The Papers of Andrew Jackson
Harold D. Moser, David R. Hoth, and George H. Hoemann
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.
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
Jackson, Andrew. The Papers of Andrew Jackson: Volume V, 1821-1824. Edited by Harold D. Moser, David R. Hoth, and George H. Hoemann. Knoxville: University of Tennessee Press, 1996.