[ Read ] ➪ American Lion: Andrew Jackson in the White House Author Jon Meacham – Thomashillier.co.uk

American Lion: Andrew Jackson in the White House The Definitive Biography Of A Larger Than Life President Who Defied Norms, Divided A Nation, And Changed Washington ForeverAndrew Jackson, His Intimate Circle Of Friends, And His Tumultuous Times Are At The Heart Of This Remarkable Book About The Man Who Rose From Nothing To Create The Modern Presidency Beloved And Hated, Venerated And Reviled, Andrew Jackson Was An Orphan Who Fought His Way To The Pinnacle Of Power, Bending The Nation To His Will In The Cause Of Democracy Jackson S Election In Ushered In A New And Lasting Era In Which The People, Not Distant Elites, Were The Guiding Force In American Politics Democracy Made Its Stand In The Jackson Years, And He Gave Voice To The Hopes And The Fears Of A Restless, Changing Nation Facing Challenging Times At Home And Threats Abroad To Tell The Saga Of Jackson S Presidency, Acclaimed Author Jon Meacham Goes Inside The Jackson White House Drawing On Newly Discovered Family Letters And Papers, He Details The Human Drama The Family, The Women, And The Inner Circle Of Advisers That Shaped Jackson S Private World Through Years Of Storm And VictoryOne Of Our Most Significant Yet Dimly Recalled Presidents, Jackson Was A Battle Hardened Warrior, The Founder Of The Democratic Party, And The Architect Of The Presidency As We Know It His Story Is One Of Violence, Sex, Courage, And Tragedy With His Powerful Persona, His Evident Bravery, And His Mystical Connection To The People, Jackson Moved The White House From The Periphery Of Government To The Center Of National Action, Articulating A Vision Of Change That Challenged Entrenched Interests To Heed The Popular Will Or Face His Formidable Wrath The Greatest Of The Presidents Who Have Followed Jackson In The White House From Lincoln To Theodore Roosevelt To FDR To Truman Have Found Inspiration In His Example, And Virtue In His VisionJackson Was The Most Contradictory Of Men The Architect Of The Removal Of Indians From Their Native Lands, He Was Warmly Sentimental And Risked Everything To Give Power To Ordinary Citizens He Was, In Short, A Lot Like His Country Alternately Kind And Vicious, Brilliant And Blind And A Man Who Fought A Lifelong War To Keep The Republic Safe No Matter What It Took


10 thoughts on “American Lion: Andrew Jackson in the White House

  1. says:

    I think this book confused people They were expecting a McCullough esque hardcore biography of everything Jackson did EVER Not so As Meacham himself states in his Author s note, he was going for a biographical portrait of Jackson s time in the White House And on that account, this is an excellent book It gives a great picture of the tumult surrounding Jackson s two terms, the things that made him tick, and the decisions that defined his presidency No, it didn t really tell us all about And I think this book confused people They were expecting a McCullough esque hardcore biography of everything Jackson did EVER Not so As Meacham himself states in his Author s note, he was going for a biographical portrait of Jackson s time in the White House And on that account, this is an excellent book It gives a great picture of the tumult surrounding Jackson s two terms, the things that made him tick, and the decisions that defined his presidency No, it didn t really tell us all about Andrew Jackson s childhood, or go into minute details about the deaths of his family That s not the point Instead, American Lion wants to make you understand Jackson the myth, Jackson the People s President, and how that Jackson managed to bend the Executive Power of our nation to his will It shows why Lincoln, despite being opposite of Jackson in almost all his beliefs, would turn to Jackson in the country s greatest time of need just before the Civil War Andrew Jackson was hard in a lot of ways, but he loved the Union and he loved the people Jackson s presidency was the first time that the office was seen in our modern light as a strong office with its own power instead of merely a puppet of the Congress American Lion is a refreshing look at 19th century American politics If you think the mud slinging in current political contests is bad, just take a look at Jackson s two runs for the White House We owe a lot of who we are as a country to Andrew Jackson s years in power


  2. says:

