Andrew Jackson and the Elections of 1824 and 1828

Andrew Jackson was born on March 15, 1767. Family records indicate North Carolina as his likely birthplace although Jackson insisted he was born in South Carolina.

The youngest of three, Andrew followed his brothers Hugh and Robert into the American Revolution.

Andrew served as a messenger for the American forces in the Carolinas and was captured by the British after the Battle of Hanging Rock. He is the only American president to have been held as a POW.

While Jackson was a prisoner of war, a British officer demanded that he clean his boots. When Jackson refused, the soldier slashed at the his face with a saber leaving the young man scarred.

Despite the loss of his family during the Revolutionary war and being mostly self-educated, he earned his law license in 1787.

Jackson rose from orphan to Major General in the United States Army.

Andrew Jackson's leadership at the Battle of New Orleans during the War of 1812 brought him to the nation's attention.

Battle of New Orleans site today.

Election of 1824
Victory at the Battle of New Orleans catapulted Jackson to national fame and paved the way for his Presidential run. 

Commemorative items relentlessly reminded citizens that Jackson was the hero of the nation. All of these items gave their owners an immediate connection to Andrew Jackson.

John Eaton was central to the 1824 campaign. Under the alias "Wyoming", Eaton wrote public letters to promote Jackson's interests.

The 1824 election was a four-way race: Jackson, John Q. Adams, Henry Clay and William Crawford. Three established Eastern politicians against one Western soldier and planter. No one won the majority.

Henry Clay of Kentucky emerged as one of Jackson's fiercest opponents. Jackson believed Clay and John Quincy Adams had engineered a "corrupt bargain" to win the White House.

Election of 1828
Though Jackson was unhappy with the results of the 1824 election, he put his efforts into courting voters for the 1828 race. John Quincy Adams' electoral success did not translate to the White House. Viewed by most Americans as cold, distant, and uninterested in the plight of average citizens, he was unpopular as he ran for a second term. This time, only two candidates were in the race: Adams and Jackson. Campaign rallies and slogans generated popular support for Jackson. The 1828 election spared no punches and observed no boundaries. 

Much of Jackson's success depended on the steady influence of his wife, Rachel Donelson Jackson. The couple was married twice because of confusion over the end of her marriage to Louis Robards.

The Jacksons' irregular marriage gave Adams ammunition to attack their suitability as the nation's first couple. The Nashville Committee authored a pamphlet refuting charges of bigamy.

Jackson executed six soldiers for desertion in the Creek War. The provocative title of the "Coffin Handbill" preyed on the fears of those who saw Jackson as a wild Westerner, volatile and vengeful.

John C. Calhoun, Adams' Vice President, felt Jackson's values matched his own and joined the Jackson ticket. With about 57% voter turnout, the Jackson-Calhoun ticket handily defeated Adams.

Jackson's first term was complicated by Eaton's marriage to Peggy O'Niell. The ensuing "Petticoat Affair" led to the resignation of Jackson's cabinet and the rise of Martin Van Buren.

The Election of 1832
Jackson's first term ended at a precipitous edge. Biographer Robert Remini noted that he "put no particular effort to shape or direct this election." Issues threatening national unity gathered like storm clouds on the horizon. Taking a significant political risk just ahead of the election, he succeeded at vetoing the charter for the Second Bank of the United States.   His defeat of the Bank demonstrated his interest in the common citizen above the special interest.

To Jackson, the affairs of the Bank of the United States signaled corruption and too much foreign and private interests. The 1832 election focused on the bank's fate.

William Cobbett's "Paper Against Gold" laid out the wreck and ruin of the Bank of England. His claims that such a system could only lead ruin citizens resonated with Jackson and the Anti-Bank ticket.

Francis P. Blair's Washington Globe was the mouthpiece of the Democratic Party. Special issues were sent across the nation to promote Jackson. It called out detractors receiving Bank incentives.

Jackson vetoed the Bank charter, with no hope of an override. With a clear majority election in 1832, he set about dismantling it. Government funds were withdrawn from each branch. The results staggered the national financial system.

Jackson's defense of the veto was a familiar argument to Congress: "Every monopoly and all exclusive privileges are granted at the expense of the public, which ought to receive a fair equivalent."

Andrew Jackson's Legacy
This baptismal cup underscores the value of the Jackson-Van Buren relationship.

By supporting Jackson, Martin Van Buren merged western political support with New York's power base. He was Jackson's second Vice President and would be elected the 8th president of the United States.

James K Polk's nickname "Young Hickory" says much about his relationship with Jackson. Jackson campaigned for Polk during the 1844 election against Henry Clay, shortly before his death.

Andrew Jackson died June 8, 1845 after a lengthy illness. His accomplishments as "The People's President" resonated in public memory. Until the Civil War, write-in votes were regularly cast for him.

After the Civil War, Jackson began to appear regularly on postage stamps and currency. Jackson was first featured on the $5 note in the 1869 series. This is an 1907 "woodchopper" $5 note.

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