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The War of 1812Congress declared war on Britain primarily due to trade disputes. enflamed Andrew Jackson's life-long hatred of the British and rekindled his dreams of military glory. Though he had already achieved much, it was his military successes in the next five years that captured the imagination of the nation and put him on the path to the presidency.
When war broke out in 1812, Jackson immediately offered the government the 2500 Tennessee militiamen under his command. Instructed to take his men to New Orleans, he led them as far as Natchez, one thousand miles down river from Nashville, where he was then ordered to dismiss his troops without pay or provisions. Furious, Jackson refused to disband his men and through sheer willpower held his command together as he led them on an arduous month-long march home. Along the way Jackson shared his men's hardships, walked while the wounded rode, and eventually earned the nickname "Old HickoryJackson's nickname given by his troops in 1813 for his loyalty and strength." since he was as tough as a hickory stick.
The following year, a Creek civil war erupted in what is now Alabama. In an attack on Fort Mims, Red Stick Creeks killed some 250 people, including American civilians, Mississippi territorial militia, and some Creeks who had taken refuge there. The Creeks' civil war quickly became an American war.
In March 1814, Jackson's force of Tennesseans and allied Indians, including the Creek opponents of the Red Sticks, annihilated the main Creek force at the Battle of Horseshoe BendJackson's successful attack on the Creek Indians during the Creek War of 1813-1814.. More Native Americans are thought to have been killed on that day than on any other day in American history.
Directed by the government to negotiate a peace treaty with the Creeks, Jackson demanded the Indians, including his own allies, cede 22 million acres of their land-roughly half of their national domain -to the United States. Under protest, thirty-five Creek chiefs signed the Treaty of Fort Jackson and agreed to the terms required by the man they now called "Sharp Knife."
But elsewhere, the war with the British was going poorly for the Americans - in the north, the British had captured Washington and shelled Baltimore. The United States needed a victory. After his success at Horseshoe Bend, Jackson was commissioned United States Major General and given command of the southern frontier.
To thwart a British invasion from the south, Jackson hurriedly moved his army to New Orleans and set up defensive lines around the city. On January 8, 1815, British General Sir Edward Pakenham, expecting the American forces to cut and run as they had in other battles, led an ill-fated frontal assault on Jackson's position outside New Orleans. This day the Americans stood their ground and fired round after round into the British lines. British casualties exceeded two thousand while Jackson had thirteen dead and fifty-eight wounded and missing. This victory at the Battle of New OrleansThe American victory against the British in 1815 led by General Jackson. immediately became legendary, celebrated thereafter in songs and paintings, and made Jackson a national hero second only to George Washington.
I think the whole character of the American people changed after the War of 1812. Prior to that time if you asked a person who or what they were, they would say, "I'm a New Yorker," "I'm a Virginian," "I'm from Connecticut," "I'm from Massachusetts." After New Orleans they said, "I am an American."
—Robert V. Remini, historian
Two years later, Red Stick Creek and Seminole Indians, refusing to recognize U.S. claims to Indians lands after the Creek War, raided across the border from Spanish Florida. The U.S. government ordered Jackson back into action. Without explicit instructions to do so, he invaded Florida, captured St. Marks and Pensacola, and arrested, tried, and executed two British nationals he charged with helping the Indians. Despite calls to punish him for his unauthorized invasion, President James Monroe refused to censure him.
After Jackson resigned his Army commission, he was appointed governor of the new Florida Territory and presided over the transfer of ownership from Spain. Eleven months later, in November 1821, he resigned and returned to Tennessee, where his friends were already eyeing him for the presidency in 1824.