Jackson was a victorious general in the Battle of New Orleans (1815) against the British
and co-founder of the Democratic Party.
Why was he a great
1. Courageous and tough
His hatred of the British came from the American War of Independence, in which a British officer slashed his
left hand and head after he had refused to clean his boots.
In a later war (1812-5) against them, he was a strict leader but popular and respected.
His troops described him as “tough as old hickory”, when in 1813 he gave up his horse and
marched on foot to help the sick. He was then nicknamed “Old Hickory”.
He battled through the death of his wife, and the constant pain from his wounds in numerous duels (see point
He had to continually endure a musket ball in his lung, which made him cough up blood. But he succeeded,
because he was self-reliant and had the will to win.
2. Love and support
He loved his wife, Rachel (pictured right), and fought 103 duels, mainly to defend
“Heaven will be no heaven to me, if I do not meet my wife there”, he said.
Sadly she died two months before he became president.
3. Jacksonian democracy
This is his policy of giving power and wealth to ordinary people.
“Let the people rule” was his campaign slogan.
He protected them from exploitation by the rich and powerful.
He abolished the Second Bank of the United States as a privately owned national bank,
because it made the “rich richer and the potent more powerful”, he said.
He believed that government should treat the rich and poor the same and be “for the good of the
He fought to preserve the union of the American states, particularly when South Carolina (his home state) fought
to abolish tariffs (taxes) placed on European manufactured imports (fiercely opposed by the industrial North).
Jackson (pictured right in 1824) acted decisively, saying “take time to deliberate, but when the time for action
arrives, stop thinking and go in”.
Jackson also took swift (but brutal) action against the threat of the Native Americans during the 1830's.
He forcibly removed 45,000 of them from their land and re-located them in the west of America.
Ordinary people could identify with him because he was a self-made man from a poor farming
He was the first president to be born in a log cabin, and to be given a nickname (Old Hickory, see point 1),
which made his relationship with the people even closer.
In the presidential election of 1828 people preferred the down-to-earth anti-European policies of Jackson, the
uneducated ploughman, to the academic intellectual, John Quincy Adams (pictured right).
Jackson benefited from his well publicized story of giving a gift of acorns to his troops, even though it was
all the food he had.
7. Principles and learning from mistakes
“Any man worth his salt will stick up for what he believes is right, but it takes a slightly better man
to acknowledge instantly and without reservation that he is in error”
8. Duty and patriotism
He always put the interests of America before his own.
“The brave man inattentive to his duty is worth little more to his country than the coward who deserts
her in the hour of danger”, he told retreating troops at the Battle of New Orleans (pictured right).
Key quotes on politics and
Let the people rule (Jackson's campaign
As long as our government is administered for the good of the people and is regulated by their will...it will be
It is to be regretted that the rich and powerful too often bend the acts of government to their selfish
There are no necessary evils in government. Its evils exist only in its abuses.
Key quotes on banking and
If the people understood the rank injustice of our money and banking system, there would be a revolution before
Key quotes on
Americans are not a perfect people, but we are called to a perfect mission.
The Bible is the rock on which the Republic rests.