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The Hermitage in Nashville: Home of President Andrew Jackson

I live in Houston and have worked as a nurse. I have a lifelong passion for traveling, nature, and photography (preferably all together!).

The Hermitage

The Hermitage

Seventh President of the U.S.

One year, on our way to vacation in the Smoky Mountains, my husband and I decided to stop off in Nashville, Tennessee, to view Andrew Jackson's home—The Hermitage.

Andrew Jackson led a fascinating, influential, and colorful life that many people would applaud. His life actions also left a wake of individuals who would never sanction some of the decisions he made over the years.

His rise up the ranks to that of being the seventh President of the United States was a bumpy one. He did not win that position on his first try running against John Quincy Adams, although he won the popular vote.

Resigning his position of being a United States Senator in Tennessee, he finally attained the rank of the Presidency against his former competitor and sitting President in the 1828 election. Andrew Jackson was President from 1829 to 1837. He left much behind him by way of his political actions and words. The birth of the Democratic Party is one lasting piece of Andrew Jackson's legacy.

Portraits of Andrew Jackson and Rachel

The portrait below of Andrew Jackson, painted by Ralph E. W. Earl in 1837, shows him as he looked in the last year of his Presidency. Serving as President of the United States seems to age all who reside in that office for a time. It is a position of power and influence and perks, but also a heavy burden of responsibility.

Also, below is a portrait of Rachel, who was Andrew Jackson's wife. Sadly she died just before his inauguration as President, so she never saw him assume that title. She did live through the presidential campaign (which was quite nasty even back then) before the election.

Both of these portraits are hung and on display in The Hermitage.

Slavery

It is undeniable that Andrew Jackson was a slaveholder. The time frame was before the Civil War. Many wealthy plantation owners who grew cotton utilized the services of slaves in the fields to do the cotton farming. Other slaves served in various capacities to maintain the large plantation houses.

Some slaves were treated reasonably well, and others were treated horribly with families torn apart and little regard given to their feelings. Of course, anytime a person is forced to do things against his or her free will, it is a travesty.

The history of slavery goes back to the earliest of times and in all cultures.

One gentleman slave after emancipation chose to not only remain at the Jackson plantation but also served as a docent at The Hermitage until his death. He requested and was granted permission to be buried there. Hopefully, this is an example of how Andrew Jackson treated the majority of the slaves that he at one time owned.

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Below is a photo of the tomb on the site of The Hermitage, where President Andrew Jackson and Rachel Jackson are buried.

Andrew Jackson Tomb

Andrew Jackson Tomb

The Trail of Tears

A very black mark attributed to President Andrew Jackson was his attitude towards westward expansion and the taking of Native American lands. They were offered some money for their land but the Native Americans were truly given no choice in the matter. Many tribes reluctantly headed west to Oklahoma and other regions.

One tribe (the Cherokees) won a decision in the Supreme Court, enabling them to stay on their ancestral lands. Still, Jackson ignored this and used the military to force them to leave. This enforced evacuation of the entire tribe (women, children, and elderly) caused many of them to die en route. Forever after, it has been known as "the trail of tears."

"Old Hickory"

Andrew Jackson got this nickname because of his toughness. He survived a rough frontier existence with his father dying before he was born, and his mother and brother both dying when he was still a teenager. Despite this, his aggressiveness towards the battles of life prevailed.

A self-starter (after some wiles of youth) saw him as a successful lawyer followed by a noteworthy military career and then a thriving political career in addition to his farming practices. From a background with nothing of material means, he became a wealthy man.

Andrew Jackson will probably always remain a controversial figure. Nonetheless, he achieved much in his lifetime.

Paper Currency vs. the Gold Standard

The seventh President of the U.S. is on every $20 bill printed, although he genuinely believed paper money to be wrong and preferred gold and silver to be the currency of choice.

We have gotten far removed from the "gold standard," and now the printing of excess dollars to meet government expenses causes the devaluation of every paper dollar. Perhaps Andrew Jackson foresaw problems like this? We will never know.

When you get in debt you become a slave.

— Andrew Jackson

Fall Foliage at The Hermitage

My husband and I learned much about former President Andrew Jackson on our visit to his 1,000+ acre plantation and retirement home. It was the fall of the year, and the colorful leaves just added to the beauty and our enjoyment of visiting this historic site.

I would highly recommend a visit to anyone traveling near there, no matter the time of year.

Where President Andrew Jackson's home is located:

Sources:

This content is accurate and true to the best of the author’s knowledge and is not meant to substitute for formal and individualized advice from a qualified professional.

© 2011 Peggy Woods

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