Andrew Jackson Biography
JACKSON, Andrew, seventh president of the United States, born in Waxhaw, South Carolina, March 15, 1767; died June 8, 1845. His father, Andrew Jackson, was an Irish Scotchman, who emigrated to America in 1765 and died in 1767. His mother's name was Elizabeth Hutchinson, upon whom devolved the supervision of his early training. While it is not definitely known what schools he attended, it is certain that his early education was very limited. In 1781 he took up arms against the British, was taken prisoner, and afterward received a wound from an officer whose boots he refused to clean. Though intended for the ministry by his mother, he entered upon the study of law at Salisbury, North Carolina, in 1785, and three years later went to Nashville, Tennessee, where he entered upon the practice of law. In 1796 he served as a member of the convention which formulated the constitution of Tennessee, and in the same year was elected to congress, the state then being entitled to only one representative. He supported Thomas Jefferson for the presidency in 1796, became a United States senator in 1797, but resigned his seat the following year to become a judge of the state court of Tennessee, in which capacity he served until 1804.
Jackson took part in the Tennessee Indian wars, showing marked courage, and was appointed major-general of militia, and, when war was declared against Great Britain in 1812, he offered his services and those of 2,500 volunteers. Soon after he led a body of 2,070 men in the direction of New Orleans, but in February, 1813, received an order at Natchez by which his troops were dismissed from public service. In October of the same year tie commanded a force against the Creek Indians, whom he defeated at Talladega in November. The victory at Horseshoe Bend destroyed the Creek power, while his vigorous service gave him marked popularity and led to his appointment as major-general in the regular army. In 1814 he was ordered to the Gulf of Mexico to resist an expected British invasion, where he seized Pensacola, then used as a base for British operations. In December he moved his army to New Orleans, where he gained decisive victories over the British in two engagements, and subsequently defeated them in a decisive battle on Jan. 8, 1815, in which he repulsed 12,000 British veterans with a loss of 2,600, while the Americans lost only thirteen wounded and six killed. The battle was the last of the war, and was fought fifteen days after the treaty of peace had been signed at Ghent, information of which had not reached Genera Jackson. He commanded in the war against the Seminoles of Florida in 1817-18, seized Pensacola, and executed Ambrister and Arbuthnot, two Englishmen who were accused of inciting the savages to hostile acts against the Americans. In 1821 he was appointed governor of Florida and two years later became United States senator from Tennessee.
The legislature of Tennessee proposed General Jackson as a candidate for the presidency in 1821 His three competitors were Henry Clay, William H. Crawford, and J. Q. Adams, but the election resulted without a choice, since none of the candidates received a majority. The electoral college gave Jackson ninety-nine votes, Adams eighty-four, Crawford forty-one, and Clay thirty-seven. Later the result of the election in the house of representatives was favorable to Adams. In 1828 the democrats succeeded in electing General Jackson to the presidency with 178 electoral votes, while Adams received eighty-three; and he was reelected four years later. His policy in the civil service was to show a preference to the members of his own party, which was expressed by Senator Marcy, of New York, in this wise: "To the victor belongs the spoils." His prompt and decisive action in the question of nullification was an example of eminent statesmanship. The culminating event in this respect was brought about in 1832 by a protective tariff bill distasteful to South Carolina, which caused that state to pass a nullification act in which the law was declared inoperative and unconstitutional within its borders. Jackson acted promptly by issuing a proclamation in which he declared that the law would be enforced, and that state accordingly submitted. The veto of the bill rechartering the United States bank was another important act of his administration, which undoubtedly was in the interest of the American financial policy. He retired to private life at the expiration n of his term and resided at the Hermitage, rear Nashville, where he died and was buried.
The Teachers' and Pupils' Cyclopædia, Vol. II. (Kansas City: Bufton Book Co., 1909) 902-903.