Andrew Jackson: Humble Beginnings

I'll come right out and say it, I don't like Andrew Jackson and I don't like the populist era of politics that he ushered in.

However, I have to respect that he was the first American president to live what we would call the American Dream.

Previous to Jackson, all presidents had come from distinguished families. Jackson, though, was what the Romans would have called a 'new man'. He was the first in his family to do anything of real acclaim and obtain the status of the upper class.

His father died the year he was born and his mother died of a cholera epidemic when he was 14. He was raised as an orphan from the age of 14 by a not so thrilled family.

Although he had private tutors, he had none of the formal education that Jefferson, Madison and the Adams' had enjoyed. He had no family members in politics and no real connections in the professional world.

He drank excessively, gambled and fought. He wasn't what you might call presidential material.

At some point however, he decided to pursue a law degree, move to the great west (Tennessee at the time), eventually becoming a judge, general of the state Militia and eventually, President of the United States.

Whatever we might think of the man, it's still kind of amazing that he rose as far as he did.

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