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Andrew Jackson

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Andrew Jackson

Andrew Jackson
Daguerreotype of Andrew Jackson
7th President of the United States
In office
March 4, 1829 – March 4, 1837
Vice President John C. Calhoun (1829–1832)
None (1832–1833)
Martin Van Buren (1833–1837)
Preceded by John Quincy Adams
Succeeded by Martin Van Buren
Military Governor of Florida
In office
March 10, 1821 – December 31, 1821
Appointed by James Monroe
Preceded by José María Coppinger
as Governor of Spanish East Florida
Succeeded by William Pope Duval
United States Senator
from Tennessee
In office
March 4, 1823 – October 14, 1825
Preceded by John Williams
Succeeded by Hugh Lawson White
In office
September 26, 1797 – April 1, 1798
Preceded by William Cocke
Succeeded by Daniel Smith
Member of the U.S. House of Representatives
from Tennessee's At-Large district
In office
December 4, 1796 – September 26, 1797
Preceded by Position established
Succeeded by William Claiborne
Personal details
Born (1767-03-15)March 15, 1767
Waxhaws border region between The Carolinas (exact location disputed)
Died June 8, 1845(1845-06-08) (aged 78)
Nashville, Tennessee
Resting place The Hermitage
Nashville, Tennessee
Political party Democratic (1828–1845)
Other political
Democratic-Republican (Before 1828)
  • Rachel Donelson
    (m. 1791–94)
  • Rachel Jackson
    (m. 1794; her death 1828)
Children 10, including Daniel Smith Donelson, and Andrew Jackson Donelson
Profession Planter
Religion Presbyterianism
Awards Thanks of Congress
Signature Cursive signature in ink
Military service
Service/branch Tennessee Militia
United States Army
Rank Colonel
Major general
Battles/wars American Revolutionary War
 • Battle of Hobkirk's Hill
Creek War
 • Battle of Talladega
 • Battles of Emuckfaw and Enotachopo Creek
 • Battle of Horseshoe Bend
War of 1812
 • Battle of Pensacola
 • Battle of New Orleans
First Seminole War
Conquest of Florida
 • Battle of Fort Negro
 • Siege of Fort Barrancas

Andrew Jackson (March 15, 1767 – June 8, 1845) was the seventh President of the United States (1829–1837). He was born near the end of the colonial era, somewhere near the then-unmarked border between North and South Carolina, into a recently immigrated Scots-Irish farming family of relatively modest means. During the American Revolutionary War Jackson, whose family supported the revolutionary cause, acted as a courier. He was captured, at age 13, and mistreated by his British captors. He later became a lawyer. He was elected to the U.S. House of Representatives, and then to the U.S. Senate. In 1801, Jackson was appointed colonel in the Tennessee militia, which became his political as well as military base. Jackson owned hundreds of slaves who worked on the Hermitage plantation which he acquired in 1804. Jackson killed a man in a duel in 1806, over a matter of honor regarding his wife Rachel. Jackson gained national fame through his role in the War of 1812, most famously where he won a decisive victory over the main British invasion army at the Battle of New Orleans. Jackson's army was then sent to Florida where he deposed the small Spanish garrison. This led directly to the treaty which formally transferred Florida from Spain to the United States.

Henry Clay, whom Jackson deeply disliked, and who led the opposition (the emerging Whig Party). As president, he faced a threat of secession from South Carolina over the "Tariff of Abominations" which Congress had enacted under Adams. In contrast to several of his immediate successors, he denied the right of a state to secede from the union, or to nullify federal law. The Nullification Crisis was defused when the tariff was amended and Jackson threatened the use of military force if South Carolina (or any other state) attempted to secede.

Congress attempted to reauthorize the Second Bank of the United States several years before the expiration of its charter, which he opposed. He vetoed the renewal of its charter in 1832, and dismantled it by the time its charter expired in 1836. Jackson's presidency marked the beginning of the ascendancy of the "spoils system" in American politics. Also, he supported, signed, and enforced the Indian Removal Act, which relocated a number of native tribes to Indian Territory (now Oklahoma). He faced and defeated Henry Clay in the 1832 Presidential Election, and opposed Clay generally. Jackson supported his vice president Martin Van Buren, who was elected president in 1836. He worked to bolster the Democratic Party and helped his friend James K. Polk win the 1844 presidential election.


  • Early life and education 1
  • Revolutionary War service 2
  • Legal and political career 3
    • Land speculation and founding of Memphis 3.1
  • Hermitage plantation 4
  • Military career 5
    • War of 1812 5.1
      • Creek campaign and treaty 5.1.1
      • Battle of New Orleans 5.1.2
      • Enforced martial law New Orleans 5.1.3
    • First Seminole War 5.2
  • Election of 1824 6
  • Election of 1828 7
  • Presidency 1829–1837 8
    • Inauguration 8.1
    • Petticoat politics 8.2
    • Indian removal policy 8.3
      • Treaties 8.3.1
      • Wars 8.3.2
    • Initiated reforms 8.4
    • Rotation in office and spoils system 8.5
    • Nullification crisis 8.6
    • Foreign affairs 8.7
    • Bank veto and Election of 1832 8.8
    • Removal of deposits and censure 8.9
    • Attack and assassination attempt 8.10
    • Slavery controversies 8.11
      • Anti-slavery tracts 8.11.1
      • Anti-slavery Congressional petitions 8.11.2
      • Recognition of Republic of Texas 8.11.3
    • U.S. Exploring Expedition 8.12
    • Panic of 1837 8.13
    • Administration and cabinet 8.14
    • Judicial appointments 8.15
    • States admitted to the Union 8.16
  • Later life and death 9
  • Family and personal life 10
    • Temperament 10.1
    • Physical appearance 10.2
    • Religious faith 10.3
  • Legacy and memory 11
    • Jackson on U.S. postage 11.1
    • Memorials 11.2
    • Popular culture depictions 11.3
  • See also 12
  • Notes 13
  • References 14
    • Biographies 14.1
    • Historiography 14.2
    • Specialized studies 14.3
  • External links 15

Early life and education

Jackson was born on March 15, 1767. His parents were Scots-Irish colonists Andrew and Elizabeth Hutchinson Jackson, Presbyterians who had emigrated from Ireland two years earlier.[1][2] Jackson's father was born in Carrickfergus, County Antrim, in current-day Northern Ireland, around 1738.[3] Jackson's parents lived in the village of Boneybefore, also in County Antrim.

When they emigrated to America in 1765, Jackson's parents probably landed in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. They would have traveled overland down through the Appalachian Mountains to the Scots-Irish community in the Waxhaws region, straddling the border between North and South Carolina.[4] They brought two children from Ireland, Hugh (born 1763) and Robert (born 1764).

Jackson's father died in an accident in February 1767, at the age of 29, three weeks before his son Andrew was born in the Waxhaws area. His exact birth site is unclear because he was born about the time his mother was making a difficult trip home from burying Jackson's father. The area was so remote that the border between North and South Carolina had not been officially surveyed.[5]

In 1824, Jackson wrote a letter saying that he was born at an uncle's plantation in Lancaster County, South Carolina. But he may have claimed to be a South Carolinian because the state was considering nullification of the Tariff of 1824, which Jackson opposed. In the mid-1850s, second-hand evidence indicated that he may have been born at a different uncle's home in North Carolina.[5]

Jackson received a sporadic education in the local "old-field" school.[6] In 1781, he worked for a time in a saddle-maker's shop.[7] Later, he taught school and studied law in Salisbury, North Carolina. In 1787, he was admitted to the bar, and moved to Jonesborough, in what was then the Western District of North Carolina. This area later became the Southwest Territory (1790), the precursor to the state of Tennessee.

Revolutionary War service

Young Jackson Refusing to Clean Major Coffin's Boots (1876 lithograph).

During the Revolutionary War, Jackson, at age thirteen, informally helped the local militia as a courier.[8] His eldest brother, Hugh, died from heat exhaustion during the Battle of Stono Ferry, on June 20, 1779. Jackson and his brother Robert were captured by the British and held as prisoners; they nearly starved to death in captivity. When Jackson refused to clean the boots of a British officer, the officer slashed at the youth with a sword, leaving Jackson with scars on his left hand and head, as well as an intense hatred for the British.[9] While imprisoned, the brothers contracted smallpox.