    A terrible book about a horrible man written by a coward I know that sounds harsh but there s no other way to describe it The book claims to be only about his years in the White House It isn t Frequently, Meacham cherry picks and subsequently white washes Jackson s past sins in an effort to show him as a complicated hero.Jackson wasn t complicated He was maybe one of the simplest presidents America ever had Here are some simple facts 1 His greatest military victory was the Battle of New O A terrible book about a horrible man written by a coward I know that sounds harsh but there s no other way to describe it The book claims to be only about his years in the White House It isn t Frequently, Meacham cherry picks and subsequently white washes Jackson s past sins in an effort to show him as a complicated hero.Jackson wasn t complicated He was maybe one of the simplest presidents America ever had Here are some simple facts 1 His greatest military victory was the Battle of New Orleans Unbeknownst to Jackson, it took place approximately 14 days after the War of 1812 was over Therefore, at best, the victory was a tragedy.2 Later, while still serving in the military, without any orders to do so, seized what is now Florida for America Florida had been owned by Spain, a sovereign nation Jackson should have been charged for any and all lives lost during this illegal conflict as a war criminal.3 Fought against the National Banking system simply because he lacked the cognitive capacity to understand it.4 His legacy on Native American removal massacre war is one of the saddest in all of American history He was truly a monster.I went into this book knowing very little about Jackson and if I had remained confined to what was printed in the book I would still know very little With this work, Meacham really tried to re write history He would tell tiny snippets of all the issues I listed about but only enough so that the reader wouldn t figure out the truth This is unacceptable I realize that many biographers admire their subjectsthat s frequently why they take on the project in the first place But as a historian, it is his duty to present the facts Let the reader know the good and the bad and let us decide if he was a monster or a hero.I would like to think Meacham didn t include the necessary facts because he is incompetent but I fear that it was all purposeful propaganda garbage The vast majority of the book was super boring Here s my impression of 75% of the book How dare you, sir No, how dare you, sir with lots of hrumphs thrown in for good measure.Please avoid this work at all costs and if you see Jon Meacham call him foul names for me An hour on Wikipedia will give you all you need on this jerk


  3. says:

    Jon Meacham won a Pulitzer Prize for this biography of Andrew Jackson, America s seventh president Jackson was certainly an intriguing subject He s known as an advocate for the common man and for fighting against corruption, but he is also known for owning slaves and for supporting the removal of native Americans from their lands Jackson was a man of his time, to be sure.When I learned the author was coming to my city to do a reading for his latest book, The Soul of America, I prepared for Jon Meacham won a Pulitzer Prize for this biography of Andrew Jackson, America s seventh president Jackson was certainly an intriguing subject He s known as an advocate for the common man and for fighting against corruption, but he is also known for owning slaves and for supporting the removal of native Americans from their lands Jackson was a man of his time, to be sure.When I learned the author was coming to my city to do a reading for his latest book, The Soul of America, I prepared for the event by reading Jon Meacham s books about Andrew Jackson and Thomas Jefferson Reading the biographies of Jackson and Jefferson back to back provided some interesting insights into America s founding and early decades It s amazing how issues Jackson discussed and acted on back in the 1830s are still relevant today This is an incredibly detailed biography The amount of time dedicated to what s known as the Petticoat Affair became a bit tedious to listen to on a long road trip, but overall, I m glad I read this book and learnedabout the complicated character of Jackson Recommended for fans of history Personal Note I finished American Lion on a Friday evening while driving to Nashville, Tennessee Jackson s family home, called The Hermitage, sits just outside Nashville and I was able to visit it on a beautiful Saturday morning In the visitor center, guests can watch an introductory film about Andrew Jackson Guess who was interviewed in the film Jon Meacham After watching it, I leaned over to my traveling companion and said, That 20 minute film basically summarized the 400 page book I just read I m still glad I read it And if you re ever in Nashville, I do recommend visiting Jackson s home.Opening Passage It looked like war In his rooms on the second floor of the White House, in the flickering light of candles and oil lamps, President Andrew Jackson was furious and full of fight He had just been reelected to a second term as America s seventh president, and South Carolina was defying him He hated it, for he believed to his core that the state was about to destroy the nation For Jackson, the crisis was not only political It was personal Four hundred and fifty miles down the Atlantic seaboard from Washington, in Charleston, radicals were raising an army to defend South Carolina s right to nullify federal laws it chose not to accept the first step, Jackson believed, toward secession, and the destruction of the Union I expect to hear soon that a civil war of extermination has commenced, Jackson said, musing about arresting the Southern leaders and then hanging them


