Donald Trump and Andrew Jackson

Wednesday, May 3, AD 2017


Our Federal Union! It must be preserved!

Toast offered by President Jackson, April 13, 1830



Another tale in the ongoing annals of Trump Derangement Syndrome.  Let me say at the outset that I doubt if Donald Trump knows all that much about Andrew Jackson.  Like most Americans, his knowledge of American history is superficial.  Most politicians fit into this category.  Certainly Obama, who didn’t know how to pronounce medical corpsman and Joe Biden who recalled television addresses by Franklin Delano Roosevelt were in that category.  I regret this, but such ignorance is not considered newsworthy unless the politician displaying ignorance is Donald Trump or some other Republican.

Trump in an interview with the Washington Examiner’s Salena Zito, mused that if Andrew Jackson had been born a little bit later perhaps he could have stopped the Civil War.  Go here to read about the interview.  In the interview Trump fully displays his limited knowledge of history especially in regard to the Civil War.  Trump finds the parallels between himself and Jackson flattering and was attempting to play up his knowledge of Jackson and fell on his face while doing so.   The media has been having a field day with this, hauling out historians to denounce Trump.  What has been missed is that Trump was correct on his main point.

Andrew Jackson, born in 1767 ,was a veteran of the American Revolution, something that marked him for life.  When the Declaration of Independence was issued, he was picked to read it aloud to his largely illiterate frontier community.  Both of Jackson’s brothers fought in the War and died in it.  He served in the militia and at the age of 13, as a POW, refused to shine a British officer’s boots and received a saber cut on his forehead for his defiance.  Like most Americans who fought in the Revolution, his service inspired in him a deep love for the new nation he had helped to create.  For all his days he was an ardent American patriot and a defender of the Union.  His steadfast stance against nullification during the Nullification Crisis of 1832 was completely in character as was his threat to lead an American army against South Carolina if it seceded and to hang every secessionist he could get his hands upon.  Although he was pro-slavery, I have no doubt that if he had been alive at the time of the Civil War he would likely have fought for the Union.  His state of Tennessee was divided during the war with East Tennessee being a hotbed of Union sentiment.  The man who considered himself the political heir of Andrew Jackson, Andrew Johnson, was the only Southern Senator to stand by the Union.  His admirers called him Young Hickory, and in that I think they were absolutely correct.  In his love for the Union he shared with Jackson a sentiment that would override all sectional allegiances.  Abraham Lincoln understood this aspect of Jackson.  He had spent his entire political life fighting the political party founded by Jackson, yet in his office during the Civil War, he had an engraved portrait of Jackson hanging over his fireplace.  If Jackson had been President in 1860 I have no doubt that he would have taken action to militarily quelch secession.  Whether he would have been successful is another question.  However if Jackson had been there secessionists dreaming of a peaceful withdrawal from the Union would have realized that this dream was a delusion.

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17 Responses to Donald Trump and Andrew Jackson

  • When the GOP nominates a man who lacks the common sense to not pontificate on matters he must know he is ignorant, it is a tell tale sign it is in bad shape. The fact that the other party may be in worse shape doesn’t change that fact one bit.

    Nor is mainstream media bias (as much a fact of life as that is) any excuse.

  • “When the GOP nominates a man who lacks the common sense to not pontificate on matters he must know he is ignorant, it is a tell tale sign it is in bad shape.”

    Actually the GOP is in the strongest shape that it has been since Coolidge was President. The GOP has problems but the election of Trump is not among them. As for politicians pontificating on subjects they are bone ignorant on, that is a common trait. Reagan, the greatest president of my life time, did it all the time, and would usually make something up when called upon it. Trump in many ways is sui generis as President, but speaking through his hat is not one of them.

  • If the GOP is such strong shape, it certainly doesn’t act like it.

  • I agree that it does not on the national level, yet. The states are another matter.

  • Until things change on the national level, it won’t matter too much what gains are made on the state level.

  • By the way, wasn’t Jackson called Old Hickory as opposed to Young Hickory?

  • Disagree strongly on that. The key weakness of the GOP since the New Deal has always been a weakness on the State level. Strength on the Federal level was always fleeting because of Democrat hegemony over most of the States. That has been broken and that is a major accomplishment. The significance of this will be on full display in the redistricting of 2021, assuming that the Republicans can hold on to almost all their gains since 2010 which they have succeeded in doing in the three election cycles since 2010.

  • Andrew Johnson was called Young Hickory.

  • I hope you’re right, Donald. It would seem that since the GOP has control of the White House and houses of Congress plus the historic gains they have made at the state level since 2010, they would be feeling serious wind at their backs nationally. But they still seem to be operating by the “Cave now, ask questions later.” playbook. State gains have to translate into housecleaning of the national party leadership. But there seem to be no signs of that happening.

  • Agreed. The budget deal approved was massively disappointing. I do think if Congressional Republicans do no better in September that Trump will shut the government down by vetoing the budget, to the limited extent it can be shut down. We shall see.

  • I’ve been in The Hermitage while our son was stationed at Fort Campbell with 1/187/3 BCT/101st Airborne. Screaming eagles!

    Greg, “The fact that the other party may be in worse shape doesn’t change that fact one bit.” TRUTH. However, every morning I wale, l pinch myself, and I recall the corrupt, incompetent Hillary is not President — PRICELESS.

  • The Republicans have a history of acting like they are the minority party even when they control both houses of Congress. When are they going to learn that liberal Demorcrats’ mantra is Our Way or No Way. Any Republican who moves center is a fool. Have to hand it to the Dems – their party leadership keeps them inline with a united front.

  • And don’t forget, Jackson, like Lincoln, would ignore the Supreme Court (Jackson with respect to Worcester v. Georgia, and Lincoln with respect to ex parte Merryman); and Jackson would infamously abuse the Indians by sanctioning their forcible removal from lands guaranteed them by treaty, resulting in the Trail of Tears. But it’s true, given his clear willingness to use the federalized troops to invade a state, he would foreshadow Lincoln. Had he been president instead of Buchanan, who waffled on the issue of how to respond to secession, he would have almost certainly have sent a clear message about secession that might have dissuaded the deep South from seceding. But then again, given what the South feared from the fire-breathing Republicans, maybe nothing could have staved off the impending storm.

  • “And don’t forget, Jackson, like Lincoln, would ignore the Supreme Court (Jackson with respect to Worcester v. Georgia, and Lincoln with respect to ex parte Merryman);”

    In Worcester the Supreme Court did not ask for US Marshals to enforce its decision so there was nothing to ignore. Jackson called the decision still-born, and that was accurate, perhaps by the design of John Marshall to avoid a collision between the Executive and the Judiciary. In Merryman Chief Justice Taney was sitting as a Federal circuit court judge and he never actually ordered anyone to release Merryman. The case went no further so there was nothing for Lincoln to ignore.

