with firebrands. (20) The disorder was hideous. (20) On the Appalachicola river the British had built a fort, and amply stocked it with arms and ammunition, to serve as a base of operations against the United States. (20) On the departure of the British, the fort was seized and held by Negroes. (20) This alarmed the slave-owners of Georgia, and in July, 1816, United States troops, with permission from the Spanish authorities, marched in and bombarded the Negro fort. (20) A hot shot found its way into the magazine, three hundred Negroes were blown into fragments, and the fort was demolished. (20) A group of Creek and Seminole Indians refused to recognize U.S. claims to their land and invaded the U.S. from Spanish Florida, attacking settlers as they advanced, (16) They carried out raids in the United States then fled to the refuge of Spanish Florida. (19) At the end of December 1817, when the unrest along the border appeared to be reaching critical proportions, (15) Jackson was ordered back into action. (10,16) He wrote at once to President Monroe: ‘Let it be signified to me through any channel (say Mr. John Rhea) that the possession of the Floridas would be desirable to the United States, and in sixty days it will be accomplished. (20) Although there was dispute6 about it, Jackson honestly considered himself authorized to take possession of Florida on the ground that the Spanish government had shown itself incompetent to prevent the denizens of that country from engaging in hostilities against the United States. (20) Jackson acted upon this belief with his accustomed promptness. (20) although he was unauthorized (16) [OR] His instructions were vague, (15) [OR] He perhaps exceeded his orders. (17) He acted with questionable authority. (19) His response is known as the First Seminole War. (10,13) Immediately after taking active command (15,16) he raised troops in Tennessee and neighbouring states, (20) and ordered (15,16) an invasion of Florida. (11a,15) He invaded Florida (11a,15) in March, (20) 1817 (14,16) [OR] 1818 (11a,16) [OR] In 1817–1818 (16) he captured St. Mark’s (14,20) and pushed the Indians back (16) to their headquarters on the Suwanee river. (20) He captured two Spanish posts (14,15) and Pensacola, (14,16) He overthrew the Spanish governor in Florida. (13) and appointed one of his subordinates to be the military governor of Florida. (15) In less than three months (20) from this time he had overthrown (11a,20) and ‘severely chastised’ the Seminole (11a) Indians (11a,20) and brought order out of chaos. (20) In one instance his conduct was open to serious question. (20) At St. Marks his troops captured an aged Scotch trader and friend of the Indians, named Alexander Arbuthnot; near Suwanee, some time afterward, they seized Robert Ambrister, a young English lieutenant of marines, nephew of the governor of New Providence. (20) Jackson believed that these men had incited the Indians to make war upon the United States, anti were now engaged in aiding and abetting them in their hostilities. (20) They were tried by a court-martial at St. Marks. (20) On very insufficient evidence Arbuthnot was found guilty and sentenced to be hanged. (20) Appearances were somewhat more strongly against Ambrister. (20) He did not make it clear what his business was in Florida, and threw himself upon the mercy of the court, which at first condemned him to be shot, put on further consideration commuted the sentence to fifty lashes and a year’s imprisonment. (20) Jackson arbitrarily revived the first sentence, and Ambrister was accordingly shot. (20) A few minutes afterward Arbuthnot was hanged from the yardarm of his own ship, declaring with his last breath that his country would avenge him. (20) In this lamentable affair Jackson doubtless acted from a sense of duty, as he himself said, ‘My God would not have smiled on me, had I punished only the poor ignorant savages, and spared the white men who set them on. (20) ‘ Here, as elsewhere, however, when under the influence of strong feeling, he showed himself utterly incapable of estimating evidence. (20) The case against both the victims was so weak that a fair-minded and prudent commander would surely have pardoned them; while the interference with the final sentence of the court, in Ambrister’s ease, was an act that can hardly be justified. (20) Throughout life Jackson was perpetually acting with violent energy upon the strength of opinions hastily formed and based upon inadequate data. (20) Fortunately, his instincts were apt to be sound, and in many most important instances his violent action was highly beneficial to his country; but a man of such temperament is liable to make serious mistakes. (20) On his way home, hearing that some Indians had sought refuge in Pensacola, Jackson captured the town, turned out the Spanish governor, and left a garrison of his own there. (20) He had now virtually conquered Florida, but he had moved too fast for the government at Washington. (20) His measures were praised by his friends as vigorous, while his enemies stigmatized them as high-handed, (20) and gave rise to heated debate (14) and there was a cabinet crisis in Washington, (14,15) in which many argued for Jackson’s censure. (14,15) Secretary of State John Quincy Adams defended the general’s actions. (14,15) The Spanish government vehemently protested, (14,15) [OR] realized that Jackson and the United States were determined to take Spanish Florida. (19) Spain and Great Britain accepted the explanations; had either nation felt in the mood for war with the United States, it might have been otherwise. (20) As soon as the administration had adopted Jackson’s measures, they were for that reason attacked in congress by Clay, and this was the beginning of the bitter and lifelong feud between Jackson and Clay. (20)

Florida Acquired by USA

This led to the acquisition (10,11a) by annexation (10) [OR] purchase (11a) of Florida from Spain. (10,11a) On February 22nd (16) 1819, (16,19) Spain and the U.S. agreed to the Adams-Onís (19) Treaty, giving Florida to the United States (16,19) and advantageously settling the boundaries between the respective governments’ holdings in North America in Favour of the United States. (19) President James Monroe took Jackson’s side, and offered him the Florida governorship. (16) In June (19) 1821, (19,20) Jackson hesitantly resigned his commission in the U.S. Army (19) to become the Military Governor of the Florida Territory. (16,19) Jackson served a short-lived (10,11a) and contentious term, (16) and resigned (11a,16) on December 1st, 1821. (16) In 1819 the purchase of Florida from Spain was effected, and in 1821 Jackson was appointed governor of that territory

