Our 7th President: 1829-1837
Just the Facts:
- Andrew Jackson was a war hero
- He was the first “common man” to become president.
- His nickname is “Old Hickory,” because he was so tough on the battlefield.
- Some called him “King Andrew” because of his view on the Presidency.
- He installed running water and bathrooms in the White House.
- One of his favorite foods was hickory soup.
Andrew Jackson was born in a log cabin – literally. His parents emigrated from Ireland and settled on the “frontier” in South Carolina. He and his two brothers all fought in the revolutionary war (Andrew was only 13 when he enlisted). Andrew was captured by the British and his two brothers died. He got the famous scar down his face when he was a prisoner and refused a order from a British officer.
Since both of his parents died when he was a child, he was on his own after the war was over. He decided to head to Tennessee to start a new life. He studied law and became a lawyer. Eventually, he bought a plantation and entered politics. He was Tennessee’s first senator! But, he was best known as a military general, leading the Tennessee militia in many battles during the War of 1812. People gave him the nickname “old hickory” because he was as strong and tough as they come.
He married Rachel when he was 24, who thought she was divorced from her first husband. But apparently the paperwork wasn’t complete. It caused quite a scandal! He even fought another man in a duel because of it.
He beat john Quincy Adams to become our 7th president (after losing 4 years before). He was the first president that was a “man of the people,” – he grew up poor, the son of immigrant parents. Even though he had become quite wealthy by the time he was elected, he never forgot his humble beginnings. Unfortunately, Rachel died just as he assumed office, so his niece and daughter in law performed the duties of First Lady while he was president. He was known for hosting elaborate dinner parties at the White House.
Andrew Jackson had a famous temper, but was a popular president. He tried to get rid of our national bank, because he thought it favored the wealthy while neglecting the common people. He believed in a strong central government (rather than strong state governments) and a strong Presidency. He expanded the President’s powers – like the ability to hire and fire cabinet members (before him, cabinet members served for the President’s term). He also believed in westward expansion and settlement (putting him at odds with the Native Americans). Two states entered the Union while Jackson was president – Arkansas and Michigan.
He escaped death a few times – first as a revolutionary war prisoner, second while fighting a duel (a bullet remained in his body for the rest of his life), and lastly an assassination attempt. he was in over 10 fights in his life – probably because of his temper. He retired to his plantation, the hermitage, after his presidency. You probably have a picture of Andrew Jackson in your house (check your dad’s wallet).
“Any man worth his salt will sick up for what is right, but it takes a slightly better man to acknowledge instantly and without reservation that he is in error.”
“The people are the government, administering it by their agents; they are the government, the sovereign power.”
Want to learn more?
Take a virtual tour of his home, the Hermitage at http://www.thehermitage.com
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