  4. says:

    Jackson was a transformative president in part because he had a transcendent personalityJon Meacham, American LionA solid history of a complicated man One of theinfluential Presidents, Jackson can and should be both praised and condemned In many ways, he epitomized our young nation Problematic, in the extreme, in regards to Native Americans and slaves, energetic, complicated, narcissistic, driven, and not to be trifled with Jackson is often revered by Presidents who want to appearJackson was a transformative president in part because he had a transcendent personalityJon Meacham, American LionA solid history of a complicated man One of theinfluential Presidents, Jackson can and should be both praised and condemned In many ways, he epitomized our young nation Problematic, in the extreme, in regards to Native Americans and slaves, energetic, complicated, narcissistic, driven, and not to be trifled with Jackson is often revered by Presidents who want to appear both populist and strong Jackson, however, is no Trump With obvious blind spots Slavery and Natives he typically acted according to an inner guide He felt our nation needed a stronger executive to protect the people from the tyranny of bureaucracy and moneyed interests He was brutal to anyone who stood in his way Meacham doesn t shy away from Jackson s failings, but also spends a bit too much time in my opinion in dealing with Jackson s family After reading a bunch of Caro, I was afraid I would be severely disappointed with Meacham like I was with the most recent Walter Isaacson book, Leonardo da Vinci It was, however, much better than I expected


  5. says:

    Not all great presidents were always good I purchased American Lion after a November 2016 visit to the Hermitage Jackson s plantation outside Nashville, Tennessee Growing up a history buff I had known a lot about Andrew Jackson, but had largely ignored him after my teenage years That 2016 visit, and the realization that it reminded me of that there is indeed nothing new under the sun , rekindled my interest As I read the book, as when I was at the Hermitage, the parallels to modern tim Not all great presidents were always good I purchased American Lion after a November 2016 visit to the Hermitage Jackson s plantation outside Nashville, Tennessee Growing up a history buff I had known a lot about Andrew Jackson, but had largely ignored him after my teenage years That 2016 visit, and the realization that it reminded me of that there is indeed nothing new under the sun , rekindled my interest As I read the book, as when I was at the Hermitage, the parallels to modern times are many That is always the case with the past It is interesting that President Trump had a portrait of Andrew Jackson installed in the Oval Office I could quote many things the one said that many would easily attribute to the other They are similar in many aspects, as are the reactions to their presidencies Both were the end of the world, according to some of their peers, and both seem to have some real strengths and some real weaknesses as people and leaders I had to grimace as I read about the issue of Indian removal during Jackson s time It was an issue he was for, and there were many voracious opponents to it, many of them who had been ardent supporters until it was Jackson s policy Then they were against it Change the issue from Indian removal to border wall, same deal I am not commenting on either policy, only on the fact that political foes changed views on it when it made good opposition.As previously mentioned, there is nothing new under the sun Politically motivated impeachment, arguments about separation of church and state and the role of religion in the body politic, issues of race being used as political cudgels, monetary policy and tariffs, populism vs the political establishment It could be today, except it is the years before and just after 1830 It is why I refuse to get bent out of shape about much Ain t none of it really new.The text focuses mainly on the years of Jackson s two terms, and there was quite a bit that I knew only on the surface level, or not at all Jackson s ugliness and bad polices get a lot of attention, Indian removal, etc But there wasto the man, there always is, and his Nullification Proclamation is a great piece of American presidential history I knew little about Delivered on Dec 10th 1832, it was Jackson s ardent defense of the Union and of a federal government and its appropriate powers It affected every major administration that followed it, and it was brilliant Jon Meacham the author says of Jackson, He was rather, the great politician of his time, if success in politics is measured by the affirmation of a majority of the people in real time, and by the shadow one casts after leaving the stage I love history, but there were times I was not fully engaged with this text The problem is not the subject matter Andrew Jackson is a good story It was the writing and presentation, something did not click for me At times Mr Meacham seems a little too fan boyish I am not sure if the text is too uncritical He does not absolve Jackson of his sins and contradictions, I just wish he had looked at them a littleThey are worth examining Andrew Jackson was an important American figure I appreciate any effort to see him in the context of his time, and I do feel that American Lion tries to accomplish that I am glad I read it.I leave off with something that Jackson said that I think is indicative of many great leaders, past and present Always take all the time to reflect that circumstances permit, but when the time for action has come, stop thinking