National Politics 1822-9

Jackson’s military triumphs (15) and consequent popularity led (14,15) some of his friends, notably William Lewis (20) to suggest that he run for president, but he disavowed any interest, (14,15) saying ‘Do they suppose, that I am such a damn fool as to think myself fit for president of the United States? No, sir, I know what I am fit for. I can command a body of men in a rough way, but I am not fit to be president.’ (20) Upon his return to Tennessee from Florida in 1821, (16) political leaders in Washington assumed that the flurry of support for him would prove transitory. (15) The campaign to make him president, however, was kept alive by his continued popularity and (15) was carefully nurtured by a small group of (14,15) powerful (16) friends (14,15) in Nashville, who combined devotion to the general with a high degree of political astuteness. (15) He remained America’s most influential – and polarizing – political figure during the 1820s and 1830s. (14)


To test Jackson’s political strength, he was nominated and (19) elected as a U.S. Senator from Tennessee in 1823. (11a,13) It was again his group of friends who persuaded the legislature to elect him, a gesture designed to demonstrate the extent of his popularity in his home state. (15) He served there from 1823–1825. (13) As Senator, Jackson cautiously steered clear of controversy and favoured working on military affairs. (19) Jackson used his time in Washington to make friends and political allies while also endeavouring to convince Washingtonians that he was not an uncivilized Westerner or a military tyrant. (19) He did so by demonstrating his refined manners and controlling his temper. (19) After their fight ten years previously, Jackson met up again with Thomas H Benton, who was now also a senator. (20) Their friendship was then renewed. (20) However, Jackson’s time in Washington only reinforced his belief that many politicians and government officers were corrupt. (19)

Presidential Candidate

On 20th July, (20) 1822 (15,16) [OR] By 1824 (14,15) these friends (14,16) manœuvred the Tennessee legislature into a formal (15) nomination of their hero as a candidate for president. (14,15) Jackson was able to garner support that would help him go far in the 1824 election. (15) He was the most popular man in the country and even received a ‘Favourite son’ endorsement from Tennessee delegates. (8a) [OR] People tended to either love or hate his populist style. (5) [OR]In 1824 (8a,9) he threw his hat in the ring and decided to run for the presidency; as the ‘Hero of New Orleans’. (8a) On 22nd February, 1824, he was nominated by a Federalist convention at Harrisburg, Pennsylvania, and on 4th March following by a Republican convention at the same place, the regular nominee of the congressional caucus was W.H. Crawford, of Georgia. (20) The other candidates were J. Q. Adams and Henry Clay. (20) In the 1824 presidential contest, Jackson did not publicly advocate for his own election, in keeping with the tradition of the day. (19) However, Jackson did make it clear he was determined to cleanse government of corruption and return it to its earlier values. (19)

Loses to Adams in 1824

The circumstances of his marriage to Rachel Donelson came to light later during Jackson’s 1828 presidential campaign. (8a,17) Half understood and maliciously warped, the story grew into scandal. (8a,20) Detractors had a field day using this ‘technicality’ to tarnish both their images. (8a) In 1824, Jackson ran for president against John Quincy Adams. (10,12) Some state political factions rallied around Jackson. (9) In a five-way (14) [OR] four-way (15) race, (14,15) in November, 1824, (20) Jackson won the most popular votes in that election, (5,10) but not a majority. (10,11a)

The ‘Corrupt Bargain’

For the first time in history no candidate received a majority of electoral votes. (14) Jackson received the highest number of electoral votes (99); John Quincy Adams (84), William H. Crawford (41), and Henry Clay (37). (15,20) As no candidate won an electoral majority, (10,13) the House of Representatives was charged with deciding between the three leading candidates, (14,15) in accordance with the twelfth amendment to the constitution. (20) These were Jackson, Adams and (14,15) Secretary of the Treasury (14) William H. Crawford. (14,15) Crawford was critically ill, (14,15) after a stroke (14) so the actual choice was between Jackson and John Quincy Adams. (14,15) Clay, as speaker of the House, (12,14) was in a strategic and perhaps decisive position to determine the outcome: (15) Jackson narrowly lost when Clay (12,14) (who had finished fourth) (14,15) threw his support behind Adams, (13,14) so that the House of Representatives elected Adams (10,12) on the first ballot (15) in a contingent election. (10) Henry Clay, (12,13) was then made Secretary of State by Adams (12,13) in an undercover deal. (13) Jackson’s supporters raged against what they called a corrupt (14,15) [OR] the corrupt (13) Bargain (12,13) between Clay and Adams. (14) [OR] whether it was corrupt is now debated. (10,12) The Democratic-Republican Party of Thomas Jefferson and James Madison had dominated national and state affairs from 1800 till the 1820s. (12) However, it split and faded away in the 1820s (12) The backlash from the ‘Corrupt Bargain’ split the Democratic-Republican Party in two. (13) Disheartened by the antics in Washington, (19) Jackson resigned his Senate seat (14,19) and returned to Tennessee. (19)

The Democratic Party

Immediately, he and his supporters began laying the groundwork for his election in 1828. (19) The split forced a change in America’s political party system, and Jackson became the leader of a new ‘Democratic Party’. (9,14) ‘Old Hickory’ was an undoubtedly strong personality (14) and his friends persuaded him that the popular will had been thwarted by intrigues. (15) In around 1828 (12), [OR] in 1825 (13) Jackson and his supporters founded what became the Democratic Party (11,12) and he determined to vindicate himself and his supporters by becoming a candidate, (15) and National politics now polarized around him and his opposition, and two parties grew out of the old Republican Party–the Democratic Republicans, or Democrats, adhering to Jackson; and the National Republicans, or Whigs (9,14) (led by Clay and Daniel Webster) (14) opposing him. (9,14) The Democratic Party is the oldest political party in the world7 and remains one of the two major political parties in America. (12) The new party renominated Jackson to run for president (13,15) in 1828 (15) [OR] 1825, three years before the next election, with John C. Calhoun as his running mate, against incumbent John Quincy Adams of the new National Republican Party. (13) As ‘the spokesman’ of the common man, Jackson showed concern for issues such as farming and mechanic advancement, anti- banking, and egalitarian principles. (11) It was these issues that aided Jackson in remaining popular with the common man ideals, (11) although Henry Clay, Daniel Webster, and other Whig leaders proclaimed themselves defenders of popular liberties against the usurpation of Jackson. (9) Jackson’s opponents nicknamed him ‘jackass,’ a moniker that the candidate took a liking to — so much so that he decided to use the symbol of a donkey to represent himself. (17) Meanwhile there was enough support for ‘Old Hickory’ to win numerous state elections (9) and four years after his disputed defeat by Adams, he had the last laugh. (5,10)

