Andrew Jackson can be considered a barbarian by modern standards. Jackson forcibly removed Native Americans from their homes; killing thousands on the Trial of Tears. He was also cruel to his slaves; having many beaten. Jackson also nearly beat a man to death with his cane. Therefore, Andrew Jackson was more like a barbarian than a great American president.
Beating someone nearly to death is bad enough, especially since the gun jammed and the guy wasn't a threat anymore. Barbarian is a strong word, but Andrew Jackson was also responsible for displacing Native Americans and forcing them to walk the Trail of Tears. Many died on that trip because of him.
It's easy to say his response was excessive, beating a man who was no longer armed (presuming the pistols needed work before they could be made to fire properly). But he undoubtedly had a huge adrenaline rush when the would-be assassin fired, his "fight or flight" kicking into high gear. As a retired soldier, it was predictable that his "fight" would win. At least he only beat the guy "to near death" and not all the way.
There is nothing barbaric about Andrew Jackson defending himself when someone is trying to kill him! It would be nice if some of our current leaders were that tough. Perhaps a lot of these contemporaries who were writing negative things about Jackson were jealous of his position and power since he was President.