Ranked #14: Jackson was bigger than life and truly influential. However the fact that he was a cruel and abusive SOB takes a lot away.
Summary: Hot-tempered, belligerent and easily offended; hospitable and devoted to friends, yet vicious and spiteful to enemies; in social situations he displayed grace and poise. To win an argument, he could quickly turn into a raging maniac, after which he would be quite relaxed as quickly as he had become angry.
Bio: There is no shortage of ways to describe Jackson. It all depends on how you knew him. To his friends, he was charitable, unselfish and trustworthy. To his enemies, he was spiteful and mean. He was thin-skinned and quick tempered. It was said that when he hated, he hated with Biblical passion. He would often deliberately intimidate any opposition to drive his point home because he likely was not interested in others opinion.
Life did not start out easy for Jackson. His father died before he was born, as a young teenager he fought and was a POW in the American Revolutionary War where he received injuries to his head, arms & hands and soon after his brother & mother died leaving him without a family at the age of fourteen. From there he lived with uncles and eventually squandered an inheritance on gambling and carousing. It was at his point that he decided to make something of himself.
He eventually became a lawyer, an army general who became famous for defeating the British in the War of 1812 in New Orleans when he was ridiculously outnumbered, a US Congressman, a military Governor of Florida, a US Senator and finally the 7th President of the United States.
As was the case of his personal life, historians have also wrestled with his time in office.He was the very first President who was truly a man of the common citizenship of the US. Before him, Presidents were practically hand picked by other elected officials. He was known to have fought for the common man throughout his time in office by winning a battle to decentralize the US banking system. He was the one and only President to ever pay off the national debt.
He was a strong President. So much so that to some he was considered a dictator. He created the Democratic party and ticked off the Washington establishment so much a new political party called the Whigs was created in opposition. He can now be seen on the $20 bill. Quite the colorful character.
Pros: It will take a long time for American politics to forget Andrew Jackson. He was by far the most powerful president between Jefferson and Lincoln. He was a famous general who founded the modern Democratic party. He was a big supporter of giving power to the common white man by expanding voting rights and substantially increased trade internationally.
Cons: Played a big hand in destroying the Native Americans land and culture by making them move nearly 1000 miles from their homes with the Indian Removal Act of 1830. He bullied his cabinet and would quickly fire anybody for not agreeing with him. He killed people before taking office.
Born: March 15, 1767, Waxhaw District, South Carolina
Died: June 8, 1845 (aged 78) Hermitage, Nashville, Tennessee
Term: March 4, 1829 to March 3, 1837 (2 terms)
Political Party: Democrat
Education: No formal education
Marriage: January 17, 1794, Rachel Donelson Robards (1767–1828)
Children: Andrew Jackson, Jr. (adopted nephew, 1808-1865)