Beats Adams in 1828

The 1828 campaign was one in which personalities and slander played a larger part than in any previous U.S. national election. (14,15) Jackson presented himself as the ideal ‘common man’, and proved that common origins no longer detracted from a candidate. (11) Nor did a candidate have to attend Harvard or William and Mary. (11) Jackson became the living embodiment of the changes and improvements going on throughout the United States. (11) Heretofore our presidents had been men of aristocratic type, with advantages of wealth, or education, or social training. (20) A stronger contrast to them than Jackson afforded cannot well be imagined. (20) A man with less training in statesmanship would have been hard to find. (20) In his defects he represented average humanity, while his excellences were such as the most illiterate citizen could appreciate. (20) In such a man the ploughboy and the blacksmith could feel that in some essential respects they had for president one of their own sort (20) so that he was a symbol of aspirations and expectations that Americans had of themselves. (11) Adams’s supporters, on the other hand, portrayed Jackson as morally unfit to hold the nation’s highest office. (19) They accused him of being a military tyrant who would use the presidency as a springboard for his own Napoleonic ambitions of empire. (19) For proof, they brought out every skeleton in Jackson’s closet: his duels and brawls, his execution of troops for desertion, his declaration of martial law in New Orleans, his friendship with Aaron Burr and his invasions of Spanish Florida in 1814 and 1818. (19) The most painful attack for Jackson, by far, was that on his and Rachel’s character over their marriage. (19) Despite their long marriage (15) Jackson and his wife were accused of adultery on the basis that Rachel had not been legally divorced from her first husband when she married Jackson. (14,15) Technically, Rachel was a bigamist and Jackson her partner in it. (19) When they discovered their mistake they remarried, but the damage had been done. (15) The ‘corrupt bargain’ between Adams and Henry Clay and the ambitious agenda of President Adams, (10) [OR] It is not likely that the ‘bargain’ had much to do with Jackson’s victory in 1828. (20) The population west of the Alleghenies was now beginning to count for much in politics. (20) He was the first U.S. president to come from the area west of the Appalachians (15) and the first to gain office by a direct appeal to the mass of voters. (12,15) Jackson was our first western president, and his election marks the rise of that section of our country. (15,20) Above all, he was the great military hero of the day, and as such he came to the presidency as naturally as Taylor and Grant in later days, as naturally as his contemporary Wellington became prime minister of England. (20) A man far more politic and complaisant than Adams could not have won the election of 1828 against such odds. (20) He defeated Adams (10,11a) in a landslide. (10,12) by 1828 (9,10) winning control of the Federal administration in Washington, (9) and foiling Adams’ quest for a second term. (5,8a) The democratic tendency was a growing one, (20) and his national identity and immense popularity (11) got him 54 percent of the popular vote (13) and a majority of electoral votes. (11a,13) (178 out of 261). (13,15) Calhoun was re-elected vice president. (20) The result was characterized as the triumph of the common man over the elites. (11,13) Voters believed that, ‘the people’ had finally assumed control of their government in Jackson’s administration. (11) Jackson’s hour of triumph was soon overshadowed by personal tragedy — his wife Rachel died (8a,13) died at the Hermitage (14,15) on December 22nd, (15) 1828, shortly after his election victory (14,15) and a few weeks before her husband’s inauguration (8a,11) Retiring and religious, she had avoided the public eye. (15) She had dreaded becoming the hostess of the President’s House, saying that she would ‘rather be a doorkeeper in the House of God than live in that palace.’ (15) The attack on her ‘bigamy’ had hurt her deeply. (15) Jackson blamed her early death on stress caused by detractors zeroing in on their supposed immorality of his marriage. (8a,13) She was buried two days later, on Christmas Eve. (17) Jackson had these words inscribed on her tombstone: ‘A being so gentle and yet so virtuous, slander might wound, but could not dishonour.’ (15) He came to the presidency with a feeling that he had at length succeeded in making good his claim to a violated right, and he showed this feeling in his refusal to call on his illustrious predecessor, who he declared had got the presidency by bargain and sale. (20) Thousands of people came to Washington D.C. for Jackson’s inauguration. (11) Jackson was the first president to invite the public to attend the inauguration ball at the White House, which quickly earned him popularity. (17) The crowd that arrived was so large that furniture and dishes were broken as people jostled one another to get a look at the president. (17) A crowd this size was an unprecedented event. (11) The event earned Jackson the nickname ‘King Mob.’ (17) Rachel Jackson’s niece, Emily Donelson, (14,15) the wife of Andrew Jackson Donelson, (15) served as the president’s hostess (14,15) in the White House (14) until 1836. (15)

First Term as President 1829-33

He became a legislator as (2,5) the seventh president of the United States (2,4) in 1829. (5,7) He was the first president who did not live in either Massachusetts or Virginia. (17) He was elected more for his personality than for the issues of the day. (3) He was fearless, honest, prompt to decide everything for personal reasons. (11a) He was (3) [OR] More nearly than any of his predecessors, he was (9) the first president to be elected based on popular sentiment. (3,9) Jackson was the nation’s first frontier president, (14,17) and his election marked a turning point in American politics, as the center of political power shifted from East to West. (14) He was also the first president to provide running water and indoor toilets the White House. (19) He sought to act as the direct representative of the common man (2,9) against a ‘corrupt aristocracy’ (10,16) and to preserve the Union. (10) He believed that the president is not just an executive but a representative of the people, much like a Congressman but for all the people rather than those of a specific district. (16) For this he was known as the first ‘citizen-president,’ the first non-elite man to hold the office. (2) In his first Annual Message to Congress, Jackson recommended eliminating the Electoral College. (9) He won the next elections comfortably (12) and so served two terms from 1829 until 1837. (5,7)