Robert Jackson died on April 27, 1781, a few days after their mother Elizabeth secured the brothers' release. After being assured Andrew would recover, Elizabeth Jackson volunteered to nurse prisoners of war on board two ships in Charleston harbor, where there had been an outbreak of cholera. She died from the disease in November 1781, and was buried in an unmarked grave. Jackson became an orphan at age 14.[10] Following the deaths of his brothers and mother during the war, Jackson blamed the British for his losses.

Legal and political career

Jackson began his legal career in Jonesborough, now northeastern Tennessee. Though his legal education was scanty, he knew enough to be a country lawyer on the frontier. Since he was not from a distinguished family, he had to make his career by his own merits; 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 assault and battery. In 1788, he was appointed Solicitor (prosecutor) of the Western District and held the same position in the government of the Territory South of the River Ohio after 1791.

Jackson was elected as a delegate to the Tennessee constitutional convention in 1796. When Tennessee achieved statehood that year, Jackson was elected its U.S. Representative. The following year, he was elected U.S. Senator as a Democratic-Republican, but he resigned within a year. (His return to the U.S. Senate in 1823, after 24 years, 11 months, 3 days out of office, marks the second longest gap in service to the chamber in history.)[11] In 1798, he was appointed a judge of the Tennessee Supreme Court, serving until 1804.[12]

Land speculation and founding of Memphis

In 1794, Jackson formed a business with John Overton "for the purpose of purchasing lands as well those lands without as within military bounds"—overtly buying and selling land which had been reserved by treaty for the Cherokee and Chickasaw.[13] Upon his return from Florida, Jackson negotiated the sale of the land from the Chickasaw Nation in 1818 (termed the Jackson Purchase). He was one of the three original investors who founded Memphis, Tennessee in 1819 (see History of Memphis, Tennessee).[14]

Hermitage plantation

Escaped slave notice placed by Andrew Jackson offering a $50 reward, plus expenses, for the return of an enslaved mulatto man who escaped from Jackson's plantation. In a move unusual for the time, the notice offers "ten dollars extra, for every hundred lashes any person will give him, to the amount of three hundred."[15]
In addition to his legal and political career, Jackson prospered as planter, slave owner, and merchant. He built a home and the first general store in Gallatin, Tennessee in 1803. The next year he acquired the Hermitage, a 640-acre (259 ha) plantation in Davidson County, near Nashville. Jackson later added 360 acres (146 ha) to the plantation, which eventually grew to 1,050 acres (425 ha). The primary crop was cotton, grown by enslaved workers. Starting with nine slaves, Jackson held as many as 44 by 1820, and later held up to 150 slaves, making him among the planter elite. Throughout his lifetime Jackson may have owned as many as 300 slaves.[16][17]

African American men, women, and children were enslaved by Jackson on three sections of the Hermitage plantation.[17] Slaves lived in extended family units between five and ten persons quartered in 20-foot-square cabins made either of brick or logs. The size and quality of Jackson's Hermitage slave quarters exceeded the standards of his times. To help slaves acquire food staples, in addition to Jackson's rations, Jackson supplied slaves with guns, knives, and fishing equipment for hunting and fishing.[17] At times Jackson paid his slaves with monies and coins to trade in local markets. The Hermitage plantation was a profit-making enterprise and Jackson, who demanded slave loyalty, permitted slaves to be whipped to increase productivity or if he believed his slaves' offenses were severe enough. Jackson at various times posted advertisements for his fugitive slaves. For the standards of his times Jackson was considered a humane slave owner who furnished his slaves food, housing, and did not prohibit his female slaves from childbirthing.[17]

Military career

Jackson was appointed commander of the Tennessee militia in 1801, with the rank of colonel. He was later elected major general of the Tennessee militia in 1802.[18]

War of 1812

Creek campaign and treaty

Treaty of Fort Jackson, 1814
Jackson imposed severe terms on the Creek Indians Treaty with the Creeks (1847)

During the Northwest to rise up against the Americans, trying to repel American settlers from those lands north of the Ohio. Four hundred settlers were killed in the Fort Mims massacre—one of the few instances of Native Americans killing a large number of American settlers and their African-American slaves[19]—which brought the United States into the internal Creek campaign. Occurring at the same time as the War of 1812, the Creek campaign saw Jackson command the U.S. forces, which included the Tennessee militia, U.S. regulars, and Cherokee, Choctaw, and Lower Creek warriors. Sam Houston and David Crockett served under Jackson in this campaign.

Jackson defeated the Red Sticks at the

External links


  • Brands, H. W. Andrew Jackson: His Life and Times (2005), scholarly biography emphasizing military career excerpt and text search
  • Burstein, Andrew. The Passions of Andrew Jackson. (2003). online review by Donald B. Cole
  • Cheathem, Mark R. Andrew Jackson, Southerner (2013), scholarly biography emphasizing Jackson's southern identity
  • Hofstadter, Richard. The American Political Tradition (1948), chapter on Jackson. online in ACLS e-books
  • James, Marquis. The Life of Andrew Jackson Combines two books: The Border Captain and Andrew Jackson: Portrait of a President, 1933, 1937; winner of the Pulitzer Prize for Biography in 1938.
  • Meacham, Jon. American Lion: Andrew Jackson in the White House (2009), excerpt and text search
  • Parton, James. Life of Andrew Jackson (1860). Volume I, Volume III.
  • Remini, Robert V. The Life of Andrew Jackson. Abridgment of Remini's 3-volume monumental biography, (1988).
    • Andrew Jackson and the Course of American Empire, 1767–1821 (1977); Andrew Jackson and the Course of American Freedom, 1822–1832 (1981); Andrew Jackson and the Course of American Democracy, 1833–1845 (1984).
  • Remini, Robert V. The Legacy of Andrew Jackson: Essays on Democracy, Indian Removal, and Slavery (1988).
  • Remini, Robert V. Andrew Jackson and his Indian Wars (2001).
  • Remini, Robert V. "Andrew Jackson", American National Biography (2000).
  • Wilentz, Sean. Andrew Jackson (2005), short biography, stressing Indian removal and slavery issues excerpt and text search


  • Adams, Sean Patrick, ed. A Companion to the Era of Andrew Jackson (2013) contents
  • Bugg Jr. James L. ed. Jacksonian Democracy: Myth or Reality? (1952), excerpts from scholars.
  • Cheathem, Mark R. "'The Shape of Democracy': Historical Interpretations of Jacksonian Democracy", in The Age of Andrew Jackson, ed. Brian D. McKnight and James S. Humphreys (2011).
  • , Historical Text Archive.Short Book Bibliography on Andrew JacksonMabry, Donald J.,
  • Sellers, Charles Grier, Jr. "Andrew Jackson versus the Historians", The Mississippi Valley Historical Review, Vol. 44, No. 4. (March 1958), pp. 615–634. in JSTOR.
  • Taylor, George Rogers, ed. Jackson Versus Biddle: The Struggle over the Second Bank of the United States (1949), excerpts from primary and secondary sources.
  • Van Sledright, Bruce, and Peter Afflerbach. "Reconstructing Andrew Jackson: Prospective elementary teachers' readings of revisionist history texts." Theory & Research in Social Education 28#3 (2000): 411-444.
  • Ward, John William. Andrew Jackson, Symbol for an Age (1962) how writers saw him.

Specialized studies

  • Cave, Alfred A.. Abuse of Power: Andrew Jackson and the Indian Removal Act of 1830 (2003).
  • Cheathem, Mark. "Frontiersman or Southern Gentleman? Newspaper Coverage of Andrew Jackson during the 1828 Presidential Campaign," The Readex Report (2014) 9#3 online
  • Gammon, Samuel Rhea. The Presidential Campaign of 1832 (1922).
  • Hammond, Bray. Andrew Jackson's Battle with the "Money Power" (1958) ch 8, of his Banks and Politics in America: From the Revolution to the Civil War (1954); Pulitzer prize.
  • Inskeep, Steve. Jacksonland: President Andrew Jackson, Cherokee Chief John Ross, and a Great American Land Grab (Penguin, 2015). 421 pp.
  • Latner Richard B. The Presidency of Andrew Jackson: White House Politics, 1820–1837 (1979), standard survey.
  • Ogg, Frederic Austin ; The Reign of Andrew Jackson: A Chronicle of the Frontier in Politics 1919. Short popular survey online at Gutenberg.
  • Parsons, Lynn H. The Birth of Modern Politics: Andrew Jackson, John Quincy Adams, and the Election of 1828 (2009) excerpt and text search
  • Ratner, Lorman A. Andrew Jackson and His Tennessee Lieutenants: A Study in Political Culture (1997).
  • Rowland, Dunbar. Andrew Jackson's Campaign against the British, or, the Mississippi Territory in the War of 1812, concerning the Military Operations of the Americans, Creek Indians, British, and Spanish, 1813–1815 (1926).
  • Schama, Simon. The American Future: A History (2008).
  • Schlesinger, Arthur M. Jr. The Age of Jackson. (1945). Winner of the Pulitzer Prize for History. history of ideas of the era.
  • Syrett, Harold C. Andrew Jackson: His Contribution to the American Tradition (1953). on Jacksonian democracy


