Andrew set to work to learn the saddler's trade, but gave it up and began to study law. After he became a lawyer he went across the mountains to Nashville, Tennessee. There he was made a judge. There were plenty of rough men in that part of the country who meant to have their own way in all things; but they soon found that they must respect and obey Judge Jackson. They could frighten other judges, but it was no use to try to frighten him. Seeing what sort of stuff Jackson was made of, they thought that they should like to have such a man to lead them in battle. And so Judge Andrew Jackson became General Andrew Jackson. When trouble came with the Indians, Jackson proved to be the very man they needed.
We have already seen how the Indian chief Tecumseh went south to stir up the red men to make war on the white settlers in the west. In Alabama he told the Indians that if they fought they would gain a great victory. I see, said Tecumseh to them, that you don't believe what I say, and that you don't mean to fight. Well, I am now going north to Detroit. When I get there I shall stamp my foot on the ground, and shake down every wigwam you have. It so happened that, shortly after Tecumseh had gone north, a sharp shock of earthquake was felt in Alabama, and the wigwams were actually shaken down by it. When the terrified Indians felt their houses falling to pieces, they ran out of them, shouting, "Tecumseh has got to Detroit!" These Indians now believed all that Tecumseh had said; they began to attack the white people, and they killed a great number of them.
General Jackson marched against the Indians and beat them in battle. The Indians that escaped fled to a place they called the "Holy Ground.", They believed that if a white man dared to set his foot on that ground he would be struck dead as if by a flash of lightning. General Jackson and his men marched on to the "Holy Ground," and the Indians found that unless they made peace they would be the ones who would be struck dead by his bullets. Not long after this, a noted leader of the Indians, named Weathersford, rode boldly up to Jackson's tent. "Kill him! kill him!" cried Jackson's men; but the general asked Weathersford into his tent. "You can kill me if you want to," said he to Jackson, "but I came to tell you that the Indian women and children are starving in the woods, and to ask you to help them, for they never did you any harm." General Jackson sent away Weathersford in safety, and ordered that corn should be given to feed the starving women and children. That act showed that he was as merciful as he was brave.
These things happened during our second war with England, or the War of 1812. About a year after Jackson's victory over the Indians the British sent an army in ships to take New Orleans. General Jackson now went to New Orleans, to prevent the enemy from getting possession of the city. About four miles below the city, which stands on the Mississippi River,there was a broad, deep ditch, running from the river into a swamp. Jackson saw that the British would have to cross that ditch when they marched against the city. For that reason he built a high bank on the upper side of the ditch, and placed cannon along the top of the bank. Early on Sunday morning, January 8th, 1815, the British sent a rocket whizzing up into the sky; a few minutes afterward they sent up a second one. It was the signal that they were about to march to attack us.
Just before the fight began General Jackson walked along among his men, who were getting ready to defend the ditch. He said to them, "Stand to your guns; see that every shot tells: give it to them, boys!" The "boys" did give it to them. The British soldiers were brave men; they had been in many terrible battles, and they were not afraid to die. They fought desperately; they tried again and again to cross that ditch and climb the bank, but they could not do it. The fire of our guns cut them down just as a mower cuts down the tall grain with his scythe.In less than half an hour the great battle was over; Jackson had won the victory and saved New Orleans. We lost only eight killed; the enemy lost over two thousand. We have never had a battle since with England; it is to be hoped that we never shall have another, for two great nations like England and America, that speak the same language, ought to be firm and true friends.
After the battle of New Orleans General Jackson conquered the Indians in Florida, and in 1819 we bought that country of Spain, and so made the United States much larger on the south. This was our second great land purchase. Ten years after we got Florida General Jackson became President of the United States. He had fought his way up. Here are the four steps: first the boy, "Andy Jackson"; then "Judge Jackson"; then "General Jackson"; last of all, "President Jackson." Shortly after he became the chief ruler of the nation the first steam railroad in the United States was built (1830). From that time such roads kept creeping further and further west. The Indians had frightened the white settlers with their terrible war-whoop. Now it was their turn to be frightened, for the locomotive whistle (The first steam railroad built in the United States extended from Baltimore to Ellicott's Mills, Maryland, a distance of twelve miles. It was opened in 1830. It forms a part of the Baltimore and Ohio Railroad.) could beat their wildest yell. They saw that the white man was coming as fast as steam could carry him, and that he was determined to get possession of the whole land. The greater part of the Indians moved across the Mississippi; but the white man kept following them and following the buffalo further and further across the country, toward the Pacific Ocean; and the railroad followed in the white man's track.
Directions: Answer the following multiple choice questions. Also, answer the following questions on a sheet of paper: