Andrew Jackson Biography

Andrew Jackson was the 7th President of the United States. Born: March 15, 1767. Jackson attended an old field school. Studied law in Salisbury, N.C. and admitted to the bar in 1787.. Elected in September 1797, to the United States Senate. Judge of the State supreme court of Tennessee 1798-1804. Elected as President of the United States in 1828, then re-elected in 1832. Died: June 8, 1845.

Andrew Jackson Biography:
Andrew Jackson (March 15, 1767 - June 8, 1845) was the 7th President of the United States (1829-1837). He was also military governor of Florida (1821), commander of the American forces at the Battle of New Orleans (1815), and the eponym of the era of Jacksonian democracy. He was a polarizing figure who dominated American politics in the 1820s and 1830s. His political ambition combined with the masses of people shaped the modern Democratic Party. Nicknamed "Old Hickory" because he was renowned for his toughness, Jackson was the first President primarily associated with the frontier, as he based his career in Tennessee.

Andrew Jackson was born to Presbyterian Scots-Irish immigrants Andrew and Elizabeth Jackson in Waxhaw , North Carolina, on March 15, 1767. He was the youngest of three brothers and was born just weeks after his father's death. Both North Carolina and South Carolina have claimed Jackson as a "native son," because the community straddled the state line, and there was conflicting lore in the neighborhood about his exact birth site. Controversies about Jackson's birthplace went far beyond the dispute between North and South Carolina. Because his origins were humble and obscure compared to those of his predecessors, wild rumors abounded about Jackson's past. Jackson himself always stated definitively that he was born in a cabin just inside South Carolina. He received a sporadic education in the local "old-field" school.

During the American Revolutionary War, Jackson, at age thirteen, joined a local regiment as a courier. Andrew and his brother Robert Jackson were captured by the British, and held as prisoners of war; they nearly starved to death in captivity. When Andrew refused to clean the boots of a British officer, the irate Redcoat slashed at him with a sword, giving him scars on his left hand and head, as well as an intense hatred for the British. Both boys contracted smallpox while imprisoned, and Robert died days after his mother secured their release. Jackson's entire immediate family died from war-related hardships that Jackson blamed upon the British, leaving him orphaned by age 14. Jackson was the last U.S. President to have been a veteran of the American Revolution, and the second President to have been a prisoner of war (Washington had been captured by the French in the French and Indian War). In 1781, Jackson worked for a time in a saddle-maker's shop. Later he taught school, and studied law in Salisbury, North Carolina. In 1787, he was admitted to the bar, and moved to Jonesboro, in what was then the Western District of North Carolina, and later became Tennessee. Though his legal education was scanty, Jackson knew enough to practice law on the frontier. Since he was not from a distinguished family, he had to make his career by his own merits; and soon he began to prosper in the rough-and-tumble world of frontier law. Most of the actions grew out of disputed land-claims, or from assaults and battery. In 1788, he was appointed Solicitor of the Western District, and held the same position in the territorial government of Tennessee after 1791. He also took a role in politics. In 1796, he was a delegate to the Tennessee constitutional convention. Upon statehood in 1796, Jackson was elected Tennessee's U.S. Representative. In 1797 he was elected U.S. Senator as a Democratic-Republican. But he resigned within a year. In 1798, he was appointed a judge of the Tennessee Supreme Court, serving until 1804. Besides his legal and political career, Jackson also prospered as a planter and merchant. In 1804, he acquired "The Hermitage", a 640-acre (2.6 km2) farm near Nashville. Jackson later added 360 acres (1.5 km2) to the farm. The primary crop was cotton, grown by slave workers. Jackson started with nine slaves, and had as many as 44 in 1820.

