As one of the earliest and most influential US Presidents, Andrew Jackson played a big role in the country’s history. On one hand, he championed democracy and popular sovereignty. However, his administration was also notorious for advocating against Native Americans and promoting slavery. Learn more about one of history’s most controversial people with these Andrew Jackson Facts.
- Andrew Jackson won the popular vote no less than 3 times in his political career.
- He also became the first US President to become a target for assassination.
- Jackson was also among the founders of the same Democratic Party that exists today.
- Jackson was a self-taught lawyer, a fact he shares with fellow US President Abraham Lincoln.
- Some sources claimed that Jackson had a reputation as a bully in his youth.
- Andrew Jackson’s mother Elizabeth Hutchinson gave birth to him on March 15, 1767.
- He shared the same first name as his father, Andrew.
- The elder Andrew Jackson actually died in an accident just 3 weeks before his youngest son’s birth.
- Both his parents originally immigrated to the USA from Ireland only 2 years ago in 1765.
- Jackson had 2 older brothers, Hugh and Robert Jackson, born in 1763 and 1765, respectively.
- Jackson entered formal schooling only after the American War of Independence.
- He entered politics as a representative for Tennessee to the US Congress in 1796.
- He later became a US Senator in 1797.
- Returning to Tennessee in 1798, he served as a court judge until 1804.
- In 1819, Jackson became one of the founders of the city of Memphis, Tennessee.
- Andrew Jackson owned 150 slaves at the start of his presidency.
- Jackson used those slaves to make his fortune in the cotton industry.
- His supporters gave him the nickname of Old Hickory.
- In contrast, his critics mocked him as King Andrew I.
- Jackson became the first US President to set policy independently from Congress.
Andrew Jackson personally suffered at British hands during the American War of Independence.
He and his older brother Robert served the Continental Army as couriers, delivering mail and other packages to and from the troops. In 1781, this led to their capture by the British, who tried to force Jackson into doing menial labor. In particular, they assigned him as a personal servant to a British officer, doing tasks like shining shoes. When Jackson refused to follow orders, the British officer slashed at Jackson with his sword. This left Jackson with scars on his hands and head, and a lifelong hatred against the British.
Andrew Jackson lost family during the American War of Independence.
His older brother Hugh Jackson died during the Battle of Stono Ferro, which took place on June 20, 1779. Both Jackson and his other older brother Robert caught smallpox while in British captivity, with Robert eventually dying from the disease. Their mother Elizabeth later caught cholera while working as a volunteer attending to Americans kept as prisoners by the British. She also died from the disease, with Jackson holding the British responsible for his mother and brothers’ deaths. This, in turn, only served to increase his lifelong hatred for the British.
Andrew Jackson married his wife while she was still married to another man.
Talk about eyebrow-raising examples of Andrew Jackson Facts. When she first met Jackson, Rachel Donelson was already married to Lewis Robards. Robards had a reputation for marital violence, leading to his separation from Rachel in 1790. Though she filed for an official divorce before she and Jackson married in 1791, wasn’t finalized yet at the time, technically making their marriage bigamous and illegal. After the divorce finally went through in 1794, she and Jackson had a second ceremony.
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The circumstances around Andrew and Rachel Jackson’s marriage weren’t uncommon on the frontier.
The rough and uncertain nature of life out on the frontier meant the formality and the like weren’t of much importance. Even more so, given their distance from the centers of formal government and authority. In fact, when it came to matters of marriage and divorce, general recognition by the community the couple lived in was usually enough.
Andrew Jackson once fought a duel over his wife.
The circumstances around their marriage made it a target for his enemies. In 1806, Charles Dickinson published an attack on Jackson over his marriage with Rachel in a local newspaper. Jackson responded by challenging Dickinson to a duel, with Dickinson shooting first and almost killing Jackson.
The bullet landed so close to his heart that doctors at the time refused to remove it, so Jackson kept the bullet in him to the day he died. While Dickinson failed to kill Jackson, Jackson had better aim and shot Dickinson dead. This gave him a reputation for violence and vengeance and left him a social outcast for a period of time.
Andrew Jackson was also involved in US Vice-President Burr’s treason case.
Aaron Burr served as the Vice-President for US President Thomas Jefferson. In 1806, Burr planned to launch a campaign to conquer Florida from the Spanish, a plan supported by Jackson. Jackson offered to provide boats, supplies, and other support for the expedition but softened his stance after he learned of Burr’s other plans.
These plans included seizing New Orleans and parts of Louisiana and forming a new empire under Burr. This led to Jackson becoming a witness in Burr’s treason trial, after his arrest under President Jefferson’s orders. Despite the President’s best efforts, however, Burr was ultimately cleared of all charges.
Andrew Jackson served as a general for the USA during the War of 1812.
The war resulted from British diplomacy making light of American interests in North America, as well as their support for anti-American native chiefs like Tecumseh. For their part, the Americans also wanted to reduce Britain and Spain’s continued presence in North America, particularly in Canada and Florida.
When the war broke out, Jackson immediately offered his services and over 2000 volunteers to the federal government. However, US President Madison delayed accepting their services, which Jackson interpreted as spite for his opposition to former US President Jefferson in the Burr Case.
Andrew Jackson first fought against Britain, Spain, and their native allies in 1813.
In particular, he fought against a group of Creek Indians called the Red Sticks, who unlike their fellow Creeks stood against the USA. In a campaign that lasted from January 1813 to November 1814, Jackson and his men forced the Spanish to surrender and the British to retreat.