The Eaton Affair

He entered office determined to end the nation’s financial difficulties caused, he thought, by the upper-class elite in government, business, and finance. (16) Early in his first term, Jackson had to contend with the Eaton Affair. (16,19) Just months before Jackson took office his close friend and Secretary of War, John Eaton, married Margaret ‘Peggy’ Timberlake of whom Washington socialites disapproved due to her questionable upbringing and Rumours concerning her past. (19) Washington elite and Jackson’s own cabinet members socially ostracized Secretary of War John Eaton and his wife over perceived social differences. (16,19) Eaton had defended Rachel Jackson during the presidential campaign, and Jackson felt honour-bound to reciprocate. (16,19) Jackson demanded Mrs. Eaton be accepted into Washington’s social circles. (19)

Federalism and States’ Rights

Lauded as ‘the age of the common man’ the Jacksonian Era actually changed the goal of the founding fathers to (11) put power into the presidency (8a,11) rather than into congress, (11) and to promote a strong Union. (8a) [OR] He was a supporter of states’ rights. (14) He is sometimes considered the first modern president, expanding the role from mere executive to active representative of the people. (4) He was an active executive who vetoed more bills than all previous presidents. (13) He believed in rewarding loyalty and appealing to the masses. (13) In one instance, he vetoed a road bill approved by Congress. (19) On top of being too costly, the bill only benefitted one area of the country and failed to improve the nation’s defences. (19) Prior to Jackson, presidents had only vetoed legislation they believed to be unconstitutional. (19) Jackson established a new principle of vetoing legislation as a matter of policy. (19)

The Kitchen Cabinet

Many of his cabinet members, thinking he would only be a one-term president, were trying to position themselves as candidates in the next election. (16,19) To solve both problems, in 1831 Jackson dismissed his entire cabinet except for the postmaster general, (16,19) Amos Kendall (15) The controversy caused him to rely heavily on a group of trusted advisors (13,16) who held no important offices (20) instead of his real cabinet. (13,16) His opponents called this group Jackson’s ‘Kitchen Cabinet’ because of the unofficial access they had. (13,16)

King Andrew I

For their part, the Whigs claimed to be defending popular liberties against him. (14) Hostile cartoonists portrayed him as King Andrew I. (9,13) Behind their accusations lay the fact that Jackson, unlike previous Presidents, (3,9) did not defer to Congress in policy-making but used his power of the veto and his party leadership to assume command. (9,14) He made it clear that he was the absolute ruler of his administration’s policy. (14) This brought him into open opposition with Southern legislators. (8a)

Patronage and Corruption

Already state machines were being built on patronage (9,10) and his presidency marked the beginning of the ascendancy of the party ‘spoils system’ in American politics. (10) Jackson tried to democratize Federal officeholding. (9) He swept out great numbers of minor officials to fill their places with his partisans. (11a) The earlier presidents had proceeded upon the theory that public office is a public trust, and not a reward for partisan services. (20) They conducted the business of government upon business principles, and as long as a postmaster showed himself efficient in distributing the mail they did not turn him out of office because of his vote. (20) Between 30th April, 1789, and 4th March, 1829, the total number of removals from office was seventy-four, and out of this number five were defaulters. (20) Between 4th March, 1829, and 22nd March, 1830, the number of changes made in the civil service was about 2,000. (20) This was the inauguration upon a national scale of the so-called ‘spoils system, (20) on the principle as was said of him (11a) by a New York Senator: (9) ‘To the Victor belong the spoils’. (9,11a) Jackson took a milder view. (9) Decrying officeholders who seemed to enjoy life tenure, he believed Government duties could be ‘so plain and simple’ that offices should rotate among deserving applicants. (9) He took several measures to rid the government from corruption of previous administrations. (12) Presidential investigations were conducted in all executive Cabinet offices and departments. (12) Jackson asked Congress to reform embezzlement laws; reduce fraudulent applications for federal pensions; and pass laws to prevent evasion of custom duties and improve government accounting. (12) His first Postmaster General had to resign when it was found that he engaged in corrupt practices. (12) Jackson replaced him with Amos Kendall, who went on to implement much needed reforms in the Postal Service, (12) but was a grubby machine politician in the ‘Kitchen Cabinet’. (20) In his wholesale removals Jackson doubtless supposed he was doing the country a service by ‘turning the rascals out’, (20) but the immediate consequence of this demoralizing policy was a struggle for control of the patronage between Calhoun and Van Buren, who were rival aspirants for the succession to the presidency. (20)

The Second Bank of the USA

The greatest party battle between the two emerging political parties (9,13) centered around the Second (9) Bank of the United States, (9,11) a private corporation but virtually a Government-sponsored monopoly. (9) Most farmers had no use for credit and preferred coins or paper. (11) Jackson’s early life reflected that of a common man, but every action in his adult life was the action of an uncommon man who did not understand the actual rules of economics. (11) There was something of the demagogue’s appeal to the prejudice that ignorant people are apt to cherish against capitalists and corporations, though Jackson cannot be accused of demagogy in this regard, because he shared the prejudice. (20) He opposed the Whig Party and Congress on this polarizing issue, though his face is on the twenty-dollar bill. (14) The Bank’s Charter was due to expire in 1832. (14) He set out on a crusade against the Bank, (10,11) charging it with undue economic privilege. (9,14) He believed that it was corrupt institution (10) and only benefited the wealthy. (11,13) A bank was of no use for a democracy; if the common man could not benefit from it. (11,14) Furthermore, he saw the Bank as a threat to national security since its stockholders were mainly foreign investors with allegiances to other governments. (19) He believed that centralised money power was working against him, (11a) and therefore, in July (14) 1832, (13,14) vetoed the re-charter of the second bank, (10,11) saying that the bank constituted the ‘prostration of our Government to the advancement of the few at the expense of the many.’ (14) When Jackson appeared hostile toward it, the Bank threw its power against him. (9) In Congress, Henry (10) Clay (10,11) and Webster, (11,14) who had acted as attorneys for the Bank, (11) led the effort to renew the bank’s charter. (10,11) ‘The bank,’ Jackson told Martin Van Buren, ‘is trying to kill me, but I will kill it!’. (9,19) After a lengthy struggle, Jackson and his allies thoroughly dismantled the Bank. (10) This action led to federal money being put into state banks, which then loaned it out freely, leading to inflation. (13)

