Riddle me this: What do you get when you combine equal parts "Awesomely Badass" with "Terrifyingly Insane"?
It goes without saying that Theodore Roosevelt is most awesome human being to have ever walked the face of this planet. The only reason every head in America didn't explode in 1901 when exposed to such high levels of manliness, was because nearly a century earlier, another hero made the transition from the military to politics. And that insane Mo'Fo' set the standard for what every President after him would have to do, to earn the title of "BADASS."
Andrew Jackson was born March 15th, 1767, somewhere in the Waxhaws hills on the border of North and South Carolina, the youngest of three boys. His father died shortly before he was born. When their oldest brother, Hugh, joined the Continental Army in the Revolutionary War, Andrew and his other brother, Robert, joined a local regiment as couriers. They were captured by the British and held as Prisoners of War, where they were nearly intentionally starved to death. When an officer demanded that he clean his boots, Andrew refused. Without hesitation, the officer slashed him across the face with his sabre.
This was just the first of Jackson's many reasons to hate the British. Robert contracted smallpox while imprisoned, and died shortly after. His mother, a field nurse, died from infection (around this time, a hacksaw was the most advanced piece of medical equipment). And his eldest brother, Hugh, died at the Battle of Stono Ferry. Every member of his immediate family was dead, and all of their deaths could be linked to the British. Jackson never stopped hating them.
After the war, Jackson studied law, and was admitted to the Bar of North Carolina. It was during his time as a "simple Country lawyer" that Jackson met with Rachel Donelson-Robards. At the time, she was married to a Col. Lewis Robards. He was fiercely jealous of any man that was ever even near her, and they eventually seperated. Young Jackson was living as a boarder in the home of her mother. During the seperation, Jackson and Rachel fell in love, and she found the courage to ask her husband for a divorce. Through his family's connections to the state legislature, Robards was able to quickly secure an anullment. Or so he claimed. While Andrew & Rachel were married in 1791, the divorce did not become official until 1794. Despite this being a simple misunderstanding, accusations of bigamy and adultery followed them for the rest of their lives.
In 1796, Tennessee was admitted to the Union, and Jackson was elected as their first Congressman in the House of Representatives. A year later, now as a member of the Democratic Republican Party, he was elected to the Senate. While his opponents frequently made personal attacks against him, Jackson managed to keep his cool. But if anyone ever said a word against Rachel, he would go absolutely beserk. History records him as having waged thirteen duels in defense of Rachel's honor (including one against the Governor of Tennessee) though he always allowed them to live with the shame of defeat. The only man he killed (off the battlefield, that is) was an attorney named Charles Dickinson. The feud had been brewing for some time, starting with a bet over a race horse. A battle of words lasted for years, until Dickinson finally decided to tempt fate by insulting Rachel. For some bizarre reason known only to him, when the big day finally came, Jackson actually volunteered to let Dickinson have the first shot. Hit in the shoulder, he shrugged it off and put Charlie down for good.