Andrew Jackson (March 15, 1767 – June 8, 1845)
Jackson was the seventh President of the United States (1829–1837). Based in frontier Tennessee, Jackson was a politician and army general who defeated the Creek Indians at the Battle of Horseshoe Bend (1814), and the British at the Battle of New Orleans (1815). A polarizing figure who dominated the Second Party System in the 1820s and 1830s, as president he destroyed the national bank and relocated most Indian tribes from the Southeast to west of the Mississippi River. His enthusiastic followers created the modern Democratic Party. The 1830-1850 period later became known as the era of Jacksonian democracy.
Jackson was born on March 15, 1767. His parents were Scots-Irish colonists Andrew and Elizabeth Hutchinson Jackson, Presbyterians who had emigrated from Ireland two years earlier. Jackson's father was born in Carrickfergus, County Antrim, in current-day Northern Ireland, around 1738. Jackson's parents lived in the village of Boneybefore, also in County Antrim. Their former house is preserved as the Andrew Jackson Centre and is open to the public. (the Andrew Jackson Cottage and US Rangers Centre in Northern Ireland, is a "traditional thatched Ulster–Scots farmhouse built in 1750s" and includes the home of Jackson's parents", which has been restored.)
When they emigrated to America in 1765, Jackson's parents probably landed in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. They would have traveled overland down through the Appalachian Mountains to the Scots-Irish community in the Waxhaws region, straddling the border between North and South Carolina. They brought two children from Ireland, Hugh (born 1763) and Robert (born 1764).
Jackson's father died in an accident in February 1767, at the age of 29, three weeks before his son Andrew was born in the Waxhaws area. His exact birth site is unclear because he was born about the time his mother was making a difficult trip home from burying Jackson's father. The area was so remote that the border between North and South Carolina had not officially been surveyed.
In 1824, Jackson wrote a letter saying that he was born at an uncle's plantation in Lancaster County, South Carolina. But he may have claimed to be a South Carolinian because the state was considering nullification of the Tariff of 1824, which Jackson opposed. In the mid-1850s, second-hand evidence indicated that he may have been born at a different uncle's home in North Carolina.
Jackson received a sporadic education in the local "old-field" school. In 1781, he worked for a time in a saddle-maker's shop. Later, he taught and studied law in Salisbury, North Carolina. In 1787, he was admitted to the bar, and moved to Jonesborough, in what was then the Western District of North Carolina. This area later became the Southwest Territory (1790), the precursor to the state of Tennessee.
Elected president in 1828, Jackson supported a small and limited federal government. He strengthened the power of the presidency, which he saw as spokesman for the entire population, as opposed to Congressmen from a specific small district. He was supportive of states' rights, but during the Nullification Crisis, declared that states do not have the right to nullify federal laws. Strongly against the national bank, he vetoed the renewal of its charter and ensured its collapse. Whigs and moralists denounced his aggressive enforcement of the Indian Removal Act, which resulted in the forced relocation of thousands of Native American tribes to Indian Territory (now Oklahoma). Historians acknowledge his protection of popular democracy and individual liberty for United States citizens, and sometimes criticize him for his support for slavery and for his role in Indian removal.