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  2. ^ a b
  3. ^
  4. ^ Booraem, Hendrik (2001) Young Hickory : The Making of Andrew Jackson p.9
  5. ^ a b
  6. ^ In the antebellum South, rural schools were often built in exhausted cotton or tobacco fields, hence the name.
  7. ^ a b
  8. ^ Remini 1:15–17
  9. ^ Remini 1:21
  10. ^ Remini 1:13
  11. ^
  12. ^ Andrew Jackson at the Biographical Directory of the United States Congress. Retrieved October 30, 2011
  13. ^ Walter T. Durham, Before Tennessee: The Southwest Territory; Piney Flats, TN: Rocky Mount Historical Association, 1990; pp. 218–19. "In the Mero District, two young attorneys, John Overton and Andrew Jackson, entered into a formal partnership on May 12, 1794, 'for the purpose of purchasing lands as well as those lands without as within the military bounds.' Theirs was a frank avowal; they, like many of their contemporaries, would deal with lands within Indian territory. Most of the transactions involved grants made under the 'land grab' act of 1873 that briefly opened to claim by North Carolinians all of the Indian lands in that state's transmontane west. While the act was in force, citizens had staked claims to two or three million acres of Chickasaw and Cherokee land."
  14. ^ Blythe Semmer, "Jackson Purchase", Tennessee Encyclopedia of History and Culture
  15. ^
  16. ^ Remini (2000), p.51 cites 1820 census; mentions later figures up to 150 without noting a source.
  17. ^ a b c d
  18. ^ Buchanan, John. (2001). Jackson's Way: Andrew Jackson and the People of the Western Waters. New York: John Wiley & Son, Inc. p. 165–166.
  19. ^ Indian massacre § 1500–1830
  20. ^ a b c DSHeidler_JTHeidler 1997, p. 192.
  21. ^ Jahoda, Gloria. The Trail of Tears: The Story of the American Indian Removals 1813–1855. Holt, Rinehart and Winston. New York. 1975 ISBN 0-03-014871-5.
  22. ^ Remini, Robert V. (1999). The Battle of New Orleans. New York: Penguin Books. p. 285
  23. ^ Martin, François-Xavier The History of Louisiana, from the Earliest Period, Vol. 2 p. 387–495 (New Orleans, 1829).
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  38. ^
  39. ^ Mark Cheathem, "Frontiersman or Southern Gentleman? Newspaper Coverage of Andrew Jackson during the 1828 Presidential Campaign," The Readex Report (2014) 9#3 online
  40. ^ Latner 2002, p. 101.
  41. ^ a b c d Latner 2002, p. 104.
  42. ^ a b c Latner 2002, p. 105.
  43. ^ Latner 2002, pp. 105, 108.
  44. ^ Inaugurals of Presidents of the United States: Some Precedents and Notable Events. Library of Congress.
  45. ^ a b Latner 2002, p. 107.
  46. ^ John F. Marszalek, The Petticoat Affair: Manners, Mutiny, and Sex in Andrew Jackson's White House (LSU Press, 2000)
  47. ^ a b c d e f Latner 2002, p. 108.
  48. ^ Meacham, pp. 171–75;
  49. ^ a b c d Latner 2002, p. 109.
  50. ^ a b Latner 2002, p. 110.
  51. ^ Robert V. Remini, The Life of Andrew Jackson (1988), p. 216
  52. ^ Cave (2003).
  53. ^
  54. ^ a b
  55. ^
  56. ^
  57. ^ In the 2015 debate on removing Jackson from the $20 bill, Indian removal was often mentioned as a good reason for doing that.
  58. ^ By Abby Ohlheiser, "This group wants to banish Andrew Jackson from the $20 bill," 3 March, 2015Washington Post. Slate blogger Jillian Keenan said, "The seventh president engineered genocide. He should be vilified, not honored." 3 March, 2014SLATE
  59. ^ Steve Inskeep, "Jackson's Reputation has Changing Again," 7 June, 2015History Network News
  60. ^
  61. ^ Jackson historian Steve Inskeep reports: Recent Jackson biographers, such as Jon Meacham and H.W. Brands, candidly described the human cost of Jackson's policy while keeping it in the perspective of his broader career. Sean Wilentz, in The Rise of American Democracy, believed that while Jackson was a "paternalist," telling Indians what was best for them, paternalism was not the same as genocide.
  62. ^ Jon Meacham, American Lion: Andrew Jackson in the White House (2008)
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  64. ^
  65. ^ Zinn called him "exterminator of Indians." Howard Zinn, A People's History of the United States (1980) p 130
  66. ^ See also
  67. ^ Francis Paul Prucha, "Andrew Jackson's Indian policy: a reassessment." Journal of American History (1969) 56#3 pp 527-539. in JSTOR
  68. ^ Paul R. Bartrop and Steven Leonard Jacobs argue that Jackson's policies did not meet the criterion for genocide or cultural genocide.
  69. ^ Retrieved on November 29, 2014
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  79. ^ The DeWitt Clinton). Thomas Jefferson brought it to the Executive Branch when he replaced Federalist office-holders after becoming President. The Spoils System versus the Merit System. Retrieved on November 21, 2006.
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  84. ^ a b Ellis 1974, p. 62.
  85. ^ Ogg, 164.
  86. ^ First published in 1860.
  87. ^ Syrett, 36. See also:
  88. ^ Jon Meacham (2009), American Lion: Andrew Jackson in the White House, New York: Random House, p. 247; Correspondence of Andrew Jackson, Vol. V, p. 72.
  89. ^ a b c d e Latner 2002, pp. 119–20.
  90. ^
  91. ^ a b c d e f g h i Latner 2002, p. 120.
  92. ^ Latner 2002, p. 111.
  93. ^ a b c d e f g h i j Latner 2002, p. 112.
  94. ^ a b Latner 2002, pp. 112–13.
  95. ^ a b c d e Latner 2002, p. 113.
  96. ^ Ellis 1974, p. 63.
  97. ^
  98. ^ W. J. Rorabaugh, Donald T. Critchlow, Paula C. Baker (2004). "America's promise: a concise history of the United States". Rowman & Littlefield. p.210. ISBN 0-7425-1189-8
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  105. ^ a b c Latner 2002, p. 118.
  106. ^ a b c Mills 2003, p. 705.
  107. ^
  108. ^ When The U.S. Paid Off The Entire National Debt (And Why It Didn't Last) NPR.
  109. ^ Bureau of the Public Debt: Our History
  110. ^ a b c d Olson 2002, p. 190.
  111. ^
  112. ^
  113. ^ a b c d Latner 2002, p. 121.
  114. ^ James C. Curtis, Andrew Jackson and the search for vindication (1976) p 145
  115. ^
  116. ^
  117. ^
  118. ^ Remini, 17–25
  119. ^
  120. ^ H.W. Brands, Andrew Jackson: His Life and Times (2005) pp. 139–43
  121. ^ a b c
  122. ^ Robert Remini, John Quincy Adams (2002) p. 119
  123. ^
  124. ^ Remini 1:194
  125. ^ The Papers of Andrew Jackson: 1821–1824 ed. Sam B. Smith, (1996) p 71
  126. ^ Meacham, page 109; 315
  127. ^
  128. ^ Brands, p 297
  129. ^ Borneman, Walter R. Polk: The Man Who Transformed the Presidency and America. New York: Random House, 2008 ISBN 978-1-4000-6560-8, p. 36.
  130. ^
  131. ^
  132. ^
  133. ^
  134. ^ Mark R. Cheathem, "'The Shape of Democracy': Historical Interpretations of Jacksonian Democracy", in The Age of Andrew Jackson, ed. Brian D. McKnight and James S. Humphreys (2011).
  135. ^ Sean Patrick Adams, ed., A Companion to the Era of Andrew Jackson (2013)
  136. ^ Charles Grier Sellers, Jr., "Andrew Jackson versus the Historians," Mississippi Valley Historical Review (1958) 44#4, pp. 615-634 in JSTOR
  137. ^ Glyndon G. Van Deusen, The rise and decline of Jacksonian democracy (1970)
  138. ^ Scotts US Stamp Catalogue
  139. ^
  140. ^
  141. ^
  142. ^


See also

The actor Hugh Sothern played the character of General Andrew Jackson in the 1938 film The Buccaneer, and Charlton Heston played Andrew Jackson in the 1953 film, The President's Lady and the 1958 film, The Buccaneer. Basil Ruysdael played Jackson in Walt Disney's 1955 Davy Crockett TV miniseries and subsequent film release.

