Doctoral Dissertations

Date of Award


Degree Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy



Major Professor

Daniel Feller

Committee Members

Robert J. Norrell, Luke E. Harlow, Sharon Ann Murphy


This dissertation examines the nature of Jacksonian class politics through a study of Tennessee from 1768 to 1830. White Tennesseans, including Andrew Jackson himself, embraced commercial development, material improvement, and market transactions, despite political rhetoric that praised agricultural independence and denounced monied corruption. Opposition to banks and internal improvements usually emerged from political rivalries, not ideology. Economic downturns, such as the Panic of 1819, produced temporary reactions against the market economy. When Andrew Jackson was elected President of the United States in 1828, no popular discontent existed against money and commerce generally, or against the Bank of the United States in particular. Jackson himself initiated the Bank War for political and personal, not economic, reasons.


A modified version of this chapter appears as an article entitled “Unifiers, Concentrators, and Scoundrels: Tennessee Democracy and Its Banking Aristocracies, 1807-1817,” in The Journal of East Tennessee History 90 (2018): 40-59. I thank the journal’s editor, Aaron D. Purcell, for his insightful comments and criticism.

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