What day is it?
Heck, fire – you KNOW what day it is. The entire world, it has seemed, trudged along this grueling pathway toward inauguration with us. Oh, and an explosive path it has been and we haven’t reached a Stop Sign yet. Dear Lord, please help us.
OMG! What am I doing? I promised myself not to go there in 2017, not to “talk politics.” But, but, but … how is that possible? During the last few years, politics has seemed to rule-the-world, however, anyone who has pushed the political button anytime during our long history, faced perhaps uncomfortable times. Not me – I don’t like buttons.
As a history nut, of course, I’ve read accounts of additional crazy-type presidential elections. There was Andrew Jackson’s election of 1828 – known as the most decisive in American history, perhaps until now. Did you know his worthy or unworthy opponent, John Quincy Adams, refused to attend his inauguration?
So vicious were the attacks regarding Jackson and his wife, Rachel’s, character, during the campaign, it was said she died unexpectedly, with a broken heart, just a few days before the inauguration. Jackson said at his wife’s funeral, “May God Almighty forgive her murderers. I never can.”
As a bookworm, my selected materials have made me conclude Andrew Jackson was a warrior. As early as age of 13 years, Jackson served the Revolutionary War as a courier for the Patriot Cause. It was the War of 1812, during the Battle of New Orleans, when Jackson became known as a war hero. It was at that point in history the mighty warrior built a road for his troops to traverse south as they headed for conflict – a portion of that road is still used today in Kemper County, known as the Old Jackson Road.
I think what he-said-he-meant and what he-meant-he-said. There was no dilly-dallying around with Jackson. His 6-foot-1 lean figure was well known throughout the Tennessee area as a man who could get things done. It was a documented fact that during the year of 1806 there was a duel where Jackson killed a man defending the honor of his wife, Rachel.
Oh, his darling Rachel was his one great love. He outlived her by 17 years and retired his latter years to his home, the Hermitage, located in Nashville. Some said he was weary but others recognized his continued interest with the government. It seemed he wanted US politicians to be as boisterous as he, to stand for what they believed and fight to the blood if necessary to protect the country.
He became known as the “People’s President.” His followers were not the upper crust of society, but the working souls of America, all ethnicities and persuasions. On the day of Jackson’s inauguration, the White House was mobbed, such was the excitement of his people, many were poor and dressed in homemade clothes, but all were enthralled that a “Man of the People” had been elected to the highest office in the land.
That day each male attendee carried a hickory stick in order to honor Jackson’s nickname, “Old Hickory.” The women wore necklaces made of hickory nuts. Such was the admiration the common people had for the old warrior.
It is a shame that today Jackson is remembered mainly for the “Trail of Tears.” But I am certain he was so much more. I would not have remembered him today if he had just been a “yes-man.” Jackson blazed his own trail and I am happy he was a contemporary and acquaintance, albeit perhaps a distant acquaintance, of my great, great, great, great grandfather, J. B. Reynolds (sometimes spelled as Runnels) of Newton County, who was a well respected Mississippian.
So today the nation will host our 45th Presidential inauguration service – and again, the man is outspoken. I don’t think Pres-Elect Trump has ever fought a duel to the blood, not in the physical sense, but he loves his family and he loves our country. I pray America will respect President Trump, if not the man, then the office. If we cannot, then we all fail.
Anne McKee is a Mississippi historian, writer and storyteller. She is listed on the Mississippi Humanities Speakers Bureau and Mississippi Arts Commission’s Artist Roster. See her website: www.annmckeestoryteller.com.