U.S. History/Andrew Jackson
Why was Andrew Jackson considered a man of the people?
Andrew Jackson seemed to curry a reputation as a man of the people, although that is not something that he seems to be today. By the time he became president, he was exeedingly wealthy, owning a great deal of land, slaves, and other property. He had also been a professional politician for many years, having served as a congressman, Senator, and State Supreme Court judge, as well as a military commander. These are not exactly the attributes we ascribe to the "common man."
But there are reasons for his reputation. Unlike previous presidents, he did not come from a wealthy eastern family. His father died before he was born, and his mother died when he was only 14. He had to build a life for himself at an early age. He was also the first President to come from the frontier, having made a life for himself in what became the State of Tennessee. Jackson did not have much of a formal education, although he did practice as a lawyer and Judge.
During his campaign for the Presidency, Jackson's life was contrasted with that of the incumbent John Quincy Adams, the son of a President, who had grown up receiving the finest education and experience as a diplomat in Europe. Jackson was seen as identifying more with the men who had settled the frontier, fought Indians and tamed the west (well, what was the west at that time). His campaign focused on issues important to the western farmers and smaller family farms that made up the bulk of voters at the time. He was a supporter of full voting rights for all white males, something that had only recently come into being in most states as they began to eliminate property requirements for voting and reduce poll taxes.
Once in office, Jackson attacked many policies that benefited the eastern bankers at the expense of western farmers. These included his attacks on the Bank of US, as well as opposition to taxes on whiskey (which harmed the farmers growing the crops to make the whiskey).