ANDREW JACKSON, HIS LIFE AND TIMES by H.W. Brands
Read: Sept 10 - 21
Andrew Jackson had an impressive résumé - he fought in the Revolutionary War, was an explorer, frontiersman, lawyer, judge, duelist, congressman, planter, military leader (Battle of New Orleans), President.
Yet with all his accomplishments, I'm not sure that he was a great man. He was extremely flawed. His quickness to anger and take offense, on many occasions threatened his life and propelled him into numerous duels one of which he carried the bullet close to his heart for most of his life. He was definitely not ambivalent, rarely considering anyone else viewpoint but his own.
He was, however, always extremely honest in business and even though he was a slave holder, he endeavored to keep negro families together and rarely mistreated his slaves. Jackson early in his business life rather than go into debt sold most of his property to pay his debtors.
Jackson, who rode the wave of his popularity from the Battle of New Orleans for the remainder of his life, was the first "people's President. "Like most of his predecessors, Jackson was extremely aware of the need to neutralize threats to the ongoing existence of the new United States but he also saw the need to protect the interest and liberties of the common man of which he was one. His devotion to his family and their peace of mind was always foremost in his thoughts.
Jackson, frustrated by his loss to JQA in 1824, after his election in 1828 recommended eliminating the Electoral College. His major term events surrounded nullification in SC and the battle he waged with Nicholas Biddle about the Bank of the United States. He also worked on expansion of the nation in Florida, Texas, and the Louisiana.
The book lack details of the controversial decisions that were made during his presidency or were lost in all the details that it did cover. The Trail of Tears and the Petticoat Affair got very little coverage.
I think that this was a good book for details of his life but found it lacking in certain areas. Maybe less time devoted to the duels he fought and more to issues during his presidency could have made it great.