American History Stories, Volume III, America First 100 Stories from Our History and THE YOUNG SCOUT
American History Stories, Volume III by Mara L. Pratt
(1) And now we come upon the next President,-a President who has been more widely popular than any other President since Washington.
(2) We have already heard enough of this man to be able to form some idea of what his character was. Fiery, determined, as he was, hating England with all his heart, he was almost a dangerous man to put in power-except for one quality which offset all the rest; and that was that he loved his country more, far more, than he loved his own interests, and so was sure to be true to her, let come what would.
(3) The greatest event of this administration, which as far as wars or home troubles are concerned was very uneventful, was the introduction of the first steam-engine for railroad traveling.
(4) Ever since the success with the steam-boat, thoughtful men had been trying to invent some way of traveling on the land by steam. There was the same kind of hooting and sneering and joke-cracking over this that there had been so short a time before over the steam-boat. Strange, isn't it, children, that we do not learn from past experiences like these not to sneer and scoff at every new thing that comes up from time to time.
(5) Jackson had an opportunity before his term was over to display the force of his iron will in a way that will make him forever to be remembered. First, he made an attack upon the money system of the country. I shall not try to explain it to you; but when I tell you that he so upset the whole system that hundreds of wealthy bond-holders failed in their business, you can imagine that it was no slight disturbance. He actually forbade the putting of any more money into the National Bank and dismissed the Secretary of the Treasury because he dared not obey his order. It was a fearful time for the country but Jackson carried the day, and the Democrats were delighted.
(6) Then came up trouble over the "tariff" question. The South said, "We want free trade, and we're going to have it. If Massachusetts wants "protection," let her have it. But WE are going to have "free trade."
(7) But Congress said, "No; we can't make a law for one part of the United States which is not for the whole United States. Either all must have free trade, or all must have protection."
(8) Then the South waxed hotter and hotter. They held public meetings, and these States, especially South Carolina, declared the tariff laws were "null and void"; by that they meant they were useless and powerless, and that they would pay no attention to them. These Southern people were therefore called "Nullifiers." As the conflict went on, they went so far as to say they would withdraw from the Union, and have a government of their own, and to do what they pleased in their own states. They even began to raise an army with which to carry on the quarrel.
(9) When news of this reached Andrew Jackson's ears you may be sure there was a blaze of wrath. "What! break up the Union!" said he. "Never! Haman's gallows were not high enough to hang the man upon who would raise his finger to pull down our Union." You may be sure it was not many hours before a proclamation was sent to those "Nullifiers," ordering them back into place. An army was raised; ships were sent to guard the harbors; the forts were ordered to be on the lookout for the first sign of disobedience-in short, Jackson was ready, if that little State of South Carolina had dared make one show of rebellion, to crush her before she should have time to strike one blow. It is hardly necessary to say that under such determined action as this, the Nullifiers settled down; their public meetings were stopped; their army broke up and went quietly about its business- and there was peace again.
(10) In the Senate, this matter was of course discussed. And just here, there came into notice three most remarkable men-men whom you must try to remember as long as you live. They were Daniel Webster, who stood staunch and firm for the Union, John C. Calhoun, who represented the Southern States and was, therefore, a hot "Nullifier," and Henry Clay, who, because he seemed always to find a way to settle the fiery disputes between these two, came to be called the "peacemaker."
(11) After these troubles had been somewhat quieted, Jackson, or "Old Hickory," as his followers used to like to call him, was glad enough, when his second term was out, to go to his home and rest. He was getting old and was tired of office, he used to say; and when we recall what a life he had had, we can well believe that he did long for quiet in his remaining years. He was very anxious that Van Buren, his colleague in office, should be the next president; and he worked hard to secure his election. A word or two in the next chapter about "Old Hickory," and then we shall leave him, and hurry on to other Presidents.
America First-100 Stories from Our History by Lawton B. Evans
(1) ANDREW JACKSON is one of the most picturesque characters in American history. He was born of Scotch-Irish parents on the border-line between North and South Carolina. His father died about the time he was born, and his mother had to support her three boys by spinning flax.
(2) Jackson grew up to be a tall, slender lad, with red hair and a freckled face. He was very wild, quick-tempered, and mischievous. He had many quarrels with his companions, and many fights, but, at home, he was devoted to his mother, and showed kindness to the horses and other animals on the farm. He was a fearless rider, and all his life owned fine horses.
(3) When Jackson was fourteen years of age, the Revolution was still in progress. The British army had swept through the neighborhood of his home, and the boy had seen his relatives and neighbors suffering and dying.
(4) The local church was used as a hospital, and Jackson's mother often went there to nurse the sick and wounded. Andrew and his brother Robert ran errands for her and were in and out of the church so often that they soon became familiar with the horrors of war.
(5) At one time, Andrew and his brother were taken prisoners by the British, and were confined in the house of their own cousin. The English officers had everything they wished, and one of them ordered Jackson to clean his muddy boots.
(6) Andrew replied, "I am a prisoner of war, and not a servant or a slave. You may clean them yourself."
