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Andrew Jackson: The American Monarch --- By Patrick Davey (CvM)

Discussion in 'Military History' started by Carl G. E. von Mannerheim, May 30, 2003.

  1. Carl G. E. von Mannerheim

    Carl G. E. von Mannerheim Ace

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    Just thought you all might like this, Especially you Friedrich,


    Andrew Jackson:
    The American Monarch
    A Study of a Soldier-Politician
    by Patrick Davey


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    What defines a leader? There are many different definitions, but among them are things such as, ‘a person who directs a military force or unit,’ or ‘a person who has commanding authority or influence,’ yet another states that a leader is ‘ the head of a political party.’ If one goes by these definitions, then Andrew Jackson, was by all meanings of the word, a leader. He was both a leader of men during conflict, and a leader of his own Political party during peacetime. However, as will be examined in this study, Jackson was not always the best leader for the job. He often procured his positions of power by sheer luck, always seeming to be in the right place at the right time.

    In order to fully understand this enigma of American History, we must start from the beginning, before the future President was born. Andrew Jackson’s father, aptly named, Andrew Jackson came to the ‘New World’ of America is search of a better live for he, his young wife, and his two infant sons. It was the year 1763, and they came from the town of Carrickfergus, on the Northern Coast of Ireland. ( Austin, 1). They settled near the trading post of Waxhaw. Waxhaw was a typical frontier settlement of the day, “It occupied a fertile oasis in a vast waste of Pine woods along the banks of the Catawba river.” (Austin, 2) For the next few years, the Jackson family endured the typical, rough frontier life. In early 1767, Andrew Jackson became ill and died. Less than two weeks later, on March 15th, 1767, his last son was born. In memory of her dear husband, the widow christened the young one Andrew Jackson, after his father. To this day it is uncertain in just what state Jackson was born in, fore Waxhaw lies on the boundary line between North and South Carolina. Jackson always considered himself a South Carolinian. His mother Elizabeth tried to provide young Andrew with the best education she could. Her wish was for him to become a Presbyterian Minister, however certain events would ruin that dream. During the early part of the War of Independence, the Jacksons were able to stay out of the fighting, but after the fall of Charlestown to the British the young Andrew was caught in the middle of two skirmishes. Both of his brothers, and one of his cousins were killed by British soldiers. The young, sandy-haired boy even received a scar on his head and hands from a sabre blow given by a British Officer. “Jackson always hated the British uniform, and it would effect all his dealings with Britain later on.” (Austin, 9) With this information we can see how Jackson’s policies were formed during his youth along the Catawba.

    The young Jackson left home for Charleston in 1782, with the intention of finding his ‘trade.’ While in Charleston, he made a good deal of wealthy acquaintances, he quickly became infatuated with ‘high society,’ and consequently, began to live beyond his means. Most of his money was lost betting on the horse races, and by 1784 he was back in Waxhaw with only a fine horse and elegant equipment in his name. However, Jackson had brought something back that would be of value to his future, “ One other thing he may have brought back with him from Charleston was the ambition to become a lawyer.” (Austin, 10) Later that year, he entered law school, and after three years of study, he was admitted to practice in the courts of the state. He quickly became uninterested in the life of a lawyer, considering it too boring. By 1788 he was in the settlement of Nashville, in modern day Tennessee. It was here that he learned of the ratification of the Constitution by a 9th state, making it official. It was also here that in 1791 he married the daughter of the deceased John Donelson, Rachel Donelson. They had a son, who was named Andrew. After a series of events, he was appointed settlement solicitor (prosecutor) by his friend Judge Mcnairy. He acquired such a great reputation, that when Tennesee was made a state in 1796 he was chosen its sole representative in Congress. His congressional career was brief and uneventful. After a year in the house of Representative he was appointed to fill a vacant senatorial position. It was during this term that he made the acquaintances of Thomas Jefferson, and John Adams. It was clear that the legislative branch was not very appealing to Jackson, for he only rose to speak twice in the house and never rose to speak at all while in the senate. He made a distinct impression upon his colleagues. Thomas Jefferson noted at Monticello in 1824, “His passions are terrible. (Meaning his some of his views did not coincide with the principles of the Republic) When I was President of the Senate, he was a senator and he could never speak on account of the rashness of his feelings. I have seen him attempt it repeatedly, and as often choke with rage. (Austin, 18) In 1798, he resigned his post in order to pursue private affairs, but return to Tennessee only meant a transfer to another branch of public service. It was here in 1802 where he received a position that would be critical to his future, he was made General of the Tennessee Militia. He resigned his Judgeship in 1804 to again pursue private affairs, fore he had fallen into debt. In 1804 he started a successful planting and stock raising business, which would support him in the years to come. It was in this period of his life (1804-1813) that he really attained his ‘rough frontiersman’ status. He participated in many duels, and killed many men. When asked as to whether not he had ever quarreled with Jackson, Senator Benton replied, “Yes, I had a fight with Jackson, a fellow was hardly in fashion then who hadn’t.” (Austin 21) However the toughest part of Jackson’s life was about to begin. His country was on the verge of one of it’s toughest conflicts, The War of 1812.

