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Andrew Jackson Lesson for Kids: Biography & Facts

Instructor: Crystal Ladwig
Ready for some presidential trivia? Which U.S. president spent nearly half of his life with a bullet stuck in his chest after a duel? It was Andrew Jackson. Read on for more interesting facts about our 7th president.

Andrew Jackson's Early Life

Andrew Jackson is best known as the 7th president of the United States from 1829-1837. He was also the first president that wasn't from Massachusetts or Virginia.

It's unclear exactly where Andrew Jackson was born. Legend says that it was somewhere in the wilderness between North and South Carolina. Both states claim to be his birthplace even today. Jackson's childhood was tough. His parents were poor immigrants from Ireland, and his father died before he was born. His mother died when he was only a teenager.

At the age of 13, Jackson served in the Revolutionary War as a messenger for the patriots. He was captured by the British (making him the only president to ever be a prisoner of war). While a prisoner, young Jackson received a scar on his face. A British soldier slashed his face with a sword after Jackson refused to polish the soldier's boots. And you thought your life was hard!

Andrew Jackson served as the 7th President of the United States.
Andrew Jackson

Old Hickory

During War of 1812, Jackson became a major general in the Tennessee militia where he once again fought against the British, this time as a soldier. Jackson led several victories, but it was the Battle of Orleans that brought him fame. The British had many more troops, but Jackson's forces clearly won. In the end, Jackson's troops had only 70 deaths while the British had over 2,000. His soldiers gave him the nickname 'Old Hickory' because he was 'as tough as old hickory wood.'

Political Life

Jackson served as Tennessee's first representative in the U.S. House of Representatives in 1796 and later served in the Senate. He ran for president in 1824 but lost to John Quincy Adams. Neither man won the majority of the votes, so Congress had to pick. They chose Adams. Jackson ran again in 1828 and won.

As president, Jackson strengthened the powers of the president. He became the first president to hire and fire his own cabinet members (leaders of each department), a practice still in place today. He also insisted that states follow federal law over state laws. Jackson was popular among the people for fighting against a national bank, fearing it would help the rich and hurt the poor. He also put policies in place that would lead to the forced migration (moving) of Native Americans to western lands with the Indian Removal Act of 1830 and later the Trail of Tears when approximately 15,000 Cherokee Indians were forced west. Four thousand Cherokee died of starvation or illness during that time.

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