This volume presents full annotated text of five hundred documents from Andrew Jackson’s fifth presidential year. They include his private memoranda, intimate family letters, presidential message drafts, and correspondence with government and military officers, diplomats, Indian leaders, political friends and foes, and citizens throughout the country.
The year 1833 began with a crisis in South Carolina, where a state convention had declared the federal tariff law null and void and pledged resistance by armed force if necessary. Jackson countered by rallying public opinion against the nullifiers, quietly positioning troops and warships, and procuring a “force bill” from Congress to compel collection of customs duties. The episode ended peaceably after South Carolina accepted a compromise tariff devised by Jackson’s arch-rival Henry Clay. But Clay’s surprise cooperation with South Carolina’s John C. Calhoun foretold a new opposition coalition against Jackson.
With nullification checked, Jackson embarked in June on a triumphal tour to cement his newfound popularity in the North. Ecstatic crowds greeted him in Philadelphia, New York, and Boston, and Harvard awarded him a degree. But Jackson’s fragile health broke under the strain, forcing him to cut the tour short.
Meanwhile Jackson pursued his campaign against the Bank of the United States, whose recharter he had vetoed in 1832. Charging the Bank with political meddling and corruption, Jackson determined to cripple it by removing federal deposits to state banks. But Treasury secretary William John Duane refused either to give the necessary order or resign. In September Jackson dismissed him and installed Roger Taney to implement the removal. Jackson’s bold assumption of authority energized supporters but outraged opponents, prompting Clay to introduce a Senate resolution of censure.
The year closed with Jackson girding for further battle over the Bank, pursuing schemes to pry the province of Texas loose from Mexico, and trying to stem rampant land frauds that his own Indian removal policy had unleashed against Creek Indians in Alabama. Unfolding these stories and many more, this volume offers an incomparable window into Andrew Jackson, his presidency, and America itself in 1833.
This volume presents more than four hundred documents from Andrew Jackson’s fourth presidential year. It includes private memoranda, intimate family letters, drafts of official messages, and correspondence with government and military officers, diplomats, Indians, political friends and foes, and ordinary citizens throughout the country. The year 1832 began with Jackson still pursuing his feud with Vice President John C. Calhoun, whom Jackson accused of secretly siding against him in the 1818 controversy over Jackson’s Seminole campaign in Florida. The episode ended embarrassingly for Jackson when a key witness, called on to prove his charges, instead directly contradicted them.
Indian removal remained a preoccupation for Jackson. The Choctaws began emigrating westward, the Creeks and Chickasaws signed but then immediately protested removal treaties, and the Cherokees won what proved to be an empty victory against removal in the Supreme Court. Illinois Indians mounted armed resistance in the Black Hawk War. In midsummer, a cholera epidemic swept the country, and Jackson was urged to proclaim a day of fasting and prayer. He refused, saying it would intermingle church and state.
A bill to recharter the Bank of the United States passed Congress in July, and Jackson vetoed it with a ringing message that became the signature document of his presidency. In November, Jackson, with new running mate Martin Van Buren, won triumphant reelection over Henry Clay. But only days later, South Carolina nullified the federal tariff law and began preparing for armed resistance. Jackson answered with an official proclamation that “disunion by armed force is treason.” The year closed with Jackson immersed in plans to suppress nullification and destroy the Bank of the United States. Embracing all these stories and many more, this volume offers an incomparable window into Andrew Jackson, his presidency, and America itself in 1832.
This volume presents more than five hundred original documents, many newly discovered, from Andrew Jackson’s third presidential year. They include Jackson’s private memoranda, intimate family letters, and correspondence with government and military officers, diplomats, Indians, political friends and foes, and ordinary citizens throughout the country.
In 1831 Jackson finally cleared his contentious Cabinet, reluctantly accepting the resignations of Martin Van Buren and John Eaton and demanding that the other members follow. But in the aftermath, animosities among them boiled over, as Eaton sought duels with outgoing secretaries Samuel Ingham and John Berrien. The affair ended with gangs of armed high-government officers stalking each other in the Washington streets, and with Ingham publicly accusing Jackson of countenancing a plot to assassinate him.
Meanwhile, Jackson pursued his feud with Vice-President John C. Calhoun, whom he had come to view as the diabolical manipulator of all his enemies. Enlisting a favorite Supreme Court justice to gather evidence, Jackson crafted an exposition, intended for publication, that leveled nearly fantastic charges against Calhoun and others.
Through all this, the business of government ploughed on. Jackson pursued his drive to remove the Cherokees and other Indians west of the Mississippi and to undercut tribal leaders who dared resist. To squelch sectional controversy, Jackson moved to retire the national debt and reduce the tariff, while reiterating his ban on nullification and his opposition to the Bank of the United States. Nat Turner’s Virginia slave revolt in August drew a quick administration response. By year’s end, the dust over the Cabinet implosion was settling, as Jackson prepared to stand for reelection against his old nemesis Henry Clay.