The Specie Circular, 1836

Jackson stopped the easy credit by requiring all land purchases to be made in gold or silver (13) ‘Old Hickory’ believed that paper money did not benefit the common man and that it allowed speculators to buy huge swathes of land and drive prices artificially high. (17) Having taken a financial loss from devalued paper notes himself, Jackson issued the Specie Circular in July 1836, (17) which required payment in gold or silver for public lands. (13,17) Banks, however, could not meet the demand. (17) In 1837, during van Buren’s Presidency (13,17) banks began to fail, and the ensuing Panic of 1837 devastated the economy during the course of Van Buren’s one-term presidency. (17)

Tariffs and Nullification

Questions of tariff and ‘nullification’ were prominent during his presidency. (11a,13) Though in principle Jackson supported states’ rights, (14) a sectional issue began to arise, with many southern states, upset over tariffs, wishing to preserve states’ rights to overrule the federal government. (13) During the presidency of John Quincy Adams, the Tariff of 1828 was passed, (12) which southerners called the ‘Tariff of Abominations’ (10) because they believed it benefited northern industrialists at the expense of southern farmers. (12,17) Jackson signed into law the Tariff of 1832. (12,13) It was a moderate tariff (13) but it couldn’t appease all southern states, prominently South Carolina. (12) South Carolina felt it had the right through ‘nullification’ (the belief that a state could rule something unconstitutional) to ignore it. (12,13) The issue escalated to a major crisis with threat of secession from South Carolina and its (12) passage of the Ordinance of Nullification, which declared the Tariff of 1828 and 1832 null and void within the state borders. (12,14) Jackson stood strong against South Carolina, (9,13) meeting head-on the challenge of (9,14) the formidable (14) John C. Calhoun, leader of the South Carolina legislature, trying to get rid of the high protective tariff. (9,14) This was remarkable, because Calhoun had been Jackson’s Vice President in his first term! (17,19) While urging Congress to lower the high tariffs, Jackson sought and obtained the authority to order federal armed forces to South Carolina to enforce federal laws. (14) threatening the use of military force if South Carolina attempted to secede. (9,10) He ordered armed forces to Charleston and privately threatened to hang Calhoun. (9) Calhoun protested and became the first vice president in American history to resign his office on December 28, 1832. (17) Jackson signed both the Force Bill, which authorized the use of military force to enforce the tariff; and the Compromise Tariff of 1833, which would gradually reduce the rates following southerners’ objections. (12) Violence seemed imminent, (9,14) but Clay negotiated (9) an amended (10,12) Compromise (12,13) Tariff (10,12) with no need for the Force Bill. (12) South Carolina (9,12) Convention met and (12) rescinded its nullification ordinance (9,12) on March 15, 1833. (12) In 1833, This helped mollify the sectional differences for a time, (13) and Jackson earned credit for preserving the Union in its greatest moment of crisis to that date. (14)

Justice Taney

Jackson also nominated his supporter Roger Taney to the U.S. Supreme Court. (17) The Senate rejected the initial nomination in 1835, but when Chief Justice John Marshall died, Jackson re-nominated Taney, who was subsequently approved the following year. (17) Justice Taney went on to be best known for the infamous Dred Scott decision, which declared African Americans were not citizens of the United States and as such lacked legal standing to file a suit. (17) He also stated that the federal government could not forbid slavery in U.S. territories. (17) In his career as Supreme Court Justice, Taney would go on to swear in Abraham Lincoln as president. (17)

Indian Removal

One particularly troubling aspect of Jackson’s Presidency was his dealings with Native Americans. (8,17) It was his most controversial and criticized action. (1,4) He was a leading advocate of the relocation of Native Americans, (1,4) the policy known as ‘Indian Removal.’ (7,8) It has been said that he ‘violated nearly every standard of justice’ when he waged war on the Creek and Cherokee tribes, (6) and that his cruelty to the Indians is the thing ‘best remembered’ about him. (8)

Jackson’s view of the Indians

As a boy in the 1770s, (18) and when he was a young lawyer in Nashville, besides the lawlessness of the white pioneer population, there was the enmity of the Indians to be reckoned with. (20) In the immediate neighbourhood of Nashville the Indians murdered, on the average, one person every ten days. (20) [OR] Jackson had listened to stories of Indian violence toward settlers, and with no apparent understanding of their motives, he developed prejudices that he—like many Americans of his day—held throughout his life. (18) A publication called Alternet says that he ‘never met an Indian he liked or felt obliged to respect’; (6) he saw them as savages (8,18) and referred to them as ‘my red children’8. (8) He called people of mixed heritage ‘half-breeds,’ and he was unshakable in (18) his conviction that Indians should be removed from the South. (16,18) Jackson argued that the United States policy of attempting to assimilate the tribes into white society had failed and the Native Americans’ way of life would eventually be destroyed. (19) Furthermore, he recognized that whites desired their lands and feared if the Native Americans remained in those areas they would eventually be exterminated. (19) He believed the backbone of the American economy was small family farms—to maintain strong growth as the population increased, new farmland needed to be opened up. (16)

