"Perseverance of Andrew Jackson"

Jon Bachman

Lightning Talk Presented: March 20, 2014
Published: March 22, 2014

On my eighth birthday, I was given one of my greatest birthday gifts. This gift taught me more lessons in life than any toy could have. It was a framed poster of Steve Yzerman. At the bottom of this poster it reads: "Perseverance- n. 1. To continue a course of action in spite of difficulty or discouragement. 2. Remain steadfast." No matter what is ahead of you and how overwhelming it maybe perseverance means that you continue the grind to the finish. This framed poster has been with me ever since and constantly reminds me that no matter how hard the obstacle in front of me, I can and will get through it with hard work and dedication.

When I was given the choice of lightning topics, I knew without a doubt that I had to pick Jacksonian democracy. Even though I didn't have much knowledge about Andrew Jackson, I knew he was a man with excellent perseverance and would stop at nothing to get his way. If my poster was made during his lifetime, Andrew Jackson would be on there.

Something I would like you to think about during my talk is a quote from Theodore Roosevelt: "The darker the night the bolder the lion."

Andrew Jackson was born on March 15, 1767 in a small log cabin in the woods of Tennessee. He didn't receive a formal education. Growing up, Jackson was given a nickname "Old Hickory" for his aggressive and tough personality. The nickname seems to be very fitting.

At the young age of 13, Jackson enlisted into his local militia. Today, you would never hear of a parent allowing their children to join the military at such a young age. This seems extremely odd to us, but at the time this was not exactly out of the norm yet. Still, it was very brave of Andrew Jackson. Since he was so young, they didn't exactly have him fighting on the front line. He started out doing the grunt work that no one else really wanted to do. This was where he learned about war and his background of military strategies was molded. He was able to see and learn what techniques and actions would work and fail under certain circumstances. The seasoned vets taught him all the tricks and trades to being in war. I feel this helped him extraordinarily as he got older by giving him the upper hand against men his own age fighting for the next rank, Jackson's toughness was built here. Because his mother, Elizabeth Hutchinson Jackson, gave birth to Andrew Jackson on her way home from her husband's funeral, Old Hickory never had a father figure to look up to as a child. By joining the military at a young age, it forced him to grow up from a boy to a man. In the military, Jackson gained confidence and decided that it was his way or the highway from now on, with no exceptions.

During his first year in the military, Andrew Jackson grieved deaths in his family. One of his brothers died fighting on the battlefield while the other passed away from contracting smallpox as he was held prisoner of war. His mother also died while she was taking care of others as a nurse on a U.S. military boat. This left Andrew Jackson as an orphan and fueled his strong hatred for the British at the young age of 14. These traumatic incidents would have probably made Old Hickory a pretty scary teenager. He was forced to grow up and toughen up quickly.

With all of that anger built up in Jackson, he was hot headed. If you had an issue or he had one with you, one would simply drop their hat at the others feet. This was considered an insult and would likely lead to a dual. Old Hickory was very fond of this. He was in numerous duals; some of which were fatal for his opponent. He was not a man to be taken lightly. Which, if his priors did not know, well, they learned that quickly.

Andrew Jackson spent many years in the military. He rose to the rank of a general and is probably most commonly known for The Battle of New Orleans. Jackson was a hard working, tough general and didn't make it easy to be under his watch. He would make demands that seemed unrealistic. Being realistic is the fastest road to mediocrity and Jackson was not a mediocre man.

Upon Jackson's retirement, he began campaigning for the presidency. After two years of campaigning, he became president on March 4, 1829 and served two terms. He entered into office with plans that he fully executed. Old Hickory was there to make changes.

Jackson used all the power that was given to him in the executive branch; including using his veto power to the full extent. At the time, you must remember that we were still a pretty new country and most of the presidents were not willing to test the waters and/or step out of line in any way. Jackson on the other hand knew what he wanted and was on a mission to get it.

Jackson started by hiring the largest amount of White House officials than ever before in order to stay up to date on everything on Capitol Hill. He was determined to never be out of the loop. This was critical with the goals he wanted to fulfill.

Jackson's first major veto was the Maysville Road Veto in 1830. The bill was set up so that the government would fund the building of a road over the Ohio River to make it easier for the locals, businessmen, and others to commute to and from the river. Jackson vetoed this bill saying that it was not the federal government's job to fund local projects. It was acts of cutting government spending like this that made Jackson able to eliminate the national debt in 1835. Although it didn't last long, for the first time and only time in U.S. history, the government had a surplus of money. In 1837, the government experienced a depression and went back into debt. And, as you know, we haven't been able to recover since.