    While Andrew Jackson was maintaining his planting and stock raising business, Europe was engulfed in war. Emperor Napoleon of France was in a fight for his life against a coalition of British, Prussians, Austrians, and Russians. America’s principle enemy, Great Britain, was hard pressed to hold onto it’s positions in Iberia. On the high seas, British Ships-of-the-Line began to interfere with American Shipping, much in the same way as the Barbary Pirates during 1800-1805. Things were also heating up closer to home. In 1811, Governor Harrison of the Indiana Territory defeated the Indian Confederacy of Tecumseh at Tippecanoe. (Mohan, 27) Tecumseh was one of the first enemies of the United States. He moved from tribe to tribe, uniting them with the goal of stopping American expansion. Even the southern tribes began to unite under him, namely the Creeks, who lived in the area of Tennessee where Jackson lived, Tecumseh’s defeat at Tippecanoe forced his Indian Confederacy into an Alliance with Britain. Finally the British blockade of America became too much. At 5 o’clock, June 18th, 1812, after much hesitation, the Congress passed a joint resolution declaring war upon Great Britain. Several days later a rider passed through Nashville shouting, “Wake up! WAR!! WAR with England!!!!” (Austin, 25) On the American frontier joy was in abundance, for the frontiersman was always ready for a fight. It would be several months before Jackson got his chance to lead his Militia into combat, but the chance of a lifetime had just come to Judge-General Jackson.

    In October 1812, Andrew Jackson was given command of the New Orleans expedition, which was to capture Spanish east Florida then move to the defense of the southern port of New Orleans. On January 7th, 1813, the expedition began its journey. While on the way, he received a letter from the government which relieved him of his command. Jackson took it personally, but in reality the Madison Administration had decided against attacking Spanish Florida. This action would, of course, constitute an act of war against Spain, which was in turn allied with Russia, who was overseeing the peace process between Britain and the United States. However, Jackson would still have his chance for glory. Later in 1813, Jackson got word that the Creek Indians had massacred the entire population of Fort Mims Alabama. Ironically, these Indians were supplied by Spain. Before long, Jackson was marching out of Nashville with 2,500 men under his command. “Jackson planned to slice through the Creek Nation, then invade Spanish Florida, capturing Pensacola.”( Remini, 191) While on this expedition, Jackson got word that his wife had another child, Lyncoya. This child would be the pride of the family until his death in 1828 due to illness. The fighting throughout the Creek Wars was some of the bloodiest ever seen in the New World. After a year of solid campaigning, marked with both victories and setbacks, Jackson defeated the Creeks, gaining their land for the US Government. He also captured Pensacola, gaining another valuable coastal fort. With this victory under his belt, Jackson was ordered to defend the southern coast from British aggression. Throughout the second half of 1814 Jackson supervised the fortification of New Orleans and the surrounding areas. On December 13th, a British Invasion fleet was sighted off the coast. Several days later, on December 22nd, the first British troops landed near New Orleans and began their march inland. In the ensuing weeks, the two sides skirmished, attempting to exploit one another’s weaknesses. On the morning of January 8th, 1815, both sides lined up opposite each other outside the city. On one side, stood the Britons of the old world, men who had been tested in Europe fighting Napoleon. Many of the units on the British line had fought under Wellington. However Wellington was not there, Jackson was. On the other side of the battle line stood the Britons of the New World. Rough men of the frontier who had gained experience fighting the Indian, but would they be able to stand up to the columns of Redcoats, the best fighters in the world? On that field outside New Orleans, the fate of the offspring of the Briton’s evolutionary path would be decided. The British troops began their frontal assault on Jackson’s well dug in forces. The American lines sent volley after volley into the British ranks, to the tune of ‘Yankee doodle’ which was played by the New Orleans Band. Jackson went back and forth across the lines encouraging his men, “Stand by your guns! Don’t waste your ammunition, make sure that every shot tells!” (Remini, 277) On that day Jackson achieved a Military victory on the scale of Washington at Yorktown, fore on that day, the British force suffered 2,031 casualties. The American forces suffered 13 killed and 39 wounded. From that day on, General Jackson was a national hero. Headlines in Washington read, “Great Victory !” and, “British thrown back into the sea!.” This was not the end of Jackson’s military career, he would see action during the Seminole wars, in which he conquered Florida. But he achieved his greatest victory on that day of January 8th, 1815.