Popular culture depictions

Andrew Jackson portrait on obverse $20.00 bill circa 2006
The tomb of Andrew and Rachel Donelson Jackson located at their home, The Hermitage.
Equestrian statue of Gen. Jackson, Jackson County Courthouse, Kansas City, Missouri, commissioned by Judge Harry S Truman.


Andrew Jackson is one of the few American presidents ever to appear on U.S. Postage more than the usual two or three times. He died in 1845, but the U.S. Post Office did not release a postage stamp in his honor until 18 years after his death, with the issue of 1863, a 2-cent black issue, commonly referred to by collectors as the 'Black Jack'. In contrast, the first Warren G. Harding stamp was released only one month after his death, Lincoln, one year exactly. As Jackson was a controversial figure in his day there is speculation that officials in Washington chose to wait a period of time before issuing a stamp with his portrait. In all, Jackson has appeared on thirteen different U.S. postage stamps, more than that of most U.S. presidents; only Washington, Lincoln, and Franklin (who was not a president) have appeared more often.[138][139] During the American Civil War the Confederate government also issued two Confederate postage stamps bearing Jackson's portrait, one a 2-cent red stamp and the other a 2-cent green stamp, both issued in 1863.[140]

Jackson on U.S. postage

Jackson remains one of the most studied and most controversial Americans of the 19th century.[134][135] Historian Charles Sellers says "Andrew Jackson's masterful personality was enough by itself to make him one of the most controversial figures ever to stride across the American stage."[136] His most controversial presidential actions included removal of the Indians from the southeast, the dismantling of the Bank of the United States, and his threat to use military force against the state of South Carolina to make it stop nullifying federal laws. Not at all controversial was his great victory over the British at New Orleans in the last battle of the War of 1812. He was the main founder of the modern Democratic Party and remains its iconic hero; he was always a fierce partisan, with many friends and many enemies.[137]

Legacy and memory

Jackson was a Freemason, having been initiated at Harmony Lodge No. 1 in Tennessee; he also participated in chartering several other lodges in Tennessee. He was the only U.S. president to have served as Grand Master of a state's Grand Lodge until Harry S. Truman in 1945. His Masonic apron is on display in the Tennessee State Museum. An obelisk and bronze Masonic plaque decorate his tomb at The Hermitage.[131][132][133]

About a year after retiring the presidency,[130] Jackson became a member of the First Presbyterian Church in Nashville.

Religious faith

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. Jackson also had an unruly shock of red hair, which had completely grayed by the time he became president at age 61. He had penetrating deep blue eyes. Jackson was one of the more sickly presidents, suffering from chronic headaches, abdominal pains, and a hacking cough, caused by a musket ball in his lung that was never removed, that often brought up blood and sometimes made his whole body shake.

Tennessee Gentleman, portrait of Jackson, c. 1831, from the collection of The Hermitage.

Physical appearance

On the last day of the presidency, Jackson admitted that he had but two regrets, that he "had been unable to shoot Henry Clay or to hang John C. Calhoun."[129]

Observers likened him to a volcano, and only the most intrepid or recklessly curious cared to see it erupt.... His close associates all had stories of his blood-curling oaths, his summoning of the Almighty to loose His wrath upon some miscreant, typically followed by his own vow to hang the villain or blow him to perdition. Given his record – in duels, brawls, mutiny trials, and summary hearings – listeners had to take his vows seriously.[128]

Brands also notes that his opponents were terrified of his temper:

Jackson's quick temper was notorious. Brands says, "His audacity on behalf of the people earned him enemies who slandered him and defamed even his wife, Rachel. He dueled in her defense and his own, suffering grievous wounds that left him with bullet fragments lodged about his body."[121] However, Remini is of the opinion that Jackson was often in control of his rage, and used it (and his fearsome reputation) as a tool to get what he wanted in his public and private affairs.[127]


The widower Jackson invited Rachel's niece Emily Donelson to serve as hostess at the White House. Emily was married to Andrew Jackson Donelson, who acted as Jackson's private secretary and in 1856 would run for Vice President on the American Party ticket. The relationship between the President and Emily became strained during the Petticoat affair, and the two became estranged for over a year. They eventually reconciled and she resumed her duties as White House hostess. Sarah Yorke Jackson, the wife of Andrew Jackson Jr., became co-hostess of the White House in 1834. It was the only time in history when two women simultaneously acted as unofficial First Lady. Sarah took over all hostess duties after Emily died from tuberculosis in 1836. Jackson used Rip Raps as a retreat, visiting between August 19, 1829 through August 16, 1835.[126]

The Jacksons also acted as guardians for eight other children. John Samuel Donelson, Daniel Smith Donelson and Andrew Jackson Donelson were the sons of Rachel's brother Samuel Donelson, who died in 1804. Andrew Jackson Hutchings was Rachel's orphaned grand nephew. Caroline Butler, Eliza Butler, Edward Butler, and Anthony Butler were the orphaned children of Edward Butler, a family friend. They came to live with the Jacksons after the death of their father.[125]

Jackson had three adopted sons: Theodore, an Indian about whom little is known,[123] Andrew Jackson Jr., the son of Rachel's brother Severn Donelson, and Lyncoya, a Creek Indian orphan adopted by Jackson after the Creek War. Lyncoya died of tuberculosis in 1828, at the age of sixteen.[124]

[122] She had been under extreme stress during the election, and she never did well when Jackson was away at war or work. Jackson blamed [121] After struggling for three days, Rachel finally died; a distraught Jackson had to be pulled from her so the undertaker could prepare the body.[121] Rachel died of a heart attack on December 22, 1828, two weeks after her husband's victory in the election and two months before Jackson took office as President. Jackson described her symptoms as "excruciating pain in the left shoulder, arm, and breast."

The controversy surrounding their marriage remained a sore point for Jackson, who deeply resented attacks on his wife's honor. By May 1806, Charles Dickinson had published an attack on Jackson in the local newspaper, and it resulted in a written challenge from Jackson to a duel. Since Dickinson was considered an expert shot, Jackson determined it would be best to let Dickinson turn and fire first, hoping that his aim might be spoiled in his quickness; Jackson would wait and take careful aim at Dickinson. Dickinson did fire first, hitting Jackson in the chest. The bullet that struck Jackson was so close to his heart that it was never safely removed. Under the rules of dueling, Dickinson had to remain still as Jackson took aim and shot and killed him. Jackson's behavior in the duel outraged men of honor in Tennessee, who called it a brutal, cold-blooded killing and saddled Jackson with a reputation as a violent, vengeful man. As a result, he became a social outcast.[120]

Shortly after Jackson first arrived in Nashville in 1788, he lived as a boarder with Rachel Stockley Donelson, the widow of John Donelson. Here Jackson became acquainted with their daughter, Rachel Donelson Robards. At the time, Rachel was in an unhappy marriage with Captain Lewis Robards; he was subject to fits of jealous rage.[117] The two were separated in 1790. According to Jackson, he married Rachel after hearing that Robards had obtained a divorce. However, the divorce had never been completed, making Rachel's marriage to Jackson bigamous and therefore invalid. After the divorce was officially completed, Rachel and Jackson remarried in 1794.[118] To complicate matters further, evidence shows that Rachel had been living with Jackson and referred to herself as Mrs. Jackson before the petition for divorce was ever made.[119] It was not uncommon on the frontier for relationships to be formed and dissolved unofficially, as long as they were recognized by the community.