  • Lincoln did ignore the Supreme Court Dred Scott decision. Professor Hadley Arkes details in his book “Natural Rights and the Right to Choose”, the Buchanan adminstration had denied a black man a patent and another black man a passport (or similar documents) necessary for him to study medicine abroad, because according to the Dred Scott decision, they were not citizens of the U.S.
    Lincoln had his federal officers issue the patent and the documents.

  • Truman Agreed With Trump. In his 1952 book, President Truman said that if Jackson had been president instead of Buchanan, there probably would not have been a Civil War. He thought that Jackson was strong enough to put down any secession at the first hint. So it’s not President Trump who doesn’t know history. You can agree or disagree with the conclusion, but it’s based on an understanding of history.

  • Constitution: Article IV. Section 4 absolutely prohibits secession.

The Devil and Andrew Jackson

Wednesday, May 3, AD 2017


(I originally posted this back in 2009.  Old Hickory is back in the news because of President Trump’s musings upon him.  As a result I decided to repost this.)


I have never liked President’s Day.  Why celebrate loser presidents like Jimmy Carter and James Buchanan, non-entities like Millard Fillmore, bad presidents, like Grant, with great presidents like Washington and Lincoln?  We have had other great presidents, and one of them, although Republican as I am I bridle on bestowing the title upon him, was Andrew Jackson.  No one was ever neutral about Old Hickory.  He is described as the father of the Democrat party.  Actually, both major parties owe their existence to him.   The Whig party, the main ancestor of the modern Republican party, was founded in opposition to Jackson’s policies.

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4 Responses to The Devil and Andrew Jackson

  • Thank you. Very interesting. Even though I spent four years in Knoxville I didn’t know that much about Jackson.
    Now the Democrats want to take Pres. Jackson’s face off the $20 bill; substitute it with a woman as a sop to feminism and minorities. Bad enough that three Navy ships were to be named for G. Giffords (gun control), C. Chavez (Latino vote and farm worker labor) and Harvey Milk (LBGT vote) instead of MOH winners.

  • On long car trips in the 50s my dad would alleviate the boredom by leading us in college fight songs. My brother and I in turn would sing the Battle of New Orleans and other patriotic songs.

  • Wow! Old Hickory, bark and all,.

  • Thank you Donald, for fleshing out the bare bones of my knowledge of Andrew Jackson. I admit to allowing the expulsion of the Cherokees from Georgia to unduly define the man. Many whom we unanimously revere would be considered rough as cobs, were they present among us.

So Much For the Trump as Pawn of Putin Meme

Friday, April 7, AD 2017


  When Senator Hayne of South Carolina told Senator Benton of Missouri that he doubted if Jackson would really hang anyone, Benton, a good friend of Jackson and a man who had shot him in a brawl, one of many such affrays Jackson was involved in during his life, in 1813 before they became friends, told him that “When Jackson begins to talk about hanging, they can begin to look out for ropes”. 

Donald R. McClarey, The Devil and Andrew Jackson


Trump launching a Tomahawk strike on a Syrian airbase demonstrates the true idiocy of the idea that Trump is a pawn of Putin.  Trump is his own man as Putin now realizes.  Trump may well be a President who does what he says he will do.  Americans, and our enemies abroad, should take note.  Trump has placed a portrait of Andrew Jackson  in the Oval Office, and I don’t think it is mere decoration but a signal to our enemies and our friends.

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19 Responses to So Much For the Trump as Pawn of Putin Meme

  • Hope and Change! Fundamentally Transformed!

    So much for red lines in the sand and Obamas’ Arab Spring. Reach out and touch someone.

    Noriega had his Reagan. Saddam had his both Bushes. Saddat has his Trump.

    “Even peace may be purchased at too high a price.” – Benjamin Franklin. At times killing people can help matters.

  • Without commenting on the morality of his choice, this certainly does two things; 1) it tells China, Iran, Russia and N. Korea, that there will be an immediate cost to pay if you continue thinking you can do your evil unopposed. 2) Conversely, we may find out that such an act has consequences that we aren’t prepared for.
    I’m glad I’m not the president who is forced to make these lose/lose decisions.
    If the left insists that Trump did this to prove he’s not in bed with Putin, then they can only blame themselves for starting the lie for political gain. Lying does have consequences.

  • Looks like the Neo-Cons are back in control. Graham and McCain are happy.
    Wars and rumors of wars!

  • Actually, this is Trump doing what he said he would NOT do, intervene militarily in situations like this. This is the same Donald Trump who, during the GOP primaries no less, dutifully parroted the left’s slander of Bush lying about WMDs in Iraq. Oh, how quickly we forget!

    While we are on the subject of things disappearing down memory holes, this is the same President Trump who drew moral equivalence between us and Russia and Bush and Putin.

    If this is the first step in an effective effort to loosen Russia’s foothold in the Middle East, then yes we can say Trump’s infatuation is no more. But to say that this ALONE achieves that is nonsense.

  • A statement to the world, that Trump is not Obama. There is no question that the world lost respect for America under Obama with his multiple ‘lines in the sand’ moving ever backwards, and his weak foreign policy. This was certainly a measured response that makes a statement, and it is not anywhere near before time.
    America can start again to make claim to be the leader of the free world – because that was sadly lacking over the past 8 years.

  • Tovarich Greg, It’s going to be a hard eight years. “Associate Justice Gorsuch” sounds great, too.

    Trump isn’t Crooked Hillary. I’m still ecstatic.

    People’s expounding (beating a dead horse) utterly unfounded Russia/Trump nothings is more proof that the left has lost its collectivist mind.

  • I think I understand some of the reasons for the attack but I still think it ill-advised.

    Syria is a critical Russian client state. The RussIan navy needs it and Russia won’t let her Syrian ports go easily.

    Yes, Assad is a complete bastard and I do not doubt that he will leave this life unredeemed. (I pray I am wrong.) The thing is that some pieces of this planet cannot BE ruled with other than an iron fist. Since out regional interests are, to my mind, in stability, it seems better to let him remain as a Russian puppet and focus on ISIS/ISIL.

    There was an idiotic naiveté to the Obamazing foreign policy, such as it was. I want Trump to be as pragmatic in foreign policy as he is in his businesses. If this is a gesture, fine. No problem. Gestures have value in practical situation management. But, please let this not be Obama Foreign Policy Idiocy, Part II.

