Jackson, Andrew

Jackson, Andrew

biographical name

(born March 15, 1767, Waxhaws region, S.C.—died June 8, 1845, the Hermitage, near Nashville, Tenn., U.S.) Seventh president of the U.S. (1829–37). He fought briefly in the American Revolution near his frontier home, where his family was killed in the conflict. In 1788 he was appointed prosecuting attorney for western North Carolina. When the region became the state of Tennessee, he was elected to the U.S. House of Representatives (1796–97) and the Senate (1797–98). He served on the state supreme court (1798–1804) and in 1802 was elected major general of the Tennessee militia. When the War of 1812 began, he offered the U.S. the services of his 50,000-man volunteer militia. Sent to the Mississippi Territory to fight the Creek Indians, who were allied with the British, he defeated them after a short campaign (1813–14) at the Battle of Horseshoe Bend. After capturing Pensacola, Fla., from the British-allied Spanish, he marched overland to engage the British in Louisiana. A decisive victory at the Battle of New Orleans made him a national hero; he was dubbed “Old Hickory” by the press. After the U.S. acquired Florida, Jackson was named governor of the territory (1821). One of four candidates in the 1824 presidential election, he won an electoral-vote plurality, but the House of Representative instead selected John Quincy Adams as president. Jackson's victory over Adams in the 1828 presidential election is commonly regarded as a turning point in U.S. history. Jackson was the first president from west of the Appalachian Mountains, the first to be born in poverty, and the first to be elected through a direct appeal to the mass of voters rather than through the support of a recognized political organization. The era of his presidency has come to be known as “Jacksonian Democracy.” Upon taking office he replaced many federal officials with his political supporters, a practice that became known as the spoils system. His administration acquiesced in the illegal seizure of Cherokee land in Georgia and then forcibly expelled the Indians who refused to leave (see Trail of Tears). When South Carolina claimed a right to nullify a federally imposed tariff, Jackson asked for and received Congressional authority to use the military to enforce federal laws in the state (see nullification). His reelection in 1832 was partially the result of his controversial veto of a bill to recharter the Bank of the United States, which was unpopular with many of his supporters (see Bank War). The intensity of the political struggles during his tenure led to the strengthening of the Democratic Party and to the further development of the two-party system.

This entry comes from Encyclopædia Britannica Concise.
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