Thursday, June 2, 2011

Chris learns about Andrew Jackson (and some other guys).

Hello, everybody!  As you’ve probably noticed, I am adopting a more laid-back summer schedule for the blog.  I needz to get my sun on!  These thighs don’t bake to a golden brown by accident, people!  I’ll probably write one post per week.  Maybe two.  Maybe three.  I don’t know.  I’m also toying with the idea of doing a brief, weekly True Blood recap – maybe some more live blogging – so let me know if you’d be interested. Anyhooooooo…let’s see what we have in store today.  Why, it’s…

A Pile of Presidents!

I started this feature with the intention of writing about one American President every few weeks.  Well, I ran into a bit of a snag…some of those guys are really boring.  Even my patented mix of Wikipedia facts and outright lies (see: Wikipedia facts) cannot make these people interesting.  So, I’m going to breeze through a bunch of the boring Presidents so we can get to someone a little more entertaining.  Let’s do this quick, like ripping off an informative Band-Aid!

James Madison!

Known For:  Writing the Constitution and the Bill of Rights…not too shabby.
Fun Fact:  During the War of 1812, Madison had to flee the White House before the British set it on fire.  
Outright Lie:  James Madison actually burned down the White House by smoking a joint in bed.
Did He Marry a Widow?  Yup.
Did He Own Slaves?   Yup.
Was He a Werewolf?  Nope.

James Monroe!

Known For:  Reducing partisan squabbling by ignoring party lines.
Fun Fact:  Monroe is the last American President considered to be a Founding Father.
Outright Lie:  As a boy, James Monroe bound his feet like a geisha and would subsequently tip over all the time while in office.
Did He Marry a Widow?  Nope.
Did He Own Slaves?  Yup.
Was He a Werewolf?   Yup.  Monroe ran under the seldom seen Lycanthrope Party.

John Quincy Adams!

Known For:  His shitty, shitty Presidency.
Fun Fact:  Adams was elected to the House of Representatives after his term as President (weird!) and was an outspoken opponent of slavery.
Outright Lie:  Every day of his Presidency, John Quincy Adams would strip nude and sun himself on the roof of the White House like an iguana.
Did He Marry a Widow?  Nope.
Did He Own Slaves?  Nope!
Was He a Werewolf?  Nope…but he was extremely averse to being shot with silver bullets.

Andrew Jackson!!!
Andrew "Mo-Effing" Jackson.
Now we’re talking!  Andrew Jackson was awesome.  So awesome, in fact, that I’m not even going to make up entertaining lies about him!  Everything that follows in the absolute truth.  Andrew Jackson was born in 1767 in parts unknown.  At the age of thirteen, Jackson joined a militia to fight in the Revolutionary War.  In 1779, Jackson was taken prisoner by the British.  Jackson refused to shine the boots of a British officer and the officer stabbed him in the neck with a sword.  Andrew Jackson was simply too badass to die so he bottled his seething anger to use later in life.  Luckily, Jackson wouldn't have to wait long before opening that particular can of whoopass. 

Jackson quickly rose through the ranks following the Revolutionary War and was leading the Tennessee militia when the War of 1812 broke out.  Jackson’s troops considered him tough but fair and gave him the nickname “Old Hickory” because that is an awesome nickname.  Despite being considerably outnumbered, Jackson led his men to a decisive victory at the Battle of New Orleans.  How decisive, you ask?  The British suffered 2,037 casualties and the Americans suffered 71.  That is, like, super decisive.  Jackson went on to pretty much singlehandedly take Florida from the Spanish during the First Seminole War.  His nickname during that war was “Sharp Knife.”  Seriously.

Oooh, I almost forgot!  In 1806, Jackson got into a dispute with Charles Dickinson over the results of a horse race.  The animosity worsened and, on May 30th, the two men met for a duel.  Dickinson was awarded the first shot.  He walked eight paces from Jackson, turned, and shot Jackson square in the chest.  Andrew Jackson DIDN’T EVEN FLINCH.  Dickinson was understandably freaked out by this and started to run away.  Jackson snarled at him to honor their agreement and proceeded to kill Dickinson with a single shot.  Andrew Jackson took a musket ball to the lung, then MURDERED A MAN because he was salty about a horse race.

Boom goes the dynamite.
After winning two wars (and shooting a guy just for funsies) Jackson decided to become the President so, in 1828, he invented the Democratic Party and did just that.  During the election, Jackson’s opponents kept calling him a “jackass” so he made it the symbol of the Democratic Party.  The political rhetoric got even more heated when John Quincy Adams accused Jackson’s wife, Rachel, of bigamy.  Rachel died suddenly before the inauguration and Jackson never forgave Adams’ dirty tactics.  Andrew Jackson built a tomb for his wife in her favorite flower garden and hung her portrait at the foot of his bed so he could see her face before he fell asleep.  Doesn’t this sound like the beginning of Braveheart? 

Jackson was still reeling from the death of his wife so he threw a party to console himself.  Jackson invited whoever was in town to his inaugural ball at the White House.  Throngs of poor people flooded the White House and the party became so crowded and rowdy that it had to be moved to the lawn so people would stop breaking stuff.  Jackson’s first term passed without incident and he was easily reelected in 1832.  In 1835, Jackson paid off the entirety of the national debt, probably because he was mad at it.  While in office, Jackson was the target of the first assassination attempt in the history of the American Presidency.  Richard Lawrence, a disgruntled Englishman, jumped in front of Jackson and fired two pistols at the President.  Both guns misfired.  Jackson was so enraged by this assassination attempt that he beat the hell out of the would-be-assassin with his cane and had to be restrained so he wouldn’t kill Lawrence.

So far, it seems pretty clear that Andrew Jackson was the best President ever but not so fast, reader!  Andrew Jackson isn’t as perfect as he seems!!!  Jackson’s administration was responsible for some utterly deplorable treatment of Native Americans.  Jackson offered the Native Americans terms for their relocation but the terms were not exactly “ideal.”  By that I mean that Jackson’s administration REALLY fucked over the Native Americans.  Although the Trail of Tears happened under the watch of Jackson’s successor, the seeds were planted by Old Hickory himself.

Jackson retired from public office and died on June 8th, 1845.  He survived three wars, thirteen duels, and two terms in office.  Despite his shameful treatment of Native Americans, Jackson was a living legend and the public only revered him more after his death.  His image has been immortalized on postage stamps and a bunch of money.  We know him best from the $20 bill but he’s also appeared on the $5, $10, $50 and $10,000 bills in the past.  Yeah, there was a straight-up murderer on the $10,000 bill for a while.  Alright, friends, that’s all for now.  Have a lovely weekend and I’ll see you back here soon!

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