It is no doubt that today we look at Andrew Jackson as one of the most strategic and indispensable generals to the American military during is time, but throughout his life he became a man of controversy. If he disagreed with orders from his superiors he would go against those instructions and choose to do what he thought was best for the safety of Americans or in order to bring Justice to a situation. Did this discredit his ability to lead? Did this make him a bad military commander? Robert Remind does not seem to think so.
Throughout the novel Remind shows instances in which Jackson went against orders which turned to be ultimately beneficial to the security of Americans at the time. There were times when Jackson’s recovering, tenacious character proved beneficial to America. Andrew Jackson’s story is the classic tale of how authority is not always right. Although Jackson was a controversial military leader when it came to following orders, Robert Remind tells his readers how this does not ill repute Jackson’s ability to lead; it only honors his character even further.
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Andrew Jackson was a stubborn, strong headed, single- minded, firm, and relentless man, but that is what made him one of the greatest generals America has ever seen. The story begins in South Carolina in the March of 1767; the year Andrew Jackson was born into his Scot-Irish family. His mother named him after his late father. Andrew and his two older brothers, Hugh and Robert, grew up without a father fugue which certainly showed an effect on Andrew. His education was lacking and his planned path of becoming a minister did not look promising.
However, his mother Elizabeth did teach him important life lessons about moral character like, “not to steal, lie, or sue for slander and assault” (Remind 6). He also mimicked her fear and hate of Indian. He lived in a community where the fear of Indians was prominent. This caused him to pursue marksmanship with bows and arrows, he became quite DOD. When he was Just a teenager he already started showing signs of his character that he would grow up to be. “He was a mischievous troublemaker, stubborn, and quick to anger” (Remind 7). His interest in fighting soon became necessary after the Declaration of Independence was signed.
Fighting soon broke out between the Americans and the British so Robert and Andrew did what any teenage boy would do at the time; they Joined in the fight. In the military Andrew learned the commands and exercises they used. Colonel William Richardson Davie became Andrews “model for soldiering” (Remind 9). The way that Davie commanded was shockingly similar to the way Andrew would later command. They both cared greatly for their soldiers, they were never resting for long, they both used bold military tactics, and they both were exceptionally brave men.
In 1782 Andrew “became a veteran of the Revolutionary war”, but also, sadly, an orphan and a single child (Remind 10). At the young age of 15 Andrews mother died of cholera and Robert had died in the military of famine and disease. This greatly affected Andrew. With all of his immediate family dead he became disheartened, bad-tempered, and resentful. He turned to the bottle ND drank to excess. He and his friends started engaging in mischief. But once Andrew wasted away his money his “friends” left him and he returned to South Carolina to fugue his life out.
There he realized there was no way for him to make a living so he moved to Rowan County, North Carolina. Here, at 17 years of age, he found employment at the law office of Spruce McCoy. Andrew hoped that establishing himself in law would help him get ahead in the newly independent America. He was not much of a law student, but he was rather charismatic and liked by many people. Although he was not much of a student, he finally earned the reveille to practice law in September of 1787. After this he became public prosecutor of Tennessee. He and a few of his fellow law buddies formed a group and moved west.
Where they moved to was a dangerous frontier community that was regularly attacked by Cherokee Indians which would later be a problem. When Andrew arrived in Tennessee he found lodgings in the home of a widow whose youngest daughter, Rachel, he fell in love with almost instantaneously. They married in 1793, five years after he had arrived. As Andrew was practicing public prosecution the situation with the Cherokees was worsening. So Andrew became part of the retention and defense of the community. There were many expeditions from this group that set out to eradicate the volatile Indians.
Andrew even began leading some of the expeditions himself and his leadership skills were starting to shine. Governor Blunt started to take notice of Andrews fighting and leadership abilities and on September, 10 1792 Blunt appointed Jackson, age 25, as “Judge advocate for the Davidson County Calvary regiment” (Remind 17). One of his earliest success was his involvement with the Knickknack Campaign which had such an impact that the war with the Cherokees was now seemingly over. The population of Tennessee continued to increase and they finally became a state in 1796.
The people elected Jackson as the single representative for Tennessee in the U. S. House of Representatives. He instead wanted to be the major general of the state’s militia, but this did not happen. After his term ended he stood in the running for Governor Blowout’s replacement in the Senate and he won. Which was a mistake and he quickly resigned; it was not the right place for him. He then attempted to receive the position of a Judgeship, which would have place him closer to the military, and he ended up receiving the position which he served as for six years.
