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Anonymous asked in Education & ReferenceHomework Help · 8 years ago

how did john calhoun feel about the spoils system?

Did he support it because he was a Democrat AND Jackson's vice-president or did he go against it because he was upset with Jackson over the tariff that was unfair to the south?

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    Andrew Jackson's life is perhaps the most colorful of the lives of all American presidents, although Theodore Roosevelt would certainly have a claim to that title.

    Jackson was born on the Carolina frontier, the son of parents who had immigrated from Northern Ireland. Thus he is the first real Irish-American United States President. (John F. Kennedy was the first Irish-Catholic American president.) Jackson's life can be described as rough-and-tumble from its earliest days. The Scots-Irish had no love for the British, so it was no surprise that as a teenager Jackson served in the American Revolution. Captured by the British, he was ordered by a British officer to polish his boots, and when Jackson refused, the officer struck him with a sword, leaving a scar on his face and a deep hatred for the British. After the Revolution, following the death of his brother and mother, Jackson headed for the Tennessee frontier, where he became a successful lawyer and landowner in the frontier town of Nashville.

    While living in a Nashville boarding house, Jackson met a woman name Rachel Donelson Robards, who happened to be unhappily married to a man who traveled a lot. Jackson's friendship with Rachel became a sore spot for Rachel's husband, and after returning from a trip and sensing something going on between his wife and Jackson, he headed back to Virginia, telling Rachel he was divorcing her. The story of the subsequent marriage between Andrew Jackson and Rachel is murky, but what apparently happened is that they got married before Rachel's divorce was final, and when they discovered that fact, they got married again. When the story came out, they were tainted with the charge of having lived in an adulterous relationship while Rachel was still legally married. Jackson and Rachel adored each other, and any suggestion about Rachel's supposedly colorful past was sure to send Jackson into a rage.

    In fact, Jackson was sensitive to anything he considered insulting, even as an attorney in the courtroom. He was involved in a number of brawls, but the most famous altercation involved Andrew Jackson and Charles Dickinson. Following a nasty argument over a bet on a horserace, which escalated out of control, Jackson and Dickinson agreed to a duel. Since the practice was illegal in Tennessee, they headed for nearby Kentucky. Dickenson preceded Jackson to the dueling spot and along the way thrilled observers with his skill as a marksman, shooting bottles off of fences with a pistol at a distance equivalent to that at which he would face Jackson.

    On the morning of the duel Jackson was determined to dispatch his foe. Wearing loose clothing to hide the outlines of his slender torso, Jackson decided to let Dickenson have the first shot; knowing that Dickenson would probably strike him, Jackson did not want to have his own aim thrown off. Dickinson’s bullet struck Jackson in the chest near his heart, breaking two ribs. Never even wincing, Jackson coolly raised his pistol and fired, hitting Dickinson in the groin, a wound from which he bled to death within a few minutes. Jackson's wound was severe, and it took weeks for him to recover, but the charge of having murdered Dickinson followed him for the rest of his life, even though the duel was in theory a “fair fight.” Pain from the wound inflicted by Dickinson also followed Jackson to his grave.

    Jackson's victory over the British at the Battle of New Orleans during the War of 1812 was the highlight of the conflict for Americans and one of the most one-sided battlefield triumphs in American military history. The popularity of “Old Hickory” lasted and carried him to the White House in 1828. Although Jackson was a wealthy landowner, slave owner, attorney, businessman and successful general, he had common origins, and was thought by many to have been a crude individual. He certainly had a volatile personality and led anything but a calm and quiet existence. Yet based on his heroic defense of New Orleans in 1815, he was a popular hero of the highest order, the second in a series of successful military men who rose to high political office.

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