The Devil and Andrew Jackson

 

 

(I originally posted this back in 2010.  Old Hickory is back in the news because of President Trump’s musings upon him.  As a result I decided to repost this.)

 

 

We have had  great presidents, and one of them, although Republican as I am I bridle on bestowing the title upon him, was Andrew Jackson. No one was ever neutral about Old Hickory. He is described as the father of the Democrat party. Actually, both major parties owe their existence to him. The Whig party, the main ancestor of the modern Republican party, was founded in opposition to Jackson’s policies. For his entire life he stormed through the pages of American history, and he was many things during his life but never dull.

As a 13 year old POW during the American Revolution he refused to polish a British officer’s boots and received a saber slash across his head for his defiance, a scar he bore proudly for the rest of his life. Here we see Jackson’s life in miniature: a refusal to bend no matter what the consequences. By the age of 14 his mother and immediate family were dead and he was left a penniless orphan. By the age of 20 in 1787 he was an attorney, still penniless. Restless and ambitious, he set out for the Tennessee frontier where attorneys were rare, but litigation was not. By sheer determination Jackson carved a name for himself, first as Solicitor, we would say state’s attorney, of the Western District of North Carolina now part of Tennessee, and then as the first Congressman for Tennessee in 1796, before being elected a US Senator for Tennessee in 1797. In 1798 he was appointed a judge for the Tennessee Supreme Court. When charging juries before their deliberations, he would always say: “Do what is right between these parties; that is what the law always means.” It was proper that he did that. Jackson’s knowledge of the law was so minimal, due to his lack of education, that he probably could not have instructed them on the actual law applicable in most cases in any event, and because Jackson throughout his life strove to do what was right, but only by his lights of what was right.

In 1791 he married Rachel Jackson. Theirs was the great presidential love match. Jackson loved “his Rachel” to idolatry, and in his eyes she was perfection. In 1794 they learned to their intense dismay that her first husband had not divorced her prior to 1791 as she and Jackson had thought. She had been separated from her first husand since 1788, but prior to her marriage to Jackson her first husband had merely filed a document with the court stating his intention to divorce her. The divorce was not granted until 1793. The Jacksons quickly remarried. His political enemies used the scandal against him for the rest of his life, to the intense and bitter anger of Jackson. He often said that he could easily forgive what his enemies said against him, but that he could never forgive their attacks against Rachel. As Rachel grew older she became more religious and caused Jackson to become more religious. By all accounts she was a very good and charitable woman, and it was the great tragedy of Jackson’s life that she died just before he left for Washington to assume his duties as President. (more…)

Published in: on May 4, 2010 at 5:30 am  Comments (8)  
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Bandit Sons of Illinois?

My post yesterday on Governor Ford caused me to be curious about how his sons ended up being lynched in Kanas in 1872 by Kansas Regulators, a group of vigilantes active in Kansas at that time.

Information is sparse as to the two sons, Thomas and Seville, called Charles, but apparently they fought for the Union during the Civil War.  Seville Ford lost an arm during that conflict.  After the war they went to Kansas.  Seville Ford became known as One-Arm Charlie, a bartender and leader of a band of outlaws who specialized in rustling cattle.  Tom, who may have been associated with the gang, was caught by Kansas Regulators riding in a buggy with a member of his brother’s gang and lynched in 1872.

One-Arm Charlie was put on trial and acquitted of cattle rustling due to lack of witnesses.  After the trial Kansas Regulators found him at the bar where he was bartending and lynched him, his death also occuring in 1872. (more…)

Published in: on May 4, 2010 at 4:43 am  Comments (3)  
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