Andrew Jackson

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Take time to deliberate; but when the time for action arrives, stop thinking and go in.

Andrew Jackson (15 March 17678 June 1845) was the seventh President of the United States (1829-1837), hero of the Battle of New Orleans (1815), a founder of the Democratic Party, and the eponym of the era of Jacksonian democracy.

Quotes[edit]

The brave man inattentive to his duty, is worth little more to his country, than the coward who deserts her in the hour of danger.
I know what I am fit for. I can command a body of men in a rough way, but I am not fit to be President.
As long as our government is administered for the good of the people, and is regulated by their will; as long as it secures to us the rights of persons and of property, liberty of conscience, and of the press, it will be worth defending.
Distinctions in society will always exist under every just government. Equality of talents, of education, or of wealth can not be produced by human institutions.
There are no necessary evils in government. Its evils exist only in its abuses. If it would confine itself to equal protection, and, as Heaven does its rains, shower its favors alike on the high and the low, the rich and the poor, it would be an unqualified blessing.
Eternal vigilance by the people is the price of liberty.
  • The individual who refuses to defend his rights when called by his Government, deserves to be a slave, and must be punished as an enemy of his country and friend to her foe.
    • "Proclamation to the people of Louisiana" from Mobile (21 September 1814).
  • The brave man inattentive to his duty, is worth little more to his country, than the coward who deserts her in the hour of danger.
  • Do they think that I am such a damned fool as to think myself fit for President of the United States? No, sir; I know what I am fit for. I can command a body of men in a rough way, but I am not fit to be President.
    • As told to H.M. Brackenridge, Jackson's secretary, in 1821; quoted by James Parton, The Life of Andrew Jackson (1860), vol. II, ch. XXVI (Houghton Mifflin and Co., 1888), page 354. Parton cites his source as H.M. Brackenridge, Letters, page 8.
  • Desperate courage makes One a majority.
  • The decision of the Supreme court has fell still born, and they find that it cannot coerce Georgia to yield to its mandate.
    • Letter (7 April 1832) on the ruling in Worcester v. Georgia.
  • The bank, Mr. Van Buren, is trying to kill me, but I will kill it.
    • Said to Martin Van Buren (8 July 1832) and quoted in The Autobiography of Martin Van Buren, published in Annual Report of the American Historical Association for the Year 1918, vol. II (1920), ed. John Clement Fitzpatrick, ch. XLIII (p. 625)
    • Referring to the Second Bank of the United States
  • It is maintained by some that the bank is a means of executing the constitutional power “to coin money and regulate the value thereof.” Congress have established a mint to coin money and passed laws to regulate the value thereof. The money so coined, with its value so regulated, and such foreign coins as Congress may adopt are the only currency known to the Constitution. But if they have other power to regulate the currency, it was conferred to be exercised by themselves, and not to be transferred to a corporation. If the bank be established for that purpose, with a charter unalterable without its consent, Congress have parted with their power for a term of years, during which the Constitution is a dead letter. It is neither necessary nor proper to transfer its legislative power to such a bank, and therefore unconstitutional.
    • Veto Message Regarding the Bank of the United States [1] (10 July 1832)
    • Often paraphrased as: If Congress has the right under the constitution to issue paper money, it was given them to be used by themselves, not to be delegated to individuals or corporations.
  • John Calhoun, if you secede from my nation I will secede your head from the rest of your body.
    • Said to John C. Calhoun, in reference to his proposed secession of South Carolina from the United States during the Nullification Affair. [citation needed]
  • It is to be regretted that the rich and powerful too often bend the acts of government to their selfish purposes. Distinctions in society will always exist under every just government. Equality of talents, of education, or of wealth can not be produced by human institutions. In the full enjoyment of the gifts of Heaven and the fruits of superior industry, economy, and virtue, every man is equally entitled to protection by law; but when the laws undertake to add to these natural and just advantages artificial distinctions, to grant titles, gratuities, and exclusive privileges, to make the rich richer and the potent more powerful, the humble members of society — the farmers, mechanics, and laborers — who have neither the time nor the means of securing like favors to themselves, have a right to complain of the injustice of their government. There are no necessary evils in government. Its evils exist only in its abuses. If it would confine itself to equal protection, and, as Heaven does its rains, shower its favors alike on the high and the low, the rich and the poor, it would be an unqualified blessing.
  • To say that any State may at pleasure secede from the Union, is to say that the United States are not a nation because it would be a solecism to contend that any part of a nation might dissolve its connection with the other parts, to their injury or ruin, without committing any offense. Secession, like any other revolutionary act, may be morally justified by the extremity of oppression; but to call it a constitutional right, is confounding the meaning of terms, and can only be done through gross error, or to deceive those who are willing to assert a right, but would pause before they made a revolution, or incur the penalties consequent upon a failure.
  • Hemans gallows ought to be the fate of all such ambitious men who would involve their country in civil wars, and all the evils in its train that they might reign & ride on its whirlwinds & direct the Storm — The free people of these United States have spoken, and consigned these wicked demagogues to their proper doom.
    • Regarding the resolution of the Nullification Crisis, in a letter to Andrew I. Crawford (1 May 1833).
  • Gentlemen! I too have been a close observer of the doings of the Bank of the United States. I have had men watching you for a long time, and am convinced that you have used the funds of the bank to speculate in the breadstuffs of the country. When you won, you divided the profits amongst you, and when you lost, you charged it to the bank. You tell me that if I take the deposits from the bank and annul its charter I shall ruin ten thousand families. That may be true, gentlemen, but that is your sin! Should I let you go on, you will ruin fifty thousand families, and that would be my sin! You are a den of vipers and thieves. I have determined to rout you out, and by the Eternal, (bringing his fist down on the table) I will rout you out!
  • It was settled by the Constitution, the laws, and the whole practice of the government that the entire executive power is vested in the President of the United States.
    • Message of Protest to the United States Senate (15 April 1834).

