President Andrew Jackson, known today as the first "citizen president", personifies the American dream. Jackson's family history is filled with immigrants turned patriots, family loss and triumph. Andrew Jackson, seventh president of the United States, was the first of his family to be born in the Colonies on 15 March 1767 in the town of Waxhaws, on the border of North Carolina and South Carolina. His parents, Andrew Jackson Senior and Elizabeth Hutchinson, and two brothers, Hugh and Robert, emigrated from Northern Ireland, coming to the Colonies to seek a better life. It is unimaginable that they would conceive of the idea that their youngest, Andrew, would one day become president of a nation that did not yet exist at the time of his birth.
Over the course of the first 14 years of Andrew Jackson's life, the immediate Jackson family tree witnessed much turmoil and strain framing who Andrew would ultimately become. Losing his father at the age of two, his mother at the age of 14, and his two brothers shortly thereafter, Andrew chose patriotism over grief, enlisting in the army, fighting against British tyranny during the Revolutionary War. He then studied law, ran for public office in Tennessee, rose in the army ranks in various wars and battles and sat as senator and finally, president of the United States.
As Andrew Jackson's formative years were marred with suffering and death, it is understandable that there is some confusion as to Jackson's family history. Although historians differ in opinion regarding the distant ancestry of President Jackson, his father, Andrew Jackson Senior, was born in Northern Ireland on July 20, 1737 to Hugh Jackson, a linen draper, and Elizabeth Creath. According to a family bible discovered in North Carolina, his parents were married on October 12, 1727 by Reverend James Craig at the parish church of Dundee, Northern Ireland. Andrew Jackson Sr. married Elizabeth Hutchinson, youngest daughter of Charles Hutchinson and Sarah McConnell at the parish church of Carrickfergus, Northern Ireland on February 7, 1759. Of this union came three boys, Hugh Jackson, born October 10, 1762 in Antrim, Northern Ireland; Robert Jackson, born October 16, 1765, in Northern Ireland, town not known; and Andrew Jackson Jr., born March 15, 1767 in Waxhaws, North Carolina.
Andrew Jackson Sr. and Elizabeth made the difficult choice to uproot themselves, as well as their two children Hugh and Robert, to sail across the Atlantic to the American colonies in search of prosperity and opportunity. It is believed they arrived soon after their son Robert was born and settled in the town of Waxhaws, on the border of North and South Carolina. Life became very difficult for the Jackson family as their father, Andrew Sr. died shortly after Andrew Jr. was born. During his early childhood, Andrew Jr. received sporadic education and when the American Revolution began, the Jackson family made their allegiance known.
This war for American freedom caused terrible heartbreak to Andrew Jr., forcing him to ally himself, heart and soul to fighting for freedom, or allowing himself to be destroyed. A young 14 years old Andrew Jr. decided to join the American forces in the War, subsequently being captured at the battle of Hanging Rock. While a prisoner of war he received a wound to his arm for refusing to blacken the boots of his British captors. His brothers Hugh and Robert enlisted in the conflict as well and both were killed; Robert from wounds received as a prisoner of war after being captured with Andrew and Hugh at the battle of Stono. His mother, Elizabeth, fell ill with ship fever returning from Charleston, South Carolina, where she had been helping friends and neighbors held as prisoners of war in Charleston Harbor.
After the horrific formative period of the Revolutionary War, Andrew Jackson chose to study law in Salisbury, North Carolina. He then moved to Jonesboro, Tennessee and began his political career as the Solicitor of the Western District of North Carolina. During this time he married Rachel Donelson. Later, during his first campaign for the presidency he received criticism for marrying Rachel before her divorce was final. Jackson blamed her early death in 1828 partially upon this harsh criticism. They were unable to have their own children but adopted a son, Andrew, born December 4, 1808 in Davidson, Tennessee. From this son came a limited amount of Jackson descendants as Andrew III had four sons, two of which died in infancy, one dying during the Civil War, and one daughter. Their surviving son Andrew IV had two children and their daughter Rachel had nine children, thus limiting the amount of "Jackson" descendants.
Andrew Jackson lead a very politically prominent life, elected to the fourth and fifth congresses after Tennessee entered the Union, the United States Senate, the State Supreme Court and ultimately the United States Presidency, elected to two terms. President Jackson was also a very well respected military leader serving during the Creek War, becoming Major General in 1814 during the War of 1812, defeating the British in New Orleans, as well as serving in the 1st Seminole War, overthrowing the Spanish governor in Florida. President Jackson is not only one of the most beloved US presidents, but one of the most revered historical figures in US history, proving that anyone, no matter the economic or personal circumstance, can rise to greatness.
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