A general and political leader of the late eighteenth and early nineteenth centuries. As a general in the War of 1812, he defeated the British in the Battle of New Orleans. He was called “Old Hickory.” Jackson was elected president after John Quincy Adams as a candidate of the common man, and his style of government came to be known as Jacksonian democracy. He rewarded his political supporters with positions once he became president (see spoils system). A Democrat, Jackson was widely criticized for expanding the power of the presidency beyond what was customary before his time.
The New Dictionary of Cultural Literacy, Third Edition Copyright © 2005 by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. All rights reserved.