Andrew Jackson

Andrew Jackson was elected president of the United States in 1828. He was a slave owner from Tennessee who was the first presidential candidate associated with the frontier. Jackson had served in the American Revolutionary war and had been a Prisoner of War. He went on to be a military governor of Florida, an army General who led the fight at the Battle of New Orleans (War of 1812), and a Congressman and later Senator from Tennessee. When elected President, he presented a more open and liberal attitude toward the "lower classes," and his presidency has been called by some historians "Jacksonian Democracy."

Prior to his years in the White House, he was a commanding officer in the " First Seminole War" and other conflicts with Native Americans. He was thought to be quite virulent in his conduct of these offensives. During his presidency, Jackson was an advocate of "Indian Removal." This "man of the people" owned quite a few enslaved people!!!!

Jackson appointed several of his friends to an "alternative" cabinent, which came to be known as the "kitchen cabinent." He used those members as advisors who were rivals of the regular presidential cabinet. Later in his admistration, he dismissed several members of the formal presidential cabinet.

A major issue during his presidency was his opposition to the Second Bank of the United States ( a Federal Bank). Jackson veteoed the rechartering of the bank and had withdrawn funds, investing in smaller local banks. Some of these local banks used paper currency which was not backed by gold or silver leading to inflation. In 1836, the Specie Circular was issued by the Jackson administration requiring gold or silver backed money for the purchase of government lands. Some of the smaller banks did not have gold or silver backing, and collapsed. This led to a depression known as "The Panic of 1837."

Andrew Jackson was known as a tough and rough person who had been involved in several duels prior to his being elected President. The most famous was between him and a man named Charles Dickenson in 1817.

An interesting note: During the election of 1828, an opponent referred to Jackson as a "jackass." Ironically, Jackson liked this and used the "jackass/donkey" as a symbol. The use of the donkey as a symbol died out temporarily but was revived years later by Thomas Nast's cartoon. It became the symbol of the Democratic Party which has lasted to this day.


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