The Papers of Andrew Jackson
Harold D. Moser and Sharon Macpherson
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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.
University of Tennessee Press
United StatesPolitics and government-1829-1837, Presidents-United States-Correspondence
United States History
The Papers of Andrew Jackson, V. II, 1804-1813. Ed. Harold D. Moser and Sharon Macpherson. Knoxville: University of Tennessee Press, 1984.