Andrew Jackson (1829-1837)


This is Volume Two of Remini’s work. For discussion of Volume One follow this link ->

Book: Andrew Jackson: The Course of American Freedom, 1822-1832 Volume 2

Author: Robert V. Remini

1. Date- Appearing four years after the completion of Volume One, the second Volume of this epic tome centers on the corruption and denigration of government of the 1820s. The narrative harps on corruption almost throughout the work, frequently using it as a contrast to the reform-minded movement that accompanied the Age of Jackson. It is surely no coincidence that this was the angle chosen by a post-Watergate biography sullied by a brush with national crisis. The date of this volume is crucial to understanding the mindset and approach to the Presidential position as one prone to corruption, shady behavior and the subversion of popular will. Remini may not even notice the constant focus on corruption but this work is truly a product of the nation’s malaise and a reader must be prepared for that state of mind to appreciate the statement Remini is making. This does not mean the work is not modern. It is. However, the full power of the message may not hit on someone not well versed on Nixon and what his revealed corruption said about the government. In 1981 the statement is profound, in the 2010s it is merely a scary thought.

Grade: B

2. Scope- While the first volume described an early Jackson up until his middle aged years, this volume’s scope covers the pinnacle of Jackson’s growth. Specially, the time period of 1822-1832 encompasses as Jackson’s meteoric rise that starts in Tennessee concludes in the Presidential chair. Centering on this crucial decade of mostly 1820s politics until the bank fight of 1832, brings the scope much more focused than the previous work. As the middle volume in the trilogy the scope does a good job of bridging the gap between the political novice fresh from military fame to a grand statesman ushering in an emerging America. In order for the effect of Jackson to be truly felt, the biographical nature of Jackson needs a context of the times which Remini does pretty darn well. As a middle volume the scope brings along the narrative but also clarifies the themes from the earlier volume.

Grade: A-

3. Author- For a discussion on Remini, reference the entry from Volume One.

Grade: N/A

4. Length- This middle volume is the shortest of the three, clocking in just over 500 pages. However, the similar length is misleading. Volume two is much more independent than volume one, almost functioning as its own work on the rise of Jackson and the nation that facilitated his capstone of growth. The length of the work here slows down the narrative in juxtaposition of the rapid pace of Volume One. Where the two works are almost identical in length, this work covers 40 fewer years of Jackson’s life centering on just ten years. Vol. 1 (1767-1821) and Vol. 3 (1833-1845) exceed the middle work by a considerable amount. For someone attempting the Project at a quicker pace there are certainly more serviceable one volume works that cover this period, but in no other effort will the rise of Jackson be covered more succinctly than in this work.

Grade: A

5. Mission- Remini named this volume “The Course of American Freedom” to try to show Jackson as the statesman that identified America as corrupt and attempted to free the disenfranchised. “Freedom” here is also meant to be ironic as the hero of Freedom removed Indians and had slaves toil his plantation. The term “freedom” is on historical terms and greatly at odds at what would manifest freedom in the modern world. Quite the contrary, the image of Jackson as a liberator is shown in the background of expanding suffrage, assaults on the monied elite and the general propensity that the President represented the people at large. Envoking freedom also accomplishes the mission of Remini to show an emboldened America far at odds with the hobbled nation after the War of 1812. As a volume that not only introduces the reader to an ascendant Jackson, it satisfies its mission to identify it with the rise of 19th Century America. For his contemporaries, Jackson championed freedom at a level and intensity previously thought unthinkable.

Grade: A-

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