However, he still had his eyes set on major general of the militia. When that positioned opened he ran against John Severe and came out on top. Jackson was now 35 and now held the title Major General Jackson of the Tennessee militia which he served as for fourteen long years. As major general he “held regular drills, conducted meetings of the officers, and when necessary he “chastised” whites and Indians who violated the law’ (Remind 26). Unsurprisingly, while Jackson was in command, whites and Indians continued to clash. It wasn’t until 812 when Jackson had to take serious military action against the Indians.
A group of Creek Indians ran into some white families and massacred all of them. Jackson was now in the mood for Justice. During his plot for revenge, Jackson was notified that the U. S. Had declared war against Great Britain (The War of 1812). Now he became Major General of the United States Volunteers. Jackson assembled an army in Nashville that was setting out to New Orleans. He received a command that the military operation was to be halted and to send his men home. He was outraged, to say the least. He decided to disobey his orders and keep his men.
He instead led his troops back to Nashville. “His courage, his leadership skills, his determination, his deep and personal concern for the welfare of his troops and his patience” was displayed greatly by this act (Remind 34). His troops soon learned how tough Jackson was and gave him the nickname “Old Hickory’. He became a “father figure” to his soldiers which created a remarkable connection. Shortly after he and his militia arrived back in Nashville, Jackson became involved in a dispute and ended up being shot in the arm and shoulder.
This was a terrible occurrence considering that the Indians, pacifically the Red Sticks, were becoming even more of a problem that he would need to take care of, but now he would be weak and in recovery from his wound. However, he still stayed determined to get revenge on the murderous Indians. On October 7, 1813 Major General Jackson was set out the march against the troublesome Indians. A major military success for Jackson was the Tallahatchie Massacre where his militia slaughtered almost all inhabitants, including 200 Indian warriors.
This caused many Creek villages to side with Jackson and pledge their allegiance to him in order to ensure their safety. He continued to slaughter the violent Indians successfully, but he and his troops were running on very little supplies. The troops were defiant and set out to return home, but Jackson and his persuasive ways caused the deserting soldiers to return to camp. The soldier were hungry, weary, and angry. Jackson “almost single-handedly faced down the rebellion of an entire brigade” (Remind 47). This shows how commanding he really was.
Although he was tough with his soldiers, they still respected him to a high degree. New recruits were eager to fight in the war against the Creeks. The ending battle of he Creek war was the Battle of the Horseshoe Bend. In this battle Jackson managed to eliminate 900 Red Sticks; almost all of their warriors. Following this battle, Jackson created a treaty that 35 chiefs reluctantly signed. It required 23 million acres of land for Jackson, which was half of the Creek territory, in order to protect the U. S. From enemies. He was of course happy that they obliged, but little did he know an even greater battle was about to ensue.
There was still the forces of Great Britain, the Spanish, the remaining Red Sticks, and other Indians breathing down the necks of he United States ready to attack through the Gulf of Mexico. The British had their eyes set on New Orleans now. They hoped by seizing this territory they would ultimately win the war. Jackson had heard rumors of the Spanish allying with the British and wanted to remind them of their agreements peacefully to avoid conflict with them. This did not work and he soon sent out threats to the Spanish which only increased the alliance between the Spanish and the British.
When Jackson arrived in New Orleans he started enlisting pirates and blacks into his army for more man power. This action was met with controversy of course, but Jackson being the man he was followed through with it anyways. He was extraordinarily adamant on having more soldiers than his enemies in any mode of conflict. Rumors of the size of Jackson’s militia created fear in his enemies. While in the city of New Orleans Jackson also imposed harsh laws in order to keep the citizens safe such as a nine o’clock curfew. It was harsh, but necessary. The British were getting nearer and nearer.
Jackson could feel the British staring him down. They finally attacked and after many days of fighting Jackson suffered 24 killed, 115 wounded, and 74 missing. The British army had 46 killed, 167 wounded, and 64 missing. The end of the battle was not a pleasant won and neither side really won. They only result was a loss of many men. The British retreated realizing that they could not afford any further damage. On the Christmas Eve of 1814 the enemies signed the treaty of Ghent which would end the bloody War of 1812 when it was successfully ratified by both counterparts.
In the treaty the boundaries had changed ever so slightly with no significant difference for either side. Fighting still occurred in the meantime until the word of the treaty was spread. Both sides had lost many men but during the war, but still, Jackson had many successful military operations, especially the Battle of New Orleans. News of Jackson’s successful leadership and military command during the war spread like wild fire and he became a “national hero” (Remind 123). Although news of the terms of the Treaty of Ghent disheartened the citizens greatly, they still saw Jackson as a great leader of not only the military, but the U.