Jackson would go on to veto the national bank in 1832. He felt that although it my seem convenient to the people, the bank would quickly become a monopoly controlled by the government. This would not be fair to all of his constituents. Because he wanted to help the common man and not hurt him by creating a monopolies, Old Hickory's decision of vetoing the bill easy.

Before Jackson's presidency, he drew up and negotiated treaties with many Native American tribes that forced them west. When Jackson reached office, he did the same but on a larger scale. He pushed Native Americans west of the Mississippi River on what is now known as the "Trail of Tears" due to the large amounts of death and suffering on this march. Today, we look back at this event and are disgusted. It is most commonly compared to an attempt of genocide in which Jackson is pointed to take the majority of the blame. But, during the time period, the majority of white men wanted to eliminate the entire Native American race. Thankfully, Jackson was not too particularly fond of that ideal.

This part of our history is often overlooked by the American people. When taught about the topic in school, it is most of the time extremely brief. This is a dark hour in our history and is most definitely not easy to accept, especially when you can compare it to Nazi Germany. We learn much more about Hitler because it was not our country's mistake.

At the end of Jackson's second term, he officially retired but stayed very influential in politics on both the national and state level. He enjoyed eight years of retirement until he passed away on June 8, 1845 of chronic tuberculosis, dropsy, and heart failure. He was 78 years old.

Throughout Andrew Jackson's life, he was faced with many hardships to overcome; not knowing his father, losing his brothers and mother within the same year, the numerous duals that he endured, and all of the challenges that he faced as President. Yet, one thing did not change. That was his perseverance to complete his task and obtain his goals.

Screen: Andrew Jackson: An Introduction

I will leave you with a quote from Andrew Jackson, "I was born for a storm and a calm does not suit me."

Work Consulted

    "Andrew Jackson: An Introduction." PBS. PBS, n.d. Web. 02 Mar. 2014.

    This video I found to be great and am going to use it in my presentation. The video talked about topics in my lightning talk along with topics that I was not able to talk about.

    "Avalon Project - President Jackson's Veto Message Regarding the Bank of the United States; July 10, 1832." Avalon Project - President Jackson's Veto Message Regarding the Bank of the United States; July 10, 1832. N.p., n.d. Web. 22 Feb. 2014.

    This website is from Yale's law school, which is in the top two best law schools in the nation. It talked, in detail about the national bank veto by Andrew Jackson himself.

    "The Bank War." National Archives and Records Administration. National Archives and Records Administration, n.d. Web. 22 Feb. 2014.

    I just found this interesting. It was a letter that Andrew Jackson personally wrote and found everything about it interesting. It kind of shows the type of hot headed person he is.

    Booraem, Hendrik. Young Hickory: The Making of Andrew Jackson. Dallas, TX: Taylor Trade Pub., 2001. Print.

    This was a biography on Andrew Jacksons early life, prior to him becoming president. Very informative about his early life and the hardships that he went through.

    Cole, Donald B. "Review of Burstein, Andrew, The Passions of Andrew Jackson." H-Tennessee, H-Net Reviews. June, 2003.

    Many facts about Jackson's life, presidency, etc. although it was a book review, it still had some information that I was about to use for my topic.

    "Center on Budget and Policy Priorities." A Constitutional Balanced Budget Amendment Threatens Great Economic Damage -. N.p., n.d. Web. 16 Feb. 2014.

    This article talks in detail about balancing the budget in todays time. It gives examples of what states have to do and if they are or are not doing this.

    Case, Steven. "Andrew Jackson." Jackson, Andrew. N.p., n.d. Web. 22 Feb. 2014.

    Much like the other websites, it gave the background information, and touched on all the topics.

    Cole, Donald B. Review of Burstein, Andrew, The Passions of Andrew Jackson. H-Tennessee, H-Net Reviews. June, 2003.

    Many facts about Jackson's life, presidency, etc. although it was a book review, it still had some information that I was about to use for my topic.

    Deusen, Glyndon G Van. 1828-1848: The Jackson Era. Woodbury, NY: Haper & Row, 1963. Print.