Jackson was appointed commander of the Tennessee militia in 1801, with the rank of colonel. During the War of 1812, Tecumseh incited the "Red Stick" Creek Indians of northern Alabama and Georgia to attack white settlements. 400 settlers were killed in the Fort Mims Massacre. In the resulting Creek War, Jackson commanded the American forces, which included Tennessee militia, U.S. regulars, and Cherokee, Choctaw, and Southern Creek Indians. Jackson defeated the Red Stick Creeks at the Battle of Horseshoe Bend in 1814. 800 "Red Sticks" were killed, but Jackson spared chief William Weatherford. Sam Houston and David Crockett served under Jackson at this time. After the victory, Jackson imposed the Treaty of Fort Jackson upon both the Northern Creek enemies and the Southern Creek allies, wresting 20 million acres (81,000 km˛) from all Creeks for settlement. Jackson was appointed Major General after this success. Jackson's service in the War of 1812 against Great Britain was conspicuous for bravery and success. When British forces menaced New Orleans, Jackson took command of the defenses, including militia from several western states and territories. He was a strict officer, but was popular with his troops. It was said he was "tough as old hickory" wood on the battlefield, which gave him his nickname. In the Battle of New Orleans on January 8, 1815, Jackson's 4,000 militiamen won a total victory over 10,000 British. The British had over 2,000 casualties to Jackson's 13 killed and 58 wounded or missing. The war, and especially this victory, made Jackson a national hero. He received the thanks of Congress and a gold medal by resolution of February 27, 1815.

Jackson served in the military again during the First Seminole War. He was ordered by President James Monroe in December 1817 to lead a campaign in Georgia against the Seminole and Creek Indians. Jackson was also charged with preventing Spanish Florida from becoming a refuge for runaway slaves. Critics later alleged that Jackson exceeded orders in his Florida actions. His directions were to "terminate the conflict." Jackson believed the best way to do this would be to seize Florida. Monroe gave Jackson orders that were purposely ambiguous, sufficient for international denials. The Seminoles attacked Jackson's Tennessee volunteers. The Seminoles' attack, however, left their villages vulnerable, and Jackson burned them and the crops. He found letters that indicated that the Spanish and British were secretly assisting the Indians. Jackson believed that the United States would not be secure as long as Spain and Great Britain encouraged Indians to fight and argued that his actions were undertaken in self-defense. Jackson captured Pensacola, Florida, with little more than some warning shots, and deposed the Spanish governor. He captured and then tried and executed two British subjects, Robert Ambrister and Alexander Arbuthnot, who had been supplying and advising the Indians. Jackson's action also struck fear into the Seminole tribes as word of his ruthlessness in battle spread. The executions, and Jackson's invasion of territory belonging to Spain, a country the U.S. was not at war with, created an international incident. Many in the Monroe administration called for Jackson to be censured. However, Jackson's actions were defended by Secretary of State John Quincy Adams, an early believer in Manifest Destiny. Adams used Jackson's conquest, and Spain's own weakness, to get Spain to cede Florida to the United States in the Adams-Onís Treaty. Jackson was subsequently named military governor, serving from March 10, 1821 to December 31, 1821.

The Tennessee legislature nominated Jackson for President in 1822. It also elected him U.S. Senator again. By 1824, the Democratic-Republican Party had become the only functioning party. Its Presidential candidates had been chosen by an informal Congressional nominating caucus, but this had become unpopular. In 1824, most of the Democratic-Republicans in Congress boycotted the caucus.

The result of the election was confused. Besides Jackson and Crawford, John Quincy Adams and House Speaker Henry Clay were also candidates. Jackson received the most popular votes (but not a majority, and four states had no popular ballot). The Electoral votes were split four ways, with Jackson again having a plurality. Since no candidate received a majority, the election was made by the House of Representatives, which chose Adams. Jackson denounced this result as a "corrupt bargain" because Clay gave his support to Adams, who later appointed Clay as Secretary of State. Jackson called for the abolition of the Electoral College in his first annual message to Congress as President. Jackson's defeat burnished his political credentials, however, since many voters believed the "man of the people" had been robbed by the "corrupt aristocrats of the East."

