Episode 034: Mark R. Cheathem, Andrew Jackson, Southerner

Andrew Jackson Southerner

The Hero of New Orleans.

Old Hickory.


President of the United States.

Andrew Jackson held and embodied all of these titles and nicknames.

During his lifetime, Jackson served as one of the most popular presidents and yet, today we remember him as a controversial figure given his views on slavery, Native Americans, and banks.

Mark R. Cheathem, professor of history at Cumberland University and author of Andrew Jackson, Southerner, leads us on an exploration of the life and times of Andrew Jackson.

About the Show

Ben Franklin’s World is a podcast about early American history.

It is a show for people who love history and for those who want to know more about the historical people and events that have impacted and shaped our present-day world.

Each episode features a conversation with an historian who helps us shed light on important people and events in early American history.

Episode Summary

cheathem-headshot-hermitage_essaryIn this episode, Mark R. Cheathem, professor of history at Cumberland University and author of Andrew Jackson, Southerner, leads us on an exploration of the life and times of Andrew Jackson.

During his own time, as well as in our own, Andrew Jackson seemed larger than life. Many myths and tall tales developed as a result.

Mark helps us separate myth from reality by revealing why we need to understand Jackson as a southerner before we can understand him as a president; How Jackson rose from the son of poor, backcountry settlers in the Waxhaw region of South Carolina to become President of the United States; And, information about the three big issues that Andrew Jackson faced as president: the Nullification crisis, Indian Removal, and the Second Bank of the United States.


What You’ll Discover

  • Mark’s interest in conspiracy theories and his favorite theory
  • The 5 characteristics that made up a southern identity during the lifetime of Andrew Jackson (1767-1845)
  • Location of and information about the Waxhaw region in South Carolina, birthplace of Andrew Jackson
Andrew Jackson’s rags-to-riches story; how Jackson became wealthy and successful
  • How Jackson used kinship and social networks to rise through the social and political ranks
  • Jackson’s transition from lawyer to professional soldier
  • What Nashville, Tennessee looked like in 1788
  • What Jackson did upon his arrival in Nashville in 1788
  • How Jackson’s romantic relationship with Rachel Donaldson Robards helped to elevate Jackson in Nashville and Tennessee society
  • The tradition of dueling and Andrew Jackson’s use of the practice
  • Details about Andrew Jackson’s duel with John Sevier
Details about Andrew Jackson’s duel with Charles Dickinson
  • Fact or Myth: Andrew Jackson really lived with bullets lodged in his body from dueling
  • Andrew Jackson’s health problems and how they affected his mood
  • How Andrew Jackson became nominated as a presidential candidate
  • The nomination process for presidential candidates prior to party nominating conventions
  • Details about the Presidential Election of 1824
The “Corrupt Bargain” of 1824
  • Fact or Myth: White House staff had to place alcohol on the front lawn to save the house and Andrew Jackson from all the people who showed up for his inauguration party in 1829
  • What the Nullification Crisis was and how Andrew Jackson dealt with it
  • Details about Andrew Jackson’s Indian Removal plan and his motives for passing it
  • Andrew Jackson’s dislike of the Second Bank of the United States
The Hermitage, Andrew Jackson's Plantation in Nashville, Tennessee
The Hermitage, Andrew Jackson's Plantation in Nashville, Tennessee


Links to People, Places, and Publications


Time InfinityTime Warp Question

In your opinion what might have happened if Andrew Jackson had sided with John C. Calhoun in regard to states rights before national rights? Would the United States have careened toward Civil War faster than 1860?


Questions, Comments, Suggestions

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1 comment
  • Here is a link to a series of articles on the Trail of Tears from the Cherokee website: http://www.cherokee.org/AboutTheNation/History/TrailofTears.aspx It includes a 1838 letter from Ralph Waldo Emerson [here is a Google Books source of the letter from a book on Emerson’s political writings with the date of the letter correctly identified http://bit.ly/2dPc81L ] : which includes the following:

    “Such a dereliction of all faith and virtue, such a denial of justice,
    and such deafness to screams for mercy were never heard of in times of
    peace and in the dealing of a nation with its own allies and wards,
    since the earth was made.”

    “We only state the fact that a crime is projected that confounds our
    understanding by its magnitude, a crime that really deprives us as well
    as the Cherokees of a country for how could we call the conspiracy that
    should crush these poor Indians our government, or the land that was
    cursed by their parting and dying imprecations our country, any more?
    You, sir, will bring down that renowned chair in which you sit into
    infamy if your seal is set to this instrument of perfidy; and the name
    of this nation, hitherto the sweet omen of religion and liberty, will
    stink to the world.”

    Clearly, it was not the case, as perhaps your guest suggested (though he only spoke of “removal” of the Indians, and didn’t find time to mention the Trail of Tears), that it is only from the perspective of our “modern” eyes that we can we grasp the magnitude of the atrocity.

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