The Papers of Andrew Jackson


Andrew Jackson


Harold D. Moser, David R. Hoth, and George H. Hoemann



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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.



Publication Date



University of Tennessee Press




Jackson, Andrew, 1767-1845, Presidents--United States--Correspondence, Presidents, United States--Politics and government--1829-1837, United States, Records and correspondence, Electronic books


History | Political Science

The Papers of Andrew Jackson: Volume IV, 1816-1820