  6. says:

    Um, did you know Andrew Jackson was a huge badass He was also sort of a jerk And he invented the Democratic party basically Plus he was not very cool to the Native Americans.


  7. says:

    History has been ransacked to find examples of tyrants sufficiently odious to illustrate him by comparison Language has been tortured to find epithets sufficiently strong to paint him in description Imagination has been exhausted in her efforts to deck him with revolting and inhuman attributes tyrant, despot, usurper destroyer of the liberties of his country rash ignorant, imbecile endangering the public peace with all foreign nations destroying domestic prosperity at home While some History has been ransacked to find examples of tyrants sufficiently odious to illustrate him by comparison Language has been tortured to find epithets sufficiently strong to paint him in description Imagination has been exhausted in her efforts to deck him with revolting and inhuman attributes tyrant, despot, usurper destroyer of the liberties of his country rash ignorant, imbecile endangering the public peace with all foreign nations destroying domestic prosperity at home While some of you may be assuming I have quoted a contemporary political commentator, and our current political climate has certainly taken on the dizzying aspects of a three ringed circus, I am in fact quoting Thomas Hart Benton, a devoted partisan to Andrew Jackson who is describing Old Hickory s enemies, of which there was no shortage.Surprisingly, thirty years earlier, during the War of 1812, Benton was one of those enemies who got into such a fierce altercation with then General Jackson, that they tried to kill each other in a duel.Ron Meacham s excellent biography of one of our most controversial presidents does not record Jackson s life before becoming the seventh president of the United States but starts with his first years after becoming president This is perhaps a pity because those years are quite spectacular and give valuable context to how Jackson became the sort of president he was, but one will have to go to Robert Remini sthorough Life of Andrew Jackson.But we see the drama, the color, and Jackson s legacy We also see how nullification and secession was broiling in the South back in the 1830s We also are given clearer understanding as to what caused those feelings of succession Slavery was not actually on the table then since only a few Christian missionaries and abolitionists also Christian were the only outspoken opponents of slavery What the South decried was they considered to be unfair taxation of their produce This may or may not be valid, but one will have to go to another source of information because neither Meacham nor Remini provide enough to allow the reader to form a conclusion as to whether the taxes on Southern goods was fair or not.We do know, according to Meacham that Jackson made some concessions and partially lowered the tax rate but not to the satisfaction of the South, nor John C Calhoun, Jackson s former vice president.Yes, Jackson had two vice presidents because the first, Calhoun, turned on him and decided to run a bid for the presidency against him Van Buren became Jackson s second president and also the nation s succeeding president.What is one to make of Andrew Jackson We know about the Trail of Tears enforced by him His documents show that he saw clear incompatibility with the Native and American cultures but insisted that if the American Indians conformed to American society they could keep their land and stay This was a false promise The Indians that chose to stay and conform soon found themselves thrust on to the Trail to the West Certainly a blot on our history.Yet Jackson adopted an Indian boy and raised him for many years until the boy in teenage years became ill and died.Jackson was not against slavery He had slaves and he did not free them when he died But he was vehemently against secession He passionately believed in the Federation.In fact he firmly believed so much in the Federation and that as president he was the Federation The people had elected him He represented their interests and nothing was going to interfere with that He apparently did not believe that members of the House or Senate represented the people because he made a record number of executive orders, setting the ground work for later presidents.He destroyed the National Bank for this reason He believed that a private bank was corrupt and would exploit the people As the people s spokesman he acted believing that everything he did was in the American citizen s interest How he possessed this special knowledge of the will of the people he never explained and often it seemed as though he confused his personal will with the people s will As a result he had the habit of ram rodding over anyone that conflicted with his intentions.The main legacy Jackson left was the groundwork for the Democratic Party as we know it today He firmly believed it was the government s job to provide for and protect the people It was under Jackson s presidency that Texas became encouraged to join the Union Stephen F Austin pleaded with Jackson to send in troops and protect the U.S citizens living inside the Texas territory from the marauding Mexican gangs that were over running American cattle farms and General Santa Ana who was determined to make Texas a part of Mexico Jackson inexorably reminded Austin that Texas was not a part of the United States and therefore was not entitled to U.S protection The Battle of the Alamo was a pivotal moment in Texas history that led to Texas becoming a member of the United States of America.Towards the end of his life, Jackson experienced a kind of conversion He had always considered himself a Christian, although he refused to join a church because he thought the leader of the country should be religiously neutral However, there was a radical change in his attitude and beliefs towards the end of his life He joined a church and on his death bed gathered his family and slaves around them God will take of you for me He was speaking not only to his relations and the children, but to the slaves who had gathered in the room to mark the end Jackson said Do not cry I hope to meet you all in Heaven yes, all in Heaven, white and black Near death, Jackson sought comfort in the promises of the faith he had embraced in retirement My conversation is for you all, he said and then renewed his talk of the world to come Christ has no respect to color, Jackson said I am in God and God is in me As are most people, Jackson was a complicated person, but, love him or hate him, one cannot deny that he set in motion significant events that propelled us to the country as we know it today


