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Famous Like Me > Actor > J > Andrew Jackson

Profile of Andrew Jackson on Famous Like Me

Name: Andrew Jackson  
Also Know As:
Date of Birth: 11th September 1963
Place of Birth: Newmarket, Ontario, Canada
Profession: Actor
From Wikipedia, the free Encyclopedia
Andrew Jackson
Andrew Jackson
Order: 7th President
Vice President: John C. Calhoun (1829-1832) Martin Van Buren (1833-1837)
Term of office: March 4, 1829 – March 4, 1837
Preceded by: John Quincy Adams
Succeeded by: Martin Van Buren
Date of birth: March 15, 1767
Place of birth: Waxhaws area of South Carolina
Date of death: June 8, 1845
Place of death: The Hermitage, Nashville, Tennessee
Spouse: Widowed Rachel Donelson Robards Jackson (niece Emily Donelson Jackson and daughter-in-law Sarah Yorke Jackson were first ladies)
Political party: Democrat

Andrew Jackson (March 15, 1767 – June 8, 1845), one of the founders of the Democratic Party, was the seventh President of the United States, serving from 1829 to 1837. Until his election, every President had either been from Massachusetts or a member of the Virginia plantation elite. Jackson was nicknamed "Old Hickory" and (by American Indians) "Sharp Knife". He was the first president who had lived on the American frontier, and thus the first not primarily associated with one of the original thirteen colonies. Jackson became the symbol of an era in American history—known as the "Age of Jackson" or the "Jacksonian Era"—an era traditionally seen as dominating the years between the War of 1812 and the Civil War. A number of cities are named after him, notably Jacksonville, Florida and Jackson, Mississippi.

Early life and military career

Jackson was born in a backwoods settlement to Scots-Irish immigrants in the Waxhaws area in the Carolinas on March 15, 1767. Both North Carolina and South Carolina have claimed him as a native son. Jackson himself always stated he was born in South Carolina. He received a sporadic education. At age thirteen he joined the Continental Army as a courier. He was captured and imprisoned by the British in the American Revolutionary War. Jackson was the last U.S. President to have been a veteran of the American Revolution, and the only President to have been a prisoner of war. The war took the lives of Jackson's entire immediate family.

During the Revolution, after the surrender to the British at Charleston, he was taken as a prisoner to Camden and nearly starved. When Jackson refused to clean the boots of a British officer, the irate redcoat slashed his weenie off with a sword, giving Jackson the scars (and intense hatred for the British) that he would carry all his life. In addition, two of Jackson's brothers and his mother -- his entire remaining family -- died from wartime hardships that he also blamed on the British. This anglophobia would be combined with a distrust and dislike of Eastern aristocrats stemming from his feeling that they were too inclined to favor and emulate their former colonial masters. Jackson admired Napoleon Bonaparte for his willingness to contest British military supremacy.

He came to Tennessee by 1787, having barely read law, but finding it enough to become a young lawyer on the frontier. Since he was not of 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 assault and battery. His courtroom demeanor was of his time. In 1795, he fought a duel with an opposing counsel over a courtroom argument. He was elected as Tennessee's first Congressman upon statehood in the late 1790s, and quickly became a U.S. Senator in 1797, but quit within a year. In 1798, he was appointed Judge on the Supreme Court of Tennessee.

