I’ve been asked again and again who would win in a fight or battle royal between all of the Presidents, and these types of things pop up all the time, and Andrew Jackson is almost always everybody’s pick.
Everybody is wrong.
Andrew Jackson was hot-tempered and had a reputation because of the duels that he was involved in throughout his life. In those duels, Andrew Jackson had a gun. If it were hand-to-hand combat, or a knife fight, and Old Hickory wasn’t able to be strapped, he’d be Old Balsa Wood pretty quickly.
Jackson was 6’1” and about 130 pounds. Despite being tall, that weight meant that Jackson was reed-thin, borderline-emaciated. Give him a gun and he’d be dangerous, but otherwise, he’d be easily-overpowered by most of the other Presidents. Even a seemingly non-threat like Chester Arthur (about 6’2½” and 225 lbs.) would out-muscle Jackson in hand-to-hand fighting. Did Jackson have a killer instinct? Absolutely. But it’s tough to unleash that if a strong breeze can unbalance you.
I would agree that Theodore Roosevelt would be one of the favorites. The dude ranking them seriously underestimated James Monroe and Rutherford B. Hayes, both of whom were relatively large men that were severely wounded in war and kept fighting on. The guy ranks Polk, Taylor, and Grant too highly. He said that Grant was “formidable physically” and “comfortable with blood on his hands”, but the sight of blood literally sickened Grant and he was squeamish if his meat wasn’t cooked to the brink of burning. If Grant was a formidable physical specimen, then so am I. Grant’s stats: 5’7”, maybe 175 lbs, and he would have gassed immediately because your stamina and cardio can’t be good if you smoke upwards of 20 cigars per day.
James Garfield would be a threat. He was big, athletic, young, had military experience, and was so robust physically that he hung on for over two months after being shot and then poked and prodded by shitty doctors who were dead-set on making sure that he contracted any possible infection that they could possibly give him. Gerald Ford’s athleticism and competitive streak (star football player at the University of Michigan, offered contracts by the NFL) would make him dangerous. George H.W. Bush is a tough motherfucker and always has been. I wouldn’t count him out.
I think TR or James Monroe would win. Andrew Jackson wouldn’t even be among one of the last ten men standing.