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    (Jackson Leads 'The Britons of the New World' against the 'Britons of the Old')

    In the years following the War of 1812, Jackson went back into the world of Politics. He was the Governor of Florida following it’s occupation. Surprisingly, Jackson was once again ‘volunteered’ for public office. This time, the state Legislature nominated Jackson for President. By the early 1820’s, the party system in America had broken down. In 1824, the new Democratic party convened and selected Andrew Jackson as their candidate for President. In the election of 1824, Jackson received more votes than any other candidate, but he did not receive a majority of Electoral votes. Back then, when no majority in Electoral votes was attained, the decision was made by the House of Representatives. The Speaker of the house, Henry Clay, who himself had run but had not received enough votes to be a choice, did much to eke out a narrow victory for John Adams. Jackson never forgave Clay for this. In the following years, a coalition was formed intent on the removal of Clay and Adams in the next election. During this time, Jackson strengthened his political ties and when the election of 1828 came around Jackson had a strong base of voters.

    The election of 1828 was one of the dirtiest elections in our history, the opposition even went as far as to accuse Rachel Jackson of ‘immoral activities.’ (Morris, N/A) Jackson won the election by a landslide, winning 178 to 83 electoral votes. Sadly, just after the results were confirmed, Rachel Jackson died. In her last days Jackson noted, “She just seemed to lose her will to live.” ( Morris/ N/A) The defining issue of Jackson’s presidency was the issue over the Second bank of America, which was privately managed but had close ties to the government. This bank introduced paper money to America, and was responsible for the circulation of currency. Jackson was opposed to this bank because he, like some others, believed that gold and silver were the only legitimate currency. Jackson sought to destroy this bank, however he kept out of the after the next election. Jackson eventually killed the bank, and when the congress sought to reinstate it, Jackson vetoed it. Jackson was the first President to really use his veto power regardless of the Legislative Branch’s opinion, this caused some to refer to him as, ‘King Andrew I’. In the election of 1832 Jackson won 55 percent of the vote. In Jackson’s second term, he would face the first real split in the Union of States. When South Carolina rejected a new Tariff which set it apart from every other state in the union, and then voiced that it would rather leave the Union than accept this new tariff, Jackson quickly threatened to call up 10,000 men which would invade the beak-away state on his command. South Carolina went as far as to call up its own militia for it’s defense. Luckily, cooler heads in the congress prevailed. South Carolina remained in the Union, for the time being. Jackson won another political victory, when in 1833, the Second bank of America was stripped of its Federal status. Jackson would also face foreign challenges in his Presidency. When in 1835 France refused to pay retributions for American Shipping lost in the Napoleonic Wars, Jackson removed the French Ambassador to the US. This, along with threats of war, made the French rethink their actions.

    When Jackson left office in 1837, he had redefined the role of the American President. He had redrawn party lines, and set new presidents in the way he used his veto power. He did many good things for this country, but also, many bad things. His destruction of the Second bank of America was a mistake, that bank could’ve easily provided more efficient circulation of currency. He also lost many of his allies during his Presidency. One of his most loyal supporters, the frontier legend Davy Crockett commented, “Although our great man at the head of the nation, has changed his course, I will not change mine. I would rather be politically dead than hypocritically immortalized...I shall insist upon it that I am still a Jackson man, but General Jackson is not; he has become a Van Buren man.” In the end Jackson was a sort of transitional President. He was the first President who was not one of our country’s Founding Fathers, and after him came the era of the Career Politicians. Jackson also was the first President to really face a split in the Union, his way of dealing with South Carolina was a great short term solution, but it left a string of issues that would resurface in the years to come. All in all, by the time Jackson died in 1845, he had left an indelible mark on the course of American history. As a Military Commander he had expanded the borders of our country, as a President, he maintained them. In the end, his Presidency can only be rated mediocre at best, there were better men for the job, and he left many rifts in the foundation of the Union. Andrew Jackson was a man elected for the wrong reasons, fore he was elected based on sheer popularity. His fame won during the War of 1812 and the Indian wars was the deciding factor in his election, and fame achieved through conflict should not be a decisive factor at the polls. As a General he had served his country well, but as a President, he would doom it to future conflict. Therefore, it can be said that Andrew Jackson was the right Leader for our men at arms, but he was not the right leader for our government.


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    Works Cited:

    Austin, Frederick. The Reign of Andrew Jackson. New York: Yale University Press, 1919.

