Avenging the People

Avenging the People

Andrew Jackson, the Rule of Law, and the American Nation

Book - 2017
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"With the passionate support of most voters and their families, Andrew Jackson broke through the protocols of the Founding generation, defying constitutional and international norms in the name of the "sovereign people." And yet Jackson's career was no less about limiting that sovereignty, imposing one kind of law over Americans so that they could inflict his sort of "justice" on non-Americans. Jackson made his name along the Carolina and Tennessee frontiers by representing merchants and creditors and serving governors and judges. At times that meant ejecting white squatters from native lands and returning blacks slaves to native planters. Jackson performed such duties in the name of federal authority and the "law of nations." Yet he also survived an undeclared war with Cherokee and Creek fighters between 1792 and 1794, raging at the Washington administration's failure to "avenge the blood" of white colonists who sometimes leaned towards the Spanish Empire rather than the United States. Even under the friendlier presidency of Thomas Jefferson, Jackson chafed at the terms of national loyalty. During the long war in the south and west from 1811 to 1818 he repeatedly brushed aside state and federal restraints on organized violence, citing his deeper obligations to the people's safety within a terrifying world of hostile empires, lurking warriors, and rebellious slaves. By 1819 white Americans knew him as their "great avenger." Drawing from recent literatures on Jackson and the early republic and also from new archival sources, Avenging the People portrays him as a peculiar kind of nationalist for a particular form of nation, a grim and principled man whose grim principles made Americans fearsome in some respects and helpless in others"-- Provided by publisher.
"Most Americans know Andrew Jackson as a frontier rebel against political and diplomatic norms, a 'populis' champion of ordinary people against the elitist legacy of the Founding Fathers. Many date the onset of American democracy to his 1829 inauguration. Despite his reverence for the 'sovereign people, ' however, Jackson spent much of his career limiting that sovereignty, imposing new and often unpopular legal regimes over American lands and markets. He made his name as a lawyer, businessman, and official along the Carolina and Tennessee frontiers, at times ejecting white squatters from native lands and returning slaves to native planters in the name of federal authority and international law. On the other hand, he waged total war on the Cherokees and Creeks who terrorized Western settlements and raged at the national statesmen who refused to 'avenge the blood' of innocent colonists. During the long war in the South and West from 1811 to 1818 he brushed aside legal restraints on holy genocide and mass retaliation, presenting himself as the only man who would protect white families from hostile empires, 'heathen' warriors, and rebellious slaves. He became a towering hero to those who saw the United States as uniquely lawful and victimized. And he used that legend to beat back a range of political, economic, and moral alternatives for the Republican future. Drawing from new evidence about Jackson and the Southern frontiers, Avenging the People boldly reinterprets the grim and principled man whose version of American nationhood continues to shape American democracy."-- Provided by publisher.
Publisher: New York, NY : Oxford University Press, [2017]
Copyright Date: ©2017
ISBN: 0199751706 hardcover
9780199751709 hardcover
Branch Call Number: B JACKSON
Characteristics: xi, 337 pages : illustrations, maps ; 25 cm

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