Andrew Jackson Legacy Essay

Honorable and infamous, courageous and alarmed, trustworthy and treasonous – one could claim that President Andrew Jackson fills the bill of each category. President Jackson’s legacy is one that is continuously being rewritten and reformed. Andrew Jackson, the man who set forth plans that would normally send men wallowing in fear, became a war hero during the War of 1812, destroyed the Second Bank of the United States, eliminated the national debt, and conquered and triumphed over the Supreme Court. In a sense a man larger than life, Jackson paved the way for the many liberties that we take for granted today.

From nullification to Indian Removal, Andrew Jackson is a man who is cautiously studied. From his early childhood years to the deathbed, Andrew Jackson was always trying to outlive and outlast all the odds of life. Smallpox and three gunshot wounds – just to name a few ailments all transformed Jackson into the man he had become. Robert Remini claims that when Andrew Jackson died, “a man turned to Hannah Jackson (a loyal servant) and asked, “Do you think General Jackson will make it to heaven? ” In reply, Hannah said, “If General Jackson wants to go to heaven, who is going to stop him? Andrew Jackson often regarded as the father of the modern presidency.

A man of enormous energy, vigor, and ambition, he was the first president who was born into poverty to rise to the height of national political power. During his twoterm presidency, Jackson triumphed over Congress, defied the Supreme Court, and conquered the age as if few politicians ever have before or since his presidency. In many respects, President Jackson’s personal power and vitality simply reflected an increasingly self-confident United States that was rapidly growing in demographic, geographic, and economic terms.

Our seventh president, Andrew Jackson, is a hero and a villain, a beloved leader and an American dictator, a democratic autocrat, an urban savage, and an atrocious saint. A man of many name, titles, and roles in history, his controversial life and presidency continue to haunt him as the pages of the history books will continue to written. Jackson is a man whose story is full of turmoil, lies, damnation, and respect His poor-boy made good, self-made man image continues to help rescue his legacy as a Native American oppressor and a slave owner.

His legacy is lasting, whether it may be optimistic or pessimistic, Andrew Jackson is considered one of the finest men to lead our Nation, since the founding fathers. Therefore, while Jacksons’ “rough and ready” image influenced his presidential appeal and power, his Indian Removal act bore a greater responsibility to his demise as an iconic American hero. James L. Roark claims, ‚ÄúPresident Andrew Jackson was the dominate figure of his age, yet his precarious childhood little foretold the fame, fortune, and influence he would enjoy in the years after 1815.

Roark continues in the following sentences to share the upbringing and early life of Andrew Jackson. Early on in Jackson’s life, we can see that his presidential notifications as being “King Andrew” shown in his behaviors and upbringings as child. Being an orphan, alcoholic, gambler, and brawler throughout his early and young adult year we can see that our former president carried these traits on into his adult and presidential lifestyle. Roark also claims that, “Jackson captured national attention in 1815 by leading the United States to victory at the Battle of New Orleans.

With little else to celebrate about the War of 1812; many Americans seized on the Tennessee general as the champion of the day. ” Fredrick Jackson Turner said, “Sectional historians, along with myself, emphasize that the support Jackson drew was mainly from the west because of a strong emphasis in expanding the nation. ” In contrast, historian, Arthur M. Schlesinger, Jr. wrote, “It was the eastern urban working class that led to the more important roles that Jackson played in American Democracy. ” Both Turner and Schlesinger are right in their own manners.

In history, personal bias and interpretations allow each person to view a particular event or individual in a different view. Where Turner argues that it is the West the sparked Jackson’s popularity, Schlesinger argued it was the East. Many say that Andrew Jackson was an oppressor of Native Americans; however, he is not the first. Many Presidents before him attempted at removal. However, just like with slavery, the sensitive subject of removal came with many reservations through both the executive and legislative branches of government. The only difference between Jackson and his predecessors is Jackson took charge.

His removal of the Five Civilized Tribes, the Cherokee, Muscogee (Creek), Seminole, Chickasaw, and Choctaw, promoted Jackson to a controversial legacy. The argument for removal can be dissected in many directions: growth of a nation, removal of savages, building of America, hatred of natives, or as historian, Kathryn Braund, said, “that the color of [Jackson’s] story is green, the green of envy, for coveting Indian’s lands. ” Overall, one can debate on whether Andrew Jackson is vindictive or admirable. In my mind, Andrew Jackson did what he felt he had to do for the good of the nation. In my mind, he is our, an American, hero… hose legacy has been tarnished by one wrong philosophy.

In January 1813, Major General of the Tennessee State Militia, Andrew Jackson, led a band of two-thousand men from Nashville, Tennessee towards Natchez, Louisiana on route to New Orleans in anticipation of the arrival of British troops. However, soon after arriving in Natchez, General Jackson received orders from his superiors in Washington, D. C. to disband the militia and return to Nashville. Jackson, knowing that his men did not have the finances to make their own voyage back to Tennessee, defied the orders and led the militia back to Tennessee himself.

Paying the way back home, Jackson led his men through the rough terrain. Fighting illness and many aged injuries, Jackson pressed on. Jackson at one point refused to ride his horse, Sam Patches. In return, he offered his horse to men who were ill and needed the support of Sam Patches. This boastfulness of Andrew Jackson’s personality sparked his “Old Hickory” persona. Concurrently, in southeastern United States, the Red Stick Indians (also known as the Muscogee (Creek)) lead by Shawnee leader, Tecumseh, began their ritual drinking of the “Black Drink. ” A Drink used to help purify and energize the body before going into battle.