Embracing all these stories and many more, this volume offers an incomparable window not only into Andrew Jackson and his presidency but into America itself in 1831.
This eighth volume of Andrew Jackson’s papers presents more than five hundred documents, many appearing here for the first time, from a core year in Jackson’s tumultuous presidency. They include Jackson’s handwritten drafts of his presidential messages, private notes and memoranda, and correspondence with government officials, Army and Navy officers, friends and family, Indian leaders, foreign diplomats, and ordinary citizens throughout the country.
In 1830 Jackson pursued his controversial Indian removal policy, concluding treaties to compel the Choctaws and Chickasaws west of theMississippi and refusing protection for the Cherokees against encroachments by Georgia. Jackson nurtured his opposition to the Bank of the United States and entered into an escalating confrontation with the Senate over presidential appointments to office. In April, Jackson pronounced his ban on nullification with the famous toast to “Our Federal Union,” and in May he began an explosive quarrel with Vice-President John C. Calhoun over the latter’s conduct as secretary of war during Jackson’s Seminole campaign of 1818. Also in May,Jackson delivered his first presidential veto, stopping federal funding for the Maysville Road and declaring opposition to Henry Clay’s “American System.” In July, Jackson’s refusal to use his pardoning power to save an Irish-born mail robber from the gallows provoked a near-riot in Philadelphia. By the end of the year, Jackson was preparing for his reelection campaign in 1832. Meanwhile the sex scandal surrounding Peggy Eaton, wife of the secretary of war, lurked throughout, dividing Jackson’s cabinet, sundering his own family and household, and threatening to wreck the administration.
Embracing all these stories and many more, this volume offers an incomparable window not only into Andrew Jackson and his presidency but into 1830s America itself.
With this seventh volume, The Papers of Andrew Jackson enters the heart of Jackson’s career: his tumultuous two terms as President of the United States. The year 1829 began with Jackson fresh from a triumphant victory over incumbent John Quincy Adams in the 1828 campaign, yet mourning the sudden death of his beloved wife, Rachel. In January, having hired an overseer for his Hermitage plantation and arranged for Rachel’s tomb, he left Tennessee for Washington.
Jackson assumed the presidency with two objectives already fixed in mind: purging the federal bureaucracy of recreant officeholders and removing the southern Indian tribes westward beyond state authority. By year’s end he had added two more: purchasing Texas and destroying the Bank of the United States. But while in vigorous pursuit of these, he found himself diverted, and nearly consumed, by the notorious Peggy Eaton affair—a burgeoning scandal which pitted the president, his Secretary of War John Eaton, and the latter’s vivacious wife against the Washington guardians of feminine propriety.
This first presidential volume reveals all these stories, and many more, in a depth never seen before. It presents full texts of more than four hundred documents, most printed here for the first time. Gathered from a vast array of libraries, archives, and individual owners, they include Jackson’s intimate exchanges with family and friends, his private notes and musings, and the formative drafts of his public addresses. Administrative papers range from presidential pardons to military promotions to plans for discharging the public debt. They exhibit Jackson’s daily conduct of the executive office in close and sometimes startling detail, and cast new light on such controversial matters as Indian removal and the distribution of political patronage. Included also are letters to the president from people in every corner of the country and every walk of life: Indian delegations presenting grievances, distraught mothers pleading help for wayward sons, aged veterans begging pensions, politicians offering advice and seeking jobs. Embracing a broad spectrum of actors and events, this volume offers an incomparable window not only into Andrew Jackson and his presidency, but into America itself in 1829.
This sixth volume of The Papers of Andrew Jackson documents the election on Andrew Jackson, the first westerner and the last veteran of the American Revolution, to the presidency.
The four years of this volume chronicle the presidential campaign of 1828. Jackson, winner of the popular vote in 1824 but loser of the election, was once again the reluctant candidate, called into service by the voice of the voters. The campaign, one of the longest in American history, pitted Jackson against the incumbent John Quincy Adams; it was also one of the dirtiest campaigns in American history.
The brunt of the mudslinging was aimed at Jackson, and it is covered in detail in this volume. Every aspect of the public and private life of the fifty-eight-year-old former major general in the United States Army came under scrutiny, and in both his opponents found him deficient. According to his detractors, he lacked the moral principles, the temperament, the education, and the family background requisite for a president of the United States. In sum, Jackson resembled the “devil incarnate,” to use his own words. The mudslinging left Jackson livid, anxious for retribution but constrained by the cause in which he was engaged. The presidential campaign of 1828, in the minds of Jackson and his supporters, was for the cause of truth and democracy against corrupt, self-seeking politicians, an aristocracy of power built upon bargains and dubious political alliances dedicated to its perpetuation in office.
