He’s more than just the picture on the 20 dollar bill. The seventh president of the United States participated in many of the events that established our country.
Born in 1767, his father died the week before he was born. He was just thirteen years old when he joined the militia during the Revolutionary war. He and his brother were captured by the British. They suffered near starvation and physical abuse at the hands of British officers. By the end of the Revolution, Jackson’s brothers and mother had died. As a result Jackson was permanently scarred physical and intensely hated the British.
By the age of 21, Jackson had a prosperous legal career and was appointed Solicitor of the Western District. In the next 10 years, he was a delegate to the Tennessee constitutional convention, elected US Representative, and elected US Senator. And in 1804, he was appointed judge to the Tennessee Supreme Court. He served in the War of 1812 beginning as a colonel and being elected major general.
In 1818, Jackson, one of three land speculators in West Tennessee, had negotiated the sale of Chickasaw land. Although he’s better known for the war he fought against the Creek War. He led US and Indian Allies to defeat the Red Stick alliance in 1814.
In 1817, he interrupted President Monroe’s orders to ‘terminate the conflict’ as the go ahead to seize Florida from Spain. So it wasn’t a surprise when he was elected again to be a US Senator.
He lost his first run for presidency to John Quincy Adams in a contested race which left Jackson poised for a future election characterized as a ‘man of the people.’
Andrew Jackson became president in 1829. He founded the tradition of rotation of posts which he believed would limit corruption. He abolished the national bank. He paid off the National Debt in 1835 which was the last time the US was completely debt free.
His administration participated and promoted controversial policies which are considered low points in US History including the Indian Removal Act of 1830 and the forced move of more than 45,000 American Indians from their home land to relocation lands out West. And personally he participated, was wounded but killed Charles Dickinson in a duel.
These are only some of the exciting events that spanned his 78 years. An opinionated yet persuasive man, Andrew Jackson remains one of the most interesting figures in early 19th century US History.