  • I agree with Dave Spaulding above. I add this quote:

    “Whenever the standard of freedom and independence has been or shall be unfurled, there will be America’s heart, her benedictions and her prayers. But she does not go abroad in search of monsters to destroy. She is the wellwisher to freedom and independence for all. She is the champion and vindicator only of her own. She well knows that by once enlisting other banners of foreign independence, she would involve herself beyond the power of extridition, in all wars of interest and intrigue, of individual avarice, envy and ambition which assume the colors and usurp the standard of freedom….She might become the dictress of the world but would no longer be ruler of her own spirit….Americans should not go abroad to slay dragons they do not understand in the name of spreading democracy.”
    __John Quincy Adams__ As Secretary of State

  • Ah, the dangers of taking isolated quotes as Gospel. Adams also authored the Monroe Doctrine which basically told the rest of the world that the Western Hemisphere was American turf.

    The simple truth is that American intervention overseas has always had two components: idealism and self interest. Where either element is lacking it is hard for American resolve to last in an overseas venture.

  • As much as I think Trump is lacking in impulse control, I don’t think even he would have ordered those strikes without solid evidence that it was in fact Assad who gassed that village.

  • Donald R McClarey wrote: “Ah, the dangers of taking isolated quotes as Gospel.”

    Damn! Beat me to the punch Maister McC! 🙂

  • Furthermore, the tag, “says U.N. Official” by itself ought to cast doubt on the credibility of the claim that preceded it.

  • First, I respect Trump and I understand his reasons for bombing Syria. He is a far better President than Obama was or Hillary would have been. I have nothing against Trump. But, this decision is still wrong.

    “Del Ponte has been singing that song since 2013. I would not trust her if she claimed that fire burns. She is a stooge for Russia…”

    I do not know anything about Del Ponte. I have simply been seeing many articles questioning why Assad would do something so foolish as to gas his own people at a time like this. And I have seen other articles where some Christians living in Syria maintain that the rebels did their own gassing. I suppose the retort will be these people making such assertions are stooges of the Russian Orthodox Church. Truly I do not know. But I still say that I agree with that isolated quote from John Quincy Adams. I see no good coming out of this ever brewing conflict.

    Now perhaps as other theorize Trump did this to send a strong message to Russia, China, Iran and N. Korea that weak kneed, yellow bellied, cowardly Obama is not in charge. Again, I do not know. But what happens when a secretive diesel electric submarine of an unknown foreign national running ultra quietly on its batteries lodges a torpedo in one of our aircraft carriers in the region. We’ll be crying what Augustus did so long ago, “Quintili Vare, legiones redde!” Except we may never know in such a case who “took the legions.” Iran, Russia, etc……..

    PS, I also see my other comment deleted. I understand. Comparing the different methods of infanticide that show many in our country are no better than many in the Syria is an unpopular and non-politically correct statement.

  • Trump has rocked people on their heels. Now we wait to see what comes next.

  • I’ve been pretty torn up over this situation, and I see both sides. Though I was on the “Trump Train” back in 2011 before there ever was a train, I don’t blindly go along with everything he says or does. I happen to be Catholic, and I am an ex journalist. Perhaps I should’ve given up news and politics for lent. It’s not necessarily a healthy addiction.

January 9, 1815: Report to Monroe

Friday, January 9, AD 2015

Battle of New Orleans 2


The day after the battle of New Orleans, Jackson wrote his report to James Monroe, Secretary of War.:

Sir: 9th Jan: 1815

During the days of the 6th. & 7th. the enemy had been actively employed in making preparations for an attack on my lines. With infinite labour they had succeeded on the night of the 7th in getting their boats across from the lake to the river, by widening & deepening the Canal on which they had effected their disembarkation. It had not been in my power to impede these operations by a general attack: Added to other reasons, the nature of the troops under my command, mostly militia, rendered it too hazardous to attempt extensive offensive movements in an open Country, against a numerous & well disciplined army.- Altho my forces, as to number, had been increased by the arrival of the Kentucky division – my strength had received very little addition; a small portion only of that detachment being provided with arms: Compelled thus to wait the attack of the enemy I took every measure to repell it when it would be made, & to defeat the object he had in view. Genl. Morgan with the Orleans Contingent the Louisiana Militia, & a strong detachment of the Kentucky troops occupy an entrenched Camp, on the opposite side of the river, protected by strong batteries on the bank erected & superintended by Commodore Patterson.

In my encampment every thing was ready for action, when early on the morning of the 8th the enemy, after throwing a heavy shower of bombs & congreve rockets, advanced their columns on my right & left, to storm my entrenchments. I cannot speak sufficiently in praise of the firmness & deliberation with which my whole line received their approach:-more could not have been expected from veterans, inured to war. For an hour the fire of the small arms was as incessant & severe as can be imagined. The artillery too, directed by officers who displayed equal skill & courage did great execution. Yet the columns of the enemy continued to advance with a firmness which reflects upon them the greatest credit. Twice the column which approached me on my left was repulsed by the troops of genl. Carrole – those of genl. Coffee, & a division of the Kentucky Militia, & twice they formed again & renewed the assault.

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January 8, 1815: Battle of New Orleans

Thursday, January 8, AD 2015


The War of 1812 had been one with little glory for Americans.  The invasions of Canada all failed, often the officers in charge displaying shocking military incompetence.  Although the American Navy performed valiantly, the Royal Navy maintained control of the waves, and with the fall of Napoleon, veteran British troops from the Peninsular War were shipped across the Atlantic and inflicted such humiliations as the burning of Washington.  On January 8, 1815 Major General Andrew Jackson and his rude frontier army of regulars and militia, confronted a British regular force twice their size.  What followed was an amazing American victory.  One of the finest accounts of the battle was written by Theodore Roosevelt:


Battle of New Orleans



Packenham had under him nearly 10,000 fighting men; 1,500 of these, under Colonel Thornton were to cross the river and make the attack on the west bank. Packenham himself was to super intend the main assault, on the east bank, which was to be made by the British right under General Gibbs, while the left moved forward under General Keane, and General Lambert commanded the reserve. Jackson’s position was held by a total of 5,500 men. Having kept a constant watch on the British, Jackson had rightly concluded that they would make the main attack on the east bank, and had, accordingly, kept the bulk of his force on that side. His works consisted simply of a mud breastwork, with a ditch in front of it, which stretched in a straight line from the river on his right across the plain, and some distance into the morass that sheltered his left. There was a small, unfinished redoubt in front of the breastworks on the river bank. Thirteen pieces of artillery were mounted on the works. On the right was posted the Seventh regular infantry, 430 strong; then came 740 Louisiana militia (both French creoles and men of color, and comprising 30 New Orleans riflemen, who were Americans), and 240 regulars of the Forty-fourth regiment; while the rest of the line was formed by nearly 500 Kentuckians and over 1,600 Tennesseeans, under Carroll and Coffee, with 250 creole militia in the morass on the extreme left, to guard the head of a bayou. In the rear were 230 dragoons, chiefly from Mississippi, and some other troops in reserve; making in all 4,700 men on the east bank. The works on the west bank were farther down stream, and were very much weaker. . . .

