Was Andrew Jackson a hero or a villain?

3/14/2013 • Andrew Jackson, Ask Mr. History, War of 1812

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
World History Group
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