Andrew Jackson (1767-1845)
Andrew Jackson, known for his independent attacks on the Spanish in Florida and the violence and displacement directed at the Indians, was the first “President of the People” since he was the first president from a humble background, which made him very popular among ordinary voters.
Jackson, who was born as the son of Irish immigrants, served the American Army in the Revolutionary War when he was only thirteen years old and ended up being captured by the British armed forces. He was the only member of his family to survive the war and he became famous when he fought the battle of Horseshoe Bend in 1814, which resulted in a win over the Creek-Indians and gave him the nickname “Old Hickory” due to his bravery.
After a first failed attempt to become president in the election of 1824, he was finally elected in 1828 as President of the United States of America and re-elected in 1832. In 1824 several other candidates from his own party prevented him from being elected. This caused Jackson to merge the northern and southern Republicans into the “Democratic Republicans”, which corresponds to today’s Democratic Party. His opponents among the old Republicans founded the “Whig Party”, thereby creating the counterparty.
During his presidency Jackson destroyed the US-National Bank and caused a financial crisis in 1837. Towards the Indians he followed through with harsh policies of forced resettlement by passing the Indian Removal Act in order to have a legislative base for his politics and to be able to create reservations for the Indians. Thus, he is regarded as the person mainly responsible for the violent expulsion of the Five Civilized Tribes.
In foreign and economic affairs Jackson was able to show successes thanks to his strong style of leadership and his diplomatic skills. For example, he established trade relations with Turkey, China, and Siam. Furthermore, he increased the power of the President and developed a liberal-democratic political culture in the US which is also known as “Jacksonian Democracy”. Until his death in 1845 Jackson never fully withdrew from his political career and positions.