Andrew Jackson is one of our country's most beloved asshole-presidents. He displayed many of the qualities so admired in people of the masculine persuasion: blind prejudice and racism, sleaziness, gun-savviness, general douchebaggery, aggressively violent tendencies, a terrible temper, and a complete inability to comprehend a situation in which he might be wrong. Even a little bit. Born in 1767 in what is now North or South Carolina to a Scots-Irish immigrant mother (his father died shortly before he was born), Andrew was the youngest of three brothers. I'm sure Andrew Jackson was always so naturally manly that not having a father and having two older brothers to
compete with abuse him act as shining examples and also being super-skinny his whole life never made him feel like he had to prove his masculinity constantly. Andrew Jackson didn't have much formal schooling because he lived out in the sticks, and besides, reading is for girls. At age 13, Andrew became a courier for a local regiment fighting in the Revolutionary War. He and his brother Robert were captured and held as prisoners of war. He developed a great hatred towards the British during his captivity, as the enemy forces starved him and his brother and also infected them with smallpox, of which Robert died while still a prisoner. Andrew had a temper even then and got slashed with British blades for refusing to shine somebody's shoes:
Apparently the war somehow also finished off his mother and other brother, so 14 year-old Andrew Jackson was left to fend for himself. He worked for a bit at saddle-making, then teaching, and eventually studied law as all good incipient assholes do.* He passed the bar and began working as a country lawyer in North Carolina. He practiced "frontier law," which is superior to prissy citified law because it deals with land disputes and drunken assaults and the like. He took part in the Tennessee Constitutional Congress in 1796 and was elected as a U.S. Representative once statehood was achieved. Then the next year he was elected U.S. Senator by the legislature, but he resigned after a year or something. U.S. Senate: BORING. Not enough "rough-and-tumble" for the likes of Andrew Jackson. So from 1798 to 1804 he served on the Tennessee Supreme Court, which I assume regularly held court in a rustic cabin and each of the justices wore the most luxurious of coonskin caps. Also during this time Andrew Jackson bought his plantation The Hermitage, where he eventually owned over one hundred human people! In 1790, Andrew came to be acquainted with a lady named Rachel Donelson Somethingorrather, who was separated from her asshole husband.** The ex was like, "Yeah, we're totally divorced now," so Rachel and Andrew got married. Turns out, not so much. The Jacksons were fake-married--que scandaloso! They got real married in 1794. They adopted one of Rachel's nephews and named him Andrew Jackson, Jr. and also a eventually a Creek orphan boy named Lyncoya who died of tuberculosis before he could fulfill Jackson's manly military aspirations for him. Apparently they also served as guardians to eight other children who just happened to be orphaned relatives. Which is, like, a lot.
But huzzah! Life on the frontier can't be all fun and frippery sitting on the legal log bench and keeping black people like animals! No, there were Indians about. Indians who were, for some weird reason, not so pleased about the white settlers stealing all their lands and generally hating them and killing them and whatnot. Andrew Jackson was appointed a colonel in the Tennessee militia in 1801, the beginning of his illustrious military career. He led the fight against Tecumsah's forces during the Creek War sub-war to the larger War of 1812. Under his command at that time were other professional historical manly men Davy Crockett and Sam Houston. He helped screw over the Creeks with the Treaty of Fort Jackson, which pretty much stole 20 million acres of land from its native inhabitants. He was then promoted to the rank of Major General! He totes became an American military hero while commanding forces against the hated British in New Orleans. Supposedly he was all "tough as old hickory wood," which sounds less like a good nickname than a reason to visit a dermotologist to me, but whatevs, I didn't live in the 19th century for a reason. Jackson continued his Indian screwing-over career in Florida during the First Seminole War. At that time, President James Monroe was like, "Yeah, you should keep Spanish Florida from being a runaway slave refuge, and also, if the Indians and/or Spanish give you shit well, you should, like, *cough cough* you know." Anyway, Old Barkskin took that to mean that he should burn down Seminiole villages and crops, depose the Spanish governor, execute British allies of the Indians, and become Florida's military governor for a while in 1821.
At some point the Tennessee legislature appointed him to be a U.S. Senator again, but he only stuck to it for like a year, and then ran for President in 1824. Jackson got a plurality but not a majority of the Electoral College votes, the election went to the House of Representatives, and in what Jackson would later call the "corrupt bargain," JQ Adams was ultimately elected. Anyway, Jackson teamed up with snazzy dresser and political strategeryist Martin Van Buren and they revived the old Democratic-Republican party as the Democratic Party, leading to a decisive win in the 1828 presidential election for Jackson with creepy, creepy John C. Calhoun as VP.
Pre-bargain 1824 election shenanigans. Explanatory notes.
But being POTUS isn't all fun in games, people. Sometimes you have to use your power and position to fuck over more Indians and remove them from their native lands so that more white people can live there. What was that? They tried to "civilize" themselves by giving up their native cultures and assimilating to mainstream white culture? TOO BAD: TRAIL OF TEARS AND BTW, FUCK YOU, SCOTUS. Also, during his terms of office, Andrew Jackson was assaulted by some guy and also was the victim of an incredibly unsuccessful assassination attempt by a dude who thought he was King Richard III of England.
I AM A MAN ON A HORSE, DAMMIT.
Anyway, Jackson anointed Van Buren as his successor and eventually died of chronic TB, dropsy, and also heart failure (he was REALLY dead) at The Hermitage in 1845. Many equestrian statues, cities, counties, parks, and federal monies have been dedicated to/are named after Andrew Jackson. Including the Confederate $1000 bill! He probably would've shot somebody over that, had he still been alive.
*I know some very fine non-asshole lawyers and law students, but I am saying it is a stereotype for a reason, people. If it doesn't apply to you, move along.
**Her ex must have been, like, Joe Francis or Newt Gingrich bad if Jackson was a step up.