The four years covered in this volume were some of the most trying in Jackson’s life, but the one event that hurt Jackson the most was the death of his wife. Until his dying day, Jackson contended that her death had been hastened by the slanders of his opponents in the campaign. As great as the loss was for him personally, Jackson nonetheless rejoiced in the results of the election for, in his eyes, the voice of the people had finally been heard. Liberty, not power, had triumphed. Reform was at hand, and retribution would surely follow.
Harold D. Moser, former editor of the Correspondence Series, Papers of Daniel Webster, Dartmouth College, is Research Professor in the College of Arts and Sciences and the University of Tennessee, Knoxville.
J. Clint Clift is Assistant Editor with the Jackson Papers.
Wyatt C. Wells is currently Associate Professor at the University of Alabama at Montgomery.
This fifth volume of The Papers of Andrew Jackson documents Jackson’s retirement from the military in 1821 and his emergence as the leading presidential candidate in 1824, winning a plurality of popular and electoral votes over John Quincy Adams, Henry Clay, William H. Crawford, and John C. Calhoun. In the interim, he served a troublesome few months as governor of Florida and thereafter enjoyed a brief retirement at the Hermitage before the Tennessee legislature called him again into service as United States senator.
The tension between Jackson’s longing for retirement and his dedication to public service forms the main theme of this volume. In Jackson’s correspondence during these four years, there are many examples of the rhetorical trademarks of Jacksonian democracy—an almost mystical confidence in the virtue of the common people and a fear of any entrenched elite. Jackson came to view himself as the instrument of a grassroots movement to purify American politics of the corruption of political intrigue and private ambition. As he saw it, his victory would restore the design of the founding fathers, a government reflecting the will of the voters and accountable at all times to the public.
Jackson became a presidential candidate not because he sought the office but because the voters called him to public service. It was a call to root out the corruption that had become rampant in Washington, an evil characterized by scrambling for office rather than concern for the country’s good. At the center of the corruption, in Jackson’s view, was Treasury Secretary William H. Crawford, who would use the congressional caucus and patronage to obtain the presidency in defiance of the will of the people. Once Jackson answered the call, a groundswell of popular support transformed him from a favorite son of Tennessee into the top contender, whose chief goal was to defeat Crawford and to restore thereby the majority will.
The fourth volume of The Papers of Andrew Jackson, covering the five-year period from 1816 through 1820, documents Jackson’s role as a major general in the United States Army during James Monroe’s first term as president. Already in his early fifties, the Hero of New Orleans had served his country for more than thirty years and, as he repeatedly professed, longed to leave public life.
In general, the two themes of service and honor dominated Jackson’s career and actions and precluded retirement. As the documents reveal, Jackson’s military duties mainly involved establishing and keeping the peace between Indians and whites and protecting the peace won at New Orleans. In fostering domestic peace, Jackson as Indian treaty negotiator secured for the United States millions of acres of Indian land on the southern and western frontiers, forcing the Indians westward and opening the fertile lands for white settlement. Security of the Gulf Coast against foreign invasion remained foremost in Jackson’s mind during these years, and to ward off any foreign threats, Jackson oversaw topographical surveys of the Gulf Coast and the construction of a string of fortifications along the frontier. Jackson’s preoccupation with Gulf Coast security led to one of the most important, and one of the most controversial, decisions of his long career: the invasion of Florida in 1818.
Jackson’s service to his country during these years was distinguished, though not without controversy. Among other questionable actions and a nearly endless array of quarrels, his invasion of Pensacola saddled him with baggage that he never lost. For one faction, the Pensacola affair offered irrefutable proof that he was the “savior” of his country; for another, it was merely additional evidence that he was a “military chieftain.” From mid-1818 through 1820, Jackson’s actions as major general became a chief topic of politics in Washington. To the assaults on his character and honor, Jackson responded with a dogged determination to remain at his post so long as there was any hint of tarnish to his name and reputation.
This third volume of The Papers of Andrew Jackson documents Jackson’s rise to national prominence through his military leadership in the War of 1812. With the spread of news of his victory over the British forces at New Orleans on January 8, 1815, he became a national hero. Not since George Washington had anyone so captured the heart and imagination of the American people.
Covering two years, 1814-1815, the documents of this volume chronicle Jackson’s roles as Creek Indian fighter, United States army commander, and Indian treaty negotiator, first as one of two major generals in the Tennessee militia, later as commander of the 7th Military District, and, after mid-1815, as one of two major generals in the United States Army and commander of the Southern Division.
