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Celebrating Past Presidents and Their Immigrant Parents, Part I: Andrew Jackson

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In this series of three blog posts celebrating Presidents Day, we honor three of our nation’s presidents who grew up with immigrant parents.

The parents of the United States’ seventh president, Andrew Jackson, were immigrants.

Andrew Jackson Sr. and Elizabeth Hutchinson Jackson immigrated to the American colonies with their children Hugh and Robert in 1765 from northern Ireland because of political unrest and religious persecution. They arrived in Philadelphia and traveled south to the Carolinas. The elder Andrew died one month before Elizabeth gave birth to the younger Andrew in 1767.

The British invaded the Carolinas when our future president was 13. He and his brothers volunteered to fight the British. Hugh died of heat stroke and the British captured Andrew and Robert. While the brothers were prisoners, an officer slashed Andrew with a sword, scarring his face, and Robert contracted smallpox. The brothers were very ill when Elizabeth rescued them in a prisoner exchange she arranged. Robert didn’t survive his illness.

When Andrew recovered, Elizabeth became a nurse for injured and sick soldiers in Charleston, South Carolina. She contracted cholera soon after and passed away, leaving the 14-year-old Andrew an orphan.

Despite his challenges in youth, Andrew Jackson thrived. He became a lawyer and the first member elected to the U.S. House of Representatives from Tennessee. He was later selected for the U.S. Senate and appointed as a judge on Tennessee’s Superior Court (now Supreme Court). Jackson served as president of the United States from 1829 to 1837.

Learn more about our nation’s seventh president, Andrew Jackson.