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Jackson leads troops to victory at New Orleans

On this day in 1815, General Andrew Jackson and his troops win the decisive Battle of New Orleans in the waning moments of the War of 1812.

Although the war had officially ended two weeks earlier with the signing of the Treaty of Ghent, news of the treaty had not yet reached the United States from Europe and military clashes between the British and the Americans continued. After a three-year struggle against superior British land and naval forces, the outnumbered American Army and Marines succeeded in preventing the British from gaining a foothold in the southern territories of Louisiana and western Florida.

The Battle of New Orleans engendered a sense of nationalism among Americans–after all, the fledgling nation had now beaten back the British empire twice in 30 years, first during the American Revolution and then in the War of 1812. Pride over the victory effectively ended the growing pains of political divisiveness that had plagued the United States at the beginning of the war. Winning the Battle of New Orleans not only helped the United States maintain its newly won independence and increased patriotic sentiment, it turned Jackson into a national hero and paved the way for his ascent to the presidency in 1828.

Jackson, independent, resourceful and tough, epitomized the national image of the American frontiersman. Early in the War of 1812, he earned the grudging respect of his soldiers, and the nickname Old Hickory, when he refused an order to disband his troops in Mississippi and instead marched them back to their base in Tennessee. His bold leadership, humble background and relentlessness inspired the ragtag American Army at New Orleans. His image as a citizen-soldier and common man contributed to Jackson’s nationwide popularity.

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