S. As a whole. This soon changed after Jackson showed that he was unwilling to lift the harsh marital law he had imposed when the British were imminent. The war was over, why did they have to continue to follow such strict rules? He now was becoming known as a tyrant. The law was finally lifted and Jackson returned to Nashville. The War of 1812 was over, but more conflict was about to arise in Florida. There was still much resentment against Jackson for the harsh treaty that he made the Creeks sign following the Creek War.
The British and the Creeks shared the hatred towards Jackson and quickly became allies. The British supplied the Creeks with weapons to fight against the U. S. Army. These Indians were Joined with other Indians and also blacks. The U. S. Grouped them together and called them the Seminole. After the War of 1812 the Seminole were left with a fort which was referred to as the Negro fort. A group of Seminole from this fort killed some American soldiers and Jackson’s rage soon ensued. He determined that he needed to destroy this fort completely.
A supply fleet was sent to test whether or not the inhabitants of the fort would fire on American forces, and they did. The American force of course fired back, hoping to destroy the fort’s entirety. The Americans were successful in obliterating the fort. Resentment as increasing and Jackson had now been commanded to invade Florida. In Florida, Jackson made great strides. With his now highly sharpened military skills Jackson proved successful in numerous advances against the Seminole and the Spanish. He captured three major forts: Negro Fort, Fort SST.
Marks, and Fort Carols De Barracks. In addition, he destroyed hundreds of other Indian villages. He was a feared man in Florida. His enemies finally surrendered and Jackson couldn’t have been more thrilled. After the First Seminole War, Jackson wanted to make it clear to the Spanish that he was not going to be a tyrant. He did not want the Spanish to hate him and the United States. He was committed to protecting Spanish property and rights. John Quince Adams was not pleased with Jackson’s actions, but obliged to defend the invasions as an excuse to control the Indians.
Negotiations took place between the Spanish and the Americans and the result was the Adam Onions Treaty. The Spanish agreed to give Florida to the U. S. And a boundary was set for the Spanish (now Mexico). Now in control of Florida, Jackson was appointed governor of the East and West sections. A majority of the American public grew exceptionally fond of Jackson’s successes in the military and were more than happy to elect him as President of the United States when the time came. Upon reading this novel I learned that Andrew Jackson has his good sides and his bad sides.
He was a great military leader no doubt, but at times he was stubborn and reluctant to listen to orders. I did not know Jackson’s story very well before reading this book. Vie always assumed that he was a great leader that everyone looked up to. This is true to an extent, but he was also a controversial character who at times was even called a tyrant. He was only protecting the citizens of New Orleans and they eared he would take over the city like Napoleon. Another thing I learned from reading this book was, the War of 1812 was a waste of time and good men.
I was taught the U. S. Had won the War of 1812, but this really wasn’t the case. The U. S. Lost many great men during this war and did not gain any new significant amount of territory. This is the same for the British. These enemies fought this war in order to gain new land, and in the end they both failed. It seems both the United States and Great Britain were losers in this war. I enjoyed this book and found the account of Jackson’s life intriguing to read. I think the author told the story in a historically exciting way that kept the reader interested.
Also, he highlighted the most important military successes of Andrew Jackson which I think was smart since the book was mean to argue the Andrew Jackson was a respected general. It was not mean to discourse the entirety of his life, just his military involvements. Remind did an extraordinary Job at arguing how although Jackson’s character was not the best and he did not always follow orders, he should still be classified as one of the greatest generals in American history. Another strength of this novel is the immense use of primary sources and the amount of sources he used.
Scanning through the sources he used it shows how enthusiastic he is about Andrew Jackson and when and author is excited about a subject it shows in their writing and makes the reader eager to read what they’ve written. As for the weaknesses of the novel, I really cannot think of any. Vie read historical novels before and they are typically dry, but this one was not. It reminded me of the Paul Revere book. There was suspense in the writing even though it container events hat have already occurred and the outcome is already documented.
I guess one weakness could be that he should write a longer novel that includes all of Jackson’s life, like his presidency, how he dealt with those who thought he was a tyrant, etc. Overall, the book did not really show any weaknesses for me. Robert Remind set out to argue that General Andrew Jackson was in fact an esteemed general. He provides countless examples where Jackson, even with little military training and minimal education, proved successful and quite clever. Remind gives a persuasive argument throughout the book as to why Jackson should be counted in history as a glorious general.