Andrew Jackson, born in 1767 was a child of poor
Scotch-Irish immigrants. He ended up with enough education
Jacksons father died before he was born. The
Revolutionary War started soon after he was born. It was
very bloody in the wild and poor country where they lived.
Jackson at the age of 13, joined a regiment. He was captured
by the British, was wounded and nearly killed by a sword to
the face for not polishing a British officers boots. He and
his brother, imprisoned together, caught smallpox.
Jacksons mother got the boys released, but his brother
died on the long trip home. His mother later went to tend
wounded American prisoners and was fatally stricken by
By his 30s Jackson had been elected a member of the
United States House of Representatives of Tennessee and was
senator, but resigned after one year.
During The War of 1812, Jackson had some difficulties
due to some enemies he made. In between overcoming various
Indian tribes they won the war. After most of the capitol
city of Washington was burned by the British, the Americans
Jackson became a United States Major General- this was
very different from a state militia Major General. He
continued to have military successes, though in his invasion
of Spanish Florida, he got the reputation of being a kind of
In 1821, Jackson, at the age of 54 was in a very
dangerous state of health. He, like many other southerners
had defended his Honor in 2 or 3 duels and 1 shoot-out. He
took two bullets. One lodged beside his heart and the other
At about this time, the Hero of New Orleans was
perhaps the most popular man in the country. He received a
Favorite Son endorsement for the presidency from his state
of Tennessee. Believing that Washington had become a Sink
or corruption, he felt called to work for the office. To
gain credibility, he ran for and won a seat in the Senate.
This time, in his maturity, he handled the job well, making
a favorable impression on the old government hands. Many of
which had expected a wild man dressed in buckskins. Jackson
immediately made peace with Thomas Hart Benton, who once
said Jackson would thrash in the streets of Nashville.
Thomas, with the company of his brother, left a bullet in
Jacksons arm in one of his duels. They became close allies.
Jackson was bitterly disappointed in 1824 by a 4-way
race in which he won a substantial plurality, but lost to
John Quincy Adams in the House of Representatives. In 1828,
Jackson won a landslide victory. The new Democratic party,
which he helped forge, brought a temporary end to all the
fighting and arguing of the parties in American politics.
This time was sometimes called the Era of Good Feelings
On December 22, 1928, a few weeks before Jacksons
inauguration, he was thrown into a deep sadness, caused by
the death of his wife. He believed that she had died because
of the abusive attacks by the press of the other side.
Jackson at times would use his power and authority as a
Hot-Headed man, going into simulated rages. And at other
times, he could appear as the most courteous Gentleman
Even though his wife had just passed away, he made it
to his inauguration. The morning was bright and clear. Yet
there was still snow on the ground which made it very muddy.
As Andrew looked out of his window, he saw all of the people
coming to Washington to shake his hand. Usually the
inauguration was a very peaceful and quiet event. Not this
time! All of the guests were his friends. In their muddy
boots, self-made coon-hats, and many other irregular
clothes, the northwestern fur traders, mountain men,
hunters, and old soldiers came marching to the White House.
They broke through the lines of guards and came crashing
through the front door. They ripped clothes, smashed fine
china and glasses, and climbed on $150 chairs ruining them.
In order to get all of these vandals out, the butlers
and organizers moved all of the punch bowls and food trays
During Jacksons presidency, he took care of many major
events. One was his refusal to submit to South Carolina.
They said they would make their own country, because they
did not want to pay the ridiculously high federal tariffs.
He rejected the principal they tried to establish that a
state could decide on its own whether federal laws applied
He eliminated the second Bank of the United States.
This was a very interesting move. On the one hand, the bank
had done much to provide a stable environment in which
business could operate. But on the other hand, they were a
private monopoly given a huge privileged place in the
economy, and they used their influence to try to affect
He carried on a strong and generally successful
diplomacy, getting amends from countries which had damaged
United States shipping during The War of 1812.
He did much to push the Indians to the west of the
Mississippi. This formed the Trail of Tears, called so
because thousands of Indians died due to disease or
His government eliminated the National Debt for the
first time. Jackson did a great deal of belt-tightening
and eliminated corrupt public officials. Mostly though the
federal government benefited by the massive migration to the
west, and consequently profited from the sale of public
Because of the strong opposition he created in Congress
and elsewhere, a cohesive new party of opposition (the
In 1832, campaign for Jacksons reelection was fought
in the midst of two crises. One was triggered by Jacksons
veto to renew the Banks charter. It did not have to be
renewed until 1836 but was brought for renewal in 1832 out
of political considerations by Jacksons opposition. The
other crises was South Carolinas pending rebellion.
Jacksons Vice President was a South Carolinian and he
resigned before his term was over so he could assume a seat
in the Senate. Jackson again won by a landslide, with the
help of his expert political manager, Martin Van Buren.
Van Buren won the presidency in 1836, but served only
one term. He was growing unpopular when in 1837, a
deposition struck. Many blamed this on Jacksons slaying of
On Sunday, June 8, 1845, the doctor came to the White
House to check on the very ill Andrew Jackson. All of his
servants were crowded around the chair he was sitting in.
Jackson said good bye to all of them, and kissed and blessed
all of his family. He then removed the small picture of his
wife, Rachel, that he wore around his neck and put it on
their daughter Little Rachel. He told her to wear it at all
times. Then as everybody wept, he told them not to cry, and
promised that they would all meet each other again in
A few hours later Jacksons good friend, Sam Houston,
rushed into the room to find a white faced dead Jackson. He
was sitting in his chair as stiff as a statue. He dropped to
his knees, and wept. When he stood up he grabbed a nearby
boy and told him My son, try to remember that you have
looked upon the face of Andrew Jackson. One of the greatest
Two days after Jackson died friends and family buried
him in the garden right next to his wife Rachel. The
That was all it said, but it was enough.
Overall, the Era of Jackson was a big step for
America. He made many of good decisions, and some bad
actions as president. I would still name him one of the
1) Coit, Margaret. Andrew Jackson . Boston: Riverside Press Cambridge,
2) Jackson, Andrew. Young Peoples Encyclopedia of the United States.
2nd edition. 1992-1993.
3) Jackson, Andrew. America Online. May 7, 1999. Online posting: