Andrew Jackson was born in Waxhaw, South Carolina, in 1767. His father died before he was born. His mother and two brothers also died and by the age of 14 Jackson was the only member of his family left alive.
Jackson studied law at Salisbury, North Carolina and started work as a lawyer in McLeanville, in November, 1787. The following year he moved to Nashville. He helped to write the constitution of Tennessee and became its representative in Congress in 1796. He also served as judge in the Tennessee Supreme Court (1798-1804). Jackson became extremely wealthy and eventually purchased slaves and built a mansion, the Hermitage, near Nashville.
On the outbreak of the War of 1812 Jackson served as Major-General of the Militia and achieved a decisive victory at Horseshoe Bend in 1814. Jackson now joined the regular army and successfully defending New Orleans against the British forces led by Sir Edward Pakenham. In 1818 Jackson invaded Florida defeated the Seminoles. These events turned Jackson into a national hero.
In 1824 he was the Democratic candidate for the presidency. He obtained the highest popular vote, but not a majority of electoral votes and the House of Representatives decided that John Quincy Adams should be president. Jackson was extremely popular in the west and south of the country and was elected as president in 1828. His vice president was John Calhoun.
Jackson and Calhoun soon clashed over the issue concerning the rights of individual states. Calhoun eventually resigned over Jackson's unwillingness to allow South Carolina to nullify the protective tariff introduced in 1828. When Calhoun continued to campaign in favour of this policy he sent armed troops to Charleston. He also privately threatened to hang Calhoun.
When Jackson took office there were several land disputes between Native Americans and white settlers. The Cherokees had substantial land in Georgia. To protect their land they adopted a written constitution that proclaimed that the Cherokee nation had complete jurisdiction over its own territory. The state of Georgia responded by making it illegal for a Native American to bring a legal action against a white man.
The Seminole tribe had disputes with settlers in Florida. The Creeks were involved in several battles with the federal army in Alabama and Georgia. The Chickisaw and Choctaw tribes also had land disputes with emigrants who had settled in Mississippi.
Jackson argued that the solution to this problem was to move all these five tribes to Oklahoma. When Andrew Jackson gained power he encouraged Congress to pass the 1830 Indian Removal Act. He argued that the legislation would provide land for white invaders, improve security against foreign invaders and encourage the civilization of the Native Americans. In one speech he argued that the measure "will separate the Indians from immediate contact with settlements of whites; enable them to pursue happiness in their own way and under their own rude institutions; will retard the progress of decay, which is lessening their numbers, and perhaps cause them gradually, under the protection of the government and through the influences of good counsels, to cast off their savage habits and become an interesting, civilized, and christian community."
Jackson was re-elected with an overwhelming majority in 1832. He now pursued the policy of removing Native Americans from good farming land. He even refused to accept the decision of the Supreme Court to invalidate Georgia's plan to annex the territory of the Cherokee. This brought Jackson into conflict with Whig leaders such as Henry Clay and Daniel Webster.
Andrew Jackson died at his home, the Hermitage, on 8th June, 1845 and was replaced by his vice president, Martin Van Buren.