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One Response to January 8, 1815: Battle of New Orleans

4 Responses to January 7, 1815: Old Hickory and Our Lady of Prompt Succor

  • “When one thinks of Andrew Jackson, Our Lady of Prompt Succor and the Ursuline nuns do not spring to mind, but they should.” “…but they ought.”
    I love this act of Divine Providence so much…I cannot say, but I ought.

  • This blog is so educational. I wasn’t aware of Our Lady of Prompt Succor. Thank you.

  • Is Our Lady of Prompt Succor the same entitled as Our Lady Exterminatrix of Heresies, wherein Our Lady battles the devil grabbing a small child by the behind as in homosexual behavior and the child’s mother appealing to the Blessed Virgin Mary?

  • Here in New Orleans, Jackson, the Ursulines, and Our Lady of Prompt Succor are inextricably thought of. We ask her intercession each hurricane season also, and it had been speculated that Mary has actually caused some storms to turn from us.

Jackson’s Motley Army

Tuesday, January 6, AD 2015


I guess there may have been a more heterogeneous force that fought a major battle in American history than the one that Andrew Jackson commanded on January 8, 1815, but it does not readily come to mind.  Here was the composition of his army:

1.  968 US Army regulars-Many of these men were from the 7th Infantry Regiment that had garrisoned New Orleans during 1814 and had a reputation for being slackly disciplined hell raisers.  The remainder were from the 44th Infantry Regiment recruited in Louisiana.

2.  58 Marines.

3.  106 Sailors of the US Naval Battalion.

4.  1060 Louisiana Militia, including 462 free blacks.  The free blacks responded to an appeal from Jackson that said they would be treated precisely the same as white volunteers and not subject to sarcasm and insult.  Jackson was as good as his word, but the State of Louisiana did not give them the promised 160 acre land grants that white volunteers received.  Many of the white Louisianans spoke only French, but the language barrier did not stop them and their black comrades from rendering good service in the battle.

5.  986 Kentucky Militia-The Kentuckians gave a poor account of themselves in the battle but it wasn’t their fault.  Most of them were unarmed, the Army sending them to New Orleans and shipping their rifles and ammo separately.  These items arrived four days after the battle.  A disgusted Jackson said they were the first Kentuckians he had ever seen who didn’t have a rifle, a deck of cards and a jug.

6.  150 Mississippi Militia.

7.  52 Choctaw Warriors-The Choctaws did good service as snipers and killed at least 50 British soldiers.

8.  1352 Tennessee militia and volunteers.  The mainstay of Jackson’s army, many of them had served under Jackson throughout the Creek War in 1813-1814.

9.  Baratarian Pirates-Jean Lafitte’s pirates.  Jackson had offered Lafitte a free pardon for every one of his men who fought.  The pirates formed three artillery companies and also fought with the militia.  Their exact numbers are unknown, but my best guess would be 400-600.  The pirates won accolades for their fighting prowess in the battle, with Jackson singling out for praise Jean and his brother Pierre.

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Prelude to the Battle of New Orleans

Monday, January 5, AD 2015


Upon the commencement of the War of 1812, Jackson immediately volunteered for active service.  Nothing happened.  Jackson assumed he was not called to duty due to his vigorous opposition to many of the policies of Thomas Jefferson, Madison’s predecessor.  ( It probably didn’t help Jackson that Aaron Burr,  former vice-president and deadly enemy of Jefferson, had stayed three days with Jackson during his  treasonous trip to the West in 1805, although there is no evidence of Jackson’s involvement in Burr’s plot.)

Jackson’s chance for military action came in 1813-1814 during the Creek War.  After a very tough campaign, Jackson decisively defeated the Red Stick Creeks at the battle of Horseshoe Bend on March 27, 1814.  On the battlefield, Jackson found a two year old Creek boy with his dead mother.  Jackson adopted him as his son, named him Lyncoya, and brought him home with him to the Hermitage and raised him with his other adopted son, Andrew Jackson, Jr.  Jackson planned to have him educated at West Point, because he believed it to be the best school in the nation, but the boy died of tuberculosis in 1828.  Jackson, the great foe of the Indians, is the only American president to adopt an Indian child.  Jackson was nothing if not complicated.

The campaign against the Red Stick Creeks had made Jackson a national figure.  It also almost killed him.  Suffering from a chronic stomach disorder, Jackson could only get relief from the pain by bending a sapling and leaning over it with the sapling pressed against his stomach.  The campaign was arduous for his troops also, a mixture of militia and regulars.  On one occasion the militia decided they had had enough and began to march home.  Jackson used the regulars to stop them.  On another occasion the regulars decided they were through, and Jackson used the militia to force them to return to their duties.  When both militia and regulars decided to leave on yet another occasion, Jackson rode to the head of the troops, aimed a musket at them and made it quite clear that he would kill the next man to take a step.  The men looked at Jackson, Jackson gazed back at them, and they returned to camp.  Afterwards, Jackson ordered that the musket be repaired as it couldn’t have fired in any case.  Most of the men Jackson led were frontiersmen and had a great deal of experience in cutting down trees.  The toughest wood they knew of was Hickory, and Old Hickory, and doubtless some other unprintable ones that have not come down to us, is the nickname they gave their determined general.

While Jackson was crushing the Red Sticks, the War of 1812 was going badly for the country.  With the abdication of Napoleon, hordes of British veteran troops were sent across the Atlantic to teach the Yankees a lesson.  The burning of Washington in August 1814 was part of the lesson, and the American government had intelligence that a mighty British fleet and army were on their way to seize New Orleans.  In August 1814 a British fleet established a base, with the consent of the Spanish government, at Pensacola, Florida, and used it to supply Indians hostile to the US.  On November 7, 1814, Jackson seized Pensacola, chased the British troops out and destroyed the fortifications.  The British fleet sailed off and Jackson marched to New Orleans.

