“I weep for the liberty of my country when I see at this early day of its successful experiment that corruption has been imputed to many members of the House of Representatives, and the rights of the people have been bartered for promises of office.” - Andrew Jackson
While William Henry Harrison is often credited with utilizing the first popular campaign song in 1840, Andrew Jackson’s campaign in 1824 was bolstered by this song. “The Hunters of Kentucky” boasts Jackson’s military prowess in his victory against the British in the Battle of New Orleans. The battle was final large conflict in the War of 1812, and led to the British troops’ retreat from the city.
The song is performed in a narrative style, drawing from the storytelling tradition of Irish folk music. Although Jackson was from Tennessee, most of his men hailed from Kentucky and the song celebrates their ferocity and speed to that of an “alligator horse”, an invented creature. While the lyrics certainly commemorate Old Hickory’s tenacity and leadership, they also laud the riflemen.
Jackson secured the most popular votes in 1824, but because no candidate had the required number of electoral votes, the House of Representatives eventually awarded John Quincy Adams with the presidency. In 1828, Jackson used the song to campaign once more, and was elected.
Military prowess and calculation will come up time and time again in campaign songs, and “The Hunters of Kentucky” set the tradition for crafting new songs about a candidate. Although the trend would eventually shift to borrowing from popular songs, it would later be revisited in, for example, Richard Nixon’s run in 1968.
"Andrew Jackson was the first president on whom an assassination attempt was made. A man named Richard Lawrence approached Jackson with two pistols both of which, for some reason, misfired. With the possibility of an assassination taken off the table, Jackson proceeded to beat Lawrence near death with his cane until Jackson’s aides pulled him off the assassin. The guns were inspected afterward and it was discovered that they were in perfect working order, leading some historians to believe that it was an odds-defying “miracle” that Jackson survived, while we’re pretty sure that the bullets, like everyone else, were simply scared of Jackson"
"It is one of the serious evils of our present system of banking that it enables one class of society, and that by no means a numerous one, by its control over the currency to act injuriously upon the interests of all the others and to exercise more than its just proportion of influence in political affairs."