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Andrew Jackson The Boy Who "Never Would Give Up"
by [?]

“Sir, I am a prisoner of war, and demand to be treated as such,” was the spirited reply of Andrew Jackson to a British officer who had commanded him to clean his boots.

This was characteristic of the future hero of New Orleans, and president of the United States, whose independent spirit rebelled at the insolent command of his captor.

The officer drew his sword to enforce obedience, but, nothing daunted, the youth, although then only fourteen, persisted in his refusal. He tried to parry the sword thrusts aimed at him, but did not escape without wounds on head and arm, the marks of which he carried to his grave.

Stubborn, self-willed, and always dominated by the desire to be a leader, Andrew Jackson was by no means a model boy. But his honesty, love of truth, indomitable will and courage, in spite of his many faults, led him to greatness.

He was born with fighting blood in his veins, and, like other eminent men who have risen to the White House, poor. His father, an Irish immigrant, died before his youngest son was born,–in 1767,–and life held for the boy more hard knocks than soft places. His mother, who was ambitious to make him a clergyman, tried to secure him some early advantages of schooling. Andrew, however, was not of a studious disposition, nor at all inclined to the ministry, and made little effort to profit by even the limited opportunities he had.

But despite all the disadvantages of environment and mental traits by which he was handicapped, he was bound by the force of certain other traits to be a winner in the battle of life. The quality to which his success is chiefly owing is revealed by the words of a school-fellow, who, in spite of Jackson’s slender physique and lack of physical strength at that time, felt the force of his iron will. Speaking of their wrestling matches at school, this boy said, “I could throw him [Jackson] three times out of four, but he never would stay throwed. He was dead game and never would give up.”

A boy who “never would stay throwed,” and “never would give up” would succeed though the whole world tried to bar his progress.

When, at the age of fifteen, he found himself alone in the world, homeless and penniless, he adapted himself to anything he could find to do.

Worker in a saddler’s shop, school-teacher, lawyer, merchant, judge of the Supreme Court, United States senator, soldier, leader, step by step the son of the poor Irish immigrant rose to the highest office to which his countrymen could elect him–the presidency of the United States.

Rash, headstrong, and narrow-minded, Andrew Jackson fell into many errors during his life, but, notwithstanding his shortcomings, he persistently tried to live up to his boyhood’s motto, “Ask nothing but what is right–submit to nothing wrong.”