Andrew Jackson made history as being the only U.S.A president to have served in the Revolutionary War and the War of 1812. In fact, it was the War of 1812 that earned him enough national popularity to be elected to the White House. After victory in a small battle in this war, he got promoted to become a major general of the U.S. Army and continued to win campaigns against the British forces. This paper will discuss the series of factors that led Andrew Jackson into becoming a senior commander of the Southern Campaign in the War of 1812.
Background of Andrew Jackson before the War of 1812
Andrew Jackson was the son of Irish immigrants and was born on the border between North and South Carolina; three weeks after his father had passed away. He was raised by a single mother, Elizabeth, with his two older brothers, Robert and Hugh, during the era of the revolutionary war. In 1778, he and his brothers signed up for the war, which resulted in the death of his brothers. A few years later, his mother succumbed to cholera and died, leaving Jackson under the care of his extended family. After studying law, he became an apprentice of a renowned law firm where he served for three years before he acquired his practicing license. He was later appointed a public prosecutor in Tennessee when one of his classmates had been appointed a judge in the area. In the following years, he practiced law in Nashville, where he met his future wife, Rachel, a woman who had undergone marriage difficulties, but this did not stop them from getting married after she had gone through a divorce. However, their marriage was to haunt them later when it was alleged that he had committed adultery by being involved with a married woman.
In 1791, Jackson was appointed to the post of attorney general district and later the U.S House of Representative between 1796 and 1797. His political fortunes were far from over. He later got elected as senator in 1797-1798. After going through financial difficulties, he resigned as senator and settled to become a senior judge. At the same time, he ran his private practice and managed several personal businesses. He was later chosen to serve as state militia and served this position until the War of 1812 broke out.
Events Leading to the War of 1812
Jacksons reputation in politics and the connections he had made with senior members of the government are some of the factors that led to his appointment as senior commander of the Southern campaign in the War of 1812. He was also known to have excellent intuition and good leadership skills; qualities that got him appointed as Judge and later on as a senator. Before the War of 1812, he had approached the President, James Madison, but his services had been rejected for six months because of his rash reputation and his association with the former vice president, Aaron Burr, who had been tried for treason.
At the beginning of the 19th-century, Britain had been involved in a long conflict with France. Both sides had made attempts to prevent the U.S.A from engaging in trade with the other in order to block supplies from getting to the enemy. Britain had later on passed an order that required neutral states to obtain licenses from their authorities before engaging in trade with France. In 1809, the U.S.A president repealed the Embargo Act by passing the Non-Intercourse Act. Initially, the Non-Intercourse Act prohibited trade with France and Britain; however, it was replaced with a bill that stated that if either country removed trade restrictions against the U.S.A, congress would enforce the Non-Intercourse Act against the opposing power. Napoleon was first to hint that he would stop restrictions, and this meant the U.S.A had to block trade with Britain. On 18th June 1812, President Madison declared war against Britain.
When the War of 1812 started, Jackson was only a military man by title. He had not served on active duty nor commanded troops into war. The only reason he had this post was due to his political connections. When the war broke out, the president accepted his service and he fought with 2,500 troops under his authority. In March 1813, the war department, after determining that there was no longer any threat to New Orleans, dismissed Jackson and his troops without any pay or means to go back to Tennessee. During the month-long journey, he led his troops home and earned himself the nickname, Old Hickory for standing by them during all their hardships. He later commanded his troops in a five-month war against the Creek Indians, who were fighting for the British. His campaign ended in mid-1814 as a victory for America in the Battle of Tohopeka. Later on, in January 1815, he subdued the British in New Orleans, and this victory boosted his popularity as the national war hero.
From humble beginnings, Andrew Jackson worked hard to pursue a career in law. He was appointed to several senior offices before he became incorporated into the military. As a general with no experience, he led his troops against the British and won. His victory in the War of 1812 was the beginning of his journey to the White House, where he moved in to become the seventh U.S president.
Brands, Henry W. Andrew Jackson: His life and times. Anchor, 2006.
Braund, Kathryn E. Holland, Susan M. Abram, Robert P. Collins, and Gregory Evans Dowd. Tohopeka. The University of Alabama Press, 2012.
Hickey, Donald R. The War of 1812: A forgotten conflict. University of Illinois Press, 2012.
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