Jackson resigned from the Senate in October 1825, but continued his quest for the Presidency. The Tennessee legislature again nominated Jackson for President. Jackson attracted Vice President John C. Calhoun, Martin Van Buren, and Thomas Ritchie into his camp (the latter two previous supporters of Crawford). Van Buren, with help from his friends in Philadelphia and Richmond, revived the old Republican Party, gave it a new name, "restored party rivalries," and forged a national organization of durability. The Jackson coalition handily defeated Adams in 1828. During the election, Jackson's opponents referred to him as a "Jackass." Jackson liked the name and used the jackass as a symbol for a while, but it died out. However, it later became the symbol for the Democratic Party when cartoonist Thomas Nast popularized it.

The bank's money-lending functions were taken over by the legions of local and state banks that sprang up. This fed an expansion of credit and speculation. At first, as Jackson withdrew money from the Bank to invest it in other banks, land sales, canal construction, cotton production, and manufacturing boomed. However, due to the practice of banks issuing paper banknotes that were not backed by gold or silver reserves, there was soon rapid inflation and mounting state debts. Then, in 1836, Jackson issued the Specie Circular, which required buyers of government lands to pay in "specie" (gold or silver coins). The result was a great demand for specie, which many banks did not have enough of to exchange for their notes. These banks collapsed. This was a direct cause of the Panic of 1837, which threw the national economy into a deep depression. It took years for the economy to recover from the damage. The U.S. Senate censured Jackson on March 28, 1834, for his action in removing U.S. funds from the Bank of the United States. The censure was later expunged when the Jacksonians had a majority in the Senate.

Another notable crisis during Jackson's period of office was the "Nullification Crisis", or "secession crisis," of 1828 - 1832, which merged issues of sectional strife with disagreements over tariffs. Critics alleged that high tariffs (the "Tariff of Abominations") on imports of common manufactured goods made in Europe made those goods more expensive than ones from the northern U.S., raising the prices paid by planters in the South. Southern politicians argued that tariffs benefited northern industrialists at the expense of southern farmers. The issue came to a head when Vice President Calhoun, in the South Carolina Exposition and Protest of 1828, supported the claim of his home state, South Carolina, that it had the right to "nullify", declare void, the tariff legislation of 1828, and more generally the right of a state to nullify any Federal laws which went against its interests. Although Jackson sympathized with the South in the tariff debate, he was also a strong supporter of a strong union, with effective powers for the central government. Jackson attempted to face down Calhoun over the issue, which developed into a bitter rivalry between the two men. Particularly notable was an incident at the April 13, 1830 Jefferson Day dinner, involving after-dinner toasts. Jackson rose first and in a booming voice shouted "Our federal Union: IT MUST BE PRESERVED!" - a clear challenge to Calhoun. The next year, Calhoun and Jackson broke apart politically from one another. Martin Van Buren replaced Calhoun as Jackson's running mate in 1832. In December 1832, Calhoun resigned as Vice President to become a U.S. Senator for South Carolina.

Around this time, the Petticoat Affair caused further resignations from Jackson's cabinet, leading to its reorganization as the Kitchen Cabinet. Vice President Van Buren played a leading role in the new cabinet. In response to South Carolina's nullification claim, Jackson vowed to send troops to South Carolina to enforce the laws. South Carolina, the President declared, stood on "the brink of insurrection and treason," and he appealed to the people of the state to reassert their allegiance to that Union for which their ancestors had fought. Jackson also denied the right of secession. Jackson asked Congress to pass a "Force Bill" explicitly authorizing the use of military force to enforce the tariff. But it was held up until protectionists led by Clay agreed to a reduced Compromise Tariff. The Force Bill and Compromise Tariff passed on March 1, 1833. and Jackson signed both. The South Carolina Convention then met and rescinded its nullification ordinance. The Force Bill became moot because it was no longer needed.