Family and personal life

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.[116]

Jackson died at his plantation on June 8, 1845, at the age of 78, of chronic tuberculosis, dropsy, and heart failure. According to a newspaper account from the Boon Lick Times read, "[he] fainted whilst being removed from his chair to the bed ... but he subsequently revived ... Gen. Jackson died at the Hermitage at 6 o'clock P.M. on Sunday the 8th instant. When the messenger finally came, the old soldier, patriot and Christian was looking out for his approach. He is gone, but his memory lives, and will continue to live."[115]

After serving two terms as president, Jackson retired to his Hermitage plantation in 1837.[113] He immediately began putting the Hermitage in order as it had been poorly managed in his absence by his adopted son, Andrew Jr. Although he suffered ill health, Jackson remained influential in both national and state politics.[113] He was a firm advocate of the federal union of the states and rejected any talk of secession, insisting, "I will die with the Union."[114] Blamed for causing the Panic of 1837, he was unpopular in his early retirement.[113] Jackson continued to denounce the "perfidy and treachery" of banks and urged his successor, Martin Van Buren to repudiate the Specie Circular.[113]

Photographic copy of an 1845 daguerreotype

Later life and death

States admitted to the Union

In total Jackson appointed 24 federal judges: six Justices to the Supreme Court of the United States and eighteen judges to the United States district courts.

Judicial appointments

Andrew Jackson
Official White House Portrait
Ralph E.W. Earl (1835)

Administration and cabinet

The national economy during the 1830s was booming and the federal government through duty revenues and sale of public lands was able to pay all bills. In January 1835, Jackson paid off the entire national debt, the only time in U.S. history that has been accomplished.[108][109] However, reckless speculation in land and railroads caused what became known as the Panic of 1837.[110] Contributing factors included Jackson's veto of the Second National Bank renewal charter in 1832 and subsequent transfer of federal monies to state banks in 1833 that caused Western Banks to relax their lending standards. Two other Jacksonian acts in 1836 contributed to the Panic of 1837, the Specie Circular, that mandated Western lands only be purchased by money backed by gold and silver, and the Deposit and Distribution Act, that transferred federal monies from Eastern to western state banks which in turn led to a speculation frenzy by banks.[110] Jackson's Specie Circular, although designed to reduce speculation and stabilize the economy, led many investors unable to afford to pay loans backed by gold and silver. [110] The same year there was a downturn in Great Britain's economy that stopped investment in the United States. As a result, the U.S. economy went into a depression, banks became insolvent, the national debt (previously paid off) increased, business failures rose, cotton prices dropped, and unemployment dramatically increased.[110] The depression that followed lasted for four years until 1841 when the economy began to rebound.[111][112]

A New York newspaper blamed the Panic of 1837 on Andrew Jackson who is depicted in spectacles and top hat

Panic of 1837

Jackson initially opposed any federal exploration scientific expeditions during his first term in office. [106] The last scientific federally funded exploration expeditions took place from 1817 to 1823 led by Stephen H. Harriman on the Red River of the North. Jackson's predecessor John Q. Adams attempted to launch a scientific oceanic exploration expedition in 1828, but Congress was unwilling to fund the effort. When Jackson assumed office in 1829 he pocketed Adam's expedition plans. However, wanting to establish his presidential legacy, similar to Thomas Jefferson and the Lewis and Clark Expedition, Jackson finally sponsored scientific exploration during his second term.[106] On May 18, 1836 Jackson signed a law creating and funding the oceanic United States Exploring Expedition. Jackson put Secretary of Navy Mahlon Dickerson in charge, to assemble suitable ships, officers, and scientific staff for the expedition; with a planned launch before Jackson's term of office expired. Dickerson however proved unfit for the task, preparations stalled and the expedition was not launched until 1838, under the next President, Martin Van Buren. [106] One brig ship, USS Porpoise, later used in the expedition; having been laid down, built, and commissioned by Secretary Dickerson in May 1836, circumnavigated the world, explored and mapped the Southern Ocean, confirming the existence of the Antarctica continent.[107]

USS Porpoise, a brig ship laid down in 1835 and launched in May 1836 by Secretary of Navy Dickerson; used in the U.S. Exploring Expedition.

U.S. Exploring Expedition

In 1835, pro-slavery American settlers in Texas fought the Mexican government; by May 1836, they had routed the Mexican military for the time being, establishing an independent Republic of Texas. [91] The new Texas government legalized slavery and demanded recognition from President Jackson and annexation into the United States. However, Jackson was hesitant with recognizing Texas, unconvinced that the new republic could maintain independence from Mexico, and not wanting to make Texas an anti-slavery issue during the 1836 election. [91] The strategy worked; the Democratic Party and national loyalties were held intact, while Democratic candidate Van Buren was elected President. Jackson formally recognized the Republic of Texas, nominating a chargé d'affaires on the last day of his Presidency, March 3, 1837. [91]

Recognition of Republic of Texas

In the same year another controversy took place, when abolitionists sent the U.S. House of Representatives petitions to end the slave trade and slavery in Washington, D.C.[105] This infuriated pro-slavery Southerners, who attempted to prevent acknowledgement or discussion of the petitions. On December 18, 1835 South Carolina congressman James H. Hammond strongly denounced abolitionists as "ignorant fanatics". Northern Whigs objected that anti-slavery petitions were constitutional and should not be forbidden. [105] Jackson wanted the issue of these petitions resolved quickly. South Carolina Representative Henry L. Pinckney drafted and introduced a resolution that denounced the petitions as "sickly sentimentality", declared that Congress had no right to interfere with slavery, and tabled (gag rule) all further anti-slavery petitions. Jackson leaders in Congress supported the measure, which was passed quickly and without any debate; temporarily suppressing pro-abolitionist activities in Congress.[105]

Anti-slavery Congressional petitions

During the summer of 1835, controversy over slavery was rekindled throughout the nation, as had similarly taken place during the divisive 1819–1820 Missouri Compromise debates.[104] Northern abolitionists were sending anti-slavery tracts through the U.S. Postal system into the South.[104] Pro slavery Southerners objected believing the tracts were "incendiary literature" and demanded that the postal service unconditionally ban the sending of any anti-slavery tracts into the South. On July 29, a mob of 300 conservatives broke into the Post Office in Charleston, South Carolina and proceeded to seize and destroy abolitionist tracts. The Jackson Administration had Southern sympathies over slavery and was hostile to abolitionism.[104] However, Jackson, who demanded sectional peace, desired to placate Southerners; at the same time resisting antislavery demands without ignoring the interests of Northern Democrats. Jackson's Postmaster General Amos Kendall gave Southern postmasters discretionary powers to either send or detain the anti-slavery tracts. Jackson angrily denounced Northern abolitionists and suggested that the names of abolitionist authors should be published. Jackson, who wanted the matter quickly resolved, also suggested the tracts be mailed only to subscribers.[104] In February 1836, Senator John C. Calhoun, Jackson's former Vice President, authored a bill that would prohibit the sending of any anti-slavery tracts via the federal mail service. The bill however failed to gain enough votes to pass in the House. Many Southern postmasters, however, disregarded matters of federal law and simply refused to send the anti-slavery tracts.[104]

Anti-slavery tracts

Slavery controversies

Afterwards, due to public curiosity concerning the double misfires, the pistols were tested and retested. Each time they performed perfectly. Many believed that Jackson had been protected by the same Providence that they believed also protected their young nation. The incident became a part of the Jacksonian mythos.

Lawrence told doctors later his reasons for the shooting. He blamed Jackson for the loss of his job. He claimed that with the President dead, "money would be more plenty" (a reference to Jackson's struggle with the Bank of the United States) and that he "could not rise until the President fell". Finally, he told his interrogators that he was a deposed English King—specifically, Richard III, dead since 1485—and that Jackson was his clerk. He was deemed insane and was institutionalized.

On January 30, 1835, what is believed to be the first attempt to kill a sitting President of the United States occurred just outside the United States Capitol. When Jackson was leaving through the East Portico after the funeral of South Carolina Representative Warren R. Davis, Richard Lawrence, an unemployed house painter from England, aimed a pistol at Jackson, which misfired. Lawrence pulled out a second pistol, which also misfired. Historians believe the humid weather contributed to the double misfiring.[103] Lawrence was restrained, and legend says that Jackson attacked Lawrence with his cane. Others present, including David Crockett, restrained and disarmed Lawrence.

The first recorded physical attack on a U.S. president was directed at Jackson. Jackson had ordered the dismissal of Robert B. Randolph from the Alexandria, Randolph appeared and struck the President. He fled the scene chased by several members of Jackson's party, including the well-known writer Washington Irving. Jackson decided not to press charges.[7]

Richard Lawrence's attempt on Jackson's life, as depicted in an 1835 etching.