  8. says:

    Jackson usually is praised for his vision of the presidency and commitment to the Federal Union, while simultaneously lamented for his demagoguery and racism Meacham takes these subjects on without reservation In Meacham s account, Jackson is at his very best while staring down the threat to the union posed by the Nullification Movement which arose in South Carolina and was championed by John C Calhoun, Jackson s vice president Times were different He is at his worst when orchestrating th Jackson usually is praised for his vision of the presidency and commitment to the Federal Union, while simultaneously lamented for his demagoguery and racism Meacham takes these subjects on without reservation In Meacham s account, Jackson is at his very best while staring down the threat to the union posed by the Nullification Movement which arose in South Carolina and was championed by John C Calhoun, Jackson s vice president Times were different He is at his worst when orchestrating the removal of the native american populations of Georgia and Alabama to regions west of the Mississippi River And his demogoguery blossoms into full blown megalomania when he convinces himself that he is acting in the best interests of the indians, indeed, as their protecting father even as he subjected them to the horrors of a 19th century ethnic cleansing.Meacham explores some of the effects of Jackson s populism on the quality of political discourse during his first election Taking his case to the people, particularly the roughened voters of the emerging western states, Jackson had no compunction about dispensing with lofty rhetoric in favor of a telling it like it is style that appealed to what Easterners considered the vulgar west Jackson was accused, with some justification, of manipulating the rabble in order to achieve his political goals The election was capped by a rowdy party in the White House after his inauguration Meacham s depiction of the aftermath of this celebration reminds one of the morning after a particularly drunken frat party combined with a whiskey fueled, saloon shoot em up, which did nothing to calm the fears of the establishment that the voters had elected a barbarian as president.Meacham is entertaining in his description of the petticoat wars of Jackson s first administration and the bitter fight over the national bank that dominated the early part of his second administration While not offering anything highly original on this subject as far as I can tell as a first time reader on Jackson , Meacham details how Jackson s vision of the role of the presidency was instrumental in re defining and strengthening the executive branch of government against fears, deeply seated in the pre war experience with King George, that the emergence of a strong president would undermine the American democracy Meacham keeps the psychoanalysis of Jackson to a minimum, but does occasionally explain Jackson s motivations in psychological terms For example, as an orphan, Jackson is depicted as acting to create a stable household for himself Similarly, he is described as understanding his role as President to be a father figure to the people and a bulwark against the rich and privileged To his credit, Meacham does not overdo this sort of thing, and his restraint in this regard contributes to the pleasure of reading his book, for which he won the Pulitzer Prize I might also say that this book focuses on Jackson s years in the White House, 1829 to 1836 It is a compliment to Meacham that I now want to locate a good biography describing Jackson s years before the White House One suspects those years, when Jackson fought duels, Indian wars, the Battle of New Orleans and may have committed bigamy, will make the White House years look dull as mashed potatoes in comparison But there is nothing dull about Meacham s book It is a very fine biography and an engrossing introduction to a complicated and important subject


