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General Andrew Jackson's father was also named Andrew Jackson. He was an Irishman, who came to the Waxhaw settlement, on the line between North and South Carolina, about ten years before the Revolution. He had built a log cabin, cleared a little land, and raised a crop of corn, when he sickened and died. In this sad time, his son, Andrew Jackson, was born. Andrew's mother lived with her relatives and spun flax to earn a little money.

From a little fellow, "Andy" was a hot-tempered boy. Some larger boys once loaded a gun very heavily and gave it to Andy to fire, in order to see him knocked over by the "kick" of the gun. But the fierce little fellow had no sooner tumbled over, then he jumped up and vowed that he would kill the first one that laughed. Not one of the boys dared to provoke him. He grew up in a wild country and among a rough people. What little schooling he got was at an old field schoolhouse.

When he was but thirteen, the Revolutionary War began. In the South, the struggle was very bitter, neighbor battling against neighbor with any weapons that could be found. Of course, a fiery fellow like Andrew wanted to have a hand in the fight against England. Whenever he went to a blacksmith's shop he hammered out some new weapon. Young as he was, he was in two or three skirmishes. In one of these, Andrew and his brother were taken prisoners. A British officer ordered Andrew to clean the mud off his boots. Young Jackson refused and got a sword-cut on his head for it. His brother was treated in the same way. The two wounded boys were then confined in a forlorn prison-pen, where they took the smallpox. Their mother managed to get them exchanged and brought the sick boys home.

When Andrew Jackson was eighteen years old, he went to the village of Salisbury to study law. At this time, many settlers were crossing the mountains into the rich lands to the westward, and young Jackson moved to the newly settled country of Tennessee. Here, in the fierce disputes of a new country, it took a great deal of courage to practice law.

Jackson was not only brave; he was also a quick-tempered man, who got into many quarrels during his life and sometimes fought duels. The rough people among whom he lived were afraid of him. One day, he was eating at a long table which the keeper of the tavern had set out of doors for the crowd which had come to see a horse race. A fight was going on at the other end of the table; but fights were so common in this new country, that Jackson did not stop eating to find out what it was about. Presently, he heard that a friend of his, one Patten Anderson, was likely to be killed. Jackson could not easily get to his friend through the crowd, but he jumped up on the table and ran along on it, putting his hand into his pocket as though to draw a pistol. He cried out at the same time, "I'm coming, Patten!" and he opened and shut the tobacco box in his pocket with a sound like the cocking of a pistol. The crowd was so afraid of him that they scattered at once, crying, "Don't fire!"

Jackson was an able man and an honest one in his way. He was once a judge, he kept a store, he went to Congress, and then to the United States Senate. When the "War of 1812" with England broke out, he was sent as a general of Tennessee volunteers to defend New Orleans. When he had waited some time at Natchez, he was ordered to disband his troops, as they were not needed. Those who sent such an order from Washington did not stop to ask how the poor Tennesseans were to make their way back to their homes. Jackson refused to obey the order, pledged his own property to get food for his men, and marched them to Tennessee again. The men became devoted to him and gave him the nickname of "Old Hickory."

But after a while, war broke out in the Southwest in earnest. Tecumseh, in his Southern trip, had persuaded an Indian chief, who was known to the settlers as Weathersford and to the Indians as Red Eagle, to "take up the hatchet" and go to war. The Indians attacked Fort Mimms, in which four hundred men, women, and children were shut up. They burned the fort and killed the people in it. Weathersford tried to stop the massacre, but he could not control his fighters.

When the news of this slaughter reached Tennessee, Jackson was very ill from a wound in the arm and a ball in the shoulder which he had got in a foolish fight. But, in spite of his wounds, the fierce general marched at the head of twenty-five hundred men to attack the Indians. He had a great deal of trouble to feed his troops in the wilderness; the men suffered from hunger and sometimes rebelled and resolved to go home. Jackson once ordered out half his army to stop the other half from Leaving. Again, the half that had tried to desert was used to make the others stay. At another time, he stood in the road in front of his rebellious soldiers and declared in the most dreadful words that he would shoot the first villain who took a step.

In spite of all these troubles with his wild soldiers, Jackson beat his enemies with rapid marches and bold attacks. In 1814, the Indians had fortified themselves at a place called Horseshoe Bend. Here Jackson had a terrible battle with the Indians, who fought until they were almost all dead. At length, the remaining Indians submitted or fled into Florida, which at that time belonged to Spain. The soldiers had vowed to kill Weathersford, the chief; but that fearless fellow rode up to Jackson's tent, and said that he wanted the general to send for the Indian women and children, who were starving in the woods. When the soldiers saw Weathersford, they cried out, "Kill him!" But Jackson told them that anybody who would kill so brave a man would rob the dead.

Jackson was suffering all this time from a painful illness and was hardly able to sit in the saddle. But he marched to Mobile, which he succeeded in defending against an English force that landed in Florida and was assisted by Florida Indians. Jackson resolved that the Spaniards should not give any further aid to the enemies of the United States. He therefore marched his army into Florida and took the Spanish town of Pensacola, driving the English away.

It soon became necessary for Jackson to go to New Orleans to defend that place. The English landed twelve thousand men below that city. Jackson armed the free black people and the prisoners out of the jails, but he still had only half as many soldiers as the English. The general, though yellow with illness, was as resolute as ever. He had several fights with the English as they advanced, but the decisive battle was fought on the 8th of January, 1815, when the English tried to carry the American works by storm. Many of Jackson's Southwestern troops were dead-shots. They mowed down the ranks of the British whenever they charged, until more than one fifth of the English troops had been killed or wounded and their general was also dead. Though the English had lost twenty-six hundred brave men, the Americans had but eight killed and thirteen wounded.

