Category Archives: Andrew Jackson

John Tyler 3.29.13 Thought of the Day

“Popularity, I have always thought, may aptly be compared to a coquette – the more you woo her, the more apt is she to elude your embrace.”–John Tyler


English: A portrait of John Tyler located insi...

English: A portrait of John Tyler located inside the National Portrait Gallery in Washington, D.C. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)


John Tyler was born on this day near Charles City County, Virginia, USA in 1790. Today is the 223rd anniversary of his birth.


Born to a wealthy family on his father’s Greenway plantation. His family had been members of Virginia’s elite since the 17th century. His father, John Tyler, Sr. was a judge who was friends with Thomas Jefferson, served in the Virginia House of Delegates, was Speaker for that House, and was the 15th Governor of Virginia (when John junior was 18.) His mother Mary Armistead Tyler died when he was 7.  The younger John Tyler was the sixth of eight children.


Tyler attended William and Mary College in Williamsburg, Virginia. He


studied law under private tutors. He began his political career in 1811, when he was elected to the Virginia legislature at age 21. []


He served in the legislature until 1816 when he was elected to the US House of Representatives. He was a strict Constitutionalist and a strong proponent of States Rights. He voted against “nationalist legislation and opposed the Missouri compromise” [] He didn’t run again in 1820, returning to his private law practice instead.  But by 1823 he was back in the Virginia House of Delegates.




English: An engraving (c. 1826, authorship unk...




In 1825 he was appointed as Governor of Virginia (as Governor he gave the eulogy at Thomas Jefferson’s funeral.) He served as Governor for two terms.

He won a slim majority to US Senate in 1827 as a Democrat, but  his support for President Andrew Jackson was rocky at best. By 1835 he was aligned with Henry Clay’s Whig Party.


The Whigs nominated Tyler for Vice President in 1840, hoping for support from southern states’-righters who could not stomach Jacksonian Democracy. The slogan “Tippecanoe and Tyler Too” implied flagwaving nationalism plus a dash of southern sectionalism. []


The “Tippecanoe”  in the campaign slogan was William Henry Harrison who fought in the Battle of Tippecanoe in 1811. The Harrison/Tyler ticket won the election with 53% of popular vote and an electoral vote of 234-60. The Whigs also won control of both the House and Senate. Tyler took the oath of the Vice Presidency, presided over the confirmations of Harrison’s cabinet appointments (as President of the Senate) and after a few days went home to Williamsburg. But then Harrison caught pneumonia and died (the first sitting president to do so) and “Tyler Too” became, suddenly, the 10th President of the United States.


The U.S. Constitution was unclear on the matter of presidential succession; however, Tyler moved into the White House and was sworn into office on April 6. At 51 years old, the man dubbed “His Accidency,” was younger than any previous president. (The ambiguity surrounding the order of succession issue was officially clarified with the 25th Amendment to the Constitution, which was ratified in 1967 and states that if the president dies or resigns, the vice president becomes president.) []


John Tyler, tenth President of the United States

John Tyler, tenth President of the United States (Photo credit: Wikipedia)


“His four year term was a shambles…” [] Unable to follow both his conscience and the Whig’s political agenda he was kicked out of the part. All but one member of his (well, Harrison’s) cabinet resigned. And members of the House tried to have him impeached for misuse of veto power.


His Presidency however produced some historic events: The annexation of Texas, a reorganized Navy, The ending of the Seminole war and the signing of a treaty with China. []


He did not make a bid for a second term in the White House.

He retired to his plantation, Sherwood Forest near Richmond. When the Civil War broke out “Tyler led a compromise movement; failing, he worked to create the Southern Confederacy.” [] He  was elected to the House of Representatives of the Confederate Congress in 1862.  “With the war raging, he was giving a speech in front of the Exchange Hotel when he suffered a stroke and was taken to a room where he died at the age of 71.” []


Picture of President John Tyler's grave in the...

Picture of President John Tyler’s grave in the Hollywood Cemetery in Richmond, VA (Photo credit: Wikipedia)


Andrew Jackson 3.15.13 thought of the Day

“Take time to deliberate; but when the time for action arrives, stop thinking and go in.” –Andrew Jackson

English: Andrew Jackson - 7 th President of th...