  9. says:

    I was hoping this would be a bitcritical, but it was a hagiography of a very complicated and problematic president Meacham does not let him getaway with his treatment of the Native Americans or his slaves the latter he barely even talks about There is this assumption in the book that the territorial expansions were all good I don t think anyone would come out and say that the ends justify the means, but while Jackson is critiqued for his treatment of the natives or Mexicans inhabiting I was hoping this would be a bitcritical, but it was a hagiography of a very complicated and problematic president Meacham does not let him getaway with his treatment of the Native Americans or his slaves the latter he barely even talks about There is this assumption in the book that the territorial expansions were all good I don t think anyone would come out and say that the ends justify the means, but while Jackson is critiqued for his treatment of the natives or Mexicans inhabiting the land, ultimately he s revered for securing the land How can we separate the two Same with the expansion of slavery He kept the union together for longer, but at what cost to human lives Yes, at the time many people did not care about the lives of black slaves and native americans and we have evolved Kind of first of all, lots of people at the time knew it was wrong and said so publicly And two, why not take ouraccurate perspective now and tell the story right PREFERRED SYNOPSIS Jackson pretended to be a man of the people, but he thought only white men were people This was a convenient belief because it allowed Jackson to murder Native Americans and pillage their land and continue to promote the bondage of African Americans two of the cruelest acts of our government Jackson and his allies which included most American men in the government north and south knew this was wrong, but they caredabout power and land so they used arguments about racial inferiority and divine right to justify their cruel and self serving actions We should study the lives of men like Jackson in order to make sure we never lionize such men again and in so doing enable cruelty Note I was most interested in his bank war and there s quite a bit in here on that, but that also diminishes the stupidity of what Jackson did Reading this made me see Jackson in a newfavorable light, which I think was the point Trump is no Jackson And I grant that times were very different with regards to accepting violence and saving the union at all costs But even compared to the standards of the time, Jackson was cruel and power hungry Still, I do appreciate how tenuous the Republic was and how much it needed a brute like Jackson to hold it together


  10. says:

    When you try and tackle a subject as complicated as Andrew Jackson, and limit a book to just his presidency, it s just impossible to properly portray the man in the White House So for those who have never read Marquis James or Robert Remini s multi volume depiction of Jackson, the first 180 pages of this book read like a season story arch of a prime time soap opera The Eaton Affair was a very central topic of Jackson s first term of presidency, but to understand why it was such a central foc When you try and tackle a subject as complicated as Andrew Jackson, and limit a book to just his presidency, it s just impossible to properly portray the man in the White House So for those who have never read Marquis James or Robert Remini s multi volume depiction of Jackson, the first 180 pages of this book read like a season story arch of a prime time soap opera The Eaton Affair was a very central topic of Jackson s first term of presidency, but to understand why it was such a central focus, you need to knowabout Jackson and his hard line approach to loyalty especially to a wife and Meacham just isn t able to explain Jackson s pre White House years in just a few paragraphs I ve spoken to a couple of people about this book one of which just gave up after 100 pages and they warned me that it was very hard to get into the story And I can see why the portrayal of events makes it look like all of Washington was in a choke hold by Margaret Eaton and Emily Donelson It took me 3 weeks to slog through these pages and 3 days to read the remainder of the book.The second half of the book occurring right around the point of the Cabinet purge is muchinteresting and engaging There were a lot of really interesting Americans at that time Clay, Webster, Calhoun, Van Buren all of them somewhat in the shadow of Jackson s limelight For any Civil War buffs, Meacham s several chapters on the Nullification Crisis are well done and show clearly just how strong the state rights issues were lead by South Carolina and how Jackson s handling of the Crisis pushed back the inevitable War 30 years.If you re looking for a single volume on Jackson, Remini s concise Andrew Jackson gives a good overall picture If you are willing to invest 1000 pages to the subject pick up Marquis James Pulitzer winning two volume treatment of Jackson available also as free PDF download if you can t find it second hand


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