You already know one important thing about Andrew Jackson: He’s on the $20 bill.
That’s a good place to start. How did he get onto the $20 bill? He was our seventh president, serving from 1829 to 1837. How did he get to be president and what did he do once he got there? That’s what you’ll find out in Bloody, Bloody Andrew Jackson.
However, Michael Friedman and Alex Timbersrock’s satirical rock musical is not all factual, so be careful before you go quoting it in conversation. Here are some things you should know.
Jackson was born poor in the Piedmont area on the border of the Carolinas, so we can technically count him as a native son. After a bad Revolutionary War experience — he was taken prisoner by British forces and several of his family members died — Jackson grew up and moved to Tennessee. He became the state’s first U.S. representative, then served a year in the Senate before becoming the major general of the Tennessee militia.
When the War of 1812 broke out, Jackson led the Volunteer State’s forces against the Creek Indians, who were allied with Great Britain. A victory at the Battle of New Orleans set Jackson up for military celebrity, and his later controversial conquest of Spanish forts in Florida helped bring that state into the union.
1828 was a big year for Jackson: He was elected president, and his wife passed away. Jackson was the first president to come from what was then considered the West, and he was selected with overwhelming popular support from voters — instead of with the backing of the established political parties — marking a huge step forward in the democratic process.
It wasn’t all easy, though. Jackson had no foreign policy experience. He drew criticism for his “kitchen cabinet” of unofficial advisors, and the Tariff of 1828, which taxed imported goods in order to protect the economy of the North, was opposed in the South, especially in our very own South Carolina. And he basically ensured the deaths of tens of thousands of Native Americans with his Indian Removal policy.
Directed by Josh Wilhoit (with musical direction by Corey Webb), the Village Repertory Company’s production will lead the audience from Jackson’s childhood to his military career through his presidency, hitting all his scandals and triumphs along the way.