Interesting Facts About Andrew Jackson: ‘Old Hickory’

Born to Scot-Irish parents, Andrew Jackson went on to become the seventh president of the United States. He was born on March 15, 1767 in Waxhaw, South Carolina. He descended from a family of poor Irish immigrants. In addition, his father died before he was born and his mother and two brothers had all passed away before he was 14 years old.
Andrew Jackson, nicknamed “Old Hickory,” was the first president truly elected due to popular sentiment. Though he was very popular among the common citizens, Jackson was also one of the most controversial presidents due to his personality and certain actions.
When he was just 13 years old Andrew Jackson joined the Army to fight in the Revolutionary War. He was the only President who served in both the Revolutionary War and the War of 1812.
Here are SIX interesting facts about Andrew Jackson.
1. He won the popular vote for president three times
Jackson captured nearly 56% of the popular vote in winning the presidency in 1828, and he nearly matched that figure four years later in his reelection. “Old Hickory” also won the most popular votes, although not a majority, in his first presidential run in 1824. Since no candidate won a majority of electoral votes, the 1824 election was thrown into the House of Representatives, which selected John Quincy Adams in what Jackson’s supporters claimed was a “corrupt bargain” with Speaker of the House Henry Clay, who was named secretary of state by Adams. In his annual messages to Congress, Jackson repeatedly lobbied for the abolition of the Electoral College.
2. Jackson’s portrait appears on the $20 bill although he detested paper money
Chastened by a financial hit he once took from devalued paper notes, Jackson was opposed to the issuance of paper money by state and national banks. He only trusted gold and silver as currency and shut down the Second Bank of the United States in part because of its ability to manipulate paper money. It’s ironic that Jackson not only appears on the $20 bill, but his portrait in the past has also appeared on $5, $10, $50 and $10,000 denominations in addition to the Confederate $1,000 bill.
3. He was the only president to have been a former prisoner of war
During the Revolutionary War, the 13-year-old Jackson joined the Continental Army as a courier. In April 1781, he was taken prisoner along with his brother Robert. When a British officer ordered Jackson to polish his boots, the future president refused. The infuriated Redcoat drew his sword and slashed Jackson’s left hand to the bone and gashed his head, which left a permanent scar. The British released the brothers after two weeks of ill treatment in captivity, and within days Robert died from an illness contracted during his confinement.
4. He was a notorious gambler
Jackson had a taste for wagering—on dice, on cards and even on cockfights. As a teenager, he gambled away all of his grandfather’s inheritance on a trip to Charleston, South Carolina. Jackson’s passion in life was racing and wagering on horses.
5. He was the target of the first attempted presidential assassination
As Jackson was leaving the U.S. Capitol on January 30, 1835, following a memorial service for a congressman, a deranged house painter named Richard Lawrence fired a pistol at the president from just feet away. When Lawrence’s gun misfired, he pulled out a second weapon and squeezed the trigger. That pistol also misfired. An enraged Jackson charged Lawrence with his cane as the shooter was subdued. A subsequent investigation found the pistols to be in perfect working order. The odds of both guns misfiring were found to be 125,000 to 1.
6. He was nicknamed ‘Old Hickory’ because of his toughness
Although he was a strict officer, Jackson was popular among his troops. They said he was as ‘tough as old hickory’ and hence he was nicknamed ‘Old Hickory’. Jackson is also known to carry a cane made of hickory with which he used to beat people.

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