Was Andrew Jackson a hero or a villain? | HistoryNet

Was Andrew Jackson a hero or a villain?

3/14/2013 • Ask Mr. History

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
More Questions at Ask Mr. History


12 Responses to Was Andrew Jackson a hero or a villain?

  1. […] Was Andrew Jackson a hero or a villain? (historynet.com) […]

  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. 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.

  4. emily says:

    i think he was a villain
    -ruined national bank
    -used army and navy to collect taxes
    -vetoed bills just to stay in hid presidency
    -highly mistreated indians
    -supported slavery
    -helped spread the spoils system

  5. Ben Volz says:

    I’m sorry, but I have to stick with President Jackson and his descisions. Of course, he had severe faults such as gaining a reputation for using the spoils system and relocating the Indians, but what he did for the country, in my opinion at least, overrules his issues. Some say that putting someone at gunpoint for tariffs was a arrogant and harsh action, but it showed that the south could not just pick the laws they wished and not contribute to the country, so he avoided an issue that could have lead to war. Next, he gave working man a will to stand up and contribute to the nation government and let the well fed, read, and wed, run the country. This is all opinion of course, and I am open the ready the thoughts of all others. Best regards!
    -Mr. Volz

  6. chris says:

    Jackson was a patriot and fought against the central banking cartels and debt slavery. He was a true american.

  7. Rebecca says:

    Oh no he is by far a villain. He may have been a war hero but that doesn’t cover the fact that he basically disregarded the constitution which is very disrespectful as a president. The trail of tears is the main focus! All Jackson wanted was land which was an unjust reason because the Indians already had the land and it was THEIR home NOT his. he was being selfish and hungry to acquire land that he became a savage which is quite ironic. John Marshall’s ruling was that the Indians should not be removed and originally the court said that the tribes fall under Georgia’s law but then changed their thoughts a year later saying that the tribes were immune to Georgia’s law. And even though the decision made the most sense and abided by the constitution, Jackson was angry with his ruling and completely disregarding it sending the Cherokee on a long trip know as the Trail of tears. It was given this nickname because of the devastation throughout the trip. Many died from pneumonia because they traveled in winter. other deaths were related to the winter period. If Jackson really wanted land he could have looked West not steal land from the Indians and force them out of their own hometown..now that is just cruel and I see no reason why it could have been good.

  8. Jack says:

    If Jackson really is a villain for his treatment of the Indians in the Southeast I want all those who feel that way to give their homes to members of the 5 civilized tribes tomorrow. Otherwise, shut up and enjoy the country he helped create.

  9. billy says:


  10. Alex Vivera says:

    He’s a villain
    He wanted slavery to expand westward
    He forced the removal of native Americans
    And issued horrible taffifs

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