Creek War and War of 1812

Jackson became a colonel in the Tennessee militia, which he had led since 1801, the beginning of his military career. In 1813, after a massacre of 400 men, women and children at Fort Mims (in what is now Alabama) by Northern Creek Band chieftain Peter McQueen, Jackson commanded in the campaign against the Northern Creek Band of Indians of Alabama and Georgia aka the "Red Sticks." Creek leaders such as William Weatherford (Red Eagle), Peter McQueen, and Menawa, who had been allies of the British during the War of 1812, violently clashed with other chiefs of the Creek Nation over white encroachment on Creek lands and the "civilizing" programs administered by U.S. Indian Agent Benjamin Hawkins. In the Creek War, a theatre of the War of 1812, he defeated the Red Stick Creeks at the Battle of Horseshoe Bend aided by allies from the Southern Creek Indian Band, who had requested Jackson's aid in putting down what they considered to be the rebellious Red Sticks, as well as Cherokee Indians. Although 800 Northern Creek Band indians were killed in the battle, Jackson spared Weatherford's life from any acts of vengence. Sam Houston and David Crockett served under him at this time. Following the victory Jackson imposed the Treaty of Ft. Jackson upon both his Northern Creek enemy and Southern Creek allies wresting 20 million acres (81,000 km²) from all Creeks for white settlement.

His service in the War of 1812 was conspicuous for its bravery and success. He was a strict officer, but was popular with his troops and was said to have been "tough as old hickory" wood on the battlefield, which gave him his nickname. The war, and particularly his command at the Battle of New Orleans on January 8, 1815, made his national reputation and he advanced in rank to Major General. In the battle, he opposed 12,000 of the Duke of Wellington's finest troops, led by the Duke's brother-in-law Edward Pakenham, with 6,000 of his own. The British had over 2,000 casualties to Jackson's 71 killed, wounded or missing.

A bust of Andrew Jackson at the Plaza Ferdinand VII in Pensacola, Florida, where Jackson was sworn in as territorial governor.

First Seminole War

Jackson saw military service again in what would become known as the First Seminole War when he was requested by James Monroe in December 1817 to lead a campaign in Florida against the Seminole and Creek Indians and prevent Florida from being a refuge for runaway slaves. It was later said that Jackson exceeded his orders in Florida actions, but Monroe and the public wanted Florida. Before going, Jackson wrote to Monroe, ""Let it be signified to me through any channel (say Mr. John Rhea [a mutual confidant]) that the possession of the Floridas would be desirable to the United States, and in sixty days it will be accomplished." Monroe gave Jackson orders that were purposely ambiguous, sufficient for international denials.

Jackson's Tennessee volunteers were attacked by Seminoles, but this left their villages vulnerable and Jackson burned them and their crops. In his investigation, 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 American Indians to fight and argued that his actions were undertaken in self defense. He captured Pensacola with little more than some warning shots and deposed the Spanish governor. He captured, tried, and executed two British subjects who had been supplying and advising the Indians. Jackson's action also struck fear into the Seminole tribes as his ruthlessness in battle spread.

This also created an international incident, and many in the Monroe administration called for Jackson to be censured. His actions were defended by Secretary of State John Quincy Adams. When the Spanish minister demanded a "suitable punishment" for Jackson, Adams wrote back "Spain must immediately [decide] either to place a force in Florida adequate at once to the protection of her territory, ... or cede to the United States a province, of which she retains nothing but the nominal possession, but which is, in fact, ... a post of annoyance to them." Adams used Jackson's conquest and Spain's own weaknesses to convince the Spanish (in the Adams-Onís Treaty) to cede Florida to the United States. Jackson was subsequently appointed territorial governor there.

Jackson as President

During his first run for the Presidency in 1824, Jackson received a plurality of both the popular and electoral votes, but not a majority. The election was thrown into the House of Representatives, which chose John Quincy Adams instead. The election was considered dirty and, by many, stolen. Jackson himself favored reform of the electoral system afterwards, including abolishing the U.S. Electoral College. 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. He won a solid victory in his second attempt in 1828 as the first nominee of the Democratic Party.

Jackson was the first U.S. President to come from outside the original Revolutionary circle. Washington, Adams, Jefferson and Madison were notable figures in the War of Independence and in the formation of the U.S. Constitution. James Monroe fought in the Revolutionary War. John Quincy Adams was the son of John Adams. Jackson's election represented a significant break from that past.

