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Andrew Jackson

— 7th President of the United States —

View full portraits at:
National Portrait Gallery or the White House Presidential Portrait Gallery

 

ELECTED FROM: Tennessee
POLITICAL PARTY:Democratic
TERM: March 4, 1829 to March 3, 1837

BORN: March 15, 1767
BIRTHPLACE: Waxhaw settlement on North Carolina-South Carolina border; site claimed by both states
DIED:June 8, 1845, The Hermitage near Nashville, Tennessee
OCCUPATION:Lawyer, soldier, planter
MARRIED: Rachel Donelson Robards, 1791
CHILDREN: Adopted son, Andrew Jackson, Jr., nephew of Mrs. Jackson

When the Revolutionary War started, Andy (as he was known then) Jackson was only nine. When the older men of the community of Waxhaw marched off to Charleston to fight the British, Andy Jackson stayed to protect the citizens of Waxhaw.

When the British first reached Waxhaw, Andy and his friends drove them away. But a few days later, the soldiers returned, and a skirmish took place. During the skirmish, Andy received a cut on his forehead from the sword of a British soldier. When the fight ended, the soldiers took Andy and his friends as prisoners of war. While in prison, smallpox broke out, and his brother and most of his friends died of the disease. His mother was able to convince the British commander to let Andy go before he got the disease, too. Fortunately, Andy did not get smallpox, but his mother did, and she died shortly after saving him from prison.

A few years later, Andrew Jackson joined the colonial army and fought in battles during the final year of the Revolutionary War. After the war, Jackson became a backwoods lawyer and a member of Congress who represented the state of Tennessee. When the War of 1812 broke out, "Old Hickory" (as he came to be known) remembered what the British had done to his family and friends and led the charge against the invaders. General Jackson led troops to many victories. The biggest was the defeat of the British in the Battle of New Orleans. The victory in New Orleans led to the end of the war.

When the war ended, many people began to mention Jackson for president. In 1824, he ran for president but lost the election to John Quincy Adams. Four years later, he ran again and won. This was the first election that was decided by the vote of the people, not the congressional caucus. Thus, Andrew Jackson became the first president of and for the common man.

As president, Jackson removed as much of the federal bureaucracy as possible. He replaced 2,000 federal workers with ordinary citizens, and he constantly fought against corrupt politicians. What he is most remembered for as president was his declaration, "Our Union – It must be preserved." Even though he was from the South, when South Carolina threatened to leave the Union, he fought it.

President Jackson was elected to a second term as president where he continued to fight as the people's champion. He retired to his home near Nashville, Tennessee – The Hermitage – where he died on June 8, 1845.


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