Jackson, Andrew 1767 -- 1845


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Seventh U.S. president; born in Waxhaw, S.C. Reared in a frontier settlement and largely self-educated, he was admitted to the bar and in 1788 was named public prosecutor in Nashville, in North Carolina territory. When the territory became the new state of Tennessee, he became its first U.S. representative in the House (1769), its senator (1797--98), and a judge on its supreme court (1798--1804). Meanwhile, he had established his estate, "the Hermitage," near Nashville and married Rachel Robards (twice, for they discovered she had not been formally divorced the first time). Named major-general of Tennessee militia during the War of 1812, in September 1814 he defeated the Creek Indians, who were British allies, at Horseshoe Bend. Commissioned a major-general in the regular army, he stormed Pensacola, Fla., and then routed the British in the Battle of New Orleans (January 1815). Retaining his army commission as commander of the Southern District, he created some controversy when in 1818 he invaded Florida on a campaign against the Seminoles and executed two British subjects for stirring up the Indians. Now the South\'s hero, known everywhere as "Old Hickory," he was elected to the Senate (Dem.-Rep., Tenn.; 1823--24) and in 1824 narrowly lost the presidency to John Quincy Adams when the election was thrown into the House of Representatives. Winning the election of 1828, he set a precedent for the "spoils system" by filling hundreds of offices with his supporters. As president (1829--37), he walked a tightrope between the issues of slavery, nullification, and states\' rights; in the name of the latter he suppressed the Bank of the U.S.A. Among his more problematic achievements was his relentless removal of many Indians to west of the Mississippi. In the long run, Jackson\'s main legacy was the new strength his personality bequeathed to the office of the presidency for the future; also, the new Democratic Party formed around him and his popular image as champion of the common man, even though he himself had little patience with the wishes of most people. On leaving the presidency, he retired from public life and spent his declining years at "the Hermitage."