247. The People’s President

(I hope the original author doesn’t mind my re-publication of his thoughts. I have a soft spot for other geezers who see echoes of the past in our current behaviors.)

A Writing Life

220px-battle_of_new_orleansSince my dad’s younger brother was named Andrew Jackson Logsdon, you might guess that Andrew Jackson was well thought of in my family. He is well thought of by most Americans as the first people’s president, a man who went to Washington, overthrew the elites, and returned the country to its democratic roots. A champion of the common man.

I disagree.

As a person trained in both anthropology and history, I have to declare my biases. Jackson was an important president, with much to his credit. I grant that. But he was also the leader of a successful movement to drive out the legal residents who were owners of vast tracts of land throughout the South, to make way for his white followers.

By the way, I plan to use the word Indian. It’s a description, not an insult, and it is the word that was used in the 1800’s. When…

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11 responses to “247. The People’s President

  1. No, Mikey, I don’t mind the republication at all. I would resent geezer if it weren’t so damned accurate. SL

  2. Carolyn Koppel

    Thanks for posting this!

  3. One thing about Jackson is what I find is the utter inability to characterize him.

    A poverty-stricken childhood but rise to Southern Gentleman. A hard-assed temper but an adoring husband. The craftsman behind the Trail of Tears and a doting father of an adopted Indian orphan.

    In that sense, he is like anybody. Everybody. A tale of contrasts where, if called upon to make a quick assessment, real justice cannot be given.

    He was either a true madman or the most genuine individual to be President. Probably both.

    • Jackson also drank too much, never brushed his teeth, and had terrible b.o. which repelled the more genteel members of society who had to deal with him because of his high office.

      As you say, hard to characterize people from long ago fully. We don’t value the same way of living as they did.

    • Carolyn Koppel

      Don’t forget Rachel in the White House. Sitting on an outside rocking chair,smoking her corn cob pipe…Not exactly Jackie O. or Michelle.

  4. We thought they might get him off the twenty dollar bill, and replace him with Madison from the 5000$ bill, or John Marshall, who told him he could not remove the Cherokee, or Saint Martin Luther King Jr. Harriet Taubman, too, would look like the Statue of Liberty.

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