The American victory over the British in the Battle of New Orleans (1815) thrust Andrew Jackson into the spotlight. His popularity soared and by 1829 he became the seventh American President. A growing push Westward increased tensions with American Indians, and as more states were created, the issue of slavery took center stage. Jackson sought to reorganize the banking system by destroying the Second Bank and help establish the Democratic Party. He viewed the Second Bank as corrupt, and wielded too much power in American politics. He was a person with a strong temper, drinking, gambling, dueling, an “Indian killer”, and wanted things done his way. His dictatorial tactics brought him at odds with many that viewed him as attempting to destroy the foundational role of the American Presidency. He sought to remove American Indians in the South through the Indian Removal Act, 1830. This process was coined, “The Trail of Tears” by the Native Americans who were displaced and sent to territory west of the Mississippi. For nearly 20 years, over 100,000 people were removed from their home and forced to relocate. Four to six thousand perished.
Given what we have learned about Andrew Jackson, why do you think he became such a prominent figure in American politics, then and now? Even today, there are many contemporary politicians that neglect to acknowledge his Indian massacres, his propensity to drink, gamble, and dueling. Instead, they keep in high regards.
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