Andrew Jackson was the seventh President of the United States (1829–1837). He was also military governor of Florida (1821), commander of the American forces at the Battle of New Orleans (1815), a founder of the modern Democratic Party, and the eponym of the era of Jacksonian democracy. He was a polarizing figure who dominated American politics in the 1820s and 1830s. Nicknamed "Old Hickory" because he was renowned for his toughness, Jackson was the first President primarily associated with the frontier (although born in South Carolina, he based his career in Tennessee).
Andrew Jackson was born to Presbyterian Scots-Irish immigrants Andrew and Elizabeth Jackson in Lancaster County, South Carolina, on March 15, 1767. He was the youngest of three brothers and was born just weeks after his father's death. Both North Carolina and South Carolina have claimed Jackson as a "native son," because the community straddled the state line, and there was conflicting lore in the neighborhood about his exact birth site. Jackson himself always stated definitively he was born in a cabin just inside South Carolina. Having received a sporadic education, Jackson, at age thirteen and during the American Revolutionary War, joined a local regiment as a courier
War of 1812
Jackson became a colonel in the Tennessee militia, which he had led since the beginning of his military career in 1801. During the War of 1812, in 1813, Northern Creek Band chieftain Peter McQueen killed 400 men, women, and children in what became known as the Fort Mims Massacre (in what is now Alabama). Jackson commanded in the campaign against the Northern Creek Indians of Alabama and Georgia, also known as the "Red Sticks." Creek leaders such as William Weatherford (Red Eagle), Peter McQueen, and Menawa, who had been allies of the British during the War of 1812, violently clashed with other chiefs of the Creek Nation over white encroachment on Creek lands and the "civilizing" programs administered by U.S. Indian Agent Benjamin Hawkins.
First Seminole War
Jackson served in the military again during the First Seminole War when he was ordered by President James Monroe in December 1817 to lead a campaign in Georgia against the Seminole and Creek Indians. Jackson was also charged with preventing Spanish Florida from becoming a refuge for runaway slaves. Critics later alleged that Jackson exceeded orders in his Florida actions. His directions were to "terminate the conflict."Jackson believed the best way to do this would be to seize Florida. Before going, Jackson wrote to Monroe, "Let it be signified to me through any channel... that the possession of the Floridas would be desirable to the United States, and in sixty days it will be accomplished." Monroe gave Jackson orders that were purposely ambiguous, sufficient for international denials.
Election of 1824
The Tennessee legislature nominated Jackson for president in 1822. It also made him a Senator again in the United States Senate. In 1824, most of the Democratic-Republican Party in Congress had boycotted the nominating caucus; those that adhered to it backed William H. Crawford for president and Albert Gallatin for vice president. A convention in Pennsylvania nominated Jackson for president almost a month later, on March 4. Gallatin critiqued Jackson as "an honest man and the idol of the worshippers of military glory, but from incapacity, military habits, and habitual disregard of laws and constitutional provisions, altogether unfit for the office." Thomas Jefferson, who would later write to William Crawford in dismay at the outcome of the election, wrote to Jackson in December of 1823:
Election of 1828
The Tennessee legislature again nominated Jackson for the presidency. He resigned from United States Senate in 1825. Jackson allied himself with Vice President John C. Calhoun, Martin Van Buren, and former supporters of William H. Crawford; together they built a coalition that handily defeated the reelection of John Quincy Adams in 1828. His supporters called themselves "Jackson Men," or Jacksonians.
The Federal Debt
During Jackson's term, the United States' federal government managed to repay the totality of the federal debt for the first and only time in the country's history.