Andrew Jackson (1767–1845)
Andrew Jackson’s life was colored by struggle, conflict, and aggression. The orphan of impoverished immigrants, he was the only American president to have been a prisoner of war or to have killed a man in duel. After serving as a general in the U.S. military during the Battle of New Orleans in 1815, he became national hero.
During Jackson’s presidency, he signed the Indian Removal Act into law, defeated the National Bank through the power of the veto, and threatened to use military force to preserve the Union when South Carolina challenged the federal government. Once viewed as a symbol of the country’s expansive democracy, Jackson is now a controversial figure for his uncompromising nationalism and punitive Indian policies.
Thomas Sully only painted Jackson from life on two occasions, but he made many portraits of him. This work was a gift from Jackson to his friend Francis Preston Blair.