Andrew Jackson, the seventh president of the United States, deserves to have his picture engraved on the twenty-dollar bill. Jackson’s perilous military achievement and leadership as well as democratic principles demonstrated during his presidency have made a significant contribution to American history and political life.
Andrew Jackson led his troops to decisive victories against the Creeks in Alabama and against the British in New Orleans. In the war of 1812 the Creek Indians, British allies, had threatened the southwestern borders of the United States. A major general in the Tennessee militia, Jackson with the help of his troops successfully defeated the Creek Indians in 1814 at the Battle of Horseshoe Bend. He was able to overcome shortages of supplies and food. In addition, he was able to curb two potential mutinies and lead a successful campaign against the Creeks. A second major battle that brought recognition to Jackson was the Battle of New Orleans.
An impressive aspect of this battle was that in spite of Jackson being greatly outnumbered with his army of 5,000 men against the British army of 8,000, Jackson was able to win with minimal casualties to his troops compared to the British who suffered greater losses. These two military triumphs earned Jackson acclaimed national military fame. After the Battle of Horseshoe Bend, Jackson’s men acknowledged his toughness by calling him “Old Hickory” because he was as tough as Hickory Wood. His stunning victory at New Orleans gave Jackson status as a national hero because he gave Americans confidence in their ability to defend their new liberty.
As a strong president, Andrew Jackson led reforms for the common man and created a more balanced central government. Jackson believed that the common man should have a place in society. He governed with the principle to “let the people rule.” Under his leadership, he and his followers issued reforms to reduce the long workdays and allow the average man to earn a greater share of the nation’s wealth. Wanting economic opportunity for all men, Jackson acted on his leadership skills to protect the rights of farmers, artisans, and small shopkeepers from the selfish interests of large businesses and monopolies. Jackson wanted to help common Americans by letting them have a say in politics. He allowed many people to vote than ever before, therefore making the government more directly responsible to the people.
He believed that the president should use full power as granted by the constitution. In that capacity, he made the most presidential vetoes than all the presidents before him. Jackson’s use of the presidential veto was an effective measure to create a more balanced central government by decentralizing power in both the executive and legislative branch making them equal to each other. This set an effective standard for presidential procedure. Never hesitant, Jackson argued with the Supreme Court or Congress when their positions conflicted with the best interests of all the people. Jackson’s efforts to make reforms for the common man and his ability to balance the power of the federal government made a lasting impression on American democracy.
Jackson’s achievements, as a military general as well as his leadership as the seventh president of the United States, give him the rightful recognition to have his image on the twenty dollar bill. As a general, Jackson was able to make quick and wise decisions to lead his troops to prevail through challenging military operations. As president, he left a lasting legacy to improve the conditions of the common man and to strengthen the office of the presidency. He shall always be remembered for granting people a greater voice in government by giving voting rights to non-land owners and replacing an aristocratic cabinet with people of more humble means. Jackson is regarded with respect for strengthening the office of the president through the use of veto, and rendering equality in power to both the executive and legislative branches. These aspects of his presidential administration have become a standard for today’s modern presidency.