Day 3 Of White History Month: Andrew Jackson (March 15, 1767 - June 8, 1845)
Andrew Jackson was the seventh president of the United States, holding office from 1829 to 1837. The face of the 20 Dollar Bill, Jackson is praised for his defense of individual liberty and popularization of support for the common man. His rugged nature, duels and brawls, and role as a general in the War of 1812 led him to be considered as a hero among white Americans, and he was elected president in 1828.
What many historians are less apt to discuss is Jackson’s views about Black Americans, support of manifest destiny and ultimately support of removal and genocide against Native Americans.
Although he appealed to the common man, Andrew Jackson was actually a wealthy slaveholder. When abolitionists began to mail anti-slavery literature to Southern whites, Jackson believed that the action was tantamount to inciting slaves to rebel and did not allow it to be delivered.
His military roles, from general all the way to Commander in Chief, involved the forced removal and genocide of Native Americans. As a general, Jackson defeated a faction of the Creek nation in 1814, and in 1818 invaded Spanish Florida to strike back against the Seminole for harboring fugitive slaves.
In his first year of office, Jackson’s first priority was to advocate for legislation called the Indian Removal Act which granted him power to “negotiate” with Native Americans east of the Mississippi. For the following 28 years, the United States forcibly relocated Indian nations and coerced those who held out into signing treaties agreeing to be removed from their land. Jackson and his administration ultimately removed at least 46,000 Native Americans from their homeland and led thousands to their death, both before, during, and after The Trail of Tears.
Though Jackson was said to stand for the common man, he simply supported the subjugation and enslavement of Black Americans and the removal and murder of Native Americans in order to expand white hegemony and support the liberty of white men.
View Days 1 and 2 of White History Month