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Biography of Andrew Jackson


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ANDREW JACKSON, General and seventh President of the United States, was born at Waxhaw settlement, South Carolina, March 15th, 1767. His father, who was a Scotchman by birth, emigrated to America in 1765, and soon afterwards died, leaving to his widow a half-cleared farm in a new settlement, with no slaves to assist in its cultivation. When young Jackson grew up, he was sent to study for the church, but on the breaking out of the American revolution he and his brothers were summoned to the field, and the elder lost his life at Stono Ferry. Andrew, though but thirteen years old, fought with his remaining brother under Sumter, and remained with the army until the end of the war. The life of the camp had ruined him for the clerical office, so in 1784 he commenced the study of the law, and in 1787 was appointed solicitor for the western district of South Carolina, now the state of Tennessee. This frontier settlement had for its neighbors several powerful tribes of Indians, against whom Jackson fought with such success as to get from them the complimentary titles of "Sharp Knife" and "Pointed Arrow."

In 1796, he was a member of the convention which modelled the constitution and organized the state of Tennessee, and was elected to the legislature as representative, and then as senator, and appointed judge of the supreme court, (an office he soon resigned), and major-general of the state militia. In 1813, at an outbreak of hostilities with the Creek Indians, he raised a volunteer force of two or three thousand men and defeated them. When destitute of supplies, he is said to have set an example of endurance by feeding on hickory nuts, and hence according to some, to have acquired the popular sobriquet of "Old Hickory." Jackson's final victory, (March 27th, 1814) at the Horseshoe peninsula, in the Tallahoosa, completely broke the power of the Indians in North America.

In consequence of his skill and energy in Indian warfare, he was appointed a major-general of the army of the United States; and in the war of 1812, had command of the forces which captured Pensacola, and defended New Orleans against the attack of the British under General Packenham, December 1814. The result of this great victory, so flattering to the pride of Americans, gave General Jackson a great and enduring popularity. After Spain had ceded Florida to the United States, he was made governor of the territory, and subsequently was chosen United States senator from Tennessee. In 1824, he received the highest vote of four candidates for the presidency of the United States, but by the influence of Mr.Clay, John Quincy Adams, was elected by the House of Representatives. He was, however, in spite of bitter and violent opposition, elected by the Democratic party in 1828, and in 1831 re-elected by a still more overwhelming majority. His administration was marked by singular firmness. He vetoed important measures against large majorities, and after a long struggle, destroyed the Bank of the Unite States, and took the first steps towards a specie currency and independent treasury. But he manifested too much, perhaps, of a partisan spirit in removing nearly all his political opponents from office and appointing his supporters - an example followed by his successors of both parties, and which has led to wide corruption. His administration, as a whole, was successful, and he retired with undiminished popularity, after witnessing the election of his favorite, President Van Buren. He died at his farm of the Hermitage, near Nashville, June 8th, 1845.