    Mahon, John K. The War of 1812 USA. De Capo Press.1991.

    Remini, Robert V. Andrew Jackson and the Course of American Empire: 1767-1821. New York: Harper & Row, Publishers. 1977

    Morris, Hal. “From Revolution to Reconstruction” Andrew Jackson: 7th President of the United States. Last updated 2003-3-6 time: 10:37. http://odur.let.rug.nl/~usa/P/aj7/about/bio/jackxx.htm (4/15/03)
     
  2. Greg A

    Greg A Member

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    Great post thanks for sharing.

    Greg
     
  3. Brad T.

    Brad T. Member

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    Excellant. Was that a school project?
     
  4. Carl G. E. von Mannerheim

    Carl G. E. von Mannerheim Ace

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    yea, it was a school project, the teacher said that it could be only 3-4 pages, i turned in 9, but he didnt seem to be upset, i was the only person to receive an A (99%) he doesnt give 100%'s.

    I just got the idea of sharing this with you all after reading Friedrich's 'American Revolution thread'
     
  5. C.Evans

    C.Evans Expert

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    CvM, thanks for sharing this--it was very welldone and I enjoyed reading it. Also, i'm glad you got an "A" for the project. [​IMG] You deserve an [​IMG] [​IMG]
     
  6. Friedrich

    Friedrich Expert

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    Seems like a very good work! I am going to print it and read it. (I am too lazy and too blind to read it on my screen). I'll comment you later.
     
  7. Carl G. E. von Mannerheim

    Carl G. E. von Mannerheim Ace

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    Thanks Carl, yea i was surprised i got a good grade on this,


    actually, i think my teacher gave me AJ for a reason, you see, my teacher has this infatuation with 'frontier heroes' and he sees AJ as one, so, he gave it to his most controversial student


    CvM
     
  8. Friedrich

    Friedrich Expert

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    Well, I have just read it several times on the weekend and let me tell you that your essay is extremely good for a young and uppish American pain in the ass. This German pain in the ass History teacher found it very clear, well explained, not too detailed not too general. Well balanced and very good. Congratulations. You did deserve your A because it is not only a polemic essay, the things you state are backed with facts. That's very important. Taking the good and the bad things. I hope my students next year will write as excellent essays as yours, Patrick.

    Congratulations, again.
     
  9. Carl G. E. von Mannerheim

    Carl G. E. von Mannerheim Ace

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    Thanks Fried
     
  10. CrazyD

    CrazyD Ace

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    Very well written, CvM. Coming from someone who sees a LOT of writing... excellent job!

    I'd second Friedrich's sentiment- it would be nice if most students could write as well as this example!

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  11. C.Evans

    C.Evans Expert

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    Well congradulations and a thumbe up to your teacher. [​IMG] I used to amaze my history teachers too--when it came to reporting on an interesting person of history.

    Heh heh--this also goes to show you I have a one track mind. Several years ago when I was attending a Technical College in Harlingen, TX. One of my classes required that we do a 2,000 word essay on someone who to us--was a "hero" who had developed something for the computer world--somewone who had made an impression on us and someone who helped society.

    We had a month to do it.

    Try as I might, I could not find anyone to write about that would fit this criteria. Though it was my chosen elective--I simply could not find someone worth talking about--let along worth writing about and I had wasted about 3-1/2 weeks in trying to find someone--anyone.

    Though I don't like bill gates--I wanted to do the report on him but--too many people in the class had already chosen him and I guess my request to also do one on him was just one too many.

    I figured I was shafted and would get a lousy grade no matter what I did--so I said: "The heck with it," and I did not write a report on anything to do with the internet or computers.

    Instead--I wroite a 2,500+++ word essay on Audie L. Murphy--who is one of my personal heroes. I turned it in to my professor anyway--figuring I was going to get a flat zero for it. Was I wrong, I got a 90 just from the effort of doing the report, and 10 points axtra because I did try and I exceeded standards for report writing. I got an A+ for it--even though it had nothing to do with the class. :D

    I'm still in touch with that professor, and he told me that he has kept my report on Audie L. Murphy, and uses it as a teaching tool in the classes he now teaches and credits me for helping him to decide to switch to a much more enjoyable subject to teach--History. :D
     
  12. Carl G. E. von Mannerheim

    Carl G. E. von Mannerheim Ace

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    :D :D :D :D

    Thats great!


    This was actually an English paper, he randomly assigned us a president, the criteria was 3-4 pages, mine was 9

    CvM
     
  13. C.Evans

    C.Evans Expert

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    Yep--it was great that he no longer was a computer geek but now is a dude. :D
     

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