Jackson arrived at New Orleans with his rough frontier army of militia and regulars on December 2, 1814.   He had beaten the Brits to New Orleans but just barely.  The British fleet appeared in the Gulf of Mexico just off New Orleans on December 12.  The British force on board the fleet was commanded by Major General Thomas Pakenham, the Duke of Wellington’s brother-in-law.  Pakenham was a combat general and had received laurels for his courage and professionalism in many of the battles that Wellington fought in Spain.  Brushing aside a small American naval force that guarded access to the lakes that led to New Orleans, by December 23 an 1800 man vanguard of the British troops was ashore on the east bank of the Mississippi, nine miles south of New Orleans.  When Jackson learned of this, he did what he usually did when confronted with a sudden challenge:  he attacked.  Leading 2131 men in a short, sharp night attack, Jackson inflicted about 250 casualties in exchange for about the same losses on his part.  He then withdrew to the Rodriguez Canal four miles south of New Orleans and began to fortify it.

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One Response to Prelude to the Battle of New Orleans

  • i love your american catholic communication- the title is a little mis leading. You continually prove yourselves sons of the Holy Roman Church and i am so glad for it.
    thank you!

New Orleans Is Ready For Its Close Up Mr. DeMille

Sunday, January 4, AD 2015



American history tends to be ignored by Hollywood and therefore it is unusual for a battle to receive treatment in a Hollywood feature film. It is doubly unusual for a battle to be treated in two Hollywood feature films, but that is the case for the battle of New Orleans, the two hundredth anniversary of which is coming up this week on January 8, 2015. The 1938 film The Buccaneer was directed by the legendary Cecil B. DeMille and had Frederic March, an actor largely forgotten today but a major star in his time, as Jean Lafitte. Two future stars have bit parts in the film: Anthony Quinn and Walter Brennan. Hugh Sothern who portrayed Andrew Jackson would also portray Jackson in 1939 in the film Old Hickory.


The 1958 remake was also to have been directed by Cecil B. DeMille, but he was seriously ill at that time, and relegated himself to the role of executive producer, turning the director’s chair over to Anthony Quinn, his then son-in-law, the one and only film that Quinn ever directed. DeMille was unhappy with the film and it received fairly negative reviews, although I think the battle sequences are superior to the first film. Yul Brynner plays Jean Lafitte and Charlton Heston is a commanding Andrew Jackson. Like Hugh Sothern, Heston would portray Jackson twice, the first time being in The President’s Lady (1953), the tale of the great love story of Rachel Jackson (Susan Hayward) and Andrew Jackson. Future stars in this version include Inger Stevens, Claire Bloom and Lorne Green. Adequate coverage of the battle is given in each film, although not much detail. The battle of course is merely an adjunct to the romantic tale of Jean Lafitte. Without the pirate turned patriot, I am certain the battle of New Orleans would have likely received the same indifference that Hollywood has shown for most of American history.

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Andrew Jackson and Our Lady of Prompt Succor

Wednesday, January 8, AD 2014

(Originally posted in 2011, it seemed appropriate to repost it on the 199th anniversary of the battle of New Orleans.)

When one thinks of Andrew Jackson, Our Lady of Prompt Succor and the Ursuline nuns do not spring to mind, but they should.

In 1814 the War of 1812 was going badly for the United States. With the abdication of Napoleon, hordes of British veteran troops were sent across the Atlantic to teach the Yankees a lesson. The burning of Washington in August 1814 was part of the lesson, and the American government had intelligence that a mighty British fleet and army were on their way to seize New Orleans. In August 1814 a British fleet established a base, with the consent of the Spanish government, at Pensacola, Florida, and used it to supply Indians hostile to the US. On November 7, 1814, Jackson seized Pensacola, chased the British troops out and destroyed the fortifications. The British fleet sailed off and Jackson marched to New Orleans. Jackson arrived at New Orleans with his rough frontier army of militia and regulars on December 2, 1814. Space in a blog post does not allow me to detail the very interesting moves and counter-moves of the British commander General Edward Pakenham, brother in law of the Duke of Wellington and a peninsular war veteran, and Jackson. Suffice it to say that at the Battle of New Orleans on January 8, 1815, Jackson and his men, heavily out-numbered, handed the British the most lopsided defeat in their history, inflicting a little over 2000 casualties, including the slain General Pakenham, in exchange for 71 American casualties.

The Battle of New Orleans is sometimes called a useless battle because it was fought before news of the treaty of Ghent ending the war, which had been signed on December 24, 1814, reached America. This view is erroneous. The battle was a shot in the arm to American morale after a lack-lustre war, ensured that the British would abide by the terms of the treaty and not attempt to retain a captured New Orleans, and gave the British something to ponder on the few occasions during the nineteenth century when America and Britain again came close to war.

That a force of around 4,000, most of them relatively untrained militia, could hand a British army of 11,000 well-trained veteran regulars such a defeat has long been thought to be a military miracle.  Perhaps the term “miracle” is the correct one to use.  The night before the battle, at the Ursuline Chapel in the Ursuline Convent in New Orleans, the nuns, joined by many of the faithful in New Orleans, prayed throughout the night for an American victory.

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2 Responses to Andrew Jackson and Our Lady of Prompt Succor

Old Hickory and the Democrats

Sunday, May 5, AD 2013


 The modern travesty of Thomas Jefferson’s political organization to which you have attached yourself like a barnacle has the effrontery to call itself The Democratic Party. You are a Dem-o-crat. What’s the matter with you? Are you wicked?

Congressman Thaddeus Stevens (R. Pa.) to Congressman Alexander Coffroth (D. Pa.) in Lincoln.



Jefferson-Jackson dinners have long been a fixture of the Democrat party, although Jefferson had absolutely nothing to do with the creation of the Democrat party which was the handiwork of Old Hickory.  Steve Yoder at Salon has a post, here, where he urges Democrats to dump their creator.  I oppose this move.  Although there are obvious differences between Jackson and the modern Democrat party, he established certain themes that have resonated in his party ever since:

1.  Political Spoils-Andrew Jackson certainly did not invent the concept of firing workers in the Federal government and replacing them with members of his party, but he greatly expanded the concept and made it a fixture of American political life.  The phrase political spoils was first used in reference to the wholesale firing of Federal workers by the newly elected Jackson.  Government employees have ever since been one of the foundation stones of the Democrat party, only slowed a bit by the largely Republican initiated Civil Service reforms of the late nineteenth century.

2.  Economic Ignorance-Andrew Jackson’s war on the Second Bank of the United States is a classic example of how politics can have a large negative impact on the economic life of the nation.   With the Second Bank of the United States dead, state banks stepped into the breach to take over the lending throughout the nation on large private projects that had mainly been the responsibility of the Second Bank.  Jackson’s policies led directly to the irresponsible printing of paper “money” by state banks, so-called “wild cat money”, and an orgy of speculation and unsound loans.  This was ironic because Jackson always hated paper money, believing that the only sound money was coin in gold and silver.  When the economic bubble caused by the creation of this new “money” collapsed, the panic of 1837 ensued, and the economy would not recover until 1843.  It was the first great depression in American history.  Economic illiteracy and the Presidency are always a bad combination, and the Democrats have a long history of placing in the White House men with economic ideas that run the gamut from bad to loony.

