Lesser-known facts about our presidents

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Mort Fox
Which Carolina gave birth to Andy? To this day there is a question as to whether Andrew Jackson, our seventh president was born in North or South Carolina. He claimed South Carolina. Many historians disagree. In more recent years the bragging rights were settled by a football game played by teams from each of the possible counties. The winning state got to claim him for one year.
Andrew Jackson was the last Revolutionary War veteran to become president. At age 13 he and his older brother Robert joined the Continental Army. His primary duty was as a messenger, but he was present at the Battle of Hanging Rock. The two of them managed to get captured while at a cousin’s home. As a prisoner of war, Andrew refused to shine the boots of a British officer and received a saber gash, to the bone. With his wound untreated he and others were marched, without food or water, to a prison camp. After 2 weeks they were part of a prisoner swap.
Prior to becoming president, Jackson had a series of military and political positions. He seems to have been less bored with the military ones than the political. Follow this: U. S. Representative in 1796-97, U. S. Senate 1797-98 (he resigned after 5 months), Judge in Tennessee Superior Court 1798-1804, his longest pre-presidential non-military position, the U. S. Senate again 1823-25 when he resigned to remain above the Washington politics.
In 1806 a lawyer, Charles Dickinson, made the mistake of making less than a complimentary remark about Mrs. Jackson. When the duel was over, Dickinson was dead and Jackson had a bullet near his heart that he would carry for the next 39 years, until his death in 1845.
Major General was the only rank that Jackson ever held. First elected to it in 1802 in the Tennessee Militia, then he was appointed to it in 1804 as the commander of U. S. Volunteers by the Tennessee Governor. Then in 1812 for defeating a force of 1,000 Indian warriors he was promoted to Major General in the regular army. He sure worked his way up in the ranks.
The election of 1828 pitted Jackson against the incumbent John Quincy Adams. As far as the issues were concerned, both candidates agreed in principal to protective tariffs and internal improvements. The campaigning was left to underlings. It was a mud slinger’s delight. Adams supporters harped on Jackson living with Rachel before her divorce was final, actually unknown to the Jacksons. Jackson’s people were still stirring the pot about the alleged deal between Adams and Henry Clay, which made Adams the president in 1824.
As president, he vetoed a dozen bills, more than all his predecessors combined. Jackson solidified executive power. He made it clear that South Carolina or any other state had no authority to nullify tariffs or any other federal laws. “Our Federal Union-it must be preserved”, stated Jackson in a toast.
When South Carolina didn’t approve of a tariff that Jackson signed, he let them know in no uncertain terms that disunion was treason and he would respond accordingly, even to the use of force to collect any import duties. He also informed them that the instigators were subject to severe punishment.
Perhaps if Andrew Jackson had been president in place of James Buchanan the Civil War may have been over in a few weeks, even before Lincoln was elected. We’ll never know.

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