ANDREW JACKSON AND THE COURSE OF AMERICAN EMPIRE, 1767-1821 by Robert V. Remini
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ANDREW JACKSON AND THE COURSE OF AMERICAN EMPIRE, 1767-1821

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KIRKUS REVIEW

The combination of title and author may suggest that a practiced Jackson scholar has wrung a few more drops of blood from the craggy General as an academic addendum. But this is an original and arousing segment of a projected biographical series that could become the Jackson source. Facing a huge batch of new documentary material, Remini concluded that Jackson's pre-Presidential years made a giant step toward netting the US ""an empire. . . a veritable kingdom. The Cotton Kingdom."" Old Hickory's military success but also his 18131820 treaty negotiations with the Indians and the Spanish consolidated the Lower South as plantation turf. And, though Remini still upholds Jackson as defender of ""the weak against the powerful,"" the book describes Jackson as door-opener for an expanded slaveocracy he never condemned and indeed personally participated in. Recording that Jackson was widely viewed as a mere land-grabber during this period, Remini also states more flatly than other Jackson chroniclers that the future chief executive was involved in Aaron Burr's scheme to give Europe a free hand in the trans-Appalachian and Central American regions. Here Reining suggests the ambiguous nature of Jackson's empire-building without resolving it. Nor, in his other chief documentary focus, does he resolve the legal status of Jackson's much-maligned marriage: he concludes that it was morally bona fide, showing Rachel Jackson as quite a provincial prig. Such is the abundance of the book that this issue, along with Remini's fine reconstruction of the Jackson victory at New Orleans, represent mere highlights of a newly dimensioned sweep. What will Remini discover next, one wonders: the sign of a first-rate work.

Pub Date: Nov. 30th, 1977
Publisher: Harper & Row