The Greenwood Encyclopedia of International Relations - Vol. 2

By Cathal J. Nolan | Go to book overview

J
Jackson, Andrew (1767–1845). “Old Hickory.” U.S. frontier general; Democratic president, 1829–1837. As a boy, he was severely wounded in a skirmish during the American Revolution, by a saber cut from a British officer whose boots—or so legend has it—he refused to shine. The loss of a brother and his mother during that war added to his lifelong hatred of England. Elected to Congress in 1796, he fiercely opposed any reconciliation with England and called for war against the Indian tribes along the frontier. He was briefly the representative of Tennessee in the House of Representatives, 1796–1798. He may have backed Aaron Burr’s complex and possibly—the facts are still not clear—treasonous scheme for a vast empire in the American interior. That cost Jackson appointed office when the Louisiana Purchase by Jefferson made such an empire a reality, only as a great hinterland attached to the United States. He was made a general at the start of the War of 1812, during which he forcibly cleared (or ethnically cleansed”) the Indian tribes of Alabama and Georgia, allies and neutrals along with pro-British Indians. (Jackson rarely distinguished among Indian tribes, preferring to despise and repress all equally.) He commanded at the strategically futile Battle of NewOrleans. After the war, Jackson returned to Indian fighting. He led the conquest of the Seminoles, nearly causing a major confrontation with Britain and Spain in the process, and completed pacification of the Floridas, 1817–1818. That led to the Adams-Onis Treaty (1819). He was narrowly defeated for president in 1824; John Quincy Adams emerged the victor in an election ultimately decided in the House of Representatives. However, Jackson defeated Adams in a landslide in 1828.

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