The case of Georgia

In the 1820s (16) gold had been discovered (16,18) on tribal land (18) near Dahlonega, Georgia, (16) drawing a new wave of settlers, (18) the ‘Georgia Gold Rush’ at the end of the 1820s. (16) By 1826 the state had passed a law requiring any whites living among the Indians—such as missionaries—to sign an oath of allegiance to the state or get out. (18) President Jackson was not about to stop the gold diggers. (18) In contrast to his strong stand against South Carolina, he took no action against (14) [OR] supported (13) Georgia (14,17) when around the time of Jackson’s inauguration, it passed laws that annexed Cherokee land and extended state laws to that territory, (18) thus violating a federal treaty. (15,17) Georgia seized (14,17) nine (17) million acres of land that had been guaranteed to the Cherokee Indians under federal law (14,17) with a view to clearing the Indians (8,8a) [OR] Native Americans (8) from their land to reservations in the west. (13) On March 3rd 1832 (18) the U.S. Supreme Court ruled (13,17) in Worcester v. Georgia (1832) (13) [OR] in two cases (17) that Georgia had no authority over the tribal lands. (14,17) ) so the Indians could not be forced to move. (13,14) They also ruled that the federal government, by treaty, had the authority to protect Indian tribes from state intrusions. (18) Jackson ignored this Supreme Court ruling (13,14)

The Indian Removal Act of 1830

In May (12) 1830. (7,10) he signed the Indian Removal Act (6,7) into law. (7,10) It gave him the power to make treaties with tribes that resulted in their displacement to (12,17) [OR] gave them (8a) federal territory (12) west of the Mississippi River in exchange for (8a,12) their ancestral homelands (12,17) east of the river (8a,12) in Southeastern United States. (12) Over 70 treaties were signed by Native Americans during Jackson’s Presidency, trading their land in the west. (8) Many such treaties were signed by minority groups within larger Native American bands and tribes that objected to the agreements; the government enforced them anyway, turning those who resisted removal into trespassers on land they had owned for centuries. (8) Jackson insisted it was for the best, opening fertile land in the South to settlement. (8,16) Though he had railed against government corruption in the past, Jackson largely ignored the shady treaties forced upon the various tribes and the corrupt actions of government officials. (19) Such displacements were supposed to be voluntary, (12) Jackson had said in his inaugural address, Indian emigration ‘should be voluntary, for it would be as cruel as unjust to compel the aborigines to abandon the graves of their fathers and seek a home in a distant land,’ (18) but he used the Indian Removal Act to force them to move. (13) Indians, he thought, could not live as independent peoples within the United States: ‘surrounded by the whites with their arts of civilization’ they would be doomed ‘to weakness and decay.’ (18) Most of the native Americans (6,8) had their land taken (4,6) by the U.S. military. (6,8)

The Trail of Tears 1838-9

At the battle of Horseshoe Bend a Cherokee named Junaluska had saved Jackson from an attacker, prompting Jackson to declare, ‘As long as the sun shines and the grass grows, there shall be friendship between us.’ (18) But in the peace treaty he negotiated with the Creeks, Jackson confiscated land which belonged to the Cherokees. (18) Under the Indian Removal Act things got worse. (14) In 1835, the Cherokees signed a treaty giving up their land in exchange for (14) confined reservations (6,8) on land west of Arkansas, (14) Jackson ordered troops (6,13) to kill thousands of them, including women and children. (6) The Removal Act led (6,8) after Jackson’s presidency (17) from 1838–1839 (13) to the forced expulsion (6,8) of tens of thousands (6,12) [OR] some 15,000 (14,17) 46,000 (6) [OR] nearly 50,000 (8) members of the Native American tribes (6,8) from their traditional homelands (12) in the South to Indian Territory (10) [OR] to reservations in the western territories. (6) In May 1838, U.S. troops herded more than 16,000 Cherokees into holding camps to await removal to present-day Oklahoma. (18) Indians who tried to flee were shot, while those who waited in the camps suffered from malnutrition, dysentery and even sexual assault by the troops guarding them. (18) The policy disrupted and destroyed Native American lives (8) and involved widespread hardships (7,10) as the people headed on foot along the so-called Trail of Tears. (14) Within a month, the first Cherokees were moved out in detachments of around a thousand, with the first groups leaving in the summer heat and a severe drought. (18) So many died that the Army delayed further removal until the fall, which meant the Cherokees would be on the trail in winter. (18) 4,000 (18) [OR] over 4000 (7) [OR] ‘tens of thousands’ (8) [OR] thousands. (6,7) [OR] more than ten thousand (12) Cherokee Indians (7,10) would perish during the relocation, (18) from disease, (10,12) exposure, starvation, (12,17) on (7,13) the ‘Trail of Tears’ (7,8) in what is now Oklahoma. (8) [OR] The whole Removal Process is known as the Trail of Tears. (12) [OR] The removal of Cherokees from Georgia is called the Trail of Tears. (13,17) Languages died out as Native Americans were forced to assimilate; and Native Americans who were forcefully displaced still struggle with poverty and intergenerational trauma. (8) ‘Long before ethnic cleansing became a term to describe the terrible war crime, Jackson perfected the practice’. (6) The Native Americans were merely collateral damage in a grand push to achieve progress for (8) the white aristocracy (6) [OR] White Americans, (8) who gained control of (6,8) 25 million (8) acres of Native American land. (6,8) Today, many of the country’s 300,000 Cherokees still live in Oklahoma. (18)

Van Buren 1832

In January of 1832, while the President was dining with friends at the White House, someone whispered to him that the Senate had rejected the nomination of Martin Van Buren as Minister to England. (9) Jackson jumped to his feet and exclaimed, ‘By the Eternal! I’ll smash them!’ (9) So he did. (9) His Favourite, Van Buren, became Vice President. (9)

Second Term 1833-1837

Election of 1832

The 1832 presidential election was the first to use National Party Conventions. (13) Jackson ran again as the incumbent with Martin Van Buren as his running mate. (13) Largely on the issue of the National Bank, (11a,13) (and so despite his controversial veto) (14) but also on Jackson’s use of the spoils system, and his general use of the veto, (13) he was re-elected president by an overwhelming majority, (11a) defeating Henry Clay (8a,9) and vice presidential nominee John Sergeant (13) to claim a second term. (8a,9) He polled 55% (13) [OR] more than 56% (9,14) of the popular vote and almost five times as many electoral votes as Clay. (9,13) (219 out of 286 electoral votes. (13)) During his administration Arkansas and Michigan were admitted to the Union. (8a)

