The best books that explain Andrew Jackson

Mark R. Cheathem Author Of Andrew Jackson, Southerner
By Mark R. Cheathem

Who am I?

I became interested in Andrew Jackson as an undergraduate student who worked at his Nashville plantation, The Hermitage. Nearly thirty years later, I am still fascinated by Old Hickory. We wouldn’t be friends, and I wouldn’t vote for him, but I consider him essential to understanding the United States’ development between his ascension as a national hero during the War of 1812 and his death in 1845. That we still argue about Jackson’s role as a symbol both of patriotism and of genocide speaks to his enduring significance to the national conversation about what the United States has represented and continues to represent.  


I wrote...

Andrew Jackson, Southerner

By Mark R. Cheathem,

Book cover of Andrew Jackson, Southerner

What is my book about?

Many Americans view Andrew Jackson as a frontiersman who fought duels, killed Indians, and stole another man's wife. Historians have traditionally presented Jackson as a man who struggled to overcome the obstacles of his backwoods upbringing and helped create a more democratic United States. In his compelling new biography of Jackson, Mark R. Cheathem argues for a reassessment of these long-held views, suggesting that in fact "Old Hickory" lived as an elite southern gentleman.

By emphasizing Jackson's southern identity—characterized by violence, honor, kinship, slavery, and Manifest DestinyCheathem's narrative offers a bold new perspective on one of the nineteenth century's most renowned and controversial presidents.

The books I picked & why

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Young Hickory: The Making of Andrew Jackson

By Hendrik Booraem,

Book cover of Young Hickory: The Making of Andrew Jackson

Why this book?

Instead of depicting Jackson as a western frontiersman—an interpretation that is no longer tenable given existing scholarship—Booraem situates Jackson within the geographical context of the Carolinas, where he was born and raised. He also destroys many of the myths about Jackson’s childhood, some of which continue to circulate among serious historians even today. No one has done a better job of tracing Jackson’s roots.

Young Hickory: The Making of Andrew Jackson

By Hendrik Booraem,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked Young Hickory as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

Drawing on dozens of new sources, celebrated historical biographer Hendrik Booraem illuminates the adventurous, fighting life of the father of the Democratic party. Beginning with the dramatic story of the Jackson-Crawford clan's immigration from Ireland and culminating with Jackson's entrance into the legal world, Young Hickory brings Andrew Jackson into sharp focus by examining the events that made him.

Andrew Jackson

By Robert V. Remini,

Book cover of Andrew Jackson

Why this book?

There is no question that Remini had a gift for writing, even if he frequently sacrificed analysis for narrative and was often too laudatory of Old Hickory. His multi-volume biography is still considered the standard against which other Jackson biographies are measured, and his influence can even be seen in works by non-historians, such as Jon Meacham’s Pulitzer Prize-winning American Lion: Andrew Jackson in the White House.

Andrew Jackson

By Robert V. Remini,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked Andrew Jackson as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.


What Hath God Wrought: The Transformation of America, 1815-1848

By Daniel Walker Howe,

Book cover of What Hath God Wrought: The Transformation of America, 1815-1848

Why this book?

A number of books explain the world in which Jackson came to national recognition, but Howe’s provides a decidedly critical view of Old Hickory and his politics. He is clearly sympathetic to the Whigs, opponents of Jackson and his Democratic party; nevertheless, Howe’s book is a good starting point for a broader perspective on Jacksonian America.

What Hath God Wrought: The Transformation of America, 1815-1848

By Daniel Walker Howe,

Why should I read it?

2 authors picked What Hath God Wrought as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

The Oxford History of the United States is by far the most respected multi-volume history of our nation. In this prize-winning, critically acclaimed addition to the series, historian Daniel Walker Howe illuminates the period from the battle of New Orleans to the end of the Mexican-American War, an era when the United States expanded to the Pacific and won control over the richest part of the North American continent. Howe's panoramic narrative portrays revolutionary
improvements in transportation and communications that accelerated the extension of the American empire. Railroads, canals, newspapers, and the telegraph dramatically lowered travel times and spurred the…

Vindicating Andrew Jackson: The 1828 Election and the Rise of the Two-Party System

By Donald B. Cole,

Book cover of Vindicating Andrew Jackson: The 1828 Election and the Rise of the Two-Party System

Why this book?

Cole is an underappreciated historian of the Jacksonian era. Unlike Remini’s classic overview of the 1828 presidential election, which is long on narrative and short on critical analysis, Cole provides a more in-depth examination of one of the dirtiest campaigns in U.S. history. It is the go-to book if you want to understand the inner workings of how Jackson was elected.  

Vindicating Andrew Jackson: The 1828 Election and the Rise of the Two-Party System

By Donald B. Cole,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked Vindicating Andrew Jackson as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

The presidential election of 1828 is one of the most compelling stories in American history: Andrew Jackson, hero of the Battle of New Orleans and man of the people, bounced back from his controversial loss four years earlier to unseat John Quincy Adams in a campaign notorious for its mudslinging. With his victory, the torch was effectively passed from the founding fathers to the people. This study of Jackson's election separates myth from reality to explain why it had such an impact on present-day American politics. Featuring parades and public participation to a greater degree than had previously been seen,…

Indians in the Family: Adoption and the Politics of Antebellum Expansion

By Dawn Peterson,

Book cover of Indians in the Family: Adoption and the Politics of Antebellum Expansion

Why this book?

When I give talks about Jackson, audience members often bring up his “adoption” of Lyncoya, a Creek Indian boy, as an argument against his racist and violent treatment of Native Americans. Peterson delves into that episode, and similar events in the lives of Jackson and men like him, to explain what elite white “adoption” of Native children actually meant and how it reflected larger national themes of acquisition and subjugation. 

Indians in the Family: Adoption and the Politics of Antebellum Expansion

By Dawn Peterson,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked Indians in the Family as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

During his invasion of Creek Indian territory in 1813, future U.S. president Andrew Jackson discovered a Creek infant orphaned by his troops. Moved by an "unusual sympathy," Jackson sent the child to be adopted into his Tennessee plantation household. Through the stories of nearly a dozen white adopters, adopted Indian children, and their Native parents, Dawn Peterson opens a window onto the forgotten history of adoption in early nineteenth-century America. Indians in the Family shows the important role that adoption played in efforts to subdue Native peoples in the name of nation-building.

As the United States aggressively expanded into Indian…


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