Hermitage, Tennessee

Day 219

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     Andrew Jackson was born on March 15, 1767 in the Waxhaws, an area on the boarder of North and South Carolina. By age 20 he had his license to practice law in North Carolina.

     In 1788 he marries Rachel Donelson Robarts. He remarries her in 1794. She had been married before to an abusive husband. She had left him, then met Jackson. In 1788 she had gotten word her husband divorced her, but in fact had only filed the papers. When the divorce finally went through, they remarried to make it lawful.

     In 1804 he buys a 420 acre plantation and names it Hermitage

     On June 18, 1812 President Madison declares war on Great Britain. Andrew Jackson had been active in Tennessee politics and had held numerous  positions. Without formal military training he was appointed a position in the Army. Ultimately he was assigned to go to New Orleans to repel the anticipated invasion of the British. If the British were successful, they could sail up the Mississippi and divide the Country in half, which would invariably change the outcome of the war. There was not much hope that Jackson could stop the British with only 5359 local militia against the British well trained 8392 seasoned troops.

     The battle began on January 8, 1815. Jackson won a decisive victory, losing only 13 killed and 39 wounded to the British’s 300 killed and 1500 wounded. (Do you think those figures were inflated like Vietnam?)

     Although it took almost a month for the news to reach Washington, Jackson became an instant American Hero and made him the most famous general since George Washington.

     Based on his popularity Jackson ran for President. His first try for President resulted in Jackson getting the popular vote, but losing the electoral.  The campaigns were brutal. No subject was off limits. Jackson’s opponents used every dirty trick they could, including calling Jackson immoral for the marriage to Rachel. Reviewing what went on during these campaigns, you can’t help but notice the similarities to the recent Trump campaign. This includes one of his first acts as President was signing the Indian Removal Act, which he promised to do during his campaign. He is quoted as saying “…they and my white children are to near to each other to live in harmony and peace.” History repeats itself.

     Jackson believed that since the President is elected by all the people, he is the only member of  government representing all the people. Almost immediately there was friction between Jackson, Congress, and the Courts. During his two terms as President, he asserted powers that no President had before. With dissension among members of his cabinet, Jackson started looking outside for guidance, something no President had done before. The opposition press dubbed these advisors his “kitchen cabinet”.

     Andrew Jackson left Washington, after two terms as President, for home on March 7, 1837.

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     Andrew and Rachel Jackson’s first home on the Hermitage was a substantial and well furnished 2 story log cabin. They lived there from 1804 until 1821. As a result of Jackson’s fame from the 1815 battle, the home no longer reflected his status as a hero, or the fashion of the time. He build a federal style brick home, which he enlarged over time during his Presidency

The tour of the Hermitage was both guided and self guided.

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     Cotton was the cash crop of the Plantation. When Jackson returned here after his Presidency, he had 1000 acres and 150 slaves.

     One of the interesting things was that you could go to the cotton fields and pick cotton. Trying to get the seeds out of the cotton was almost impossible by hand. Thank you Eli Whitney.

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Jackson died on June 8, 1845 at the Hermitage.

     Two interesting facts about Jackson: He is the only President to pay off the national debt and the first President to be a resident of a State other than Massachusetts or Virginia.

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2 thoughts on “Hermitage, Tennessee

  1. Interesting Fact: When Jackson presented his Indian Removal Act to Congress, only one congressman from the Tennessee contingent voted against it, do you know who that was? I will give a hint tomorrow if no one can give the correct answer.

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