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Was Andrew Jackson a hero or a villain?

Originally published under Ask Mr. History. Published Online: March 14, 2013 
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Do you believe Andrew Jackson is a hero or a villain to our country and as a man. Please explain. 

Libby Price

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Dear Libby,

Like most human beings, Andrew Jackson was a bit of both. He was certainly a war hero, from the American Revolution to the War of 1812, culminating in his greatest victory, at New Orleans, weeks after the latter conflict was had officially ended. He was the first president to rise from a low social position to the White House by popular demand, and a flinty cuss who was never averse to defending his or his wife's honor in a duel—as well as personally beating the tar out of the man who made history's first presidential assassination attempt. Although he had no problem with slavery, he was adamant about preserving the Union against secession and nullification. But he will also be remembered as the president who responded to a victory in the U.S. Supreme Court in favor of Indians of the Five Civilized Tribes keeping their property by ignoring the judiciary ruling and sending the Army to forcibly drive the Indians out of their homes and off to what is now Oklahoma, an unconstitutional act that led to the death of thousands along the "Trail of Tears."



Jon Guttman
Research Director
Weider History Group
More Questions at Ask Mr. History



3 Responses to “Was Andrew Jackson a hero or a villain?”

  1. 1

    [...] Was Andrew Jackson a hero or a villain? ( [...]

  2. 2
    Bruce P says:

    A complicated man was Andy Jackson. As a child he had seen Indian depradations at the Gnaddenhuetten Massacre, which must have given him some strong feelings about dealing with them.

    One quibble about the response, Mr. History…the Battle of New Orleans did not occur after the War of 1812 had officially ended. While terms had been negotiated by the warring parties, the treaty had not been ratified by Congress and was therefore not in effect when the battle occurred.
    Bruce P.

  3. 3
    LMC says:

    He was the only one of the US presidents to serve in both the TN House and Senate prior to his tenure as President.

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