Andrew Jackson's Early Life
Andrew Jackson, the 7th president of the United States, has been featured on the front of the $20 bill since 1928. Jackson served as president from 1829 to 1837 and unlike other presidents, he came from the West, were s previous presidents were commonly from Virginia. Jackson’s family was of Scots-Irish descent and settled in the Carolinas when they emigrated to the U.S. Jackson’s father died just shortly after he was born., leaving him with his mom and his two brothers: Hugh and Robert. Hugh died of heat exhaustion at the Battle of Stono Ferry during the Revolutionary War, 1779. After, Andrew’s mother pushed Robert and him to join a militia service, they began as couriers. They were captured by the British in 1781 and refused to listen to the orders of the British soldiers. They were held as prisoners and ended up getting ill with Smallpox. On their way home, they were both very weak and Robert did not make the journey. His mother later died of Cholera, after nursing prisoners of war back to health. Andrew personally blamed the British for the deaths of his mother and brothers.
He studied law with the help of various lawyers and qualified for the bar in the state of North Carolina. He secured a job in western North Carolina, today known as Tennessee. On his way west, he bought his first slave in 1788 and also fought in his first duel. Jackson moved to the town of Nashville where he met Rachel Donelson. At the time, she was legally married to Captain Lewis Robards, though they had separated. Jackson and Donelson married before the divorce was finalized, and later had to remarry for a legal marriage.There was much controversy over this at the time and adds to how controversial of a president Jackson was.
However the Donelson family had very powerful connections, namely William Blount. Blount was avery prominent figure in Nashville and he took Jackson under his wings. Jackson became a delegate to the Tennessee constitutional convention in 1796, and became Tennessee's only U.S. representative when it became a state. He was also elected as a U.S. Senator but was unhappy with this job as he despised President John Adams, He later served as a judge on the Tennessee Supreme Court.
As well as his legal and political career, Jackson owned Hermitage plantation. He owned up to about 150 slaves at one point. They grew cotton on the plantation and Jackson was a member of the elite plantation owners as he had so many slaves.Adding to his controversy, he and Charles Dickens dueled, as Dickens had written negatively about Jackson. Dickens shot Jackson first, not killing him. Jackson had his turn next and shot Dickens dead, creating a violent reputation and look for him.
Trying to repair his reputation, Jackson led a group of almost 2,00 volunteers to protect New Orleans against attacks from the British and Native Americans. He was ordered to turn over his supplies and lead his troops back to Tennessee. The troops referred to him as “Hickory” in regards to his toughness, as he later became known as “Old Hickory”. He led his troops back to Tennessee and payed for their provisions, earning him respect. His military career began to accelerate as he was order to defeat a group of Muscogee, a hostile indian tribe. He fought in a number of battles, ending in the defeat of the hostile tribe and earned the title of brigadier general in the U.S. army. He accepted the position of major general shortly after and gained President James Madison’s approval of the Treaty of Fort Jackson. Under the treaty the Muscogee were ordered to surrender 23 million acres of their land to the United States government. He then concerned himself to a potential threat of the British force attacking New Orleans.
Jackson had around 5,000 men to defend New Orleans from attack. He attacked the British forces and then they attacked back, ending in around 2,000 casualties for the British forces and 71 casualties for Jackson’s troops. After the victory of the Battle of New Orleans, Jackson became a national hero, the peak of his military career. Jackson began to set a much higher goal for himself, obtaining a nomination for the presidency.