Encyclopedia of American Parties, Campaigns, and Elections

By William C. Binning; Larry E. Esterly et al. | Go to book overview

J

JACKSON, ANDREW ( 1767-1845) was born at Waxhall settlement on the border between North and South Carolina on March 15, 1767, but a few days following his father's death. There he grew to manhood, attending frontier schools, but largely self-educated. That education took place within a frontier culture, harsh and frequently violent; a culture in which for males a code of behavior often turned differences of opinion or perceived slights into brawls, perceived insults into duels. As boy and man, Jackson subscribed to this code, brawled, and fought his duels, perhaps the most famous being the one in 1806 with Charles Dickenson whom he killed, fought over an alleged insult in which Dickenson presumably questioned the legitimacy of Jackson's marriage. Jackson's attachment to military life began during the Revolutionary War when, in 1781 at age fourteen, he and his brother volunteered for militia duty (an older brother having already died in the patriot cause). Captured by the British at Hanging Rock, the two brothers were taken as prisoners of war to Camden, South Carolina. Subsequently released, his brother dying of smallpox, followed by his mother's death that same year ( 1781), Jackson found himself a fourteenyear-old orphan. Teaching school in Waxhall, eventually coming to read the law, he opened his law office in Martinsville, North Carolina in 1787. Jackson was to move westward in 1788, ultimately settling in Nashville where he was, over the next several years, to serve in the appointive position of district attorney general, join the militia, begin his enterprise in land speculation, and marry Rachel Donelson Robards. As Tennessee moved toward statehood, Jackson served as a delegate to the convention which drafted the new state's first constitution in 1795-1796. With Tennessee admitted to the Union, Jackson became its first and, at that juncture, only member of the U.S. House of Representatives. His brief tenure in the House was followed in 1797 by an almost equally brief

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