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When Andrew Jackson was thirteen years old he joined the Continental Army as a courier. He and his brother were captured by the British. He studied law and became a lawyer at the age of 20. He headed west to Tennessee to seek his fortune. He married a young woman named Rachel Robards. In 1796 he served in Congress as a State Representative from the state of Tennessee. In 1805 there was a dispute over a bet on a horse he had with a Mr. Erwin. A duel ensued between Jackson and Mr. Erwin's son-in-law Charles Dickinson. He killed Mr. Dickinson and suffered a bullet wound also. In the War of 1812 Andrew Jackson was the commander of the Tennessee militia. Andrew Jackson was known as "Old Hickory". He was as tough as a hickory stick and had an unbending will. When the British were threatening New Orleans Jackson made an alliance with the pirate Jean Lafitte. I. The British would lose hundreds of men, but Jackson only had 8 soldiers killed and 13 wounded. Andrew Jackson became a wealthy man. He owned a lot of land he called The Hermitage. He grew cotton which was worked by over a hundred black slaves. In 1828 he was elected President in a victory over John Quincy Adams. But it was a hollow victory for Andrew. His beloved Rachel died of a heart attack in December of 1828 before Jackson was inaugurated in March of 1829. His motto seemed to be To the victor belong the spoils, and he certainly employed the "spoils system". He put his friends in positions of power. Jackson in order to further the expansion of the frontier west supported the Indian Removal Act in 1830. This resulted in what came to be known as The Trail of Tears. In 1835 there was an assassination attempt on Jackson's life, but the gun did not ignite. Martin Van Buren succeeded Andrew Jackson as president and Jackson returned to the Hermitage.