SEVEN

Andrew Jackson
1829-37

The Presidency of Andrew Jackson ( 1767-1845) got off to a raucous start. Thousands of Jacksonian enthusiasts -- small farmers, rough backwoodsmen, old soldiers, Irish immigrants, city workers, smalltown editors -- poured into the nation's capital to see their hero inaugurated on March 4, 1829. "I never saw such a crowd here before," exclaimed Daniel Webster. "Persons have come five hundred miles to see General Jackson, and they really seem to think that the country is rescued from some awful danger!" 1 "It was like the inundation of the northern barbarians into Rome," wrote one eyewitness, "save that the tumultuous tide came in from a different point of the compass. The West and the South seemed to have precipitated themselves upon the North and overwhelmed it. . . . Strange faces filled every public place, and every face seemed to bear defiance on its brow." 2

Jackson's inaugural address was mild enough; but when he was finished, the crowd went crazy. People swarmed past the police up the Capitol steps to reach the new President and shake his hand; and it was only with difficulty that he managed to reach his horse and set out for the White House, followed by a long line of admirers. The inaugural reception, from the beginning, was a brawl. People poured into the White House through windows as well as doors, upset waiters carrying trays of food, broke china and glassware, overturned tables, brushed bric-a-brac from mantles and walls, spilled whiskey and chicken and squirted tobacco juice on the carpets, and

-66-

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