Jackson and Roosevelt

By Noah Abbott

The United States of America has had forty two presidents. Most of these men shared interests, desires, and concerns that included and went beyond their years as president. Some of our nationís leaders hold more things in common than the rest. Despite seventy years between their times in office, Andrew Jackson and Teddy Roosevelt were two very similar personalities. Not only in their upbringing, but in their personalities, moral convictions, professional feelings, and demeanor, these two men are linked. Furthermore, each had a great impact on the history of the United States. It could even be said, that had they switched time periods they would have made almost the same decisions.
Andrew Jackson was born in Waxhaws County, South Carolina in 1767. (Remini, 8) As a child, Jackson was an unruly, and boisterous child, who was known to "curse a blue streak," and who loved to wrestle, run, and play practical jokes. When he was sixteen, after already being captured by British soldiers for helping the colonial cause during the American Revolution, his mother left to help nurse soldiers in another state. She died on the journey, leaving young Jackson an orphan. (Remini, 13-15) After a time where he was a saddler, a teacher, and other things, Jackson passed the bar exam, and was soon after appointed the Public Prosecutor for the Western District of North Carolina (Remini, 8) Characterized by a strong-willed, proud, but still very personable demeanor, Jackson climbed the legal and then political ladder, finally reaching the office of United States Senator in 1797. However, Jackson soon left, to head the Tennessee militia and fight against the Indians and the British in the War of 1812. After returning from war, where he acquired hero status after a brilliant victory over the British at the Battle of New Orleans, Jackson was once again elected to the Senate, in 1823. (Remini, 8) He made a run for the presidency, but lost to John Quincy Adams in the House election. (Remini, 8) Four years later, after riding a wave of an immense amount of popularity, Jackson ran again, and in 1828, he became the seventh President of the United States of America.
Teddy Rooseveltís childhood is in many ways similar to Jacksonís, but has itís share of differences as well. Coming from a much more affluent family than Jackson, Roosevelt suffered from severe asthma and a history of ailments-headaches, chest pains, fevers, and more. (Brands, 9) However, Rooseveltís initial physical shortcomings allowed him to become very involved with literature and academics. (Brands 29) When Roosevelt was eleven, he began body-building, and by the age of fifteen, was a fine specimen of teenage vitality and vigor. In 1876, Roosevelt started school at Harvard University, graduated, and like Jackson, began to study law, hopeful to pass the bar exam one day. (Brands, 54, 125) Slowly, however, Roosevelt lost his interest in law, and became more and more involved in politics. At the age of twenty-three, Roosevelt became the Republican nominee for the Assembly in the twenty-first district of New York. (Brands, 127) Roosevelt won the election, but, still hesitant about being a politician, reminded his friends and colleagues, "Donít think Iím going to go into politics after this year, for I am not." (Brands, 129) However, Rooseveltís statement could not be any less true, for after leaving the Assembly, Roosevelt served as New Yorkís police commissioner, and as a U.S. civil-service commissioner. At the onset of the Spanish-American War, Roosevelt went to the fight, and with his First Volunteer Cavalry, or The Rough Riders, as they have come to be known, became something of a war hero, just as Jackson did before him. (Brands, 337-339) After returning from the war, Roosevelt became Governor of New York, and soon thereafter Vice President. (Brands, 407) Soon, however, President McKinley was assassinated, and Roosevelt found himself in control of the country. (Brands, 411)
As a President, Andrew Jackson was nothing if he wasnít fair. His policy of rotation, which ensured a more diverse pool of officeholders was his first major move once in office, and right away became a controversial issue, as the question was asked; Should officeholders necessarily be the educated at the price of not representing everyone? ( Remini, 110) Jackson felt