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Wednesday, 2 September 2015

Andrew Jackson


Andrew Jackson was born on March 15, 1767 in  the Waxhaws region of North and South Carolina, southwest of the Uwharrie Mountains.

His parents were Scots-Irish colonists Andrew and Elizabeth Hutchinson Jackson, Presbyterians who had emigrated from Ireland two years earlier.

Jackson's father died in a logging accident in February 1767, at the age of 29, three weeks before his son Andrew was born.

He was the first U.S. President who was not born into a rich family. Jackson was not a wealthy man and did not have a college education.

As a boy Andrew Jackson was a messenger for the Continental Army. He was taken prisoner by the British during the American Revolution, when he was thirteen-years-old. He had refused to polish the boots of a British officer.

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 Jackson was "tough as old hickory" wood on the battlefield, and he acquired the nickname of "Old Hickory".

Jackson negotiated the sale of land in Western Tennessee from the Chickasaw Nation in 1818 (termed the Jackson Purchase). He was one of the three original investors who founded Memphis, Tennessee in 1819.

Andrew Jackson had a tomahawk tattoo on his thigh.


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;, who was subject to fits of jealous rage. The two were separated in 1790.

Jackson and Rachel went through a marriage ceremony. However, the marriage was not legal because she had not been granted a divorce from her first husband. They married legally three years later, but the controversy surrounding their marriage remained a sore point for Jackson, who deeply resented attacks on his wife's honor.

Andrew Jackson was involved in many as 100 duels, most of which were fought to defend his wife's honor. On May 30, 1806 he challenged a rival Southern plantation owner, Charles Dickinson to a duel, after Dickinson accused him of cheating on a horse race bet and insulted his wife. Jackson was shot in the chest, but managed to stay standing and shoot and killed his opponent. The bullet could not be safely removed and remained in his chest for the next 40 years. Jackson was not prosecuted for murder.

Andrew Jackson's famous duel over a horse

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. A distraught Jackson had to be pulled from her so the undertaker could prepare the body. Rachel had been under extreme stress during the election, and she had never done well when Jackson was away at war or work.

Rachel Donelson Jackson by Ralph E. W. Earl.

Andrew Jackson and Rachel had no children of their own but they had three adopted sons: Theodore, an Indian about whom little is known, 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.


Jackson defeated John Quincy Adams in the Presidential Election of 1828. He became President on March 4, 1829, the first Democrat to do so. Four years later Jackson was re-elected to a second term as President.

Andrew Jackson Official White House Portrait Ralph E.W. Earl (1835) Wiki Commons {{PD-US}} 

At his 1829 inauguration, Andrew Jackson invited the public to come to the White House for a 'cup-of-grog.' they did in droves, becoming a drunken mob.

During his Presidency, Jackson signed the Indian Removal Act which allowed the US government to violently force the Native Americans to move from their land and go west. Many Native Americans were killed and the path they walked to get to the west was called the Trail of Tears.

On June 6, 1833 Andrew Jackson became the first US President to ride on the railway. He boarded a Baltimore & Ohio Railroad train in Ellicott’s Mills, Maryland for a pleasure trip to Baltimore.

President Andrew Jackson is credited with the first use of a supporter's baby as a political prop, during an 1833 tour of the eastern states.

Jackson removed federal deposits from the Second Bank of the United States, 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. On March 28, 1834 The U.S. Senate voted to censure President Jackson for violating the US Constitution by his removal of federal deposits from the Second Bank.

The north façade of the Second Bank of the United States, By Beyond My Ken - Wikipedia Commons

In the first assassination attempt against a President of the United States on January 30, 1835, Richard Lawrence attempted to shoot President Andrew Jackson, but failed. Lawrence's unsuccessful attempts were noticed by Jackson, who proceeded to beat brutally him down with his cane. The crowd (which included Congressman Davy Crockett) then wrestled Lawrence into submission.

The etching of the assassination attempt.

The United States has been in debt every year in its history except very briefly for about a year around 1835 when Andrew Jackson was President.


Andrew Jackson lived most of his adult life with two bullets embedded in his body. One was removed without anesthetic after 20 years. The other was too close to his heart to be removed. It stayed there until his death.

Portrait by Ralph E. W. Earl, c. 1837.

Jackson died at his plantation on June 8, 1845, at the age of 78, of chronic tuberculosis, dropsy, and heart failure.

Andrew Jackson taught his pet parrot how to curse. During the former president's funeral, the parrot started to swear non-stop so it had to be removed.

The first bronze statue of Andrew Jackson was unveiled in Washington, DC in 1853.


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