Jimmy Murphy APUSH Andrew Jackson was president from 1828 to 1836. He is famous as a war hero, a strong and fearless leader, and most of all, a representative for the common man. His actions as president began a new political era. Unlike the other presidents of the time that were born into wealthy families, Andrew Jackson was born in 1767 and grew up on a poor farm in South Carolina. His father died shortly after his birth. At age thirteen, he joined the militia with his older brother, and fought in the Revolutionary War. In 1781, they were taken prisoner by the British.
Legend has it that while he was captive he refused to shine a British officer’s boots, and was struck by a sword, leaving scars on his face. Towards the end of the war they were released. Jackson’s brother and mother died of smallpox. Andrew Jackson’s experiences in the Revolutionary War left him with a life-long hatred towards the British. He was orphaned by age 14, and had a wild and reckless youth. Jackson moved to Tennessee and became a lawyer and plantation owner. However, his quick temper got him into many brawls and duels. Bullets in his body from two duels sometimes caused him pain.
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Jackson’s humble background and reputation for toughness gained him the support of the people. He fought in the War of 1812 and was a famous hero in the battle of New Orleans. In 1824 regional differences in the United States lead to a fierce fight over the presidency. The Democratic-Republican party split apart, with four men hoping to become president. John Quincy Adams, the secretary of state, was New England’s choice for president. Candidates from the South included William Crawford of Georgia. Candidates form the West were Henry Clay, “The Great Compromiser,” and war hero Andrew Jackson.
With so many well-known people running for president, the competition was intense. Andrew Jackson won the most popular votes. However, he did not win the majority of electoral votes. According to the Constitution, if no candidate wins the majority of electoral votes, the House of Representatives must choose the president. The selection was made from the top three vote getters. Clay had come in forth, so he was out of the running. In the House, Clay gave his support to Adams, because Adams had promised Clay the position of secretary of state if he did so.
With Clay’s support, Adams won the election. Jackson’s supporters were furious, claiming that Adams had only won because he had made a deal with Clay. They called the deal the “corrupt bargain. ” Adams had many plans for the presidency, but almost all of them were defeated by the Jackson supporters in Congress. Andrew Jackson felt that the 1824 election had been stolen from him. He immediately started campaigning for the next election in 1828. Jackson represented the “common man,” and most of the people voted for him. Adams, however, represented a small group of wealthy people.
Jackson won the electioHis idea of making government decisions based in the opinions of the people instead of the wealthy and powerful became known as Jacksonian Democracy. Jackson became known as the people’s president. He was the first president not born into a wealthy aristocratic family. Many people saw his rise to the presidency as a true American success story. Andrew Jackson was inaugurated on March 4, 1829. Thousands of people came to witness the event. The crowd was very excited, and became somewhat dangerous. Jackson had to flee to the White House.
His inauguration began a new political era called the “Age of Jackson” or the “Jacksonian Era”. He had promised to reform government. He started by replacing many government officials with his supporters. This practice of giving political positions to the supporters of the candidate or political party became known as the spoils system. The name came from the saying “To the victor belong the spoils of the enemy. ” Some thought Jackson’s spoils system was immoral. However, Jackson defended it, stating that it broke up one group’s hold on government. As president, Jackson