Andrew Jackson

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Portrait of Jackson, attributed to Thomas Sully

Andrew Jackson (1767-1845) was an American general who defeated the Indians of the Southeast and defeated the British at New Orleans in 1815. As seventh President (1829-1837), he destroyed the Bank of the United States, relocated the remaining southeastern Indians, and built a new political coalition, the Democratic party. A self-made man, Indian fighter, war hero and a fighter (and duelist) who believed in action instead of words, he was the iconic Western folk hero and came to typify popular democracy in the "Jacksonian Age" of the 1830s and 1840s.

Early Life

Tennessee Frontier

Jackson, John Sevier, and their allies were rich frontier lawyers and businessmen who used their vast land holdings to establish themselves as a political power in Tennessee. They allied themselves with the Jeffersonian Republicans, of the "Old Republican" faction that opposed strong national government. Jefferson and his circle strongly disliked Jackson.

Wars in Southeast

Defeat in Election of 1824

Winner in 1828

Winner in 1832

Bank Wars

Indian Removal

Cave (2003) argues Jackson acted illegally in pressuring Indians to move west of the Mississippi River in the 1830s. The Indian Removal Act of 1830 called for voluntary removal and included safeguards for Indian rights, but Jackson ignored and distorted the act to suit his purposes. The newly formed Whig Party actively opposed Jackson's policies, and congressional legislation dealing with Indian removal was hotly debated and passed only by narrow margins. Had Jackson followed the legal dictates of the 1830 act, he probably would not have achieved Indian removal, says Cave.


Democratic Party

Jackson thought the voice of the people was supreme law. Although a man of powerful prejudices and passions, he identified with the voice of the people, and thought his election as president gave him the unique power to express that voice. His opponents misunderstood the voice and lacked the legitimate national base in any case. Thus Jackson denounced anyone who crossed him an enemy of the sovereign people. To fulfill this voice of the people in the political arena, he thought that the preservation of states' rights was an indispensable precondition to the achievement of people-oriented democracy. Although Jackson's record was erratic, when his presidency was done, federal authority was vastly weaker, and the states, for practical purposes, were much stronger than before, though as the Nullification criris proved, he would not tolerate defiance.


Personality and Family



  • Brands, H. W. Andrew Jackson: His Life and Times (2005), biography emphasizing military career
  • Brustein, Andrew. The Passions of Andrew Jackson. New York: Knopf, (2003). online review by Donald B. Cole
  • Hofstadter, Richard. The American Political Tradition (1948), chapter on Jackson.
  • James, Marquis. The Life of Andrew Jackson New York: Bobbs-Merrill, 1938. Combines two books: The Border Captain and Andrew Jackson: Portrait of a President; Pulitzer Prize for Biography.
  • Parton, James. Life of Andrew Jackson (1860). Volume I, Volume III.
  • Remini, Robert V. The Life of Andrew Jackson. Abridgment of Remini's 3-volume standard scholarly biography, (1998)
    • Andrew Jackson and the Course of American Empire, 1767-1821 (1977); Andrew Jackson and the Course of American Freedom, 1822-1832 (1981); Andrew Jackson and the Course of American Democracy, 1833-1845 (1984)
  • Wilentz, Sean. Andrew Jackson (2005) short biography, stressing Indian removal and slavery issues

