Andrew JacksonBook - 2005
The author of The Rise of American Democracy offers a in-depth portrait of America's seventh president that reveals how the charismatic Andrew Jackson transformed American politics and society by renouncing the artificial inequalities of birth, station, monied power, and political privilege. 25,000 first printing.
The towering figure who remade American politics—the champion of the ordinary citizen and the scourge of entrenched privilege
"It is rare that historians manage both Wilentz's deep interpretation and lively narrative." - Publishers Weekly
The Founding Fathers espoused a republican government, but they were distrustful of the common people, having designed a constitutional system that would temper popular passions. But as the revolutionary generation passed from the scene in the 1820s, a new movement, based on the principle of broader democracy, gathered force and united behind Andrew Jackson, the charismatic general who had defeated the British at New Orleans and who embodied the hopes of ordinary Americans. Raising his voice against the artificial inequalities fostered by birth, station, monied power, and political privilege, Jackson brought American politics into a new age.
Sean Wilentz, one of America's leading historians of the nineteenth century, recounts the fiery career of this larger-than-life figure, a man whose high ideals were matched in equal measure by his failures and moral blind spots, a man who is remembered for the accomplishments of his eight years in office and for the bitter enemies he made. It was in Jackson's time that the great conflicts of American politics—urban versus rural, federal versus state, free versus slave—crystallized, and Jackson was not shy about taking a vigorous stand. It was under Jackson that modern American politics began, and his legacy continues to inform our debates to the present day.
Would ordinary citizens have survived the beginnings of modernity without Jackson as their champion? Wilentz (history, Princeton U.) understands this question is far too simple to do justice to the seventh president, a complex man with complex politics. Made famous by his exploits as a general whose biggest battle was fought because the technology did not then exist to inform him the war was over, Jackson's political career was even more charged, starting with his defeat by John Quincy Adams in the 1824 presidential election, although Jackson won the popular vote. He riled up abolitionists as a slaveholder and slaveholders as a foe of states' rights, ticked off investors as a bank reformer whose efforts led to wild speculation, and turned out to be one of the best friends but worst enemies of the era's Native Americans. Elegantly, Wilentz makes Jackson accessible. Annotation ©2006 Book News, Inc., Portland, OR (booknews.com)
Examines the life and presidency of Andrew Jackson, including his early days in South Carolina, his military exploits, and his contributions to the cause of democracy and Manifest Destiny.