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This new edition of one of our most popular publications is a fast-paced and colorful narrative of the social, cultural, and political climate that breathed life into "Jacksonian Democracy." In his inimitable style, Remini crafts a memorable portrait of Jackson: the young hellraiser and war hero; the stern judge; the determined campaigner; and, finally, the chief executive of the people. Other leading political figures, such as Henry Clay and Daniel Webster, are paid due attention and discussions of the vital issues of the day-the Bank War, Indian removal, the states' rights conflict, and slavery-are nicely balanced by attention to the era's various reform, religious, and artistic movements. In addition to the newest research and revelations, new to the Second Edition is an extensive photo essay. Written by one of the foremost authorities on Andrew Jackson, The Jacksonian Era is simply a great read for anyone interested in Jackson and his time.
Preface to the Second Edition IX
Chapter One: A Hero for An Age 1
Chapter Two: Jacksonian Democracy 25
Chapter Three: Indian Removal 44
Chapter Four: Slavery and Union 57
Chapter Five: The Reach for Perfection 73
Chapter Six: The End of an Age 109
Bibliographical Essay 123
Photo Essay follows page 72
Posted April 8, 2010
Andrew Jackson is unquestionably one of the most influential and memorable presidents of the United States of America. The period of his presidency marked a time of overwhelming change. In the book The Jackson Era, Robert V. Remini informs us about Andrew Jackson and the times circa his presidency. Remini was inspired by the Jacksonian period and its controversies. The book's themes emphasize the key strengths and weaknesses of Jackson's administrations and the effect they had on the Country. The themes are supported by the analyzing of several different topics covered in the book. Remini covers a great deal of history in this era in full detail by showing both sides of each issue and its final conclusion. For example, in the debate over nullification, Remini presents both sides of the issue. Andrew Jackson felt nullification would break apart the Union, where as John C. Calhoun believed "nullification was intended to prevent secession" (66). Eventually, Jackson wins the debate by influencing others with his executive powers. It is unbiased information such as this that allows Remini to effectively show his audience key debates in American history. This book review will evaluate precisely how well Remini writes on the life and times of Andrew Jackson.
It seemed throughout the book that Robert V. Remini truly favored most of the policies of Andrew Jackson. He judged each key factor in his administration in the most unbiased way he could. Actually, Remini does not state his own opinion; rather he allows the facts to inform the audience to the extent that they can draw their own conclusions. He recognized that the presidency of Jackson, like all presidents, was not perfect. The topic of Indian removal was undoubtedly one of the lowest moments in Jackson's presidency due to his ignorance and racism. Remini notes this in chapter three by saying "Andrew Jackson took particular pride in solving-at least to his mind it was a solution-the problem of the Indians" (44). It is assured that the reader will see the harshness and revulsion in the issue of Indian removal depicted by the words of Remini. Remini quotes a militiaman as saying "I fought through the Civil War and have seen men shot to pieces and slaughtered by thousands, but the Cherokee removal was the cruelest I ever saw" (51). Remini does not want his readers to believe that Jackson's presidency was perfect because issues such as slavery and the Indian removal prove that it was far from perfect.
Aside from those massive errors in judgment which were undoubtedly products of that generation, Andrew Jackson helped bring about a bright time period and Remini affirms that. Remini writes "One of the things that made Jackson unique and contributed so vitally to the style and tone of this political age was his absolute commitment to the idea of democracy" (25). This is one of Remini's strongest assertions as to why Jackson became such a defining president. When Jackson took on the Second National Bank of the United States, he made "one of the most important presidential vetoes in constitutional history, for in it Jackson cited all manner of reasons for killing the bill, not simply the constitutional reason, as was customary" (35). Remini presents his opinions with such overwhelming support and proof, that he makes it irrational to assume the opposition. His evidence persuades me to agree with him because it's sheer weight of authenticity.