One little English bugler, fourteen years old, had climbed into a tree near the American works and blown his bugle-charge, to cheer the English, until there were none left to blow for. An American soldier then brought him into camp, where the men made much of their young prisoner, because he was so brave.

This wonderful defense of New Orleans ended the "War of 1812." General Jackson became the darling of his country. When the United States bought Florida from Spain, he was sent to take possession of that country.

In 1828, Jackson was elected President of the United States. He was a man of the plain people, rough in speech and stern in manner, but his popularity was very great. He was the first President who put out of office those who had voted against him and appointed his own friends to their places. He enforced the laws with a strong hand, and he managed affairs with other nations in such a way as to make the country respected in Europe.

General Jackson died in 1845. He was, as we have seen, a man of strong will and fierce passions. But he was faithful to his friends and affectionate with his relatives. He had no children, but he adopted a nephew of his wife's and brought him up as his son. He killed many Indians, but he also adopted an Indian baby, found after one of his battles in its dead mother's arms. His splendid defense of New Orleans showed Jackson to be one of the very ablest generals America has ever produced.


Study the lesson for one week.

Over the week:

  • Read and/or listen to the story.
  • Review the synopsis.
  • Study the vocabulary terms.
  • Complete the enrichment activities.
  • Answer the review questions.


Andrew Jackson grew up rough and tumble and with very little schooling on the border of North and South Carolina. Although he was only thirteen when the Revolutionary War started, he made his own weapons and fought in some of the skirmishes. He and his brother were taken prisoner by the British and contracted small pox, but their mother managed to get them back home. At age eighteen, he went to the wild lands of Tennessee to practice law. Jackson was brave, but quick tempered and had many duels. Other people were scared of him. He later became a judge, a congressperson, and a senator. When the "War of 1812" erupted, Jackson served as general of the Tennessee volunteers and earned the nickname "Old Hickory." In a battle with the English at New Orleans, the English lost 2600 soldiers while Jackson only lost 8 with 13 wounded. Jackson's victory at New Orleans led to the end of the War. As a result of his victory, he obtained great popularity and became President of the United States in 1828.


Weapon: Something to fight with.
Skirmish: A small battle.
Duel: A fight between two men with weapons.
Draw (pistol): To remove from a holster and to fire.
Volunteers: Those who are not regular soldiers, but voluntarily enlist to help fight a war.
Disband: To dismiss a company of soldiers.
Old Hickory: Andrew Jackson's nickname given because a hickory tree has a rough outside and is made of hard wood.
Half-breed: An antiquated and insulting term for a person who has one European parent and one American Indian parent.
Take Up the Hatchet: An old Indian phrase meaning to go to war.
Massacre: Putting to death a large group or groups of people with no means of defending themselves.
Spaniards: The people of Spain.
Decisive: That which decides or settles a matter.
Dead-shot: One whose aim in shooting is perfect.
Bugle Charge: Notes played on a bugle as a signal for soldiers to charge.
Popularity: Favor with the people.


Activity 1: Narrate the Story

  • Narrate the events aloud in your own words.

Activity 2: Study the Story Picture

  • Study the story picture, 'The Battle of New Orleans,' by Edward Percy Moran and describe how it relates to the story. Note that Andrew Jackson stands on the wall, sword held aloft.

Activity 3: Map the Story

  • Find New Orleans, Louisiana, the site of the last battle of the War of 1812 with the British.

Activity 4: Complete Copywork, Narration, Dictation, and Art   

  • Click the crayon above. Complete pages 53-54 of 'American History Copywork, Narration, Dictation, and Art for Third Grade.'


Question 1

What part did Andrew Jackson play in the American Revolution?
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Answer 1

At the age of 13, Jackson made weapons, fought in skirmishes, was captured by the British, and freed by his mother.
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Question 2

Why did Andrew Jackson move to Tennessee?
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Answer 2

Andrew Jackson moved to Tennessee to practice law.
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Question 3

Was Andrew Jackson a mild-mannered man?
3 / 5

Answer 3

No, Jackson was quick-tempered and scared other people.
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Question 4

Where was Andrew Jackson's most famous battle?
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Answer 4

Andrew Jackson's most famous battle was in New Orleans.
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Question 5

What was the highest political office attained by Andrew Jackson?
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Answer 5

The highest political office attained by Andrew Jackson was President of the United States.
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  1. What part did Andrew Jackson play in the American Revolution? At the age of 13, Jackson made weapons, fought in skirmishes, was captured by the British, and freed by his mother.
  2. Why did Andrew Jackson move to Tennessee? Andrew Jackson moved to Tennessee to practice law.
  3. Was Andrew Jackson a mild-mannered man? No, Jackson was quick-tempered and scared other people.
  4. Where was Andrew Jackson's most famous battle? Andrew Jackson's most famous battle was in New Orleans.
  5. What was the highest political office attained by Andrew Jackson? The highest political office attained by Andrew Jackson was President of the United States.


  1. 'The Battle of New Orleans by Edward Percy Moran. (1910, {PD-old-auto-1923})' Wikipedia. commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:Battle_of_New_Orleans.jpg. n.p.