|“||The brave man inattentive to his duty, is worth little more to his country, than the coward who deserts her in the hour of danger.||„|
|~ Andrew Jackson|
Andrew Jackson (March 15th, 1767 – June 8th, 1845) was the 7th President of the United States.
He cared for others and was responsible for many good things, including expanding America's territory (including the state of Florida), introducing the Tariff Act in 1832, and providing the people with laws they wanted rather than leaving everything up to Congress.
But ultimately his presidency and reputation was shaded by his Indian Removal Act, which killed around 60,000 Cherokee alone, and involved The Trail of Tears.
He also invaded South Carolina when the state opposed his Tariff act, forcing them to compromise.
The Trail of Tears
The Trail of Tears was a series of forced relocations of approximately 60,000 Native Americans between 1830 and 1850 by the United States government. Members of the Cherokee, Muscogee (Creek), Seminole, Chickasaw, and Choctaw nations (including thousands of their black slaves) were forcibly removed from their ancestral homelands in the Southeastern United States to areas to the west of the Mississippi River that had been designated as 'Indian Territory'.
The forced relocations were carried out by government authorities (state and local militias) following the passage of the Indian Removal Act in 1830. The Cherokee removal in 1838 (the last forced removal east of the Mississippi) was brought on by the discovery of gold near Dahlonega, Georgia in 1828, resulting in the Georgia Gold Rush.
The relocated peoples suffered from exposure, disease, and starvation while en route to their newly designated reserve. Thousands died before reaching their destinations or shortly after from disease.
Other acts of villainy
- Men, women, and child slaves were owned by Jackson on three sections of the Hermitage plantation. Slaves lived in extended family units of between five and ten persons and were quartered in 400 square feet (37 m2) cabins made either of brick or logs. The size and quality of the Hermitage slave quarters exceeded the standards of his times.
- To help slaves acquire food, Jackson supplied them with guns, knives, and fishing equipment. At times he paid his slaves with money and coins to trade in local markets. The Hermitage plantation was a profit-making enterprise.
- Jackson permitted slaves to be whipped to increase productivity or if he believed his slaves' offenses were severe enough.
- At various times he posted advertisements for fugitive slaves who had escaped from his plantation. In one advertisement placed in the Tennessee Gazette in October 1804, Jackson offered "ten dollars extra, for every hundred lashes any person will give him, to the amount of three hundred."
- He engaged a man named Charles Dickinson in a gun duel after Dickinson made defamatory statements about him in a newspaper. Jackson won the duel, killing Dickinson.His behavior in the duel outraged men in Tennessee, who called it a brutal, cold-blooded killing and saddled Jackson with a reputation as a violent, vengeful man. He became a social outcast.
- In the aftermath of the Battle of New Orleans, he refused to lift martial law, even unlawfully arresting a local judge who tried to get him to lift it via the use of a writ of habeas corpus. There are also reports that he had ordered some surrendered enemy troops to be executed (which would be designated a war crime many years later.)
- During the First Seminole War, Jackson destroyed Negro Fort (which was serving as a refuge for freed black and Native American slaves) and forced all the survivors back into slavery.
- During the annexation of Florida, he had captured POWs executed, which President James Monroe claimed was a violation of the Constitution.
Jackson remains one of the most studied and controversial figures in American history. Historian Charles Grier Sellers says, "Andrew Jackson's masterful personality was enough by itself to make him one of the most controversial figures ever to stride across the American stage." There has never been universal agreement on Jackson's legacy, for "his opponents have ever been his most bitter enemies, and his friends almost his worshippers." He was always a fierce partisan, with many friends and many enemies. He has been lauded as the champion of the common man, while criticized for his treatment of Indians and for other matters.
Jackson was criticized by his contemporary Alexis de Tocqueville in Democracy in America for flattering the dominant ideas of his time, including the mistrust over the federal power, for sometimes enforcing his view by force and disrespect towards the institutions and the law.
In the 20th century, Jackson was written about by many admirers. Arthur M. Schlesinger Jr.'s Age of Jackson (1945) depicts Jackson as a man of the people battling inequality and upper-class tyranny. From the 1970s to the 1980s, Robert Remini published a three-volume biography of Jackson followed by an abridged one-volume study. Remini paints a generally favorable portrait of Jackson. He contends that Jacksonian democracy "stretches the concept of democracy about as far as it can go and still remain workable. ... As such it has inspired much of the dynamic and dramatic events of the nineteenth and twentieth centuries in American history—Populism, Progressivism, the New and Fair Deals, and the programs of the New Frontier and Great Society." To Remini, Jackson serves as "the embodiment of the new American ... This new man was no longer British. He no longer wore the queue and silk pants. He wore trousers, and he had stopped speaking with a British accent."
Other 20th-century writers such as Richard Hofstadter and Bray Hammond depict Jackson as an advocate of the sort of laissez-faire capitalism that benefits the rich and oppresses the poor.
Jackson's initiatives to deal with the conflicts between Indians and American settlers has been a source of controversy. Starting mainly around 1970, Jackson came under attack from some historians on this issue. Howard Zinn called him "the most aggressive enemy of the Indians in early American history" and "exterminator of Indians." Conversely, in 1969, Francis Paul Prucha argued that Jackson's removal of the "Five Civilized Tribes" from the extremely hostile white environment in the Old South to Oklahoma probably saved their very existence. Similarly, Remini claims that, if not for Jackson's policies, the Southern tribes would have been totally wiped out, just like other tribes-namely, the Yamasee, Mahican, and Narragansett–which did not move.
Jackson has long been honored, along with Thomas Jefferson, in the Jefferson–Jackson Day fundraising dinners held by state Democratic Party organizations to honor the two men whom the party regards as its founders. Because both Jefferson and Jackson were slave owners, as well as because of Jackson's Indian removal policies, many state party organizations have renamed the dinners.
Brands argues that Jackson's reputation suffered since the 1960s as his actions towards Indians and African Americans received new attention. He also claims that the Indian controversy has eclipsed Jackson's other achievements in public memory. Brands notes that he was often hailed during his lifetime as the "second George Washington" because, while Washington had fought for independence, Jackson confirmed it at New Orleans and made the United States a great power.
Over time, while the Revolution has maintained a strong presence in the public conscience, memory of the War of 1812, including the Battle of New Orleans, has sharply declined. Brands argues that this is because once America had become a military power, "it was easy to think that America had been destined for this role from the beginning." Historian and author of Andrew Jackson, Southerner Mark R. Cheathem has argued similarly that Jackson is a fitting target for protesters—including protesters who know about Jackson's life—he is not seen as a complex figure for them, but rather as primarily a cruel figure who represents America at its worst.
Still, Jackson's performance in office compared to other presidents has generally been ranked in the top half in public opinion polling. His position in C-SPAN's poll dropped from 13th in 2009 to 18th in 2017.