Attributed[edit]

Every good citizen makes his country's honor his own, and cherishes it not only as precious but as sacred.
Be good children, and we shall all meet in Heaven... I want to meet you all, white and black, in Heaven.
  • Our Federal Union! It must be preserved!
    • Toast at a celebration of Thomas Jefferson's birthday (13 April 1830); as quoted in Public Men and Events from the Commencement of Mr. Monroe's Administration, in 1817, to the Close of Mr. Fillmore's Administration, in 1853 (1875) by Nathan Sargent
  • Heaven will be no heaven to me if I do not meet my wife there.
    • Statement shortly before his death, as quoted in Life of Andrew Jackson (1860) by James Parton, p. 679.
  • Oh, do not cry. Be good children, and we shall all meet in Heaven … I want to meet you all, white and black, in Heaven.
    • Last recorded words, to his grand-children and his servants, as quoted in The National Preacher (1845) by Austin Dickinson, p. 192.
  • Every good citizen makes his country's honor his own, and cherishes it not only as precious but as sacred. He is willing to risk his life in its defense and is conscious that he gains protection while he gives it.
    • Excellent Quotations for Home and School Selected for the use of Teachers and Pupils (1890) by Julia B. Hoitt, p.218.
  • Peace, above all things, is to be desired, but blood must sometimes be spilled to obtain it on equable and lasting terms.
    • As quoted in Many Thoughts of Many Minds: A Treasury of Quotations from the Literature of Every Land and Every Age (1896) edited by Louis Klopsch, p. 209.
  • It is a damn poor mind indeed which can't think of at least two ways to spell any word.
    • Sometimes reported as having been a retort to statements of his political rival, John Quincy Adams, who had boycotted Harvard University's awarding of a Doctorate of Laws degree to Jackson in 1833, declaring "I would not be present to witness her [Harvard's] disgrace in conferring her highest literary honors on a barbarian who could not write a sentence of grammar and could hardly spell his own name." Quoted in News Reporting and Writing 4th edition (1987) by M. Mencher.
      Unsourced variant: Never trust a man who has only one way to spell a word.
  • Take time to deliberate; but when the time for action arrives, stop thinking and go in.
    • Quoted as "a maxim of Gen. Jackson's" in Supplement to the Courant Vol. XXII No. 25, Hartford, Saturday, December 12, 1857, p. 200 books.google
  • You are uneasy; you never sailed with me before, I see.
    • Remark to an elderly gentleman who was sailing with Jackson down Chesapeake Bay in an old steamboat, and who exhibited a little fear. Life of Jackson (Parton). Vol. iii. p. 493.


Disputed[edit]

  • John Marshall has made his decision, now let him enforce it!
    • As quoted in The American Conflict (1865) by Horace Greely, as a reaction to the Supreme Court ruling in Worcester v. Georgia (1832); reported as a misattribution in Paul F. Boller, Jr., and John George, They Never Said It: A Book of Fake Quotes, Misquotes, & Misleading Attributions (1989), p. 53, noting that historian Robert V. Remini believes Jackson did not make this statement.
  • Corporations have neither bodies to kick nor souls to damn.
    • This is widely attributed to Jackson on the internet, but in research done for Wikiquote, no published source has been found. Similar remarks, "Corporations have neither bodies to be punished, nor souls to be condemned, they therefore do as they like." and "It has no soul to damn and no body to kick." have been attributed to Edward Thurlow, 1st Baron Thurlow (9 December 1731 – 12 September 1806).
  • That book [the Bible], Sir, is the Rock upon which our republic rests.[citation needed] This quote first appears in “Halley’s Bible Handbook” (Grand Rapids, MI: Zondervan, 1927, 1965), p. 18. Eighty two years after Andrew Jackson's death.


Misattributed[edit]

  • Any man worth his salt will stick up for what he believes right, but it takes a slightly better man to acknowledge instantly and without reservation that he is in error.
    • General Peyton C. March, as quoted in Crew Resource Management for the Fire Service (2004) by Randy Okray and Thomas Lubnau II, p. 25.
  • Never take counsel of your fears.
  • No one need think that the world can be ruled without blood. The civil sword shall and must be red and bloody.
    • Martin Luther, Von Kaufhandlung und Wucher, 1524, (Vol. XV, p. 302, of the Weimar edition of Luther's works).
  • One man with courage makes a majority.
A man with God is always in the majority. ~ John Knox
Any man more right than his neighbors constitutes a majority of one. ~ Henry David Thoreau
One on God's side is a majority ~ Wendell Phillips
  • To the victors belong the spoils.
    • Reported as a misattribution in Paul F. Boller, Jr., and John George, They Never Said It: A Book of Fake Quotes, Misquotes, & Misleading Attributions (1989), p. 54; Boller and George report that this was actually said by New York Senator William L. Marcy (January 1832).

Quotes about Jackson[edit]

  • He told his friends that he purposed washing his hands utterly of public life and political affairs; that he had now been to all intents and purposes a public servant from the age of thirteen to that of threescore and ten ... that he had lived his whole life in plain sight of the public and the people, hiding nothing, simulating nothing, confessing nothing, extenuating nothing and regretting nothing — except that he could never get a chance to shoot Clay or hang Calhoun.

External links[edit]

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