He was also the first President from a state west of the Appalachian Mountains, and the first President to be elected from a state in which he was not born. (Though born in the Carolinas, Jackson spent virtually all his adult life in Tennessee.) This was the first election in which many states allowed people without land to vote, and they voted for Jackson.

Jackson is remembered for introducing the spoils system, or patronage, to American politics. Upon his election as President, a sizable number of people holding federal offices found that they had suddenly been replaced by supporters of Jackson who had worked to ensure his election. Jackson saw this system as promoting the growth of democracy, as more people were involved in politics. This practice has endured in political circles in the United States ever since. Additionally, Jackson pressured states to lower voting requirements to further the expansion of democracy.

Opposition to the National Bank

Andrew Jackson is depicted on the U.S. $20 bill.

As President, Jackson worked to dismantle the Second Bank of the United States. The original Bank of the United States had been introduced in 1791 by Alexander Hamilton as a way of organizing the federal government's finances. This first Bank lapsed in 1811. It was followed by the second Bank, authorized by James Madison in 1816 to alleviate the economic problems caused by the War of 1812. Both Banks were instrumental in the growth of the U.S. economy, but Jackson opposed the concept on ideological grounds. In Jackson's opinion, the Bank needed to be abolished because:

  • it was unconstitutional;
  • it concentrated an excessive amount of the nation's financial strength;
  • it exposed the government to control by foreign interests;
  • it exercised too much control over members of U.S. Congress;
  • it favored Northeastern states over Southern and Western (now Midwestern) states.

Jackson's opposition to the Bank manifested as a strong personal dislike for its president, Nicholas Biddle.

Jackson followed Jefferson as a supporter of the ideal of an agricultural republic, and felt the Bank improved the fortunes of an elite circle of commercial and industrial entrepreneurs at the expense of farmers and laborers. After a titanic struggle, Jackson succeeded in destroying the Bank by vetoing its 1832 recharter by Congress and withdrawing U.S. funds in 1833. It was a Pyrrhic victory, however, as the Bank's money-lending functions were taken over by the legions of local and state banks that sprang up along with the expansion of credits and speculation, and the commercial progress of the nation's economy was noticeably dented. The United States Senate censured Jackson on March 27, 1834 for his actions in defunding the Bank of the United States.

Nullification crisis

Statue of Andrew Jackson in Nashville, Tennessee.

Another notable crisis of Jackson's period of office was the nullification crisis (or secession crisis), of 1828-1832, which merged issues of sectional strife and disagreements over trade tariffs. High tariffs (the "Tariff of Abominations") on imports of common goods were seen by many in Southern states as unfairly benefiting Northern merchants and industrial entrepreneurs at the expense of those who had to buy the goods subject to the tariffs, mostly Southern farmers. The issue came to a head when Vice President John C. 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 illegal — the tariff legislation of 1828, and more generally the right of a state to nullify laws which went against its interests. Although Jackson sympathized with the Southern interpretation of the tariff debate, he was also a strong supporter of federalism (in the sense of supporting a strong union with considerable powers for the central government) and attempted to face Calhoun down over the issue, which developed into a bitter rivalry between the two men. Particularly famous was an incident at the April 13, 1829 Jefferson Day dinner, involving after-dinner toasts. Jackson rose first and voice booming, yelled out "Our federal Union: IT MUST BE PRESERVED!", a clear challenge to Calhoun. Calhoun responded in a trembling voice "The Union: next to our liberty, most dear!," an astonishingly quick-witted riposte.

In response to South Carolina's threat, Congress passed a "Force Bill" and Jackson vowed to send troops to South Carolina in order to enfore the laws. On December 10, he issued a resounding proclamation against the nullifiers, stating: "I consider...the power to annul a law of the United States, assumed by one State, incompatible with the existance of the Union, contradicted expressly by the letter of the Constitution, unauthorized by its spirit, inconsistent with every principle on which it was founded, and destructive of the great object for which it was formed." 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: "The Constitution...forms a government not a league...To say that any State may at pleasure secede from the Union is to say that the United States is not a nation."

