U.S. President Andrew Jackson Little-Known Facts

About the U.S. President Andrew Jackson, history, trivia, and little-known facts.

FULL PORTRAITS OF SELECTED PRESIDENTS

7th President

ANDREW JACKSON

LITTLE-KNOWN FACTS

Jackson was the only president who was wholly a first-generation American; all of his forebears were foreign-born.

One of Jackson's less celebrated duels, which occurred in 1803, was with John Sevier, then governor of Tennessee. On a Saturday morning while Jackson was addressing a crowd concerning his contributions to the state of Tennessee, Sevier sneered: "I know of no great service you have rendered the country except taking a trip with another man's wife." Jackson instantly jumped upon Sevier with a howl of rage, clubbing him with his walking stick. He then challenged Sevier to a duel, but when the two men met on the field of honor, they began screaming at each other before they had even been given their pistols. Jackson ran at his adversary, threatening to cane him once again, and Sevier drew his sword, all of which frightened Sevier's horse, which ran away with the pistols. Not a single shot was fired.

More serious was Jackson's duel with Charles Dickinson in 1806. Dickinson, who had a reputation as the best shot in Tennessee, had made disparaging remarks about Jackson's beloved Rachel. In the duel that followed, Dickinson fired first, and his bullet entered Jackson's chest just an inch above the heart. Jackson staggered as the blood began soaking through his clothes, but he managed to steady himself and took aim at Dickinson. Dickinson ran from the line of fire, but he was ordered back to his place, a mere 24 ft. from Jackson, according to the code of honor. Dickinson stood awaiting Jackson's bullet with his arms crossed over his chest; Jackson steadied himself, aimed slowly and deliberately, and shot his opponent in the groin. Dickinson died a slow and painful death, and Jackson carried his bullet for the rest of his life; it had lodged too close to Jackson's heart to be removed.

The treaty that Jackson imposed on the Creek Indians after his campaign of 1814 was so harsh that even the anti-Indian bureaucrats were forced to repudiate it.

In 1832, while Jackson was president, an operation was performed to remove a bullet that had been embedded in his arm during a brawl 20 years before. Ironically, the bullet had been fired by Jesse Benton, the brother of Sen. Thomas Hart Benton, Jackson's staunchest supporter in the U.S. Senate.

The first attempt on the life of a president was made Jan. 30, 1835, upon President Jackson in the rotunda of the Capitol by Richard Lawrence, an insane house painter who believed he was the rightful heir to the English throne. He fired two pistols at Jackson from a distance of only 6 ft., but both guns misfired. Jackson was unhurt.

In 1815, shortly after the Battle of New Orleans, General Jackson ordered the arrest of a member of the Louisiana legislature for writing what he considered a seditious article. When Jackson refused to honor a writ of habeas corpus, he was found guilty of contempt of court and fined $1,000. In 1844, when former President Jackson was in considerable financial difficulty, Congress ordered the fine repaid with interest. Jackson received about $2,700.

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