Andrew Jackson (March 15, 1767 – June 8, 1845) was the seventh President of the United States (1829–1837). Based in frontier Tennessee, Jackson was a politician and army general who defeated the British at the Battle of New Orleans (1815) and the Creek Indians at the Battle of Horseshoe Bend (1814). A polarizing figure who dominated the Second Party System in the 1820s and 1830s, he destroyed the national bank and relocated most Indian tribes to the west. His enthusiastic followers created the modern Democratic Party, and the 1830-1850 period later became known as the era of Jacksonian democracy.
Jackson was nicknamed “Old Hickory” because of his toughness and aggressive personality that produced numerous duels, some fatal. He was a rich slave owner who appealed to the masses of Americans and fought against what he denounced as a closed undemocratic aristocracy. He expanded the spoils system during his presidency to strengthen his political base, regardless of the cost of inefficiency and bias.
As President, he supported a small and limited federal government but 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 Native American tribes to Indian Territory (now Oklahoma).
His legacy is now seen as mixed by historians. He is praised as a protector of popular democracy and individual liberty for American citizens, but criticized for his support for slavery and Indian removal.
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