Andrew Jackson: His Life and Times
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In this, the first major single-volume biography of Andrew Jackson in decades, H.W. Brands reshapes our understanding of this fascinating man, and of the Age of Democracy that he ushered in.
An orphan at a young age and without formal education or the family lineage of the Founding Fathers, Jackson showed that the Presidency was not the exclusive province of the wealthy and the well-born but could truly be held by a man of the people. On a majestic, sweeping scale Brands re-creates Jackson’s rise from his hardscrabble roots to his days as frontier lawyer, then on to his heroic victory in the Battle of New Orleans, and finally to the White House. Capturing Jackson’s outsized life and deep impact on American history, Brands also explores his controversial actions, from his unapologetic expansionism to the disgraceful Trail of Tears. This is a thrilling portrait, in full, of the president who defined American democracy.
giving the alarm that the enemy had landed. “But becoming rather careless in watching their prisoners,” Gleig recorded of the British troops guarding the captives, “one man contrived to effect his escape.” This man was Gabriel Villeré, the son of Jacques Villeré, who had commanded the Louisiana militia before Jackson took over and who owned the plantation on which the British invaders now stood. The younger Villeré had been given responsibility for monitoring the approaches from Lake Borgne.
Carolina coast, who owned their land clear and might have absorbed the shock of shifting from bound labor to free. The new planters were often speculators juggling debts that would crush them should anything shake the system they had inherited. These were the hard men of the frontier, men in the mold of Andrew Jackson. Even if they had suffered pangs of conscience for their slaves—and few seem to have suffered any more than Jackson did—they couldn’t have afforded the remedy. Southerners read
few years, with the protection of the two nations.” Jackson was skeptical. Whether or not he recognized the words as Houston’s and Austin’s, Jackson had to doubt Santa Anna’s sincerity, as the man remained a prisoner of the Texans and rightly feared for his life. More to the point, Santa Anna no longer represented anyone besides himself. Maybe Mexico’s soldiers still loved him, but the men in charge of Mexico’s government wanted nothing to do with him. And it was these men with whom Jackson as
New York: Cambridge University Press, 1998. Varieties of exceptionalism. Brookhiser, Richard. America’s First Dynasty: The Adamses, 1735–1918. New York: Free Press, 2002. The family that fell as democracy rose. Brown, John P. Old Frontiers: The Story of the Cherokee Indians from Earliest Times to the Date of Their Removal to the West, 1838. Kingsport, Tenn.: Southern Publishers, 1938. Contains a wealth of material not available elsewhere. Brown, Roger H. The Republic in Peril, 1812. 1964;
will be prepared to remain in it, to take possession of it as a conquered country, without making you any compensation for it.” Some of the Cherokees did sue for peace, but others remained at war, prompting Sevier to launch an offensive that became legendary along the Smokies. He hurled his force of one hundred and fifty men against the Cherokees’ thousand, tracking them over the steepest summits, through the narrowest canyons, and into the remotest recesses of the mountains. With fire and