President Andrew Jackson was known as “Old Hickory.” He was as tough as nails, and when he set out to do something, it was usually accomplished. No one ever really doubted that he would someday represent the “common man” in the White House, but neither did anyone ever expect his constituency to respond as it did when he was finally elected.
Andrew Jackson’s affinity for the common man probably stemmed from his early life. As a youth, “mischievous” Andy displayed much more interest in brawling and cockfighting than in his scanty opportunities for reading and writing. His grammar was always roughhewn, and his spelling was unique. On more than one occasion, he misspelled the same word two different ways in the same letter.
As a young adult, Jackson lived by the dictum of the common man: “Give no insult, and take none.” In one of his many brawls, the soon-to-be president of the United States bit the ear off of one of his opponents. There was no doubt about it; Andrew Jackson was made of the stuff the common man admired.
Then came the election of 1828. Jackson’s opponent was the crusty, imperious, New England Puritan, John Quincy Adams. It was hardly a contest. The common man prevailed, and Jackson prepared to go to the White House, but on the way a funny thing happened...