Policy on Slavery

The anti-slavery movement grew stronger in his second term. (10) Native Americans weren’t the only people Jackson felt should be subservient to wealthy white men. (8) As a slave-owner himself (14) adopted a pro-slavery stance (1,8) which earlier biographers, ‘surprisingly and disappointingly’ downplayed, according to historian Mark R. Cheatham. (8) He opposed policies that would have outlawed slavery in western territories as the United States expanded. (8,14) And when abolitionists attempted to send anti-slavery tracts to the South during Jackson’s presidency (1829-1837), he helped ban their delivery and called them monsters that should ‘atone for this wicked attempt with their lives’. (8,14)9

The National Debt Paid off

In 1835, Jackson became the only president to completely pay off the national debt, (10,11a) fulfilling a longtime goal. (10) The surplus revenue accumulated was distributed to the several states. (11a) Jackson opposed distribution because he felt it was unconstitutional. (19) He preferred that the surplus be reserved for national defence. (19) Knowing Jackson would oppose their distribution plan, Congress tied it to the banking reforms Jackson long desired. (19) In June 1836, Congress approved the legislation and sent it to Jackson. (19) Jackson was tempted to veto it because he despised distribution and he felt the regulations on the state banks that held U.S. deposits did not go far enough, but the bill offered a final victory in the Bank War, currency reform and assisted Van Buren in his presidential campaign. (19)

Foreign Policy

He approached foreign affairs with a simple principle, ‘to ask nothing that is not clearly right, and to submit to nothing that is wrong.’ (19) He concluded a ‘most Favoured nation’ treaty with Great Britain (10) which opened the West Indies colonies to American merchant ships. (12) There were also several treaties which settled claims. (12) He collected huge sums of money owed the United States by foreign governments (19) His only true foreign affairs crisis came when France hesitated to pay indemnities (19) such as damages from the Napoleonic Wars, (10) which it had agreed to in 1831. (19) As the French continued to delay payment, Jackson’s temper surfaced and he began hinting that war with France might be necessary to preserve American Honour. (19) With two of its largest trading partners on the brink of war, Great Britain stepped in and helped settle the dispute to preserve the peace. (19) At last, France paid the indemnity and Jackson offered explanations for his threats, but no apologies. (19) He opened trade with several European, Asian and South American nations. (12) There was a 70% increase in American exports and 250% increase in American imports during Jackson’s presidency. (12) Although Jackson promised not to increase the size of the U.S. through force, he did try repeatedly but futilely to buy Texas from Mexico. (19) However, Texans declared and won their own independence from Mexico in 1836. (19) Though he badly wanted Texas to join the Union, he stuck to his foreign policy principles and refused to interfere in Mexico’s internal affairs. (19) He cautioned Congress to wait until the situation stabilized before recognizing Texas’ independence. (19) Just days before he left office, Congress recognized Texas (19) and Jackson approved its action. (10,19) Though Jackson opposed any federal exploration scientific expeditions during his first term in office, during his second term he signed a law creating and funding the oceanic United States Exploring Expedition. (12) Authorized in May 1836, it was conducted between 1838 and 1842 during the presidency of Jackson’s successor Martin Van Buren. (12) U.S. Exploring Expedition was of major importance to the growth of science in the United States, in particular the field of oceanography. (12)

Assassination Attempt, 1835

Jackson was the first (7) [OR] the first sitting (10) US president to have an assasination10 attempt against him. (7,10) As he was leaving a memorial service for a congressman inside the U.S. Capitol (17) on January (7,10) 30th, (7,17) 1835, (7,10) a mentally deranged (7,13) house painter (17) named Richard Lawrence fired upon Jackson with two (7,13) single-shot gold (17) derringer (13) pistols, which both misfired. (7,13) [OR] The angry Jackson survived the assassination attempt (8a,14) by fending off his attacker, (8a) beating him with his cane (8a,14) until (7,17) Jackson’s aides intervened and stopped the beating. (7) [OR] bystanders subdued the attempted assassin. (17) The English-born Lawrence believed he was an heir to the British throne and owed a massive amount of money by the U.S. government: (17) he was found not guilty of the attempt by reason of insanity (13,17) and confined to institutions for the rest of his life. (17)

Post Presidency

At the end of his term Jackson was succeeded by Martin van Buren, (10,11a) his chosen successor, (14) who had been Jackson’s vice president in his second term. (16) He defeated Whig candidate William Henry Harrison in the 1836 election. (14) Old Hickory left the White House even more popular than when he had entered it. (14) He left Washington for home on March 7th, 1837. (19) Well-wishers and supporters lined his route home, cheering the way for the man who had sacrificed much to give them a voice in Washington. (19) In March 1837 following the inauguration of Martin Van Buren, (16) he retired to (8a,13) his home (7,8a) near (8a,13) [OR] in (7) Nashville, Tennessee, (7,8a) which he and Rachel had (8a) named The Hermitage. (7,8a) The Hermitage plantation was now worked by about 150 slaves and run with the help of his adopted son, Andrew Jackson, Jr. (16) Although he was no longer the president, others still sought his counsel and support (19) and he remained active in Democratic Party politics, (10,13) supporting the presidencies of Van Buren (10) and his protégé (16) James K. Polk. (10,16) Though fearful of its effects on the slavery debate, (10) Jackson advocated the annexation of Texas, which was accomplished (10,16) in 1845, (16) shortly before his death. (10) While he frequently predicted his own death, he continued to fight and hang on to life for the better part of a decade. (19)


