Mark R. Cheathem
Andrew Jackson, Southerner
Louisiana State University Press 2013
What do most Americans know about Andrew Jackson, apart from that he’s on the $20 bill and that he apparently had great hair? Probably not much. Maybe that he was a two-term president who pioneered the aggressive use of the powers of that office, and that he steadfastly opposed the sectionalizing, states-rights tendencies of the South Carolina nullifiers. In short, most of the conventional image of Andrew Jackson situates him firmly as an American. Mark Cheathem‘s new biography Andrew Jackson, Southerner (Louisiana State University Press, 2013) reminds us that Jackson was born and raised in the South, became a wildly successful plantation owner there, and based his formidable political coalition in the American Southwest. Moreover, many of the signal events of Jackson’s presidency — Indian removal, the Eaton Affair (sometimes called the “Petticoat Affair”), and his war against the “Monster Bank” are only fully understandable when Jackson’s southern background is accounted for. Mark Cheathem’s book will ensure that we will never again take Jackson’s southern roots for granted.