Andrew Jackson was born in 1767, and grew up in the border of North and South Carolina. He attended frontier schools and acquired the reputation of being fiery-tempered and willing to fight all comers. He also learned to read, and he was often called on by the community to read aloud the news from the Philadelphia papers.
In 1775, with the beginning of the American Revolution, Andrew Jackson, then only 13 years old became an orderly and messenger. He took part in the Battle of Hanging Rock against the British and in a few small skirmishes with British sympathizers known as Loyalists or Tories. His brother Hugh was killed, and when the British raided Waxhaw, both he and Robert were captured. Because Jackson refused to polish the boots of a British officer, he was struck across the arm and face with a saber. The boys were put in a British prison in Camden, South Carolina, where an epidemic of smallpox broke out. Mrs. Jackson gained her boys’ release, but Robert soon died. Mrs. Jackson then volunteered to nurse other American prisoners, and she too caught smallpox and died. Andrew was now 14 years old and without any immediate family. With the war over, he took up saddle making and school teaching. With a $300 inheritance from his grandfather, he went to Charleston, South Carolina, then the biggest city in the South. There he cut a dashing figure in society until his money ran out.
In 1787, Andrew Jackson became a lawyer and he set his office up in McLeanville, North Carolina. He quickly became successful lawyer and engaged himself in land speculation. He soon moved his office to Nashville where he met and fell in love with Mrs. Rachel Donelson Robard. Believing that Mr. Robards had obtained a divorce, they were married in 1791. Two years later they found that this was not so and the divorce had just then become final. A second marriage ceremony was performed. However, this failed to prevent gossips and political opponents from attempting to make a scandal out of the Jacksons’ happy marriage. Mrs. Jackson endured in silence the many slanders that followed. Jackson, however, preferred to use dueling pistols to avenge his wife’s honor.
In 1796, Andrew Jackson was elected into the House of Representatives, representing Tennessee. He soon allied with the Jeffersonian Party, criticizing Washington and his administration. He claimed th…
…ssly by the letter of the Constitution, unauthorized by its spirit, inconsistent with every principle on which it was founded, and destructive of the great object to which it was formed. Jackson also pushed through Congress a force bill that authorized the use of federal troops to collect the tariff. The crisis was eased when, through the efforts of Henry Clay, Congress passed a compromise tariff in 1833 along with the force bill. As a last defiant gesture, South Carolina accepted the tariff but nullified the force bill. Jackson had preserved the Union, but nullification remained a great question.
By 1836 Jackson was weak from tuberculosis and had no thought of seeking a third term. However, he stubbornly continued with affairs of state and party, including ensuring that the party nominated Van Buren as his successor. Although he was eager to return to the Hermitage after Van Buren’s election, he grimly fulfilled the duties of his office until the inauguration the following March. The last day of Jackson’s presidency was as much a personal triumph as his first. Thousands came, not to see the new president but to bid good-bye to their beloved hero.