(7) This enraged the British officer to such an extent that he struck at the boy with his sword, wounding him on his head and hand. Jackson carried the scars with him all his life. Robert also received rough treatment from the brutal officers.
(8) The boys were carried forty miles away, to a prison camp, and not allowed any food or water. There, smallpox broke out, and both boys were quite sick with it. Their mother secured their release, but Robert, suffering from wounds and fever, died two days after he reached home, and Andrew was ill for many weeks. Before he was quite well his mother also died.
(9) At seventeen years of age, he began to study law. When he was twenty-one, he moved to Tennessee, and became a prominent lawyer in that new and wild country. In his efforts to preserve law and order among the frontiersmen and adventurers of that section, he had many personal difficulties. He was hot-tempered and a good shot, and frontier life was rough.
(10) One day, when he was at a public dinner, some of his friends began to quarrel at the other end of the table from where Jackson was sitting. He immediately sprang upon the table, and strode along it, scattering the dishes and glasses as he went. Thrusting his hand behind him, he clicked his snuff-box. Thinking he was about to draw a pistol, the guests ran out in haste, crying in alarm, "Don't shoot, Mr. Jackson! Don't shoot!"
(11) Once, when Jackson was driving along the road, he was stopped by some drunken wagoners, who told him to dance, or they would cowhide him. Jackson coolly said, "I cannot dance in these heavy boots. Let me get my slippers out of my bag."
(12) To this the wagoners agreed, but, instead of slippers, he drew forth two big pistols. Pointing them at the wagoners, he said, "Now dance yourselves, or I will fill you full of bullets." The wagoners danced the best they could, while Jackson roared with laughter.
(13) During the War of 1812, Jackson did great service as a soldier. He fought against the Indians in the South, and was prominent at the battle of New Orleans. A band of Creeks attacked Fort Mimms, in southern Alabama, and killed four or five hundred white people. Tennessee raised a body of troops to go after the Creeks and punish them. Jackson was chosen Commander.
(14) He was in bed at the time, suffering from wounds he had received in a quarrel two weeks before. His physician ordered him to stay where he was, but Jackson arose, put his arm in a sling, and, though almost fainting from weakness and loss of blood, he mounted his horse and started on the campaign. He was gone eight months, and the Creeks were severely punished.
(15) Once, during the campaign, some soldiers grew mutinous because food was scarce, and they threatened to leave. Jackson, with his arm in a sling, rode up to them, and, taking his pistol in his free hand, said, "By the eternal, I will shoot the first man that moves." The soldiers knew he would do it, and there was no further trouble.
(16) His endurance during this campaign earned for him the name of "Old Hickory," because he was so tough; and because, though he would often bend, he would not break. In appearance, he was tall, erect, and spare, with dark blue eyes and heavy eyebrows. All through life his temper was fiery, and easily aroused when he was opposed.
Fifty Famous People by James Baldwin
THE YOUNG SCOUT
(1) WHEN Andrew Jackson was a little boy, he lived with his mother in South Carolina. He was eight years old when he heard about the ride of Paul Revere and the famous fight at Lexington.
(2) It was then that the long war, called the Revolutionary War, began. The king's soldiers were sent into every part of the country. The people called them the British. Some called them "red-coats."
(3) There was much fighting; and several great battles took place between the British and the Americans.
(4) At last Charleston, in South Carolina, was taken by the British. Andrew Jackson was then a tall white-haired boy, thirteen years old.
(5) "I am going to help drive those red-coated British out of the country," he said to his mother.
(6) Then, without another word, he mounted his brother's little farm horse and rode away. He was not old enough to be a soldier, but he could be a scout-and a good scout he was.
(7) He was very tall-as tall as a man. He was not afraid of anything. He was strong and ready for every duty.
(8) One day as he was riding through the woods, some British soldiers saw him. They quickly surrounded him and made him their prisoner.
(9) "Come with us," they said, "and we will teach you that the king's soldiers are not to be trifled with."
(10) They took him to the British camp.
(11) "What is your name, young rebel?" said the British captain.
(12) "Andy Jackson."
(13) "Well, Andy Jackson, get down here and clean the mud from my boots."
(14) Andrew's gray eyes blazed as he stood up straight and proud before the haughty captain.
(15) "Sir," he said, "I am a prisoner of war, and demand to be treated as such."
(16) "You rebel!" shouted the captain. "Down with you, and clean those boots at once."
(17)The slim, tall boy seemed to grow taller, as he answered, "I'll not be the servant of any Englishman that ever lived."
(18) The captain was very angry. He drew his sword to hit the boy with its flat side. Andrew threw out his hand and received an ugly gash across the knuckles.
(19) Some other officers, who had seen the whole affair, cried out to the captain, "Shame! He is a brave boy. He deserves to be treated as a gentleman."
(20) Andrew was not held long as a prisoner. The British soldiers soon returned to Charleston, and he was allowed to go home.
(21) In time, Andrew Jackson became a very great man. He was elected to Congress, he was chosen judge of the supreme court of Tennessee, he was appointed general in the army, and lastly he was for eight years the president of the United States.