Age of Jackson
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Andrew Jackson was a controversial person during his life and he remains today.
Jackson was a complicated person. He was born on the American frontier, and never had much education. As a teenager he fought in the American Revolutionary War.
An orphan, Jackson studied law, becoming a lawyer and later a judge. He was an Indian fighter and a military hero. He favored removing American Indians from their homes in the southeast to the West. Jackson owned more than 100 slaves by the 1840s.
Yet Jackson fought for the rights of common people, and they, in turn, adored Jackson. He believed in their goodness and moral sense. He appealed to their patriotism. As a result the people were even prouder of their status as an American citizen.
While president, Jackson dramatically increased the power wielded by the president in national politics. In doing so he changed the presidency to what we know today.
There is still disagreement about the importance of Jackson’s role in history. Some historians consider him to have been one of the most influential presidents. Others consider him a tyrant whose actions caused the Trail of Tears.
- Painting of Andrew Jackson by Bass Otis. Tennessee State Museum Collection, 85.87.
- Drawing of Andrew Jackson dressed in royal attire. This drawing is from a political cartoon entitled, “King Andrew the First,” made by Edward Williams Clay in the 1830s. Jackson is shown holding a document labeled veto while standing on the Constitution, internal improvements, and the Bank of the United States. The caption reads, “A King who, possessing as much power as his gracious brother William IV, makes worse use of it.” Being called a king in a country where people remembered their war with the British king was an insult. Tennessee State Museum Collection, X79.44.
- Photograph of Andrew Jackson as an elderly man. This photo was taken by Jean Baptiste Adolphe Lafosse in 1845. Tennessee State Museum Collection, 76.70.
- Drawing entitled, “Treaty of the Hickory Ground.” It was probably made sometime in the 1850s and depicts General Jackson at the signing of the Treaty of Fort Jackson during the Creek War in 1814. Several Creek Indians and military officers are also shown. The terms of the treaty demanded that the Creeks give 23 million acres of land in present day Alabama and Georgia to the United States. New York Public Library
- Print entitled, “Politics in the Olden Time- General Jackson, President-Elect, On His Way to Washington.” This print was made by Gerald Holly. Jackson is shown standing on top of a carriage while talking to a crowd in front of the Red Eagle Tavern. Tennessee State Library and Archives.
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