Donelson, Andrew Jackson (1799–1871)

By: Hugo Ellis

Type: Biography

Published: 1952

Updated: December 1, 1994

Andrew Jackson Donelson, diplomat, was born in Nashville, Tennessee, on August 25, 1799. He attended Cumberland College, Nashville, and graduated from the United States Military Academy in 1820. He spent two years as aide-de-camp to his uncle, Maj. Gen. Andrew Jackson, before resigning his commission in order to study law. In 1829 President Jackson appointed Donelson his private secretary; Donelson remained in Washington in that capacity until the expiration of his uncle's second term on March 4, 1837.

In 1844 President John Tyler appointed Donelson chargé d'affaires of the United States to the Republic of Texas. His duties were to present American propositions to President Anson Jones and to further the cause of annexation of the republic to the United States. Donelson performed both tasks with skill and diplomacy. In March 1845, while he was temporarily in New Orleans, Congress passed a joint resolution admitting Texas to the Union, provided that the state adopt a republican form of government before July 1846. On April 12, 1845, Donelson interviewed President Jones, and on April 15 Jones called Congress to meet on June 16, 1845. Jones presented the proposition of the United States, and the offer was accepted unanimously. A convention was called to meet on July 4, 1845, and the ordinance accepting the terms outlined in the joint resolution of the United States Congress was passed the same day. Donelson was given a certified copy of the ordinance, which he forwarded to the secretary of state. He was subsequently minister to Prussia and in 1852 a candidate for the vice presidency of the United States. He died at Memphis, Tennessee, on June 26, 1871.

George W. Cullum, Biographical Register of the Officers and Graduates of the U.S. Military Academy at West Point, New York. Dictionary of American Biography. Annie Middleton, "Donelson's Mission to Texas in Behalf of Annexation," Southwestern Historical Quarterly 24 (April 1921).
Time Periods:
  • Republic of Texas

The following, adapted from the Chicago Manual of Style, 15th edition, is the preferred citation for this entry.

Hugo Ellis, “Donelson, Andrew Jackson,” Handbook of Texas Online, accessed August 10, 2022,

Published by the Texas State Historical Association.

December 1, 1994