    This book had fewer chapters but still some useable information regarding my topic. I used two chapter (4&10) about politics, tariffs, the banking and the Jacksonians.

    "Domestic Policy." PBS. PBS, n.d. Web. 20 Feb. 2014.

    This article was about how Andrew Jackson wanted reform and to move the Native American's west of the Mississippi River. Along with many other changes such as the bank veto and The Nullification Crisis and Compromise of 1833 and other information retaining to him in office.

    Howe, Daniel Walker. What Hath God Wrought: The Transformation of America, 1815-1848. New York: Oxford UP, 2007. Print.

    This book my not have been all about Jackson, but the few chapters that it had, were filled with vital information about his views and presidency. This book is by far my favorite so far on my lighting topic! It's an easy read that is not dry and boring like most of the other novels that I've read so far.

    "Jacksonian Democracy and Modern America." Ushistory.org. Independence Hall Association, n.d. Web. 16 Feb. 2014.

    Lots of information regarding his win into become president and how he was the only president to serve in both the American revolution and the war of 1812. Also how he was born in a log cabin and had no formal information yet became president.

    "Jacksonian Democratic Party." PBS. PBS, n.d. Web. 19 Feb. 2014.

    This article was about the democratic party and how the Jacksonian party was formed. And how there party and the democratic party were for the American people.

    Lindsey, David. Andrew Jackson and & John C. Calhoun. Woodbury, NY: Barron's Educational Series, 1973. Print.

    This book had newer more information about banking and tariff's. Also in one of the chapters it talked about how the historians see Jackson and his era, which I found very interesting.

    Meacham, Jon. American Lion: Andrew Jackson in the White House. New York: Random House, 2008. Print.

    This source really showed the toughness of Andrew Jackson and the perseverance that he had. Along with some great quotes that I will be using in my lightening talk.

    Pessen, Edward. Jacksonian America; Society, Personality, and Politics. Homewood, IL: Dorsey, 1969. Print.

    With this book I used five different chapters (5-8, 11) on information from Jacksonian captitalism: agriculture, labor, industry, transportation, commerce and banking. To many different political systems and issues of the Jacksonians.

    Remini, Robert V. Andrew Jackson and the Course of American Democracy, 1833-1845. Vol. 3. New York, NY: Harper & Row, 1984. Print.

    This book had six different chapters in which I used (1, 4, 7, 11, 13, & 22), most of which regarding to Jacksonians, the bank, and there form of democracy.

    Remini, Robert V. Andrew Jackson and the Course of American Empire, 1767-1821. New York: Harper & Row, 1977. Print.

    This book was mainly about Jackson prior to him becoming President. A lot of information about his early life, his duel, his nickname of "Old Hickory" and some brief information about him becoming President.

    Smith, Robert. "When The U.S. Paid Off The Entire National Debt (And Why It Didn't Last)." NPR. NPR, n.d. Web. 12 Feb. 2014.

    This article talked about how Andrew Jackson balanced the national budget, his approach to it and how and why it only lasted one year. It talked about how much he used his veto power to obtain his goal with the budget. He used all of his executive power that he could this make this happen. It was the first and only time that our budget has ever been balanced. This is very impressive, yet also upsetting.

    Shmoop Editorial Team. "Economy in The Jackson Era." Shmoop.com. Shmoop University, Inc., 11 Nov. 2008. Web. 1 Mar. 2014.

    This article had large amount of information about Jacksons economic view towards the Bank of the United States and also in general, as in where and where not the national government can step in.

    Smith, Robert. "When The U.S. Paid Off The Entire National Debt (And Why It Didn't Last)." NPR. NPR, n.d. Web. 18 Feb. 2014.

    This article had tons of information about how Jackson was about to overcome the national debt and become the first and only president to do so.

    "Special Features." PBS. PBS, n.d. Web. 17 Feb. 2014.

    This website had many articles on different topics of Jackson's history. This website was very informative on the vast amount of topics.

    "U.S. National Debt Clock : Real Time." U.S. National Debt Clock: Real Time. N.p., n.d. Web. 01 Mar. 2014.

    This is just a website that shows all current US debt, along with population and other information regarding the debt.

    Wilentz, Sean. Andrew Jackson. New York: Times. 2005. Print.

    This biography on Andrew Jackson had a lot more detailed information about the bank war than the other books. Along with information on 'the second bank war" and the Jacksonian democracy.

Andrew Jackson shortly before his death.