3.  Class Hatred-In his veto of the bill by Congress rechartering the Second Bank of the United States, Jackson skillfully painted supporters as being a pack of Eastern and foreign investors and appealed to class prejudice against the rich:

It is to be regretted that the rich and powerful too often bend the acts of government to their selfish purposes. Distinctions in society will always exist under every just government. Equality of talents, of education, or of wealth can not be produced by human institutions. In the full enjoyment of the gifts of Heaven and the fruits of superior industry, economy, and virtue, every man is equally entitled to protection by law; but when the laws undertake to add to these natural and just advantages artificial distinctions, to grant titles, gratuities, and exclusive privileges, to make the rich richer and the potent more powerful, the humble members of society-the farmers, mechanics, and laborers-who have neither the time nor the means of securing like favors to themselves, have a right to complain of the injustice of their Government. There are no necessary evils in government. Its evils exist only in its abuses. If it would confine itself to equal protection, and, as Heaven does its rains, shower its favors alike on the high and the low, the rich and the poor, it would be an unqualified blessing. In the act before me there seems to be a wide and unnecessary departure from these just principles.

Daniel Webster in his speeach on the veto in the Senate noted the political purpose of Jackson’s message:  It manifestly seeks to inflame the poor against the rich. It wantonly attacks whole classes of the people, for the purpose of turning against them the prejudices and the resentments of other classes.

The appeals to class divisions have been part of Democrat standard political tactics ever since.

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8 Responses to Old Hickory and the Democrats

  • With respect Don, the Civil Servicewants to be independant and many of us are Republicans, Independants, and Libertarians… How could it be otherwise when so many of us are veterans? The problem with the Civil Service is that the political jobs that shift with administration go deeper into agency administration than ever before. There was a time when just the agency heads would be political hacks and everyone below would be career. Now it goes down to the division an d branch management levels. Worse yet, those jobs are not subject to congressional oversight because they are posted but only filled by non-civil service.

    If you want to see the area in which this administration has enjoyedits greatest success, look there. With even branch and dvision directors beholden to the administration rather than the agency they ostensibly work for, the Administration’s worl-view cuts deep onto the heart of the Civil Service, far deeper than in any of the five administrations I have worked for.

  • As regards class hatred, Jefferson, too, was a lifelong opponent of entails, perpetuities and primogeniture – ” To annul this privilege, and instead of an aristocracy of wealth, of more harm and danger, than benefit, to society, to make an opening for the aristocracy of virtue and talent, which nature has wisely provided for the direction of the interests of society, and scattered with equal hand through all its conditions, was deemed essential to a well-ordered republic…”

    His letter of September 5 1789 to James Madison is very instructive.

  • Oh, I have no doubt that many civil servants do not have a love for the Democrat party, however they are in the minority. The political transformation of Northern Virginia due to the influx of government employees from Washington is striking evidence of that.

    Your comments about the spreading of political hacks in administration are well taken. Some parts of the Federal government, the Department of Justice for example, have developed a history of making life intolerable for employees who differ from the pre-dominant left wing view within a department.

    “But other aspects of the department’s investigation were deeply troubling. As conservatives have long charged, many of the career civil-service employees in the Justice Department’s voting section are strong liberals. Conservatives who worked at the department, especially on cases involving the protection of white voters, were ostracized, called “Klansman,” “Nazi,” or subject to ridicule in department emails or in anonymous items posted on political blogs. One voting-section employee admitted to lying under oath to investigators about posting such comments. She said she did it in response to a series of harassing comments made by three male conservative colleagues in February 2007, including “highly offensive and inappropriate sexual comments about the employee, including her sexual orientation, and remarks about how she was ‘pro-black’ in her work.”

    The lack of professionalism and level of personal nastiness in the report in some cases is appalling. As Andrew Cohen remarked, “ ‘At least we are better than Bradley Schlozman’ is no standard for a Justice Department.” And while hiring practices have improved in the Obama administration, the inspector general found that department’s use of civil rights and voting rights experience as criteria for hiring tend to skew the section’s hiring toward Democrats and liberals—experience that the inspector general said was not always necessary to do the job. Further, one of the members of the voting-section hiring committee often sent emails within the Justice Department “that were highly critical of Republicans or conservatives.” This “would lead a reasonable person to question [his] ability to evaluate job applications free from political or ideological bias.”

    The voting section’s troubles went beyond personnel issues into the question of whether the Voting Rights Act was fairly enforced. Some department employees, including a current manager “admitted to [IG investigators] that, while they believed that the text of the Voting Rights Act is race-neutral and applied to all races, they did not believe the Voting Section should pursue cases on behalf of White victims.” Even if the department had “infinite resources, [two career attorneys] still would not have supported the filing of [a case against black officials discriminating against white voters] because it was contrary to the purpose of the Voting Rights Act, which was to ensure that minorities who had historically been the victims of discrimination could exercise the right to vote.”

  • Civil Service with Left leanings are likely the overwhelming majority in DC. That isan extreme danger too since it makes agency policy myopic and more politically charged than it need be. However, most field government employees work their entire government careers in the office most convenient to their homes. That is the majority of federal government employees too. I suspect that the political and social leanings of field public servants allign with the general views of the communities they live in. Thinking now of friends in our offices, I think this is true. Perhaps the disconnect between agency policy and field work is a product of that reality, the ambitious, movable headquarters staff flowing with the administration and largely Left and the field sticking with the loyalties of their family and friends. That bears some thought.

  • Outstanding post, Mac.

    The democrat party persists-on-steroids in advancing all seven of Jackson’s mass evils.

    Worse yet, the evil SOB’s are even more harmful. They exercise far more control and power over the economy, the lying media, and tens of millions of Americans and illegal immigrants that the government feeds, clothes, and houses.

    Re: the CS employee. It is the “rare bird” that is not either libidinously liberal or democrat-leaning based on personal, pecuniary interest. Right or wrong, the GOP and conservatives are seen as desirous of cutting pay and benefits.

    My answer to such monetary motivation, “You can’t take it with you. It will burn.”

  • T. Shaw, does it matter that you are wrong and being uncharitable or are we to be condemned on the basis of opinion alone?

