THE AGE OF JACKSON by Arthur M. Schlesinger


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The whole panorama of converting the Jeffersonian myth and the Jacksonian action into a formulated Democratic Party, its rise and decline, includes not only Andrew Jackson, but carries through the Civil War and the dislocation of party lines, so that the Republicanism of Lincoln incorporated the elements of the Jacksonian ideals, and party names had become largely tag lines. Jefferson's successors went from compromise to surrender and the 1820's were a decade of discontent, relief, inflation, labor unrest; then came Jackson, and the average citizen lifted his faith again. Schlesinger gives a vigorous picture of him, contradicting many others, shows him intelligent in judgment rather than analysis, politically inexperienced, trusting to Van Buren to furnish the mechanism for transforming popularity into power. The men around him -- Van Buren, Calhoun and the Kitchen Cabinet, Benton, Tanoy, Kendall, Blair; his opponents, Biddle, Clay, Webster; the Bank War and its far-reaching effects; the plight of the farmers. New York, New England, Pennsylvania, the South -- and the various facets of support and opposition -- a mirror held up to the country. And then the repercussions in subsequent administrations, with more space accorded Van Buren, the panic, hard money at stake, and the beginnings of recognition of the dilemma of the South. Jackson had accomplished a revolution in political values; his successors retained some, dissipated other phases. New figures came to the fore-Seward, Greeley, Brownson. And gradually, to stage a comeback, the Whigs were forced to take over the mantle of the people's party. A thoughtful and scholarly book, substantially documented, but not for popular reading.
Pub Date: Sept. 13th, 1945
ISBN: 0316773433
Publisher: Little, Brown
Review Posted Online:
Kirkus Reviews Issue: Sept. 1st, 1945


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