After seeing Issac’s great portrait of Andrew Jackson at Simple Conniesseur, it reminded me of the massive amount of history instilled in me growing up on the man. I have always been thoroughly interested in history of all kinds, and as with any child going to grade school; state history was a big part of that. Being from Tennessee, presidents were about 60% of the curriculum. We had our Andrew Johnson’s, James K. Polk’s, and so on. None ever graced America’s White House as heavily in action and spirit as Andrew Jackson. The story below is one of many of Jackson that will forever be etched in my mind.
After defeating the British in sheer brilliance in Louisiana as well as countless other battles, moving to 1600 Penn. wasn’t all too far away. That brings us to March, 1829 when the man was inaugurated to the President of the United States. The White House had never seen such a thing as what Old Hickory brought to the lawn…hoardes of whiskey swilling southerners, family, friends, and regulars alike poured into the house for many a night of raucous ‘partying’. Below is a great account of an act that had never happened and probably never will again.
The President, after having been literally nearly pressed to death and almost suffocated and torn to pieces by the people in their eagerness to shake hands with Old Hickory, had retreated through the back way or south front and had escaped to his lodgings at Gadsby’s.
Cut glass and china to the amount of several thousand dollars had been broken in the struggle to get the refreshments, punch and other articles had been carried out in tubs and buckets, but had it been in hogsheads it would have been insufficient, ice-creams, and cake and lemonade, for 20,000 people, for it is said that number were there, tho’ I think the number exaggerated.
Ladies fainted, men were seen with bloody noses and such a scene of confusion took place as is impossible to describe, – those who got in could not get out by the door again, but had to scramble out of windows. At one time, the President who had retreated and retreated until he was pressed against the wall, could only be secured by a number of gentleman forming around him and making a kind of barrier of their own bodies, and the pressure was so great that Col. Bomford who was one said that at one time he was afraid they should have been pushed down, or on the President. It was then the windows were thrown open, and the torrent found an outlet, which otherwise might have proved fatal.
This concourse had not been anticipated and therefore not provided against. Ladies and gentlemen, only had been expected at this Levee, not the people en masse. But it was the People’s day, and the People’s President and the People would rule.”
—Margaret Bayard Smith