    Many Civil Servants make less than $50,000 a year and haven’t seen even a cost of living increase in years. Beyond any doubts, the creation of hundreds of Special Executive Service positions and the upgrading of headquarters positions to GS 14 and 15 pay has bloated yhe federal payroll. I offer no defense of this… It is further evidence that the core problem with the American government is congressional abdication of responsibility.

    The majority of the Civil Service are just like the commenters and posters here; working to middle-middle class, struggling to make ends meet, working whatever overtime they can, while caring for spouse, children, and aging parents. Our pensions are lousy, our healthcare is expensive and lousy, and our promotion opportunities are few unless we are willing to move around the country.

    We are like you and it is fundamentally unfair and uncharitable to visit on us your ill-will.

    As for our political leanings, you are wrong. It is far more complicated a picture than you imagine or pretend.

    Finally, let me state that I am intensely proud of my staff. To a person, they are loyal, smart, hard working, and creative. No matter what is thrown at them, they respond with good will and a Can Do Attitude that never fails to lift my spirits and affirm my faith in the Civil Service. I’d stake my officers, administrators, and support people against any private company’s any day of the week!

    This isn’t an oddity. You are wrong in your assessment and I’ll be damned if I let what I know to be false pass without standing up for the people and job that I love.

  • “The problem with the Civil Service is that the political jobs that shift with administration go deeper into agency administration than ever before. There was a time when just the agency heads would be political hacks and everyone below would be career. Now it goes down to the division an d branch management levels.”

    About 20 years ago, the U.S. Supreme Court decided a case titled Rutan vs. Republican Party of Illinois, which involved political patronage hiring. The case was brought by a mid-level employee of a state agency who was a registered Democrat and was fired from her job when a Republican became governor, although she had no role or influence in agency policy making. Both parties in Illinois have been notorious for patronage hiring and it used to be common for State employees all the way down to secretaries and janitors who voted the “wrong” way in primary elections, to be let go when a governor of the opposite party took office.

    Anyway, the court ruled that political considerations in hiring or promotion for State jobs were forbidden unless the jobs directly involved policy making or implementation on behalf of the governor or an elected constitutional officer (e.g. agency heads and deputies). Such jobs are now known to State of Illinois employees as “Rutan exempt.” Most mid- to low-level State jobs are also under a civil service Personnel Code; jobs that are both Rutan exempt and not governed by the Personnel Code are known as “double exempt” and these are the easiest to fill with political hacks. So while political hiring and firing is far from dead, it’s not as blatant or rampant as it used to be in Illinois. That’s why I find it ironic that political hiring seems to have become MORE common at the Federal level, particularly given the long-standing SCOTUS decision against it.

  • Civil Service schemes are not the remedy for Big Government.

    Small Government is the remedy for Big Government.

Harvard and Andrew Jackson

Sunday, March 11, AD 2012

In 1833 the administration of Harvard decided to bestow an honorary doctorate of laws on the President of the United States, Andrew Jackson.  Many Harvard alums, looking down their noses at the rough, uncouth and ill-educated Jackson, were outraged.  None was more angry than Harvard alum John Quincy Adams who had been ousted from the presidency in the election of 1828.  Adams gave his cousin the President of Harvard an earful stating “as myself an affectionate child of our alma mater, I would not be present to witness her disgrace in conferring her highest literary honors upon a barbarian who could not write a sentence of grammar and hardly could spell his own name.”

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11 Responses to Harvard and Andrew Jackson

  • Donald McClarey: This is a gem, a veritable diamond.

  • Thank you Mary. History is filled with such amusing gems and it is a shame that History is so poorly taught these days that most people never hear of them.

  • “The Harvard administration responded to critics by noting that it had bestowed such degrees on other presidents and it could not fail to do so on the grounds of simple partisanship.”

    If I remember correctly that was also the reasoning behind Notre Dame’s invitation to Obama for the 2009 commencement.

  • Exactly, Elaine. And in neither instance was it a sufficient explanation for honoring such unworthy individuals.

  • I’m pretty sure the Harvard alumni of the day weren’t too upset with Jackson’s brutal performance at Horseshoe Bend.

  • Andrew Jackson was a patriot fighting for American principles. Barack Obama is a traitor to American principles

  • ” . . . a barbarian that could not write a sentence of grammar . . . ”

    Absolutely! Harvard, etc. have since awarded both academic and honorary degrees to innumerable semi-literate barbarians, including Kennedys and Obamas.

  • In those days both the lettered and unlettered had moral character which is far more important than any academic achievement when judging a man’s worth. It is no longer the case now, where depending on the need of the day the Harvard types will enthuse over illiterate rap artists, while at the same time sneer at someone like Sarah Palin for studying in a degree mill. For a decade or more the weight of the mandarin classes in the UK and US is slanted towards destroying all that is good in those in countries. They should be treated like the enemy they are.

  • It may be considered a stretch by modern historians to describe the Battle of Horseshoe Bend as anything other than clearing Alabama for white settlement. Jackson’s role in the Florida Wars against Seminole Indians and fugitive slaves is likewise cast now-a-days as bespeaking a moral character we tend not to celebrate today.

  • Agreed, Bruce. There can be no argument that Andrew Jackson’s Indian policies as both a militia leader and as President could only be described as ethnic cleansing.

    Jackson’s Cherokee ally at Horseshoe Bend, Chief Junaluska, later regretted that he had co-operated with Jackson (and had even saved Jackson’s life) during the Red Stick War:

    “If I had known that Jackson would drive us from our homes, I would have killed him that day at the Horseshoe.”

    A lack of foresight that many (including myself) no doubt lament. It would not be an overstatement for me to say that I hold Andrew Jackson in lower esteem than any other U.S. President.

  • Jackson’s action at Horseshow Bend was nothing short of disgraceful. However, he is reponsible for saving the city of New Orleans being ravished by the British red coats in at the Battle of New Orleans. How much poorer a country we would be without the Crescent City, Queen of the South! I am proud that his statue occupies a space that is now instantly recognizable as a symbol of the city he saved.

    A proud member of the Who Dat Nation.

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27 Responses to Andrew Jackson and Our Lady of Prompt Succor

  • “The battle was a shot in the arm to American morale after a lack-lustre war”

    For many years afterward, the anniversary of the battle was celebrated not only in New Orleans but all over the Nation, with almost as much festivity as the Fourth of July — some called it a second Independence Day. In the 1820s and 1830s, before the first great waves of European immigration, the Eighth of January was a bigger celebration than Christmas to many Americans!

  • Our Lady of Prompt Succor has been a very powerful intercessor on behalf of New Orleans, particularly during the hurricane season.

