Our country was founded on one badass principle: Liberty. But in order to integrate such a principle into a nation, you need some pretty badass people to do so, and this country was blessed with some tremendous minds. George Washington is like the American Zeus. Thomas Jefferson and Jon Adams invented internal competition. Ben Franklin was one sick, kite-flying mofo.
But of all the badasses out there that this country has to thank for where it has come from, Andrew Jackson has to rank pretty high.
In the present day, Jackson is a catalyst of controversy, as people seek to remove him from the $20 bill for being a slave owner and for his treatment of Native Americans, but to do this would be to blatantly ignore everything Jackson did, what he stood for (which isn’t all bad. In fact, the majority of it isn’t), and how he was legitimately the first B.A.M.F. in American history.
I am currently reading about dear Old Hickory as I plan on incorporating him into my latest historically twisted novel, and I revel in the opportunity to better acquaint myself with the man that Jackson was.
For starters, he was a self-made man. Everything that he became, he did so on his own accord. There were no handouts. No privilege. Nothing. He was orphaned at a young age and left to fend for himself.
From there, he became a lawyer, school teacher, general, judge, governor (in no particular order) and, ultimately, President. He did so by being loved by the people for how much he could be trusted with their well-being and how much he sought to protect them first at a time when the nation was still under all sorts of external threats.
Consider that twice he was left with a bullet in his body from avenging his own honor via a duel (let’s bring back the duel. No, never mind, let’s not) and twice he refused to have it removed from him, deciding instead to carry on with the metal inside of him. That’s right. Jackson had two bullets inside of him at all times.
He was a Prisoner of War at 13 years old and he so staunchly defended the American cause to his captors that the British officer that imprisoned him had to slap him across the face with the flat side of a sword.
Jackson is an American icon. He saved the War of 1812 in his 1815 battle of New Orleans, the turning point of the war that saw his American side lose just 13 troops while massacring the British with over 2,000 casualties of their own. And he came to have this post as General not by some military merit, but because he was loved by the people.
Even without the Presidency, Jackson would be a hero. He avenged any atrocity committed on the American people by any party (Spanish, British or Native American). The only fault that he had was occasionally exacting vengeance a bit too hard. But in the end, that’s what kept his people safe. And that’s why the people trusted him with their nation.