Andrew Jackson

Hero or Villain? I've decided, but now it's your turn.

Jackson's Early Life

Jackson was said to be a rebellious boy and loved sports and games more than schoolwork. He had a fiery temper, and would often get into fights about who knows what. As Jackson grew up, he began to gamble and make bets on horse races. This was how he earned money, as he didn't have a job. With these new found hobbies, Jackson also took up chewing tobacco and smoking, along with some other drugs.
The war ended this life, and rather quickly.

The War

Andrew Jackson grew up as a commoner. Compared to the wealthy people in Washington DC, he was poor. When Jackson was about 14 years old, he and his older brother were caught by British troops. The boys had been helping send messages to the Americans, but were finally caught. They were dragged to a British camp, and there the boys caught the chicken pox. Their mother eventually came and rescued them, but it was too late for Jackson's brother: he died upon reaching their home, 40 miles away. After that, Andrew Jackson had a special hatred for the British.


After the Americans won the Revolution, Jackson wanted to become a lawyer. heading to North Carolina, he got a job in a law office. In 1788, Jackson made his way to Nashville. There, he wanted to practice law and learn more about it. During this time, Nashville, Tennessee was only a small settlement, not the booming town we have now. Jackson soon earned enough money, as the settlement grew, and he soon bought land and slaves. With his land, he became a gentleman farmer.

Even with a new job and a new life, Jackson never outgrew his temper. A famous write, Charles Dickinson, learned this the hard way and took it to his grave. He had insulted Jackson by calling him a "worthless scoundrel". An angry Andrew Jackson challenged him to a duel. Even though Dickinson shot first and wounded him, Jackson killed his opponent in cold blood.

He was only insulted, and those can be taken back. Even if you don't forgive that person, it doesn't give someone permission to kill the insulter. Does this choice make Jackson a hero or a villain?

Presidential Campaign

1824 was the year that Andrew Jackson ran for president. He was racing against John Quincy Adams. Jackson was only known after the battle of 1812, and that was for his military strategy. Adams was more well known, and had worked in politics longer than Jackson. Two other candidates also ran, and those were Henry Clay and William Crawford. During voting, Jackson won the popular and electoral votes, but didn't have enough electoral votes for majority.

In fourth place was Clay, and he urged his supporters to vote for Adams. Because of this, Adams won the majority votes and became president, taking Clay along with him to be the secretary of state. Common people were angry at this, saying that the two men had worked out an agreement. In 1828, they said, they would take revenge.

And so, four years later, another election was held. This time, Jackson's supporters made sure that he would win the votes. They made banners, held meetings and rallies, and their campaign was "Adams can write, but Jackson can fight." This work resulted in Andrew Jackson becoming the president.

The political cartoon depicts Jackson beating Adams in the 1828 elections. It could also be showing that the common people wanted to take revenge, and making Jackson the president would do that.

Taking "revenge" as the commoners called it, and helping Jackson win the votes made them a hero in their eyes. But what about your eyes?

Short Summary of His Work

In his four years of being president, and then beiing relected , Jackson completed a lot of work and changed the United States as well. The way he governed was one of these.

The Spoils System and the Kitchen Cabinet

In President Jackson's opinion, government work should not be a life time job. He brought some of his own supporters into politics, and this angered the upper class. They called it a Spoil System, where President Jackson treated his followers to better jobs and better payments. He said he didn't trust the Cabinet, and so made his own. The Kitchen Cabinet, so named because they met in the kitchens, were filled with people he trusted and who in turn supported him.

Does this act of removing better working people and replacing them with people who don't have much experience in politics make President Jackson a hero or a villain. The upper class certainly thought of him as a villain.

The picture depicts President Jackson as a puppet master, or the devil. He used people who supported him for his own use. He knew that he could manipulate them better than people who didn't support him.

Nullification and Tariffs- Good or Bad?

In 1828, Congress passed a new law that raised the taxes on imported goods, like cloth and glass. Higher tariffs meant higher costs on goods that the other countries bought. The northern states were where the new factories were located, and they loved this idea. It would make them richer, and make the United States look richer and more independent. Unfortunately, people didn't think the same way in the south. This new law would actually make them poorer, since they were the ones that made the cloth and everything else that other countries bought. Southerners believed that this law was unconstitutional, as it favored the north.

Vice President John C. Calhoun told them to simply declare the tariffs null and void, and ignore them. Jackson didn't like this idea, so he signed a new law that lowered the tariffs- but not enough to the most firm believers.

South Carolina took it a step further- if the tariffs were not gotten rid of, then they would leave the United States. Outraged, Jackson told Congress to sign the Force Bill. This allowed him to use the federal army to collect tariffs if needed. Not wanting to face the army, South Carolina backed down.

The cartoon shows Calhoun and some of his supporters climbing a pyramid. At the top is a crown that symbolizes power.

Jackson stopped a war with a law. Who was he helping, and did he make good?


Was President Andrew Jackson one of the heroes, or was he a villain?

In my opinion, Jackson was a villain. He worked to help people, yes, but it was mainly the common people. He starved a bank, killed an innocent man, and did drugs when he was younger. He also destroyed the lives of over 17,000 Native Americans by driving them from their homes and taking their land.

But now it's your turn. Yes or no? Good or bad?