English: Andrew Jackson – 7 th President of the United States (1829–1837) (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Andrew Jackson was born on this day in the  Waxhaws region between North and South Carolina in 1767. Today is the 246th anniversary of his birth.

He was born to Andrew and Elizabeth Hutchinson Jackson, Scots-Irish emigrants who had come over from Ireland two years before with their young sons Hugh and Robert. Andrew Jackson never met his father, who died three weeks before the baby was born.

Raised by his widowed mother, Jackson grew up with a large extended family—aunts, uncles, and cousins— who were also Irish immigrant farmers. As a youth, Jackson attended a good school and his mother had hopes of him becoming a Presbyterian minister. However, young Jackson’s propensity for pranks, cursing, and fighting quickly dashed those hopes. [The]

The American Revolutionary War left the Jackson family devastated. All three boys signed up to fight the British (Andrew was just 13 and became a courier.) Older bother Hugh died of heat stroke at the Battle of Stono Ferry in 1779. In 1781 Jackson and his remaining brother Robert were taken prisoner. The boys nearly starved to death in the camp, and Jackson was slashed with a sword when he refused to polish a British officer’s boots. He carried the scars on his hand and head for the rest of his life. Both Jackson and Robert

contracted smallpox in prison and were gravely ill when Jackson’s mother arranged for their release in a prisoner exchange. Jackson survived, however, his brother died. After Jackson recovered, his mother traveled to Charleston to aid the war effort by nursing injured and sick soldiers. She contracted cholera and died leaving Jackson an orphan. [Ibid]

Growing up in the backwoods of the Carolinas, Jackson’s education was sporadic. He attended a “old-field” school in his youth. (An old-field school was a school that washeld on– either an open field or in a building built — on an exhausted corn, tobacco or cotton field.)  After the Revolutionary War he worked for a while at a saddle makers shop, but then took up law.

In 1787, after three years of studying law, Jackson received his license to practice law in several counties scattered through the North Carolina back country. To supplement his income, he also worked in small-town general stores. While living in North Carolina, Jackson gained a reputation for being charismatic, wild, and ambitious. He loved to dance, entertain, gamble, and spend his free time with friends in taverns. [Ibid]

At 21 he became public prosecutor of the Western District of North Carolina. He became the prosecutr for both Jonesborough and Nashville. It was during this time that he met Rachel Donelson Robards (who was separated — and she assumed divorced — from her first husband Lewis Robards.) Jackson married Rachel while the two were in the wilderness of the Western District only to come back to Nashville to find out that Robards had not completed the divorce proceedings. He, Robards, then used  Rachel’s ‘bigomy’ as grounds  to finalize the divorce. Jackson and Rachel remarried, but the controversy followed them for the rest of their lives, and Jackson was willing to duel with any man who  besmirched his wife’s name.

English: Portrait of Rachel Donelson Jackson, ...

English: Portrait of Rachel Donelson Jackson, wife of U.S. President Andrew Jackson, by the artist Ralph E. W. Earl. Oil on canvas, 30 in. x 20 in. Circa 1830-1832. Portrait is in the collection of The Hermitage, Nashville, Tennessee. Image courtesy of the Tennessee Portrait Project. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

None of that stopped Jackson’s rise in the political arena. “He was the first man elected from Tennessee to the House of Representatives, and he served briefly in the Senate” []

During the War of 1812 President Madison “commissioned Jackson Major General of U.S. Volunteers and ordered him to lead 1,500 troops south to Natchez and eventually to defend New Orleans” [The] His leadership in the Battle of New Orleans made “Old Hickory ” a national hero. In 1824 he made an unsuccessful run for President against John Quincy Adams. Four years later he ran again. This time he won the White House.

Accomplishments of his presidency:

  1. He paid off the National Debt
  2. Fought against corrupt bureaucracy with the Spoil System
  3. Enfranchisement policy

Crisis / Negatives of his presidency:

  1. Nullification Crisis
  2. Ethnic cleansing of  about 45,000 Native Americans from their ancestral lands under his “Indian Removal Act”  which lead to the Trail of Tears .

Neutral effects of his presidency:

  1. Tried to eliminate the Electorial College
  2. Opposed the National Bank

After leaving the White House he retired The Hermitage in Nashville. He died on June 8, 1845, of chronic tuberculosis, dropsy, and heart failure.

78 year old Andrew Jackson

78 year old Andrew Jackson (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

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