Specialized Studies

  • Doutrich, Paul E. Shapers of the Great Debate on Jacksonian Democracy: A Biographical Dictionary. Greenwood, 2004. 360 pp.
  • Gammon, Samuel Rhea. The Presidential Campaign of 1832 (1922) online edition
  • Feller, Daniel. "The Bank War," in Julian E. Zelizer, ed. The American Congress (2004), pp 93-111.
  • Hammond, Bray. "Jackson, Biddle, and the Bank of the United States," The Journal of Economic History, Vol. 7, No. 1 (May, 1947), pp. 1-23 at JSTOR
  • Hammond, Bray. Banks and Politics in America from the Revolution to the Civil War (1957). Pulitzer prize winner; the standard history. Pro-Bank
  • Hammond, Bray. "The Second Bank of the United States. Transactions of the American Philosophical Society, New Ser., Vol. 43, No. 1 (1953), pp. 80-85 in JSTOR
  • Latner Richard B. The Presidency of Andrew Jackson: White House Politics, 1820-1837 (1979), standard survey.
  • Magliocca, Gerard N. Andrew Jackson and the Constitution: The Rise and Fall of Generational Regimes, (2007); 216 pages
  • Ogg, Frederic Austin ; The Reign of Andrew Jackson: A Chronicle of the Frontier in Politics 1919. short survey online at Gutenberg
  • Patterson, Benton Rain. The Generals: Andrew Jackson, Sir Edward Pakenham, and the Road to the Battle of New Orleans. New York U. Press, 2005. 288 pp.
  • Ratner, Lorman A. Andrew Jackson and His Tennessee Lieutenants: A Study in Political Culture (1997) online edition
  • Remini Robert V. Andrew Jackson and the Bank War: A Study in the Growth of Presidential Power (1967). Pro-Jackson.
  • Schlesinger, Arthur M. Jr. The Age of Jackson. (1945). Winner of the Pulitzer Prize for History. history of ideas of the era
  • Schouler, James. History of the United States of America: Under the Constitution vol. 4. 1831-1847. Democrats and Whigs. (1917) online edition
  • Sellers, Charles. The Market Revolution: Jacksonian America, 1815-1846. (1991) influential interpretation; online edition
  • Syrett, Harold C. Andrew Jackson: His Contribution to the American Tradition (1953) online edition

Indian Wars and Removal

  • John Buchanan. Jackson's Way: Andrew Jackson and the People of the Western Waters. John Wiley & Sons, 2001. 434 pp. online review
  • Cave, Alfred A. "Abuse of Power: Andrew Jackson and the Indian Removal Act of 1830." Historian 2003 65(6): 1330-1353. Issn: 0018-2370 Fulltext: online at Swetswise, Ingenta and Ebsco
  • O'Brien, Sean Michael. In Bitterness and in Tears: Andrew Jackson's Destruction of the Creeks and Seminoles. Praeger, 2003. 254 pp.
  • Remini, Robert V.. The Legacy of Andrew Jackson: Essays on Democracy, Indian Removal, and Slavery (1988)
  • Remini, Robert V. Andrew Jackson and his Indian Wars (2001)
  • Remini, Robert V. "Andrew Jackson Versus the Cherokee Nation." American History 2001 36(3): 48-56. Issn: 1076-8866 Fulltext: in Ebsco
  • Rowland, Dunbar. Andrew Jackson's Campaign against the British, or, the Mississippi Territory in the War of 1812, concerning the Military Operations of the Americans, Creek Indians, British, and Spanish, 1813-1815 (1926) online edition
  • Satz, Ronald N. American Indian Policy in the Jacksonian Era. (1975)
  • Wallace, Anthony F.C. The Long, Bitter Trail: Andrew Jackson and the Indians (1993)

Primary sources

  • Bassett John Spencer, ed. Correspondence of Andrew Jackson Vols. 1-6. (1926).
  • Smith Sam B., and Harriet Chappell Owsley, eds. Papers of Andrew Jackson . Knoxville: University of Tennessee Press, Vol. 1, 1980; Moser Harold D., Sharon MacPherson, and Charles F. Bryan Jr., eds. The Papers of Andrew Jackson. Vols. 2-6. Knoxville: University of Tennessee Press, 2002; the latest vol 6 goes to 1828.
  • online speeches and presidential messages


  • Bugg Jr., James L. ed. Jacksonian Democracy: Myth or Reality?. (1962) debates among historians online edition
  • Cave, Alfred A. Jacksonian Democracy and the Historians, U, of Florida Press, 1970
  • Sellers, Jr. Charles Grier. "Andrew Jackson versus the Historians," The Mississippi Valley Historical Review, Vol. 44, No. 4. (Mar., 1958), pp. 615-634. in JSTOR
  • Taylor, George Rogers, ed. Jackson Versus Biddle: The Struggle over the Second Bank of the United States (1949), excerpts from primary and secondary sources online edition
  • Ward, John William. Andrew Jackson, Symbol for an Age (1962) how writers saw him online edition