Andrew Jackson 1767-1845 A brief biography

Tennessee Statehood; Congressman Jackson (1796-1798)

In late 1795, the territory was ready, with the necessary 60,000 people, to become the state of Tennessee. In the winter, the 29 year old Jackson was on the committee to draft a constitution. He was now under the wing of some powerful men, who made him the first member of the House of Representatives from Tennessee.

While in Congress, Jackson unfortunately co-signed in a land speculation with partners who went bankrupt. He narrowly escaped debtors prison, and retained a lifelong distrust of banks, and paper money, which was involved in the transaction.

Jackson sat in Congress from December 1796 to late spring 1797, and was there when Congress passed a highly flattering farewell resolution for the first president. Jackson voted "nay". He disliked Washington's recent treaty terms with Britain, and thought the federal government remiss in defending the west from Indians.

Jackson's biggest act in that session was to request compensation for some soldiers who had gone on an offensive raid against the Indians. The raid had never been approved by the federal government - but presumably Jackson thought that was the government's mistake. He spoke in a passion and obtained $22,816 for the soldiers.

East vs West Tennessee 

The East and West of Tennessee, originally separated by wilderness, developed two separate and hostile cliques.

Jackson had settled in the West, near Nashville. His early political mentor was William Blount, the territorial governor before statehood. John Sevier, a revolutionary war hero, was the first Governor of the state. Sevier was the eastern Tennessee leader.

Jackson wanted, at this time to lead the state militia as its Major General. A Major General was elected by the officers he would command. Governor Sevier set out to prevent Jackson's getting the commission, and Jackson lambasted Sevier for improper interference.

Jackson was elected to the Senate for the six year term beginning the winter term of 1797-1798. He defeated a member of the Eastern clique, and the angry exchanges over this nearly lead to a duel.

Of Jackson's senate career, Thomas Jefferson said 

"When I was President of the Senate, he was Senator, and he could never speak on account of the rashness of his feelings. I have seen him attempt it repeatedly, and as often choke with rage."
Jackson complained of spending the
 "best hours of every day for seven successive months quiescent in a red morocco chair."
The senate at the time was an intimate body of 32 men, mostly of refined bearing and much political experience. The frontier youth was too much out of his element, and soon resigned the Senate.