Jackson was nicknamed "Old Hickory" because of his toughness and aggressive personality; he fought in duels, some fatal to his opponents. He was a wealthy slaveholder. He fought politically against what he denounced as a closed, undemocratic aristocracy, adding to his appeal to common citizens. He expanded the spoils system during his presidency to strengthen his political base.
Elected president in 1828, Jackson supported a small and limited federal government. He strengthened the power of the presidency, which he saw as spokesman for the entire population, as opposed to Congressmen from a specific small district. He was supportive of states' rights, but during the Nullification Crisis, declared that states do not have the right to nullify federal laws. Strongly against the national bank, he vetoed the renewal of its charter and ensured its collapse. Whigs and moralists denounced his aggressive enforcement of the Indian Removal Act, which resulted in the forced relocation of thousands of Native Americans to Indian Territory (now Oklahoma). Historians acknowledge his protection of popular democracy and individual liberty for United States citizens, but criticize him for his support for slavery and for his role in Indian removal.