Book Summary/Contents
Andrew Jackson, in the author’s words, was "mild, polite, polished, benevolent, and democratic." It would not be in anyone’s favor to question the validity of the his words, but to understand them with unrestrained faith in those words will help to insure complete insight into the book. Moreover, this book stresses the immortal fact that Jackson’s private life had as much irony and agony as his political/outside life did. With those factors understood, Jackson’s life and the times he lived in, will become clear to all.
The important point to understand about most things in this world is the nature of their origins, Andrew Jackson is no different. Born with no idea as to what his father looks like, Andrew Jackson Jr., third son from Elizabeth and Andrew Jackson Sr., will be raised at the home of Elizabeth’s sister and brother-in-law, the Crawfords in the state of South Carolina. Andrew Jackson Sr. descended from a long line Ulster families that were thrown out of Ireland, seeking refuge in the United States, made their home in South Carolina. Jackson Sr., dying suddenly before his son’s birth, left Andrew to grow up without a male parental figure.
Living in the Crawfords gave young Andrew little rewards; he was given very little schooling of basic reading, writing, and figuring. So, how, in fact, does a man that receives less education than the average American at that time, not to mention the likes of John Adams or Thomas Jefferson, be, in the many historians minds, greater than Adams or Jefferson? The long answer to that question will start when "Andy" as the young, and slim Jackson is called, attains to the age of 13.
The year was 1780, British troops had taken South Carolina, Andy’s oldest brother had joined the American regiment fighting in their home town, but died due to heat exhaustion in battle. At the sight of his deceased brother Hugh, Jackson joins the army as a mounted messenger. After the fighting halted, both Andrew Jackson and his brother Robert (who had also joined the American army by now) went back home to the Crawfords. Even though official battles had been temporarily stopped, the "civil war" raged on as Patriots fought Tories in the towns of South Carolina, catching young Andrew Jackson in the midst of the fight. In one bloody encounter, Jackson and his brother were taken prisoner by British dragoons. A British officer ordered Andrew to clean his boots. The boy refused, claiming his right as a prisoner of war not to be treated like a servant. The furious officer whipped out his sword and slashed at the boy’s head. Luckily for Jackson, his stealth saved him from certain death, but leaving him with scars on his left hand and head which he carried with him his whole life, along with a hatred for the British.
Thrown into prison camp, Elizabeth Jackson would not let her sons rot in British cells, and making deals for exchange of prisoners, got her sons in the trade. Alas, Robert died during the trip home, and Elizabeth was barely able to save Andrew. Being the courageous woman that she was, Elizabeth Jackson made a journey to Charlestown Harbor, where she intended to help American soldiers sick in British prison ships, but while nursing the plague-ridden men, she caught cholera herself and died. Andrew Jackson’s response, "I felt utterly alone", was all that needed to conclude his feelings about events at that time.
The following years after that, until he ventured into politics, included going from city to city in South Carolina seeking the horse-race and drinking his heart out. Uncontrolled and unrestrained by anyone or anything besides money, Andrew would come to see and do almost everything imaginable at that time in the United States. He had also gone into various professions, from teaching to law. It was at law where he began his rise to politics.
On the road to becoming a lawyer, Jackson’s first stop was be apprentice to Spruce MaCay, in North Carolina. But simply being apprentice wasn’t enough, Jackson left MaCay after two years, and when he finally got admitted to the state bar, he began drifting about the local courts, taking a case here and there. It wasn’t until an old friend