Driven West: Andrew Jackson and the Trail of Tears to the Civil War

Driven West: Andrew Jackson and the Trail of Tears to the Civil War

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by A. J. Langguth
     
 

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By the acclaimed author of the classic Patriots and Union 1812, this major work of narrative history portrays four of the most turbulent decades in the growth of the American nation.

After the War of 1812, President Andrew Jackson and his successors led the country to its manifest destiny across the continent. But that expansion unleashed

Overview

By the acclaimed author of the classic Patriots and Union 1812, this major work of narrative history portrays four of the most turbulent decades in the growth of the American nation.

After the War of 1812, President Andrew Jackson and his successors led the country to its manifest destiny across the continent. But that expansion unleashed new regional hostilities that led inexorably to Civil War. The earliest victims were the Cherokees and other tribes of the southeast who had lived and prospered for centuries on land that became Alabama, Mississippi, and Georgia.

Jackson, who had first gained fame as an Indian fighter, decreed that the Cherokees be forcibly removed from their rich cotton fields to make way for an exploding white population. His policy set off angry debates in Congress and protests from such celebrated Northern writers as Ralph Waldo Emerson. Southern slave owners saw that defense of the Cherokees as linked to a growing abolitionist movement. They understood that the protests would not end with protecting a few Indian tribes.

Langguth tells the dramatic story of the desperate fate of the Cherokees as they were driven out of Georgia at bayonet point by U.S. Army forces led by General Winfield Scott. At the center of the story are the American statesmen of the day—Henry Clay, John Quincy Adams, John C. Calhoun—and those Cherokee leaders who tried to save their people—Major Ridge, John Ridge, Elias Boudinot, and John Ross.

Driven West presents wrenching firsthand accounts of the forced march across the Mississippi along a path of misery and death that the Cherokees called the Trail of Tears. Survivors reached the distant Oklahoma territory that Jackson had marked out for them, only to find that the bloodiest days of their ordeal still awaited them.

In time, the fierce national collision set off by Jackson’s Indian policy would encompass the Mexican War, the bloody frontier wars over the expansion of slavery, the doctrines of nullification and secession, and, finally, the Civil War itself.

In his masterly narrative of this saga, Langguth captures the idealism and betrayals of headstrong leaders as they steered a raw and vibrant nation in the rush to its destiny.

Editorial Reviews

From the Publisher
“A fast-paced, lively narrative history of American politics from the 1820s to the Civil War. . . captures the dark drama of Indian removal. . . Driven West delivers a timely reminder that we will—and should—be judged by how we treat "the least among us." —Pittsburgh Post-Gazette

“Langguth has few equals when it comes to historical reporting.” –Tuscon Citizen

Library Journal
This revisionist account of Andrew Jackson's presidency and policies lays out the immense human and political impact of Jackson's forced removal of Native Americans, the Cherokee Trail of Tears. Langguth (journalism, emeritus, Univ. of Southern California; Union 1812) goes beyond traditional accounts of Jackson and the Cherokees, such as Robert Remini's Andrew Jackson and His Indian War, by examining antebellum politics of slavery, the Mexican War, and the doctrine of states' rights in relation to the forced relocation of the Cherokee from Georgia and North Carolina to the western Indian Territory. Langguth argues that Jackson's refusal to respect Cherokee land rights, even after the Supreme Court decision that upheld those rights, fed the flames of political violence and civil conflict, which ultimately climaxed in Southern secession and war. VERDICT A story told with players from 1825 to 1865 and including (in addition to Jackson) such politicians as Henry Clay and John C. Calhoun; Cherokee leaders Major Ridge, John Ross, and Elias Boudinot; and the intriguing socialite Margaret Eaton, this work is sure to be controversial among western expansion and Civil War scholars and as such is highly recommended for individuals with interests in Cherokee and Civil War history. [See Prepub Alert, LJ 6/15/10.]—Nathan E. Bender, Laramie, WY

Product Details

ISBN-13:
9781416548607
Publisher:
Simon & Schuster
Publication date:
11/15/2011
Pages:
480
Sales rank:
896,164
Product dimensions:
9.24(w) x 6.20(h) x 1.14(d)

Meet the Author

A. J. Langguth (1933–2014) was the author of eight books of nonfiction and three novels. After Lincoln marks his fourth book in a series that began in 1988 with Patriots: The Men Who Started the American Revolution. He served as a Saigon bureau chief for the New York Times, after covering the Civil Rights movement for the newspaper. Langguth taught for three decades at the University of Southern California and retired in 2003 as emeritus professor in the Annenberg School for Communication and Journalism.

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Driven West: Andrew Jackson and the Trail of Tears to the Civil War 4.5 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 2 reviews.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
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Anonymous More than 1 year ago