Attack and assassination attempt

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.[100] The censure was a political maneuver spearheaded by Jackson-rival Senator Henry Clay, which served only to perpetuate the animosity between him and Jackson.[101] During the proceedings preceding the censure, Jackson called Clay "reckless and as full of fury as a drunken man in a brothel", and the issue was highly divisive within the Senate, however the censure was approved 26–20 on March 28.[101] When the Jacksonians had a majority in the Senate, the censure was expunged after years of effort by Jackson supporters, led by Thomas Hart Benton, who though he had once shot Jackson in a street fight, eventually became an ardent supporter of the president.[101][102]

Basically the trouble was the 19th-century cyclical economy of "boom and bust," which was following its regular pattern, but Jackson's financial measures contributed to the crash. His destruction of the Second Bank of the United States had removed restrictions upon the inflationary practices of some state banks; wild speculation in lands, based on easy bank credit, had swept the West. To end this speculation, Jackson in 1836 had issued a Specie Circular requiring that lands be purchased with hard money—gold or silver. In 1837 the panic began. Hundreds of banks and businesses failed. Thousands lost their lands. For about five years the United States was wracked by the worst depression thus far in its history.
— official biography of Martin Van Buren[99]
notes, [98], who took office in 1837.Martin Van Buren. It took years for the economy to recover from the damage, however the bulk of the damage was blamed on depression, which threw the national economy into a deep Panic of 1837 that 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, causing the executive order, an Specie Circular Three years later, Jackson issued the [97]In 1833, Jackson removed federal deposits from the bank, whose money-lending functions were taken over by the legions of local and state banks that materialized across America, thus drastically increasing credit and speculation.

Removal of deposits and censure

[96] Jackson believed the solid victory was a popular mandate for his veto of the Bank's recharter and his continued warfare on the Bank's control over the national economy. [95] Wirt received only 8 percent of the popular vote and 7 electoral votes while the Anti-Masonic Party folded.[95] Clay received 37 percent of the popular vote and 49 electoral votes.[95] Jackson himself made numerous popular public appearances on his return trip from Tennessee to Washington D.C. Jackson won the election decisively by a landslide, receiving 55 percent of the popular vote and 219 electoral votes.[95] Democratic newspapers, parades, barbecues, and rallies increased Jackson's popularity. [95] During the

In 1816 the Second Bank of the United States was charted by President James Madison to restore the United States economy devastated by the War of 1812. [92] In 1823 President James Monroe appointed Nicholas Biddle, the Bank's third and last executive, to run the bank. In January 1832 Biddle, on advice from his friends, submitted to Congress a renewal of the Bank's charter four years before the original 20-year charter was to end. [93] Biddle's recharter bill passed the Senate on June 11 and the House on July 3, 1832.[93] Jackson, believing that Bank was fundamentally a corrupt monopoly whose stock was mostly held by foreigners, vetoed the bill.[93] Jackson used the issue to promote his democratic values, believing the Bank was being run exclusively for the wealthy.[93] Jackson stated the Bank made "the rich richer and the potent more powerful."[93] The National Republican Party immediately made Jackson's veto of the Bank a political issue, attempting to undermine Jackson's popularity.[94] Jackson's political opponents castigated Jackson's veto as "the very slang of the leveller and demagogue," claiming Jackson was using class warfare to gain support from the common man.[93]

1833 Democratic cartoon shows Jackson destroying the devil's Bank

Bank veto and Election of 1832

Jackson, however, was unsuccessful in opening trade with China and Japan. [91] Jackson was unsuccessful at thwarting Great Britain's presence and power in South America. Jackson's attempt to purchase Texas from Mexico for $5,000,000 failed. [91] Jackson's agent in Texas, Colonel Anthony Butler, suggested to take Texas over militarily, but Jackson refused. Butler was later replaced toward the end of Jackson's presidency. [91]

In addition to France, the Jackson administration successfully settled spoliation claims with Denmark, Portugal, and Spain. [91] Jackson's state department was active and successful at making trade agreements with Russia, Spain, Turkey, Great Britain, and Siam. Under the treaty of Great Britain, American trade was reopened in the West Indies. [91] The trade agreement with Siam was America's first treaty between the United States and an Asiatic country. As a result, American exports increased 75% while imports increased 250%. [91]

When Jackson took office in 1829 spoliation claims, or compensation demands for the capture of American ships and sailors, dating from the Napoleonic era, caused strained relations between the U.S. and French governments. [89] The French Navy had captured and sent American ships to Spanish ports while holding their crews captive forcing them to labor without any charges or judicial rules. According to Secretary of State Martin Van Buren relations between the U.S. and France were "hopeless".[89] Jackson's Minister to France William C. Rives, however, through diplomacy was able to convince the French government to sign a reparations treaty on July 4, 1831 that would award the U.S. ₣ 25,000,000 ($5,000,000) in damages.[90] The French government became delinquent in payment due to internal financial and political difficulties. The French king Louis Philippe I and his ministers blamed the French Chamber of Deputies. [89] By 1834 the non-payment of reparations by the French government drew Jackson's ire and he became impatient. In his December 1834 State of the Union address, Jackson sternly reprimanded the French government for non-payment, stating the federal government was "wholly disappointed" by the French, and demanded Congress authorize trade reprisals against France. [89] Feeling insulted by Jackson's words, the French people demanded an apology. In his December 1835 State of the Union Address, Jackson refused to apologize, stating he had a good opinion of the French people and his intentions were peaceful. Jackson described in lengthy and minute detail the history of events surrounding the treaty and his belief that the French government was purposely stalling payment. The French government accepted Jackson's statements as sincere and in February 1836, American reparations were finally paid. [89]

Jackson's Minister to France William C. Rives successfully negotiated a reparations treaty with France in 1831.

Foreign affairs

Jackson asked Congress to pass a "Force Bill" explicitly authorizing the use of military force to enforce the tariff, but its passage was delayed 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. On May 1, 1833, Jackson wrote, "the tariff was only the pretext, and disunion and southern confederacy the real object. The next pretext will be the negro, or slavery question."[88]

In response to South Carolina's nullification claim, Jackson vowed to send troops to South Carolina to enforce the laws. In December 1832, he issued a resounding proclamation against the "nullifiers", stating that he considered "the power to annul a law of the United States, assumed by one State, incompatible with the existence 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."[87]

At the first Democratic National Convention, which was privately engineered by members of the Kitchen Cabinet, Calhoun and Jackson broke from each other politically and Van Buren replaced Calhoun as Jackson's running mate in the 1832 presidential election.[86] In December 1832, Calhoun resigned as Vice President to become a U.S. Senator for South Carolina.

Particularly notable was an incident at the April 13, 1830, Jefferson Day dinner, involving after-dinner toasts. Robert Hayne began by toasting to "The Union of the States, and the Sovereignty of the States". Jackson then rose, and in a booming voice added "Our federal Union: It must be preserved!" – a clear challenge to Calhoun. Calhoun clarified his position by responding "The Union: Next to our Liberty, the most dear!"[85]

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 that went against its interests. Although Jackson sympathized with the South in the tariff debate, he also vigorously supported 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.

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.

Nullification crisis

Jackson's theory regarding rotation of office generated what would later be called the spoils system, a practice that Jackson, ironically, didn't justify. [77] The political realities of Washington, however, ultimately forced Jackson to make partisan appointments despite his personal reservations.[82] Historians believe Jackson's presidency marked the beginning of an era of decline in public ethics. [83] Supervision of bureaus and departments whose operations were outside of Washington (such as the New York Customs House; the Postal Service; the Departments of Navy and War; and the Bureau of Indian Affairs, whose budget had enormously increased in the past two decades) proved to be difficult.[83] Other aspects of the spoils system including the buying of offices, forced political party campaign participation, and collection of assessments, did not take place until after Jackson's presidency. [84] During Jackson's presidency, those in opposition to Jackson's purging of office holders, formed the Whig Party, calling Jackson "King Andrew I" having feared his military background, and named their party after the English parliamentary Whigs who opposed eighteenth century British monarchy. [84]

