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5 Things You Didn't Know About Andrew Jackson

On December 3, 1828, Andrew Jackson was elected the seventh president of the United States. Jackson is known for founding the Democratic Party and for his support of individual liberty. Here are 5 things you probably didn't now about the man known as the "Old Hickory"..

He Killed A Man In A Duel

In 1806, Charles Dickinson called Jackson a “a worthless scoundrel, a poltroon and a coward” over a horse-racing related argument. Jackson then challenged Dickinson to a duel. Dickinson shot first and hit Jackson in the chest, shattering his ribs. But Jackson wasn’t done. “Old Hickory took his time — so much that others questioned his honor after the fact — steadied himself, and fired a fatal shot.” Jackson would carry around the bullet in his chest as well as another from a subsequent duel for the rest of his life.

He Won The Popular Vote For President Three Times

Jackson captured nearly 56% of the popular vote in winning the presidency in 1828, and he nearly matched that figure four years later in his reelection. “Old Hickory” also won the most popular votes, although not a majority, in his first presidential run in 1824. Since no candidate won a majority of electoral votes, the 1824 election was thrown into the House of Representatives, which decided that John Quincy Adams would be president instead of Jackson. This led to Jackson lobbying continually for the Electoral College to be abolished.

He Was The First Target of a Presidential Assassination

As Jackson was leaving the U.S. Capitol on January 30, 1835, a deranged house painter named Richard Lawrence fired a pistol at the president from just feet away. When Lawrence’s gun misfired, he pulled out a second weapon and squeezed the trigger. That pistol also misfired. An enraged Jackson charged Lawrence with his cane as the shooter was subdued. A subsequent investigation found the pistols to be in perfect working order. The odds of both guns misfiring were calculated to be 125,000 to 1.

He Was The Only President To Have Been Prisoner of War

During the Revolutionary War, the 13-year-old Jackson joined the Continental Army as a courier. In April 1781, he was taken prisoner along with his brother Robert. When Andrew refused to clean the boots of a British officer, the officer slashed at the youth with a sword, leaving him with scars on his left hand and head, as well as an intense hatred for the British. Robert also refused to do as commanded and was struck with the sword. The two brothers were held as prisoners, contracted smallpox, and nearly starved to death in captivity.

He Would Have Hated Having His Picture on the $20 Bill

Jackson’s portrait appears on the $20 bill although he was opposed to the issuance of paper money by state and national banks. He even shut down the Second Bank of the United States in part because of its ability to manipulate paper money. It’s ironic that Jackson not only appears on the $20 bill, but his portrait in the past has also appeared on $5, $10, $50 and $10,000 denominations.

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