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Andrew Jackson

The American Presidents Series: The 7th President, 1829-1837

The American Presidents

Sean Wilentz; Arthur M. Schlesinger, Jr., General Editor

Times Books

The towering figure who remade American politics--the champion of the ordinary citizen and the scourge of entrenched privilege

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.

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Prologue
 
Jackson and the Age of the Democratic Revolution
 
In the early spring of 1835, the renowned engraver and painter Asher Durand executed the finest portrait of Andrew Jackson made during Jackson's presidency. The artist could extract only four or five sittings from his irascible, distracted subject. Jackson, Durand reported, "has been part of the time in a pretty good humor, but some times he gets his 'dander up' & smokes his pipe prodigiously." Still, the final picture was candid and persuasive, showing a careworn, elegantly attired old man, his cheeks and forehead
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ABOUT THE AUTHOR

  • Sean Wilentz; Arthur M. Schlesinger, Jr., General Editor

  • Sean Wilentz, a professor of history at Princeton University, is the author or editor of seven books, including Chants Democratic and The Rise of American Democracy. He has also written for The New York Times, the Los Angeles Times, The New Republic, and other publications. He lives in Princeton, New Jersey.

  • Sean Wilentz Denise Applewhite
    Sean Wilentz
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    Andrew Jackson

    The American Presidents Series: The 7th President, 1829-1837

    The American Presidents

    Sean Wilentz; Arthur M. Schlesinger, Jr., General Editor

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    Times Books

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