The Creeks were also forced to surrender a large amount of land in what is now Alabama and Georgia to the USA. In an ironic example of Andrew Jackson Facts, Jackson’s own troops included a large number of Creeks opposed to the Red Sticks.
Andrew Jackson’s defense of New Orleans marked the height of his military career.
In December 1814, the British sent a massive fleet and army numbering around 10,000 men to take New Orleans. In contrast, Jackson had to hold them off with only around 5000 men under his own command. The battle lasted until January 1815, after which the British retreated, having lost over 2000 men.
In contrast, Jackson only lost 71 men, a feat which earned him a Congressional Gold Medal. His victory at New Orleans meant that despite losses in other battles, the USA managed to gain an edge over the British in peace negotiations. Though the British tried to reverse the losses of their native allies, Jackson’s victory at New Orleans allowed the USA to keep their gains.
Andrew Jackson paved the way for the USA to gain Florida.
In particular, he crushed the Seminole Indians and their Spanish allies between 1816 and 1818. In the process, he found and executed British agents working behind the scenes in Florida, which caused a diplomatic incident with Britain. Despite that, Jackson’s victories finally forced Spain to agree to sell Florida to the USA in 1819. Talk about truly historic examples of Andrew Jackson facts.
Andrew Jackson had strong opinions as the US President.
Jackson became the Seventh President of the United States after winning the 1828 Presidential Elections. As president, Jackson held strong populist views, arguing that government officials’ opinions mattered less than those of the public. He also opposed the Supreme Court’s binding authority and even argued that justices should stand for election instead of receiving appointments to their office. Jackson also called for the abolition of the electoral college, which led many historians to describe him as ahead of his time.
Andrew Jackson’s policies towards indigenous peoples became the most controversial part of his legacy.
Basically, he wanted to move all the Native American tribes in the southern USA to new lands in the west, which later became the reservations. To enforce this policy, Jackson negotiated 70 different treaties with the Native Americans, paying them to leave their historical lands for the new lands the US government would give them. Those that refused to leave had to follow state and federal laws, something that most Native Americans refused to do.
This led to a renewed eruption of violence in the south, leading to what historians call the Trail of Tears. Starting in 1830, Native Americans who refused to leave their historic lands for the reservations were instead forced to leave, usually with little to no supplies. Historians estimate over 10,000 Native Americans died until the relocations ended in 1850. This is definitely one of the darker Andrew Jackson facts.
Ironically, Andrew Jackson had Native American children.
One of the little-known Andrew Jackson facts is that despite his policies, he adopted three Native American children: Theodore, Andrew Junior, and Lyncoya. Theodore’s origins remain a mystery to this day, and little about his life has become known to history. Meanwhile, Andrew Junior was actually the son of Jackson’s brother-in-law Severn Donelson, while Lyncoya was an Native American that Jackson rescued as a baby. He found Lyncoya in the arms of his dead mother after a battle between his tribe and the US military.
Andrew Jackson nearly had to deal with a civil war as president.
It resulted from what has since become known as the Tariff of Abominations. It set a record high for imports and would have made it more difficult for southern states to sell their goods overseas. South Carolina, in particular, threatened to secede if the tariff passed Congress, leading Jackson to send federal troops as a warning against actually following through on the threat. In the end, the prospect of civil war led Congress to compromise on the tariff issue.
Andrew Jackson won his reelection in 1832 over a clash with a bank.
Particularly, Jackson experienced conflict with the Second Bank of the United States, chartered by former US President James Madison to help rebuild the US economy after the War of 1812. Jackson saw the bank as a monopoly that had the power to influence US politics. Thus, he fought to remove its influence during his first term in office, leading the bank to support Jackson’s opponent in the 1832 election.
This, however, only added to Jackson’s claims of the bank as working against the democratic process, leading to Jackson’s sweeping reelection. Despite the bank’s continued efforts to keep its power, Jackson and his allies in Congress finally managed to strip its charter during his second term in office.
Andrew Jackson became the only president to pay off the whole US debt in history.
Through revenue collected by his administration and the sale of public lands, Jackson successfully repaid the US debt during his term. His efforts to end financial mismanagement in the government also helped him get the money needed to pay off the USA’s debts.
Andrew Jackson opposed abolition.
This became another controversial element of his legacy, with Jackson siding with fellow southerners in standing against the end of slavery. In particular, he called on Congress to ban the publishing of anti-slavery materials in the southern USA. That said, he also opposed the idea of the southern states seceding from the USA to form their own country where slavery would stay legal indefinitely. At one point, Jackson even spoke on the subject, saying that he would die with the Union.
Andrew Jackson sponsored his successor as President of the United States.
That was his vice-president, Martin van Buren, who agreed to continue to maintain Jackson’s policies. This allowed Jackson to continue to influence the USA, even as he followed Washington’s tradition of never running for more than 2 terms in office. However, this split the Democratic Party over Jackson and van Buren’s opposition to admitting Texas into the Union.
Some historians consider Andrew Jackson the second George Washington.
This conclusion comes from his victory against the British at New Orleans, and how it gave the USA an edge in peace negotiations. These historians argue that if Washington won America’s independence from Britain, then Jackson won America recognition from Britain as an equal.
Andrew Jackson has appeared on American money since 1869.
Today, his face appears on the front of the $20 bill. Before, Jackson’s face appeared on the $5, $10, $20, and $10,000 bills.