Read ANDREW JACKSON of Lives of the Presidents Told in Words of One Syllable , free online book, by Jean S. Remy, on ReadCentral.com.

The boy who was to be our seventh Prèsident did not lead the sort of life, as boy or man, that the other Prèsidents did. He was the son of a poor Irishman who came here from Ireland in 1765. He was born on March 15th, 1767, in a small place in South Carolina, called the Waxhaw Settlements. Poor and mean was the log house in which he first saw the light, and when his father died, which was when Andrew was a wee baby, the life of the little home was harder yet. His mother was a brave, good woman, and so well did she do her hard part in life that she was loved by all who knew her, and was known far and near as “Aunt Betty.”

Andrew was a great care to her when a boy, for, full of life and fun, he did not care for books, and was at the head in all sorts of wild sport. He was ever ready for a fight with boys who made him angry; the small boys looked to him for help in any strife with boys bigger than they; and so strong was he, or ready to knock a boy down for a real or a fancied wrong, that they soon found it best to give him his own way, and let him take his place as leader among them; when he was at the head all went well.

He was just nine years old when the Declaration of Independence was signed, and then came four years of war with England. In 1780 this war was carried into the South, and on May 29th a number of British soldiers under Colonel Tarleton killed and wounded over 200 of the men and boys from the Waxhaw settlements. Among those who helped to care for the hurt and dying men were Mrs. Jackson and her boys. Andrew was only fourteen when he fell into the hands of the British, and he, with over one hundred sick and dying men, was kept for days in a dirty pen, with no beds, little to eat and only stale water to drink. To make things worse, smallpox broke out and Andrew was one of those who had it. His brave mother was at last ablé to free him, and it was owing to her loving care that he did not die at this awful time.

After he was well enough to be left, his mother, who was very sorry for the poor American soldiers, went to Charleston to take care of those who were sick and wounded here. Just as she had begun her noblé work she was taken sick and died.

Soon after her death came the good news of peace; and now young Andrew began to pay some heed to his books, with the hope of studying law. He also taught school for a while, though he could not have been a very good teacher, for he never learned how to spell very well himself. Still, in 1787, we find he has learned enough to take up the practice of law, and he began this work in Nashville, Tennessee; and now we see the boy who had been the leader in boyish sports, games and fights, become at once a leader among men. He was tall and quite good looking, with bright blue eyes and reddish hair, and he was full of fun and life; he rode horseback well, and knew how to shoot straight; and above all he was a brave man, afraid of nothing.

In 1788 he was given a place in which he had to try for the State all men who had done wrong and it needed, in those wild days and in that new land, a brave man for such a work, for he would make many foes, both among the bad white men and the Indians. His work took him from Nashville to Jonesborough, and here the Indians were very strong and very cruel, killing and robbing the white men and women, and even the little babies in their mothers’ arms. Hearing and seeing day by day more and more of this savage warfare, always in danger of being killed by night or day by some Indian hiding behind a tree or house, Jackson learned to know the Indians and their habits better than most men did, so was ready to fight them in their own way in a few years.

He made his home in Nashville and built up a good law practice. He grew in power so fast that in 1797 he was sent as the first man from Tennessee to Congress. He went all the way from his home to Philadelphia, a distance of 800 miles, on horseback. In 1798 we see him again at home as Judge of the Supreme Court, and here he stayed until 1804. Then came fourteen years of peace for the land, and a happy home life for him. Among other things which Jackson did at this time was to build a large log store in which he kept all sorts of things which both the white men and the Indians wanted. His home, which was called “The Hermitage,” was a fine house for those days, and in later years it grew as well known as Mt. Vernon and Monticello. Jackson was all through his life a man who would stand up for his own way, if it led to strife with his best friend, and more than once he fought duels to the death. In Congress he would, when he rose to speak, sometimes choke with blind rage if he could not make his point and force men to yield to him.

After years of peace came the War of 1812, and from that hour Jacksons name was first in the minds of men. He showed great skill in his fights with the red men, and won much fame in a fierce fight with the Creeks, a bad tribe of Indians in Alabama.

He could force men to do as he said; the young men of that day looked upon him with awe and fear, but rushed to fill his ranks and serve under him.

In 1815 he won the day at New Orléans, and put the British troops to flight with great loss of life. At the end of the war, back home went Jackson for the rest of which he stood in sore need; but, in 1818, strife with the Seminole Indians in Florida came up, and Jackson was sent there.

At this time Spain owned Florida, and it was both Spanish troops and Indian foes that Jackson had to meet, but he won his way, and at last made Spain yield her rights in Florida and sign a peace. In 1823 she sold Florida to us for $5,000,000; not such a great sum when we think what a rich and great place this Land of Flowers” is. Jackson was now put at the head of things in Florida, and the hardest part of his work was to keep peace in the bad tribe of Seminole Indians. With their chief Osceola at their head they would creep out from the woods and swamps of Florida, rush on the homes of the white men, and burn them to the ground, and then dash back to the woods, where they could safely hide. At the end of four years Jackson was glad to go home to the Hermitage; here he and his wife led a quiet life and kept up many of the ways of their young days, though now they were quite rich. After dinner, they would sit, one on each side of the great big wood fire, in the large hall, and smoke their old pipes, with the long stems, just as they had in their log cabin of long ago. But the great general could not live this quiet life long; in 1823 he was sent to Congress; and here he met with high honor. On New Year’s Day, 1824, the great men of the day gave him the pocket telescope that Washington had owned; a year from the day on which the Battle of New Orléans was fought, John Quincy Adams gave him a great feast, at which were men, who held high rank here and in other lands; and on the day that he was fiftyseven years old, Prèsident Monroe gave him a gold badge for his brave acts in his fights for his country. In 1828 this rough, but brave and kind, old man, was made prèsident; and now he stood up for his own way, just as he had in the wars of his land, and when he was but a boy. His first act was to stop some states in the South from leaving the Union. John C. Calhoun was at the head of a band of men, who felt that the North had more rights than the South; had more than its share of wealth and land; so rose the wish to set up a rule just for the South. “But,” said Jackson, if one state goes out others will; and our great land will be a ruin.” So he stopped this plan, just in time.

All the years that Jackson was prèsident, our great land gained in strength; new railroads were built; and new steamboats; the land grew rich year by year.

In 1824 the slaves in Mexico were set free, and Texas came into the Union.

On the whole, Jackson’s term was a good one for the land; and so well did the people like him, that he is the only prèsident of whom it has been said that he was better liked when he went out of office than when he went in.

The last years of his life were spent at “The Hermitage,” where he died on June 8th, 1845.