Andrew Jackson



Andrew Jackson (March 15, 1767 – June 8, 1845 - (aged 78)) was the seventh President of the United States (1829–37). He was born near the end of the colonial era, somewhere near the then-unmarked border between North and South Carolina, into a recently immigrated Scots-Irish farming family of relatively modest means. During the American Revolutionary War Jackson, whose family supported the revolutionary cause, acted as a courier. He was captured, at age 13, and mistreated by his British captors. He later became a lawyer. He was elected to the U.S. House of Representatives, and then to the U.S. Senate. In 1801, Jackson was appointed colonel in the Tennessee militia, which became his political as well as military base. Jackson owned hundreds of slaves who worked on the Hermitage plantation which he acquired in 1804. He killed a man in a duel in 1806, over a matter of honor regarding his wife Rachel. Jackson gained national fame through his role in the War of 1812, most famously where he won a decisive victory over the main British invasion army at the Battle of New Orleans. In response to conflict with the Seminole in Spanish Florida, Jackson invaded the territory in 1818. This led directly to the Adams–Onís Treaty, which formally transferred Florida from Spain to the United States.

After winning election to the Senate, Jackson decided to run for president in 1824. He narrowly lost to John Quincy Adams, supposedly by a "corrupt bargain" between Adams and Speaker of the House Henry Clay, who was also a candidate. Jackson's supporters then founded what became the Democratic Party. Jackson ran again in 1828 against Adams. Building on his base in the West and new support from Virginia and New York, he won by a landslide. Jackson blamed the death of his wife, Rachel, which occurred just after the election, on the Adams campaigners who called her a "bigamist."

As president, Jackson faced a threat of secession from South Carolina over the "Tariff of Abominations" which Congress had enacted under Adams. In contrast to several of his immediate successors, he denied the right of a state to secede from the union, or to nullify federal law. The Nullification Crisis was defused when the tariff was amended and Jackson threatened the use of military force if South Carolina (or any other state) attempted to secede. In anticipation of the 1832 election, Congress, led by Clay, attempted to reauthorize the Second Bank of the United States four years before the expiration of its charter. In keeping with his platform of economic decentralization, Jackson vetoed the renewal of its charter, thereby seemingly putting his chances for reelection in jeopardy.

However, Jackson, by portraying himself as the defender of the common man against wealthy bankers, was able to defeat Clay in the election that year. Jackson thoroughly dismantled the bank by the time its charter expired in 1836. Jackson's struggles with Congress were personified in his personal rivalry with Clay, whom Jackson deeply disliked, and who led the opposition (the emerging Whig Party). Jackson's presidency marked the beginning of the ascendancy of the "spoils system" in American politics. Jackson is also known for having signed the Indian Removal Act, which relocated a number of native tribes in the South to Indian Territory (now Oklahoma). Jackson supported his vice president Martin Van Buren, who was elected president in 1836. He worked to bolster the Democratic Party and helped his friend James K. Polk win the 1844 presidential election.
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