Jackson’s health deteriorated (8a,16) rapidly in 1844–1845, (16) acerbated by a bullet lodged near his heart received in one of his duels and never removed. (8a) He battled constant pains, infections, illnesses, (16,19) and vision and hearing problems. (19) Visiting Rachel’s grave each evening was one of Jackson’s daily rituals in his declining years. (8a) He died on June 8th (2,5) 1845, (2,3) at his home, (7,8a) at the age of 77 (8a) [OR] 78 (16,17) of congestive heart value11. (14) [OR] of lead poisoning caused by the two bullets that had remained in his chest for several years. (17) Thousands attended his funeral. (8a) Jackson’s pet parrot, Poll, attended the funeral, but had to be removed after he started cursing at the mourners. (19) He was buried (8a,17) in the plantation’s garden next to his beloved (17) Rachel (8a,17) in a tomb he had designed and constructed. (8a) The plantation was willed to Andrew Jackson Jr., but his debts forced the sale of the property to the State of Tennessee. (8a) The Hermitage today is open to the public, restored and is an historic site. (8a)


He was an influential leader and his presidency is marked by the advent of what is known as the Jacksonian Era or Age of Jackson. (12) The period of Jackson’s presidency was one of the most remarkable in the history of the world, and nowhere more remarkable than in the United States. (20) It was signalized by the introduction and rapid development of railroads, of ocean navigation through Ericsson’s invention of the screw-propeller, of agricultural machines, anthracite coal, and friction matches, of the modern type of daily newspaper, of the beginnings of such cities as Chicago, of the steady immigration from Europe, of the rise of the Abolitionists and other reformers, and of the blooming of American literature when to the names of Bryant, Cooper, and Irving were added those of Longfellow, Whittier, Prescott, Holmes and Hawthorne. (20) The rapid expansion of the country and the extensive chances in ideas and modes of living brought to the surface much crudeness of thought and action. (20) As the typical popular hero of such a period, Andrew Jackson must always remain one of the most picturesque and interesting figures in American history. (20) On the credit side he is regarded as one of the United States’ greatest presidents, (10,13) a great defender of democracy, who kept America united over a difficult period of time (1) [OR] He was ‘one of the most evil’ (6) [OR] ‘controversial’ (7) American presidents’ (6) divisive, and garnering both fervent support and strong opposition from many in the country. (10) Jackson has been widely revered in the United States as an advocate for democracy and the common man. (10,12) It is important to reflect upon that Jackson’s actions forever changed the presidency. (11) He marketed himself as a ‘common man’ (11) and was the first ‘citizen-president’ representing the common man who believed strongly in preserving the union and in keeping too much power out of the hands of the wealthy. (13) On the other hand he was also the first president to truly embrace the powers of the presidency, (13) making the office the most powerful in the three branches of government. (11) Whatever the reader chooses to believe about Jackson being a common or not-so-common man, there is an acknowledged truth that Jackson’s election signalled a change in America. (11) A man outside the confines of the upper echelons of society became president, however he did earn the position based on merit, (11) and so he is credited for spreading political power from the established elites to the ordinary voters. (12) Jackson’s success seemed to have vindicated the still-new democratic experiment, and his supporters had built a well-organized Democratic Party that would become a formidable force in American politics. (14) Perhaps then doesn’t that make Jackson a common man? (11) This is a lesson that I wished more voters reflected upon. (11) Initially in U.S. the right to vote was limited to white male property owners or taxpayers in many states. (12) The Jacksonian Era influenced the notion of the equality of opportunities for all (11,12) white men. (11,12) Jacksonian democracy led to attitudes and state laws changing in favour of granting the right to vote to all white males. (12) Universal white male suffrage was adopted in most states by the 1850s with nearly all requirements to own property and pay taxes being dropped. (12) This important as it led to better representation of poor citizens in the United States. (12) It was the most prominent political movement in U.S. till slavery became the dominant issue around 1850. (12) His ignorance of the principles of statesmanship, the crudeness of his methods, and the evils that have followed from some of his measures, are obvious enough and have often been remarked upon. (20) His policy on Slavery and the Indians has been strongly criticised (1,4) since the 1970s. (10) His unwillingness to consider any opinions but his own has also tarnished his reputation. (4) Jackson was among the Favoured predecessors of the 45th U.S. president, Donald Trump, who hung a portrait of Old Hickory in the White House. (17) Ironically, that portrait earned a prominent position behind Trump during a November 2017 event to Honour the Navajo Code Talkers — Native Americans who assisted the U.S. Marines during World War II by transmitting encrypted messages through their native language. (17)




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Appendix I: the name ‘Old Hickory’

  • Source 1: He was known as Old Hickory for his strength of character

  • Source 7: He was known as Old Hickory for his rough and tough behaviour.

  • Source 11: He was known as Old Hickory during the War of 1812 due to his strict command of his troops and abilities shown on the battlefield. Source 17 agrees that they said that Jackson was ‘as tough as old hickory wood’ on the battlefield, earning Jackson the nickname ‘Old Hickory.’

  • Source 16: On the way back from Natchez in 1812 he earned the respect of his men and the nickname ‘Old Hickory’ for sharing their hardships, marching with his men while allowing the wounded to ride.

1 Google Maps shows Stono, but not Stone Ferry

2 The text has ‘accomplishes’

3 The text has ‘pail’

4 The ‘stupid order’ given in Washington in February reached Jackson in March.

5 Sic. (‘England’ has not put out an army since 1282)

6 Mr. Rhea was a representative from Tennessee, a confidential friend of both Jackson and Monroe. The president was ill when Jackson’s letter reached him, and does not seem to have given it due consideration. On referring to it a year later he could not remember that he had ever seen it, before. Rhea, however, seems to have written a letter to Jackson, telling him that the president approved of his suggestion. As to this point the united testimony of Jackson, Rhea, and Judge Overton seems conclusive. Afterward Mr. Monroe, through Rhea, seems to have requested Jackson to burn this letter, and an entry on the general’s letter-book shows that it was accordingly burned, 12 April, 1819.

7 English Whigs and Tories? French Girondins and Jacobins? Byzantine Greens and Blues?

8 But he adopted two, see above

9 Books 8 & 14 use near identical wording on this

10 Sic ‘assassination’

11 My medical adviser does not recognise this, but thinks it describes a condition in which the heart cannot muster enough force to operated the circulation properly.


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