Andrew Jackson Essay, Research Paper
Andrew Jackson, the seventh president of the United States, was born in a backwoods settlement in South Carolina on March 15, 1767. He attended frontier schools and learned to read. He was often called on to read aloud the newspaper from Philadelphia to the community.
Jackson in the Revolutionary War
The Revolutionary War did not reach the Carolinas until 1780. Jackson, who was 13 years old, became an orderly and a messenger in the Mounted Militia of South Carolina. He and his brother Robert were captured and their eldest brother Hugh was killed. Jackson?s defiance and pride showed up at this time, when he refused to shine a British officer?s boot and was struck across the face with a saber.
The boys were thrown in a prison at Camden, South Carolina. An epidemic of smallpox broke out and shortly after their release, Robert and their mother both died.
After the war, Jackson, 14 with no immediate family, moved to Charleston and took up saddle making and school teaching. He studied law on his own when he was a late teenager and under the direction of Spruce Macay, a lawyer in North Carolina. In 1788, he moved to the newly established frontier village of Nashville and became an accomplished lawyer
Jackson grew up a proud man and was extremely defensive of his honor. He was repeatedly involved in duels and once killed a man who insulted his wife, Rachel.
Jackson married Rachel in 1791. She had been separated from her first husband, and they believed the divorce was final. Two years later, they found out that it wasn?t, and had just become final. They had another ceremony in 1794. This would later come up as a topic of controversy in political campaigning by opponents. Rachel endured these attempted scandals with silence, but her husband preferred silencing them with dueling pistols.
The Jackson?s had no children of their own, but raised five children, including Andrew Jackson, Jr., Rachel?s adopted nephew. Of the other children, three were also Rachel?s nephews, and the last was a Native American boy whose parents had been killed in Jackson?s Creek Campaign.
Early Political Career
In 1790, Jackson started his political career. He was appointed the prosecuting attorney of the newly organized Territory South of the Ohio River, which would become the state of Tennessee in 1796. After it became a state, Jackson was elected a delegate to the state?s constitutional convention.
In 1796, Jackson became the lone representative from Tennessee to the U.S. House of Representatives. After one year in the house, Jackson was elected to fill an unexpired term in the Senate.
Jackson the war hero
In 1802, Jackson temporarily retired from public office to return home. He was elected Major General of the Tennessee Militia that year. In 1813, During the War of 1812, Jackson was ordered to lead a platoon of 2500 troops to New Orleans, but was ordered to abort halfway. Stranded without food, equipment or supplies, Jackson was ordered to disband his army. But instead, he personally led them back to Tennessee. His men admired his stregnth and will, saying that he was as tough as an old Hickory tree. Thus began the nickname, Old Hickory.
Jackson led successful campaigns against the British allies and the British in the war. In 1813 he defeated the Upper Creek Indians in what is now Alabama, and in New Orleans in 1815, he defeated the British in the Battle of New Orleans. These military exploits made Jackson a national hero.
Jackson also led a campaign against the Sominole Indians of Florida who were raiding border towns in Georgia and fleeing back into Florida. Jackson chased the Indians through Florida, and seized a British military post at Saint Marks. He executed two British subjects who were inciting the Semenoles. This led to the United States? purchase of Florida from Spain.
Jackson, the politician
The military heroics of Jackson all led up to his presidential career. In 1822, he was nominated for president by the Tennessee Legislature. He ran in the 1824 election against John Quincy Adams, Henry Clay, and William Crawford. Although Jackson received the most electoral votes, he did not receive more than 50%, so the House of Representatives would have to vote for the president. John Quincy Adams won.
In 1828, Jackson would again run for the office. This time there was no question; Jackson received 178 votes, where Adams received 83. Jackson was the seventh President of the United States.
Jackson had many accomplishments in his first term. Among them was the custom of rotation in office, or the Spoils System. He would give jobs in the White House to friends and supporters. This system is still precedented today.
Another custom started by Jackson was the President?s Cabinet. Jackson?s group of unofficial advisors became known as Jackson?s Kitchen Cabinet.
A big issue in Jackson?s presidency was the Native Americans. Jackson supported the Indian Removal, and when the Supreme Court ruled against it, Jackson did nothing. The court could not enforce the decision. Within a few years, most of the Indians had been forced to move west in what is known as the Trail of Tears.
Another big issue was the Second Bank of the United States. Jackson opposed this bank because he said that it only allowed wealth for a few. Jackson was reelected for a second term during the discussion over the bank. Jackson withdrew federal money from the bank to deposit future revenues in state banks, or pet banks.
In 1836, Jackson issued his Specie Circular. It told government agents to accept only gold and silver for land sales. This was intended to stop speculation. Speculators had been buying up huge public tracts of land with paper money to sell to settlers at a huge profit. Jackson wanted to make it so the settlers could buy land directly from the government.
When Jackson?s second term ran out he did not run for a third term, following the precedent set by George Washington. He retired to his plantation, Hermitage, where he spent the remaining eight years of his life. Jackson died in 1845.