Upon assuming the presidency in 1829 Jackson enforced the Tenure of Office Act, passed earlier into law by President James Monroe in 1820, that limited appointed office tenure and authorized the president to remove and appoint political party associates. [77] Jackson believed that a rotation in office was actually a democratic reform preventing father-to-son succession of office and made civil service responsible to the popular will. [77] Jackson declared that rotation of appointments in political office was "a leading principle in the republican creed".[72] Jackson noted, "In a country where offices are created solely for the benefit of the people no one man has any more intrinsic right to official station than another."[78] Jackson believed that rotating political appointments would prevent the development of a corrupt bureaucracy. Opposed to this view however, were Jackson's supporters who in order to strengthen party loyalty wanted to give the posts to other party members. In practice, this would have meant the continuation of the patronage system by replacing federal employees with friends or party loyalists.[79] The number of federal office holders removed by Jackson were exaggerated by his opponents; Jackson only rotated about 20% of federal office holders during his first term, some for dereliction of duty rather than political purposes. [80] Jackson, however, did use his image and presidential power to award his loyal Democratic Party followers by granting them federal office appointments. Jackson's democratic approach incorporated patriotism for country as qualification for holding office. Having appointed a soldier who had lost his leg fighting on the battlefield to a postmastership Jackson stated "If he lost his leg fighting for his country, that is ... enough for me." [81]

Rotation in office and spoils system

Jackson's time in the presidency as saw various improvements in financial provisions for veterans and their dependents. The Service Pension Act of 1832, for instance, provided pensions to veterans "even where there existed no obvious financial or physical need,"[75] while an Act of July 1836 enabled widows of Revolutionary War soldiers who met certain criteria to receive their husband's pensions.[76]

Jackson repeatedly called for the abolition of the Electoral College by constitutional amendment in his annual messages to Congress as President.[72][73] In his third annual message to Congress, he expressed the view "I have heretofore recommended amendments of the Federal Constitution giving the election of President and Vice-President to the people and limiting the service of the former to a single term. So important do I consider these changes in our fundamental law that I can not, in accordance with my sense of duty, omit to press them upon the consideration of a new Congress."[74]

In an effort to purge the government from corruption of previous administrations, Jackson launched presidential investigations into all executive Cabinet offices and departments. [70] During Jackson's tenure in office, large amounts of public money were put in the hands of public officials. Jackson, who believed appointees should be hired by merit, withdrew many candidates he believed were lax in their handling of monies. [70] Jackson asked Congress to reform embezzlement laws, reduce fraudulent applications for federal pensions, revenue laws to prevent evasion of custom duties, and laws to improve government accounting. Jackson's Postmaster Barry resigned after a Congressional investigation into the postal service revealed mismanagement of mail services, collusion and favoritism in awarding lucrative contracts, failure to audit accounts and supervise contract performances. Jackson replaced Barry with Amos Kendall, who went on to implement much needed reforms in the Postal Service. [71]

BEP engraved portrait of Jackson as President.
BEP engraved portrait of Jackson as President.

Initiated reforms


  • Treaty between the United States of America and the United Nation of Chippewa, Ottowa, and Potawatamie Indians [69]
February 21, 1835


Jackson's initiatives to deal with the conflicts between Indians and American settlers has been a source of controversy[57][58] on and off over the years,[59] especially among his political opponents at the time and ideological opponents since.[60][61] Modern historians,[62] such as Arthur Schlesinger, Jr., often note the history of American conflicts with Indians[63][64] dating to long before the American revolution, and the ultimate need for a solution which Jackson and congress partly achieved. Starting around 1970, the controversy picked up again, this time with more ideological tones. Around that time, Jackson came under sharp attack from revisionist writers on the left, such as Michael Paul Rogin and Howard Zinn, often on on this issue.[65][66] In 1969 Francis Paul Prucha argued that Jackson's removal of the "Five Civilized Tribes" from the very hostile white environment in the Old South to Oklahoma probably saved their very existence.[67][68]

The treaty was enforced by Jackson's successor, Van Buren, who sent 7,000 troops to carry out the relocation policy. Due to the infighting between political factions, many Cherokees thought their appeals were still being considered when the relocation began.[55] It was subsequent to this that as many as 4,000 Cherokees died on the "Five Civilized Tribes".[54] More than 45,000 American Indians were relocated to the West during Jackson's administration, though a few Cherokees walked back afterwards or migrated to the high Smoky Mountains along the North Carolina and Tennessee border.[56]

The state of John Ridge negotiated the Treaty of New Echota with Jackson's representatives. Ridge was not a widely recognized leader of the Cherokee Nation, and this document was rejected by some as illegitimate.[53] A group of Cherokees petitioned in protest of the proposed removal, though this wasn't taken up by the Supreme Court or the U.S. Congress, in part due to delays and timing.[54]

In his December 8, 1829, First Annual Message to Congress, Jackson advocated land west of the Mississippi River be set aside for Indian tribes. Congress had been developing its own Indian relocation bill, and Jackson had many supporters in both the Senate and House who agreed with his goal. On May 26, 1830 Congress passed the Indian Removal Act, and Jackson signed it into law. The Act authorized the President to negotiate treaties to buy tribal lands in the east in exchange for lands further west, outside of existing U.S. state borders.[49] The passage of the bill was Jackson's first successful legislative triumph and marked the Democratic party's emergence into American political society.[49] The passage of the act was especially popular in the South where population growth and the discovery of gold on Cherokee land had increased pressure on tribal lands.

[49] As such, during Jackson's presidency, Indian relations between the Southern tribes and the state governments had reached a critical juncture.[47] American relations, in that it marked federal action and a policy of relocation.Anglo Jackson's presidency thus took place in a new era in Indian-[47], who tended to follow the policy of his own predecessors, that of letting the problem play itself out with minimal intervention.John Q. Adams This contrasted from his immediate predecessor, President [47] Though relations between Europeans (and later Americans) and Indians were always complicated, they grew increasingly complicated once American settlements began pushing further west in the years after the

Throughout his eight years in office, Jackson made about 70 treaties with native American tribes both in the South and the Northwest.[49] Jackson's presidency marked a new era in Indian-Anglo American relations initiating a policy of Indian removal. [47] Jackson himself sometimes participated in the treaty negotiating process with various Indian tribes, though other times he left the negotiations to his subordinates. The southern tribes included the Choctaw, Creek, Chickasaw, Seminole and the Cherokee. The northwest tribes include the Chippewa, Ottawa, and the Potawatomi. Though conflict between Indians and American settlers took place in the north and in the south, the problem was worse in the south where the Indian populations were larger. Indian wars broke out repeatedly, often when native tribes, especially the Muscogee and Seminole Indians, refused to abide by the treaties for various reasons.[50] The Second Seminole War, started in December 1835, lasted over six years finally ending in August 1842 under President John Tyler.[50]

Jackson's Indian Removal Act and subsequent treaties resulted in the transplantation of several Indian tribes and the Trail of Tears

Indian removal policy

Van Buren, Eaton, and Calhoun resigned office over the affair while Jackson dismissed the rest of his pro-Calhoun cabinet members except Postmaster William T. Barry. Jackson nominated Van Buren to be Minister to England, however, Calhoun's supporters in the Senate blocked the nomination giving Calhoun, who had continued to be Vice President and President of the Senate until December 1832, the deciding vote against Van Buren and blocked the nomination. Calhoun publically castigated and boasted that Van Buren's political career was over, stating the defeated nomination would "...kill him, sir, kill dead. He will never kick, sir, never kick." [47] This rumor however proved to be false as Van Buren, who played a leading role in the Jackson's unofficial Kitchen Cabinet, allied with Jackson and became Jackson's successor and Vice Presidential candidate in 1832. Jackson also acquired the Globe paper that was sympathetic with him.[48] [47]

Jackson devoted a considerable amount of his presidential time during his first years in office responding to what came to be known as the Eaton affair. [45] Vicious Washington gossip circulated among Jackson's Cabinet members and their wives including Vice President John C. Calhoun's wife Floride concerning Secretary of War John H. Eaton and his wife Peggy. Bitter rumors spread that Peggy was loose in her morals while working at her father's tavern when her naval officer husband was away at sea. After Peggy's husband died at sea, both Eaton and Peggy were criticized for their perceived early marriage. Initially Jackson thought that Henry Clay was behind the gossip, but then he eventually concluded Calhoun was responsible for spreading the rumors. Both Jackson and Van Buren defended Eaton and his wife Peggy, however Calhoun's wife Floride and the wives of Jackson's pro-Calhoun Cabinet members publicly shunned both Eaton and Peggy.[45][46]

Secretary of War
John H. Eaton

Petticoat politics

On March 4, 1829, Andrew Jackson became the first United States president-elect to take the oath of office on the East Portico of the U.S. Capitol.[44] Jackson was the first President to invite the public to attend the White House ball honoring his first inauguration. Many poor people came to the inaugural ball in their homemade clothes. The crowd became so large that Jackson's guards could not keep them out of the White House, which became so crowded with people that dishes and decorative pieces inside were eventually broken. Some people stood on good chairs in muddied boots just to get a look at the President. The crowd had become so wild that the attendants poured punch in tubs and put it on the White House lawn to lure people outside. Jackson's raucous populism earned him the nickname "King Mob".