The commanding officer that emerges is one supremely devoted to duty, honor, and country, but one whose ability to meet his obligations was hampered by short terms of enlistment, desertions, inadequate supplies and munitions, and occasionally government neglect. Jackson’s intense commitment to his military tasks, especially his decisions to invade Pensacola in the fall of 1814 and to continue martial law in New Orleans in the spring of 1815 after the British withdrawal, caused some concern for Washington. That uneasiness was shortlived, however, and in no way demeaned his military achievements during the Gulf campaign or impeached his reputation.
Jackson’s military obligations during these years dictated a sacrifice of the joys of family and the comforts of home. Yet, the documents reveal a loving and loyal family man, always eager to reunite with the wife and the son he had left at the Hermitage. But the Hermitage Jackson returned to in 1815 was not the same he had left in 1814, nor was he the same man. The farm had suffered neglect in his absence and he was short of cash. Jackson was no longer a regional figure, able to enjoy the peace and quiet of his farm and family. He had become perhaps the most popular man in the country, and his actions in these two years would be subjected to intense scrutiny as he became a leading presidential contender.
This second volume of The Papers of Andrew Jackson traces the career of the future president as he emerged from local prominence to national fame. Between the years 1804 and 1814, Jackson found the career that satisfied him best: military leadership. He abandoned the bench and bar, admitted failure as a general merchant, and turned entirely to farming for his livelihood, breeding and racing horses as a diverting sideline. The accident of war with Great Britain furnished the opportunity to use the military skills he had been unable to test as major general of the West Tennessee militia. In the field he quickly established himself as an uncommonly bold and imaginative organizer of men and resources. By the end of 1813 his talents had earned a degree of admiration from Washington to New Orleans.
But these were troubled years for Jackson personally. He struggled to establish a sound financial base for his family and was disappointed in his efforts to secure political appointment. Once an admired leader of Nashville life, he found himself nearly ostracized as a result of killing Charles Dickinson in a duel and unwisely associating with Aaron Burr in his western adventure. Numerous quarrels with others exacerbated the situation, until a despondent Jackson several times considered selling out and starting life in the newly opened territory of the Southwest. The counsel of friends kept him in Tennessee, and the war allowed him to salvage his reputation.
Offsetting the frequent failures of his public life was the unbroken loyalty of his family and friends. The Jacksons’ new home, the Hermitage, was enlivened by the addition of an adopted son; the multitude of Rachel’s relatives furnished a society in themselves; new friends like John Coffee and William B. Lewis joined the old friends, including John and Thomas Overton, James Robertson, and James Winchester, in supplying Jackson with counsel and affectionate friendship.
At the end of 1813, Jackson was encamped deep within the Creek Nation, calling for men and supplies to follow up his initial quick victories over the Indians. He was not yet the Hero of New Orleans. Neither was he any longer the obscure Tennessee merchant whose correspondence opens this volume.
Andrew Jackson, seventh president of the United States, is an American folk hero. His strong personality and natural gift for leadership contributed to his wide influence throughout his lifetime. Jackson was known to be quarrelsome, honest, loyal, and self-willed, and the examination of his early years as documented in this volume provides insight into his career before he became a military and national hero.
During these years Jackson developed into a local and statewide leader of importance. His career as an attorney prospered and he became successively a member of the Tennessee Constitutional Convention, the first congressman from Tennessee, and a member of the United States Senate. He also served as one of the three members of the state superior court. Besides an active public life, Jackson owned and managed general stores with a succession of partners, raced horses for substantial stakes, operated a large farm with slave labor, and engaged in trade and commerce with the Natchez and New Orleans areas. The documents in Volume I chronicle Jackson’s growing influence spanning the years to 1803.
This volume contains not only letters to and from Jackson, but documents that relate to him and are important in a variety of ways to our knowledge of him. Represented are samples of slave and land sale records, land appraisals, and receipts from his farm near Nashville. Jackson’s early years in Washington are recorded in petitions, licenses and commissions, election returns, court appointments, speeches, and legislative reports. Jackson’s financial transactions are also included, as are powers of attorney.
George Washington, John Adams, William Polk, and Thomas Jefferson are among the many who wrote to Jackson and received letters from him long before his rise to national prominence. Their letters, as well as exchanges between Jackson and Tennessee statesmen William Blount and John Sevier, his wife Rachel, and the countless neighbors and friends with whom he associated, shed light on Jackson’s temperament and priorities in a variety of situations. The editors have included only brief annotations, allowing the documents to speak for themselves. An appendix includes important information previously unavailable.
During the years to 1803, Jackson demonstrated substantial entrepreneurial talent and a remarkable degree of resourcefulness, qualities that stood him in good stead throughout his career. This first volume of a landmark series clearly reveals the character, personality, and abilities that were to make Jackson a major force in American political history.
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