The crisis was resolved in 1833 with a compromise settlement which, by substantially lowering the tariffs, hinted that the central government considered itself weak in dealing with determined opposition by an individual state.

Most people believe that both Andrew Jackson and Thomas Jefferson had outstanding years of presidency.

Indian Removal

Jackson was a strong supporter of the policy of Indian Removal, and he signed the Indian Removal Act into law in 1830. The Removal Act did not order the removal of any American Indians, but it authorized the President to negotiate treaties that would exchange tribal land in the east for western lands that had been acquired in the Louisiana Purchase. According to biographer Robert V. Remini, Jackson favored relocating Native American tribes outside existing states primarily for national security reasons, since most American Indians had sided with the British in the Revolution and the War of 1812.

The Removal Act was especially popular in the South, where population growth and the discovery of gold on Cherokee land increased pressure on tribal lands. The state of Georgia became involved in a contentious jurisdictional dispute with the Cherokees, culminating in the 1832 Supreme Court decision (Worcester v. Georgia) that ruled that Georgia could not impose its laws upon Cherokee tribal lands.

However, Jackson had no intention of protecting the Cherokees from the state of Georgia, although the famously defiant quote attributed to him ("John Marshall has made his decision, now let him enforce it!") was probably never uttered by Jackson. Realizing that removal under Jackson was inevitable, a faction of Cherokees led by Major Ridge negotiated the Treaty of New Echota with Jackson's administration, a document of dubious legality that was rejected by most Cherokees. However, the terms of the treaty were strictly enforced by Jackson's successor, Martin van Buren, which resulted in the deaths of thousands of Cherokees along the "Trail of Tears".

Indian removal was used against the 4 other civilized tribes as well. The Creeks, for example, already feeling betrayed after the Battle of Horseshoe Bend were relocated to Fort Gibson in the Indian Territories during this period after Southern Creek Band Leader William McIntosh agreed to cede most of Georgia in the Treaty of Indian Springs resulting in McIntosh's assassination by Red Stick leader Menawa. Despite the treaty's nullification one year later by US Congress, it was nevertheless enforced by Georgia Governor George Troup.

Assassination attempt

The etching of the assassination attempt.

On January 30, 1835 an unsuccessful assassination attempt against Jackson occurred in the United States Capitol. This was the first assassination attempt against an American President. While Jackson was leaving a funeral for South Carolina congressman Warren R. Davis, a mentally ill unemployed house painter, Richard Lawrence, came up to him and fired a pistol at point-blank range. The pistol misfired, and before anyone could react, the assassin pulled another pistol which, amazingly, also misfired. Instead of running or taking cover, the 67-year-old president proceeded to physically confront Lawrence with his cane. The print (shown right) made 20 years later became quite popular because it shows the president boldly confronting his attacker. The would-be assassin, who claimed Jackson had prevented him from taking his rightful claim to the British throne, was found not guilty by reason of insanity and committed to an asylum. Supporters of Jackson later accused the Whig Party of a conspiracy, but the accusation was never substantiated.

Major presidential acts

  • Maysville Road Veto
  • Signed Indian Removal Act of 1830
  • Vetoed renewal of Second Bank of the United States (1832)
  • Signed Force Bill of 1833
  • Executive Order: Specie Circular (1836)