Jackson believed that the president's authority was derived from the people and the presidential office was above party politics. [41] Instead of choosing party favorites, Jackson chose "plain, businessmen" whom he intended to control.[41] Jackson chose Martin Van Buren as Secretary of State, John Eaton Secretary of War, Samuel Ingham Secretary of Treasury, John Branch Secretary of Navy, John Berrien as Attorney General, and William T. Barry as postmaster general. [42] Jackson's first choice of Cabinet proved to be unsuccessful, full of bitter partisanship and gossip, especially between Eaton, Vice President John C. Calhoun, and Van Buren. [42] By the Spring of 1831, only Barry remained, while the rest of Jackson's cabinet had been discharged.[43] Jackson's following cabinet selections worked better together.[42]

Jackson's name has been associated with Jacksonian democracy or the spread of democracy in terms of the passing of political power from established elites to ordinary voters based in political parties. "The Age of Jackson" shaped the national agenda and American politics. [40] Jackson's philosophy as President followed much in the same line as Thomas Jefferson, advocating Republican values held by the Revolutionary War generation. [41] Jackson's presidency held a high moralistic tone; having as a planter himself agrarian sympathies, a limited view of states rights and the federal government. [41] Jackson feared that monied and business interests would corrupt republican values. When South Carolina opposed the tariff law he took a strong line in favor of nationalism and against secession.

President Andrew Jackson
New York: Ritchie & Co. (1860)

Presidency 1829–1837

The campaign was very much a personal one. As was the custom at the time, neither candidate personally campaigned, but their political followers organized many campaign events. Both candidates were rhetorically attacked in the press, which reached a low point when the press accused Jackson's wife Rachel of bigamy. Though the accusation was true, as were most personal attacks leveled against him during the campaign, it was based on events that occurred many years prior (1791 to 1794). Jackson said he would forgive those who insulted him, but he would never forgive the ones who attacked his wife. Rachel died suddenly on December 22, 1828, before his inauguration, and was buried on Christmas Eve. He blamed the Adams campaigners for her death. "May God Almighty forgive her murderers," he swore at her funeral. "I never can."[38] Jackson also came under heavy attack as a slave trader who bought and sold slaves and moved them about in defiance of modern standards or morality. (He was not attacked for merely owning slaves used in plantation work.)[39]

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.[37]

The Jackson coalition handily defeated Adams in 1828. [36] After resigning the Senate in October 1825, he continued his quest for the Presidency. The Tennessee legislature again nominated Jackson for President. He attracted Vice President [35] Jackson denounced the "corrupt bargain" that put Adams in the White House and laid plans for a crusade to oust Adams from office.

"Some account of the bloody deeds of General Andrew Jackson," c. 1828

Election of 1828

. As none of Kentucky's electors had initially voted for Adams, and Jackson had won the popular vote, some Kentucky politicians criticized Clay for violating the will of the people in return for personal political favors. Jackson's defeat burnished his political credentials, however; many voters believed the "man of the people" had been robbed by the "corrupt aristocrats of the East". Secretary of State" because Clay gave his state's support to Adams, who subsequently appointed Clay as corrupt bargain, which chose Adams. Jackson supporters denounced this result as a "House of Representatives were split four ways, with Jackson having a plurality. Because no candidate received a majority, the election was decided by the electoral votes were also candidates. Jackson received the most popular votes (but not a majority, and four states had no popular ballot). The Henry ClayBesides Jackson and Crawford, the Secretary of State John Quincy Adams and House Speaker

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 national 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. Those who attended backed Treasury Secretary William H. Crawford for President and Albert Gallatin for Vice President. A Pennsylvania convention nominated Jackson for President a month later, stating that the irregular caucus ignored the "voice of the people" and was a "vain hope that the American people might be thus deceived into a belief that he [Crawford] was the regular democratic candidate".[33] Gallatin criticized Jackson as "an honest man and the idol of the worshipers of military glory, but from incapacity, military habits, and habitual disregard of laws and constitutional provisions, altogether unfit for the office".[34]

Jackson in 1824, painting by Thomas Sully

Election of 1824

The executions, and Jackson's invasion of territory belonging to Spain, a country with which the U.S. was not at war, created an international incident. Many in the Monroe administration called for Jackson to be censured. The Secretary of State, John Quincy Adams, an early believer in Manifest Destiny, defended Jackson. 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."[32] Adams used Jackson's conquest, and Spain's own weakness, to get Spain to cede Florida to the United States by the Adams–Onís Treaty. Jackson was subsequently named Florida's military governor and served from March 10, 1821, to December 31, 1821.

The Seminole attacked Jackson's Tennessee volunteers. The Seminole attack left their villages vulnerable, and Jackson burned their houses and the crops. He found letters that indicated that the Spanish and British were secretly assisting the Indians. Jackson believed that the United States could not be secure as long as Spain and the British 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 actions struck fear into the Seminole tribes as word spread of his ruthlessness in battle (he became known as "Sharp Knife").

Jackson served in the military again during 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".[30] Jackson believed the best way to do this was to seize Florida. Before going, Jackson wrote to Monroe, "Let it be signified to me through any channel ... that the possession of the Floridas would be desirable to the United States, and in sixty days it will be accomplished."[31] Monroe gave Jackson orders that were purposely ambiguous, sufficient for international denials.

Trial of Robert Ambrister during the Seminole War. Ambrister was one of two British subjects executed by General Jackson. (1848)

First Seminole War

Civilian authorities in New Orleans had reason to fear Jackson. But they fared better than did the six members of the militia whose executions, ordered by Jackson, would surface as the Coffin Handbills during his 1828 Presidential campaign. Nonetheless, Jackson became a national hero for his actions in this battle and the War of 1812.[27] By a resolution on February 27, 1815, Jackson received the Thanks of Congress as well as a Congressional Gold Medal.[28] Alexis de Tocqueville, "underwhelmed" by Jackson, later commented in Democracy in America that Jackson "... was raised to the Presidency, and has been maintained there, solely by the recollection of a victory which he gained, twenty years ago, under the walls of New Orleans."[29]

Jackson ordered the arrest of U. S. District Court Judge Dominic A. Hall in March 1815, after the judge signed a writ of habeas corpus on behalf of a Louisiana legislator that Jackson had arrested.[23] Louis Louaillier had written an anonymous piece in the New Orleans newspaper, challenging Jackson's refusal to release the militia, after the British ceded the field of battle.[24] Jackson had claimed the authority to declare martial law over the entire City of New Orleans, not merely his "camp."[25] After ordering the arrest of a Louisiana legislator, a federal judge, a lawyer and after intervention of Joshua Lewis, a State Judge, who was simultaneously serving under Jackson in the militia, and who also signed a writ of habeas corpus against Jackson, his commanding officer, seeking Judge Hall's release, Jackson relented.[26]

Enforced martial law New Orleans

Jackson's service in the War of 1812 against the United Kingdom was conspicuous for bravery and success. When British forces threatened 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. They said he was "tough as old hickory" wood on the battlefield, and he acquired the nickname of "Old Hickory". In the Battle of New Orleans on January 8, 1815, Jackson's 5,000 soldiers won a decisive victory over 7,500 British. At the end of the battle, the British had 2,037 casualties: 291 dead (including three senior generals), 1,262 wounded, and 484 captured or missing. The Americans had 71 casualties: 13 dead, 39 wounded, and 19 missing.[22]

The Battle of New Orleans. General Andrew Jackson stands on the parapet of his makeshift defenses as his troops repulse attacking Highlanders, by painter Edward Percy Moran in 1910.

Battle of New Orleans

According to author Gloria Jahoda, the Creeks coined their own name for him, Jacksa Chula Harjo or "Jackson, old and fierce".[21]

[20]. The warrior faction of the Creek nation and the British, however, did not formally recognize the treaty. Treaty of Fort Jackson Jackson also confiscated land from Indians who had sided with the Americans. Jackson stated that the terms must be accepted or the tribe would be forcefully removed to Florida. On August 9, 1814, 35 Indian elder leaders signed Jackson's [20]

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