Tecumseh wanted unity among all tribes. He believed in a race war between Native Americans and whites. Many Red Sticks did not agree with Tecumseh’s plans of a racial war. In return, Tecumseh split the Muscogee (Creek) in two separate divisions. The first was the group that wanted to stand up and fight off the whites (Red Sticks), and the second was the group that would stay behind and carry on with daily life. It is imperative to know that many Muscogee (Creek) assimilated into the white man’s culture. In fact, many whites and natives took part in interracial marriages.

A product of an interracial marriage, William Weatherford, of Native American and Scots-Irish decent, allied with Tecumseh and became a prominent leader in his own right. William Weatherford later called Chief Red Eagle, by the natives, followed Tecumseh into the Battle of Fort Mims. On August 30, 1813, Tecumseh and Red Eagle led a charge of Red Sticks into Fort Mims. Once inside, the Red Sticks systematically slaughtered whoever lay in their way. Infants grabbed by their ankles and thrown against the cold, hard earth; women were shot, stabbed, speared, and gutted.

This was a terrorist attack of its time, a massacre of whites. Equally, this sparked the beginnings of a tribal Civil War among the Red Stick people. Jackson, immediately, received new orders, to lead his men to Fort Mims and dismantle the Red Sticks. Figure 1 Fort Mims Massacre (Conquering Spirit: Fort Mims and the Red Stick War of 1813-1814) Once Jackson and his men where reached the Muscogee (Creek) village of Tallahatchie a strategic plan to outsmart and maneuver the Red Sticks was underway. Jackson’s plan allowed the Red Sticks to make an approach on his men.

This allowed Jackson to divide his troops into three divisions. Each division forming a ring around the Red Sticks, ultimately surrounding them from possible escape, Jackson outsmarted the Red Sticks and approximately five-hundred Red Sticks lay dead across the cold earth. It was now that Andrew Jackson received his largest enjoyment of his life. The adoption of a baby boy, a Muscogee (Creek), orphaned like Jackson. Andrew Jackson, holding the child, whose parents, just killed at the hands of Jackson, the very hands holding child.

Lyncoya became his name and both Andrew and Rachel Jackson raised him at the Hermitage until his sudden death at the age of fifteen. Figure 2 Horseshoe Bend(Horseshoe Bend National Military Park) Later during the same year, Andrew Jackson, ordered to lead his militia to the Tallapoosa River was yet again encroaching on Native American land, the land of the Red Sticks. This time the Red Sticks took refuge in a location commonly referred to as Horseshoe Bend. Apply named because of its natural shape and safe walls.

In previous battles, Jackson was facing a few hundred natives, now he is in the direct sights of approximately one thousand Red Sticks. Aiding him in this battle was up and coming Lieutenant Samuel Houston, Cherokee, Choctaw, and even some Muscogee (Creek) natives. At the end of the five or so hour battle, the river ran red with native blood. Jackson lost six men – the Red Sticks, not so lucky. Figure 3 the Battle of Horseshoe Bend (Horseshoe Bend National Military Park) In the wake of the Battle of Horseshoe Bend, on August 9, 1814, the final signatures where penned to Treaty of Fort Jackson.

This treaty was the beginning of Indian land constraints. The treaty took twenty-three million acres of land from the Red Sticks. This land was a consortium of all Red Stick lands – limiting the land that Jackson’s allies had once called resided. Most of the land was in Georgia and future state Alabama, very prosperous lands. By this time, the War of 1812 was well into its second year. The British continued to make advances from the northeast, through present day Canada, and attempts from the south through the port of New Orleans. By now, Andrew Jackson had proven himself a strong military leader.

His continuous battles have allowed his “Old Hickory” image to flourish. President James Monroe promoted Andrew Jackson from Major General of the Tennessee to Major General of the Federal Army. Following his promotion, Monroe once again ordered Andrew Jackson to return to New Orleans with four-thousand militiamen. These men, more a band of misfits, (creoles, Africans, former slaves and servants, militiamen from Kentucky and Tennessee) fought the British troops. Jackson’s misfits went up against MajorGeneral Edward Pakenham, a British honorable that led the troops that killed Napoleon Bonaparte.

Looking back at the presidency and administration of Andrew Jackson, we draw to his politics of Indian removal. While there is an applicable dispute, it cannot claim that Jackson was the only one during his time who held anti-Indian sentiments and believed the removal of Native Americans to be an essential step for the continuous progression of the country. By the time Jackson took to the Oval Office, the United States government, as a whole, had adopted Indian removal as a keystone, which shaped many pieces of legislation.

Daniel K. Richter claims, “President Jackson played a vigorous role in pushing the Indian Removal Act of 1830 through Congress. Upon first glance, his part in Native American removal appears as though it is one determined by hatred. In actuality, the dispute could make that Jackson’s policies concerning Indians are inspired by a want to serve the needs of the nation as well as to better the position of these native peoples. In order to thrive in accomplishing both these ends, the progress of the United States and the theoretical stipulation of aid to the natives, President Andrew Jackson pushed the Indian Removal Act of 1830 through Congress.

In President Andrew Jackson’s First Annual Message to Congress on December eighth eighteen twenty-nine, he closed his address by saying: “Our conduct toward these people is deeply interesting to our national character. Their present condition, contrasted with what they once were, makes a most powerful appeal to our sympathies. Our ancestors found them the uncontrolled possessors of these vast regions. By persuasion and force, they have been made to retire from river to river and from mountain to mountain, until some of the tribes have become extinct and others have left but remnants to preserve for a while their once terrible names.

Surrounded by the whites with their arts of civilization, which by destroying the resources of the savage doom him to weakness and decay, the fate of the Mohegan, the Narragansett, and the Delaware is fast overtaking the Choctaw, the Cherokee, and the Muscogee (Creek). That this fate surely awaits them if they remain within the limits of the states does not admit of a doubt. Humanity and national honor demand that every effort should be made to avert so great a calamity. “