Andrew Jackson (president from 1828-1836)
By Richard E. Noble
Andrew Jackson is a Charles Dickens' novel. A young boy at the time of the American Revolution, he still manages to get involved in the fighting and nearly killed. His eldest brother gets killed and he, thirteen, and his sixteen year old brother get captured. He refuses to polish the boots of a British officer and the officer puts the saber to both he and his brother. They are then marched, without treatment for their wounds, forty miles to prison. His brother dies from complications from his saber wounds and Andrew is only saved by his mother's nursing and his strong constitution. Shortly thereafter his Mother dies and he is now an orphan.
At seventeen or eighteen he somehow gets interested in the law; gets his law degree and by twenty one, has his own practice in Tennessee. He then gets involved with the extremely attractive Rachel Robards. She is married but separated from her husband, a very jealous and violent man. After insult and threat, Andrew challenges the man to a duel. The man knowing Andrew's reputation declines the opportunity. In one account, Andrew follows the man for miles on foot to town, brandishing a knife and challenging Mr. Robards to fight like a man. The man ignores him, and Andrew eventually marries Rachel.
He joins the militia, gets elected to the House of Representatives and then to the U.S. Senate. He then gets involved in fighting Indians. He hates Indians and has little respect for them throughout his life. He considers them an inferior race. He chases them all, by gun and later by legislation, west of the Mississippi. In his Farewell Address he compliments himself and praises his ridding the nation of the Indians as one of the greatest accomplishments of his life and his administration.
In 1815 (you know the song) he beats the bloody British at the town New Orleans. The British lose thousands and he but a handful. He is a hero even though the battle took place a month after a peace treaty had been signed at Ghent, in Europe.
The franchise is extended to non-propertied males in some states and Jackson finally gets elected president in 1828, after loosing a very close and controversial election in 1824 to J.Q. Adams. He is now the most popular man in America, rivaling the legacy of even George Washington.
He is not only elected by the "common" man, but considers himself to be a common man, and is considered by his better off opponents as all too "common". At his inauguration the White House is nearly wrecked. His all too common friends trash the place, drinking and brawling and the American aristocrats see in this the sad, future collapse of democracy.
His eight years as president are rugged. He takes on everybody. If anybody should have had a sign on his desk saying, THE BUCK STOPS HERE, it should have been Andrew Jackson. He fights the States on Nullification; the legislature and business community on tariffs; and the entire federal banking system on the perils of monopoly, and paper money.
Reading the little that I now have on Andrew Jackson leaves me thirsting for more. This was a complicated, passionate man and is today ranked with Washington, Jefferson, and Lincoln in importance.