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January 8 Times Two

January 8, 2019

Two significant things happened on January 8.  The occurrences were twenty years apart, but the same man was involved both times.  On the earlier date a singular victory was won.  On the second, a unique milestone was achieved.  In each case success was due to the vision, determination, and leadership of the aforementioned individual.

The first January 8 event was a military battle, and our subject was the General who planned and executed the victory.  The enemy lost almost 300 men.  One thousand two hundred of the enemy were wounded, and hundreds more were either taken prisoner or went missing.  The victor lost 13 men with 39 wounded.  That’s how General Andrew Jackson fared at the Battle of New Orleans on January 8, 1815.

Twenty years later Jackson was President.  On January 8, 1835 he accomplished something which no President before or since has ever accomplished.  It is extremely unlikely to be repeated.  On that date Jackson paid off the National Debt.

Neither accomplishment was a fluke.  Jackson was no victim of circumstance.  He created the circumstances needed to accomplish the goals that were set before him.  In both the military and the financial victory Jackson had to overcome the opposition of those who allegedly “knew better.”  He was not popular with the Senate or the banking establishment.  The late President Jefferson did not care for him.  President Madison had been wary of him.  In 1833 when Jackson had already been reelected, former President John Quincy Adams characterized Jackson as “a barbarian who could not write a sentence of grammar and hardly could spell his own name.”  None of this mattered because Jackson spoke in an idiom that appealed to the common people of that era.

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