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Andrew Jackson, Governor of Florida
by William P. Meyers

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Andrew Jackson would grow up to be a President of the United States of America and the founder of the Democratic Party. Along the way he would murder many of his fellow men and live a life of depravity unmatched, so far as we know, by any other American President.

Continued from Andrew Jackson Grabs Florida

Andrew Jackson, victorious over feeble military opposition in Florida, returned to his Hermitage in Nashville, Tennessee in April 1819 and built (or had his slaves and employees build) a new mansion there.

Victory in war did not bring prosperity to the western states, including Tennessee. The Second Bank of the United States restored the soundness of the government's paper money, but in doing so undermined the currency issued by private bankers. Credit tightened, money to repay debts was hard to come by. Land speculators, including Andrew Jackson, were squeezed. Jackson sued 129 people who he said owed him money. The Tennessee legislature suspended the collection of debts, despite threats from Jackson. Despite his holdings in land and slaves, Andrew Jackson found himself short of spending money.

The Spanish treaty selling Florida to the United States of America was finally ratified by Spain in February, 1821. Jackson had already bought considerable land in Florida, and his slaver friends had speculated there as well. President Monroe wanted Jackson retired from the army and so offered him the governorship of Florida. Thus Jackson's fortunes were saved by yet another government appointment. After his appointment by President Monroe, Andrew Jackson became the first American Governor of Florida on July 17, 1821. Pensacola was the temporary seat of government.

As if in practice for his Presidency, Governor Jackson began handing out official posts to his friends, but there were many supplicants, and few posts. Florida was vast, but its population was scant. In most of it the Spanish officials simply became, briefly, American officials. Wanting something to do, Andrew played sheriff, even forbidding shops opening on Sunday. Bored, on October 21, 1821 Jackson submitted his resignation to President Monroe. Jackson escaped back to Tennessee before the President's letter asking him to remain as governor could return. The Hermitage was now graced with French furniture newly purchased at New Orleans. The cotton crop was good in 1821, the economy was improving, and Jackson had spending money again. The Hero of New Orleans declined invitations to make appearances around the country, but subscribed to 20 newspapers and began to follow politics closely.

Next: Jackson for President, Act I

Main source: The Life of Andrew Jackson by Marquis James, Bobbs-Merrill company, 1938.

Learn more: President Andrew Jackson main page

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