Perhaps the most controversial aspect of Jackson's presidency was his policy regarding American Indians. Jackson was a leading advocate of a policy known as Indian removal. In his December 8, 1829 First Annual Message to Congress, Jackson stated: This 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. But they should be distinctly informed that if they remain within the limits of the States they must be subject to their laws. In return for their obedience as individuals they will without doubt be protected in the enjoyment of those possessions which they have improved by their industry. After his election he signed the Indian Removal Act into law in 1830. The Act authorized the President to negotiate treaties to purchase tribal lands in the east in exchange for lands further west, outside of existing U.S. state borders. While frequently frowned upon in the North, the Removal Act was popular in the South, where population growth and the discovery of gold on Cherokee land had increased pressure on tribal lands. The state of Georgia became involved in a contentious jurisdictional dispute with the Cherokees, culminating in the 1832 U.S. Supreme Court decision (Worcester v. Georgia) which ruled that Georgia could not impose its laws upon Cherokee tribal lands. In any case, Jackson used the Georgia crisis to pressure Cherokee leaders to sign a removal treaty. A small faction of Cherokees led by John Ridge negotiated the Treaty of New Echota with Jackson's representatives. Ridge was not a recognized leader of the Cherokee Nation, and this document was rejected by most Cherokees as illegitimate. Over 15,000 Cherokees signed a petition in protest; it was ignored by the Supreme Court. The treaty was enforced by Jackson's successor, Van Buren, who ordered 7,000 armed troops to remove the Cherokees. This resulted in the deaths of over 4,000 Cherokees. By the 1830s, under constant pressure from settlers, each of the five southern tribes had ceded most of its lands, but sizable self-government groups lived in Georgia, Alabama, Mississippi, and Florida. All of these (except the Seminoles) had moved far in the coexistence with whites, and they resisted suggestions that they should voluntarily remove themselves. Their non-violent methods earned them the title the Five Civilized Tribes. In all, more than 45,000 American Indians were relocated to the West during Jackson's administration. During this time, the administration purchased about 100 million acres (400,000 km˛) of Indian land for about $68 million and 32 million acres (130,000 km˛) of western land. Jackson was criticized at the time for his role in these events, and the criticism has grown over the years.

The first attempt to do bodily harm to a President was against Jackson. Jackson ordered the dismissal of Robert B. Randolph from the Navy for embezzlement. On May 6, 1833, Jackson sailed on USS Cygnet to Fredericksburg, Virginia, where he was to lay the cornerstone on a monument near the grave of Mary Ball Washington, George Washington's mother. During a stopover near Alexandria, Virginia, Randolph appeared and struck the President. He then fled the scene with several members of Jackson's party chasing him, including the well known writer Washington Irving. Jackson decided not to press charges. On January 30, 1835, a more serious attack occurred in the Capitol. Jackson was crossing the Capitol Rotunda after the funeral of South Carolina Representative Warren R. Davis when Richard Lawrence approached Jackson. Lawrence aimed two pistols at Jackson, which both misfired. Jackson then attacked Lawrence with his cane, prompting his aides to restrain him. Others present, including Davy Crockett, restrained and disarmed Lawrence, who was clearly deranged.


Jackson remained influential in both national and state politics after retiring to The Hermitage in 1837. Though a slave-holder, Jackson was a firm advocate of the federal union of the states, and declined to give any support to talk of secession. Jackson was a lean figure standing at 6 feet, 1 inch (1.85 m) tall, and weighing between 130 and 140 pounds (64 kg) on average. After retiring to to Nashville, he enjoyed eight years of retirement and died at The Hermitage on June 8, 1845 at the age of 78, of chronic tuberculosis, "dropsy" and heart failure. In his will, Jackson left his entire estate to his adopted son, Andrew Jackson Jr., except for specifically enumerated items that were left to various other friends and family members. Andrew Jackson was a member of the First Presbyterian Church in Nashville.

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