Emily Donelson (niece)
Sarah Yorke Jackson (daughter-in-law)
lawyer , soldier
John C. Calhoun ( 1829 - 1832 )
Martin Van Buren ( 1833 - 1837 )
Andrew Jackson's parents Andrew Jackson, Sr (c. 1730 - February , 1767
) and Elizabeth "Betty" Hutchinson (c. 1740 - November , 1781 ) emigrated
to the US from Carrickfergus in Northern Ireland in 1765 . The Andrew Jackson
Centre at Carrickfergus has information about the family.
Wounded in a duel as a young man, Jackson was a frequent dueler.
Jackson was regarded as a national hero after defeating the British
in the 1815 Battle of New Orleans .
In the Presidential Election of 1824 Jackson won both more popular and
electoral votes than any other candidate, but did not receive an overall
majority so the election went to the House of Representatives, where John
Quincy Adams was chosen as President. Jackson beat Adams with a substantial
majority four years later, and took office as President in 1829 .
Jackson was the first U.S. president who came from outside the original
Revolutionary circle. Washington, Adams, Jefferson and Madison were notable
figures in the War of Independence and in the formation of the U.S. Constitution
. James Monroe fought in the Revolutionary War . John Quincy Adams was
the son of John Adams. Jackson's election represented a significant break
from that past. Jackson was a general in the War of 1812 and fought alongside
traders and other commonfolk. He was regarded as a "man of the people"
and because some states had already changed legislature to allow those
who did not own land the right to vote, this was the first election in
which the "common folk" could vote, and they voted for Jackson.
Jackson is remembered for introducing the spoils system to American
politics. Upon his election as President, a sizable number of people holding
positions in Washington, DC, offices found that they had suddenly been
replaced by supporters of Jackson, who had worked to ensure his election.
Jackson saw this system as promoting the growth of democracy , as more
people were involved in politics. This practice has endured in political
circles in the United States ever since. Additionally, Jackson pressured
states to lower voting requirements to further the expansion of democracy.
to the National Bank
As President, Jackson worked to dismantle the Bank of the United States
, which had been originally introduced in 1791 by Alexander Hamilton as
a way of providing a national debt and increasing the power of the federal
government. Jackson's reasons for removing the BUS, as it was called, include:
Jackson's belief that the BUS was unconstitutional
Jackson's belief that an excessive amount of the nation's financial strength
was concentrated in the BUS
Jackson's belief that the BUS excercised too much control over members
The BUS favored Northeastern U.S. over Southern and Western U.S.
Jackson's conflict with President of the BUS, Nicholas Biddle due to Biddle's
belief that the BUS was unaccountable to Congress.
This first Bank lapsed in 1811. It was followed by the second Bank, authorized
by James Madison in 1816 to alleviate the economic problems caused by the
War of 1812 . It was instrumental in the growth of the U.S. economy but
was opposed by Jackson on ideological grounds.
Jackson followed Jefferson as a supporter of the ideal of an agricultural
republic, and felt the Bank improved the fortunes of an elite circle of
commercial and industrial entrepreneurs at the expense of farmers and laborers.
After a titanic struggle with the Bank's President, Nicholas Biddle , Jackson
succeeded in destroying the bank by vetoing its 1832 recharter by Congress.
It was a Pyrrhic victory, however, as the Bank's money-lending functions
were taken over by the legions of local and state banks that sprang up,
and the commercial progress of the nation's economy was not noticeably
dented. The United States Senate censured Jackson on March 27 , 1834 for
his actions in defunding the Bank of the United States.
Another notable crisis of his period of office was the nullification
crisis (or succession crisis), 1828-32, which merged issues of sectional
strife and disagreements over trade tariffs. High tariffs (the " Tariff
of Abominations ") on imports of common goods were seen by many in Southern
colonies as unfairly benefiting Northern merchants and industrial entrepreneurs
at the expense of those who had to buy the goods subject to the tariffs,
mostly Southern farmers. The issue came to a head when the Vice President,
John C. Calhoun , in the South Carolina Exposition and Protest of 1832
, supported the claim of his home state, South Carolina, that it had the
right to 'nullify' - declare illegal - the tariff legislation of 1828,
and more generally the right of a state to nullify laws which went against
its interests. Although Jackson sympathized with the Southern interpretation
of the tariff debate, he was also a strong supporter of federalism (in
the sense of supporting a strong union with considerable powers for the
central government) and attempted to face Calhoun down over the issue,
which developed into a bitter rivalry between the two men. Particularly
famous was an incident at the April 13, 1829 Jefferson Day dinner, involving
after-dinner toasts. Jackson rose first and toasted "Our federal Union:
it must be preserved!", a clear challenge to Calhoun. Calhoun responded
with a toast to "The Union: next to our liberty, most dear", an astonishingly
The crisis was resolved in 1833 with a compromise settlement which,
by substantially lowering the tariffs, hinted that the central government
considered itself weak in dealing with determined opposition by an individual
Indian Removal Act of 1830
Jackson was responsible for the notorious Indian Removal Act of 1830 ,
and thus the Trail of Tears , in unconstitutional defiance of a Supreme
In 1829 , American demand for land due to population growth and the
discovery of gold on Cherokee land led to pressure on Native American lands.
In 1830 , Congress passed the Indian Removal Act which, Jackson signed
into law. The act was challenged successfully by the Cherokee Nation in
1832 in the US Supreme Court as Worcester v. Georgia , in 1832. Despite
the Supreme Court decision, Jackson took no action to uphold the Court
verdict, and in fact would openly defy it; he was quoted as saying " John
Marshall has made his decision, now let him enforce it!". As the court
has no executive powers to enforce its decisions, Jackson's executive disregard
of the court, marked a time when the Judicial branch of government was
The state of Georgia held two land lotteries in 1835 to divide the Cherokee
land, and Jackson sent military support to oust the Native population.
This led to what is now known as the " Trail of Tears ", which killed roughly
four thousand Cherokee (25%), en route to Oklahoma.
On January 30 , 1835 an unsuccessful assassination attempt against Jackson
occurred in the United States Capitol . This was the first assassination
attempt against an American President.
Jackson's wife died just prior to his taking office as President. She,
Rachel Donelson Robards, had divorced her first husband (Col. Lewis Robards,
sometimes mistakenly cited as "Roberts"), but there were some questions
about the legality of the divorce, and she was never accepted in polite
society, which Jackson deeply resented. His only child was an adopted son,
Andrew, Jr. In his will, Andrew, Sr., left his granddaughter "several"
slaves, his two grandsons each one male slave, and his daughter-in-law
four female slaves, one of whom he had bought for her and the other three
of whom were a household servant of his and her two daughters.
Movie and Biography
The story of Andrew and Rachel Jackson's life together was told in Irving
Stone 's best-selling 1951 biographical novel The President's Lady ,
which was made into the 1953 movie of the same title, starring Susan Hayward
, Charlton Heston , John McIntire , and Carl Betz and directed by Henry
Supreme Court cases
during his presidency
Worcester v. Georgia , 1832
Cherokee Nation vs. Georgia , 1831
Important legislature events
Maysville Road Veto
Force Bill , 1833
"Corporations have neither bodies to kick nor souls to damn."
Twenty Dollar Bill
Jackson's portrait appears on the U.S. $20 bill.
Places named for Andrew Jackson
Hickory County, Missouri (for his nickname, Old Hickory )