President Andrew Jackson 1829–1837
Vice President John C. Calhoun 1829–1832
  Martin Van Buren 1833–1837
Secretary of State Martin Van Buren 1829–1831
  Edward Livingston 1831–1833
  Louis McLane 1833–1834
  John Forsyth 1834–1837
Secretary of the Treasury Samuel Ingham 1829–1831
  Louis McLane 1831–1833
  William Duane 1833
  Roger B. Taney 1833–1834
  Levi Woodbury 1834–1837
Secretary of War John H. Eaton 1829–1831
  Lewis Cass 1831–1836
Attorney General John M. Berrien 1829–1831
  Roger B. Taney 1831–1833
  Benjamin F. Butler 1833–1837
Postmaster General William Barry 1829–1835
  Amos Kendall 1835–1837
Secretary of the Navy John Branch 1829–1831
  Levi Woodbury 1831–1834
  Mahlon Dickerson 1834–1837

Supreme Court appointments

  • John McLean
  • Henry Baldwin
  • James Moore Wayne
  • Roger Brooke Taney
  • Philip Pendleton Barbour

Supreme Court cases during his presidency

  • Cherokee Nation vs. Georgia, 1831
  • Worcester v. Georgia, 1832
  • Charles River Bridge v. Warren Bridge, 1837

States admitted to the Union

  • Arkansas (1836)
  • Michigan (1837)

Family and later life

Portrait of Andrew Jackson

Jackson's wife, Rachel, died of a heart attack just 2 months prior to his taking office as President. She had supposedly divorced her first husband, Col. Lewis Robards, but there were questions about the legality of the divorce. Jackson deeply resented attacks on his wife's honor; he killed Charles Dickinson in a duel over a horse racing debt and an insult to his wife on May 30, 1806. Jackson was also injured during the duel and the bullet was so close to his heart that it could never be safely removed. It caused him considerable pain for the rest of his life. Jackson blamed John Quincy Adams for Rachel's death because of the marital scandal being brought up in the election of 1828. He felt that this had hastened her death, and never forgave Adams.

Jackson had two adopted sons, Andrew Jackson, Jr. and Lyncoya, a Creek Indian orphan adopted by Jackson after the Creek War. Lyncoya died in 1828 at age 16, probably from pneumonia or tuberculosis.

Jackson remained influential in both national and state politics after retiring to The Hermitage, his Nashville home in 1837. Though a slaveholder, Jackson was a firm advocate of the federal union of the states and declined to give any support to talk of secession. He died at the Hermitage on June 8, 1845 at the age of 78, of chronic tuberculosis, dropsy and heart failure. His last words were: "Oh, do not cry. Be good children, and we shall all meet in Heaven."

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. Jackson left several slaves to his daughter-in-law and grandchildren. Jackson left a sword to his grandson, with the injunction, "that he will always use it in defence of our glorious Union."

Physical characteristics

Jackson was a cadaverous figure standing at 6 feet, 1 inch (1.85 m) tall, and weighing between 130 and 140 pounds (64 kg) on average. He never weighed more than 145 pounds (66 kg). Jackson also had an unruly shock of red hair, which had completely grayed by the time he became president at age 61 in 1829 and penetrating dark blue eyes.


  • "Corporations have neither bodies to kick nor souls to damn."
  • "One man with courage makes a majority."
  • "It is a damn poor mind indeed which can think of only one way to spell a word."
  • "There are no necessary evils in government. Its evils exist only in its abuses."
  • "There is no pleasure in having nothing to do; the fun is having lots to do and not doing it."
  • "Any man worth his salt will stick up for what he believes right, but it takes a slightly better man to acknowledge instantly and without reservation that he is in error."
  • "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."
  • "Our federal union. It must be preserved!"
  • "Marshall has made his decision. Now let him enforce it."

Movie and biography

The story of Andrew and Rachel Jackson's life together was told in Irving Stone's best-selling 1951 biographical novel The President's Lady, which was made into the 1953 movie of the same title, starring Susan Hayward, Charlton Heston, John McIntire, and Carl Betz and directed by Henry Levin. The relationship between the two was also the basis of a successful documentary by the Public Broadcasting System, called Rachel and Andrew Jackson: A Love Story.

This content from Wikipedia is licensed under the GNU Free Documentation License. It uses material from the Wikipedia article Andrew Jackson