    I’ll also add that I’ve been to the chapel in that Ursuline Convent, and still today there is a stain glass pane depicting the battle. It’s the only time I’ve ever seen the American flag in a stained glass window of a Catholic Church.

  • “After the battle Old Hickory came to the convent to thank the nuns for their prayers. “By the blessing of heaven, directing the valor of the troops under my command, one of the most brilliant victories in the annals of war was obtained.” In after years, whenever Jackson visited New Orleans, he always made a point of also visiting the Ursuline Covent.”

    How downright heartwarming. Why, Jackson was practically Catholic. I’m almost certain I remember a story about Jackson that had something to do with “mourning and weeping in the this vale of tears”.

    Oh. Wait. Check that. The story was about Jackson and all the mourning and weeping along the Trail of Tears.

    There are few in American history that I despise more than “Old Hickory”. Chief Junaluska, Jackson’s Indian ally against the “Red Stick” Creeks at the Battle of Horseshoe Bend, saved Jackson’s life during that earlier battle in the War of 1812. Later Junaluska would say about Jackson “If I had known that Jackson would drive us from our homes, I would have killed him that day at the Horseshoe.”

  • Elaine: I was unaware of that. Truly fascinating! What a help to Jackson when he started the Democrat party!

    Michael: I have only seen an American flag in a stained glass window of a Catholic church in only one other place. At Saint John’s chapel at the U of I in Urbana there is depicted a World War I doughboy kneeling under a cross, and an American flag is in the scene.

  • Jackson is a mixed bag Jay, as I noted in this post:

    However, God often uses flawed instruments to work His will, and I cannot see why he could not have used Jackson to do so. As for Jackson and the Church, he was no bigot when it came to religion as his actions demonstrated:

    “As already noted, Jackson, through the influence of his wife, became more religious as he grew older, although his religion always had a bit of his rough edges about it, as this vignette demonstrates:

    ”young Nashville lawyer: “Mr. Cartwright, do you believe there is any such place as hell, as a place of torment?”

    Rev. Peter Cartwright: “Yes, I do.”

    young Nashville lawyer: “Well, I thank God I have too much good sense to believe any such thing.”

    Andrew Jackson: “Well, sir, I thank God that there is such a place of torment as hell.”

    young Nashville lawyer: “Why, General Jackson, what do you want with such a place of torment as hell?”

    Andrew Jackson: “To put such damned rascals as you are in, that oppose and vilify the Christian religion.””

    Jackson was no bigot on matters of religion as this passage in a letter to Ellen Hanson on March 25, 1835 indicates (the spelling is all Jackson):

    “I was brought up a rigid Presbeterian, to which I have always adhered. Our excellent constitution guarantees to every one freedom of religion, and charity tells us, and you know Charity is the reall basis of all true religion, and charity says judge the tree by its fruit. all who profess christianity, believe in a Saviour and that by and through him we must be saved. We ought therefor to consider all good christians, whose walk corresponds with their professions, be him Presbeterian, Episcopalian, Baptist, methodist or Roman catholic.”

    Jackson proved that this was no mere verbiage by his actions. He and his wife served as the guardian for Mary Anne Lewis, a Catholic. They made certain that she attended Mass and received instruction in the Faith. When she married, Andrew Jackson hosted the wedding on November 29, 1832, and her Catholic wedding was the first Roman Catholic ceremony performed at the White House. Next year the second Roman Catholic ceremony took place at the White House, the baptism of her son, Andrew Jackson Pageot. When the priest asked if the baby renounced Satan, President Jackson, who thought the query was being addressed to him, said in a loud voice: “I do! Most indubitably!” (Hattip to Thomas J. Craughwell for the details of this incident.)”

    (Me defending Jackson? What a confusing way to start off this day!)

  • “(Me defending Jackson? What a confusing way to start off this day!)”


    I admit to having a visceral reaction to even hearing or reading the man’s name. My dear mother, bless her heart, loves Jackson. I’ve always found him utterly repugnant. Even when I read positive stories about him, such as the ones you’ve related, all I can see is the blood on his hands and the demagogery gurgling up in his throat.

    One of my heros, David Crockett, could see him clearly for what he was, and had the audacity to oppose Jackson on his Indian policy (and other matters, as well). It cost Crockett his political career, and, ultimately, his life, as he told his former Tennessee constituents, “Y’all can go to Hell, I’m going to Texas.”

  • Over 43 years ago, I dated a girl who was a student at Ursuline Academy, the Bronx, NY.

    I shall avoid the near occasion to bash Jackson and the demagogue party. That, I’ll defer to Daniel Webster.

    From Robert L. Bartley, WSJ, 10/20/2003, “. . . In his 1832 veto of renewing the Bank’s (Second Bank of the United States) charter, Jackson complained that its profits went to foreigners and a ‘few hundred of our own citizens, chiefly of the richest class.’ Daniel Webster replied that the message was a ‘wanton attack whole classes of people, for the purposes of turning against them the prejudices and resentments of other classes.’ The tradition, of course, runs strong even today in the party of . . . ” Obama, Reid, and Weiner.

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  • The fact that he wasn’t an anti-Catholic bigot doesn’t lessen the cold cruelty of a man who made it his business to persecute the Indians of the South-East US. Jay is right. If his actions were done for the sake of revenge, it is still inexcusable. Before moving to the White House he was always warring against the Indians, making unjust treaties that they only agreed to out of fear. He up-rooted entire Indian tribes, four or five of them, and forced them to walk almost 1500 miles to Oklahoma for “relocation” I think it was the Creeks who lost over one quarter of their people (1400 dead) making the journey. He pursued this relocation policy with a vengeance. He was guilty of genocide in any book.

  • Have you ever heard “The Battle of New Orleans” by Johnny Horton? It’s a highly humorous ballad written in the ’60’s. Johnny Horton also wrote other ballads that were popular before the British Invasion, including “Sink the Bismarck,” “Comanche,” and “North to Alaska” for the John Wayne movie of the same name.

  • “The fact that he wasn’t an anti-Catholic bigot doesn’t lessen the cold cruelty of a man who made it his business to persecute the Indians of the South-East US.”

    Well, being part Cherokee and all Republican it is safe to say that I will never be a member of any Andrew Jackson fan club. I regard the Trail of Tears as a blot on our national honor. However, it is ahistorical to heap the blame for all of this on one man. Jackson was carrying out a policy of Indian removal that was strongly backed by almost all the pioneers in the Southwest. (Not all. Davy Crockett spoke out against the policy for example, as Jay noted.) The Indian wars that Jackson was involved in prior to his Presidency do not break down into simple terms of evil White and good Indians. Often the sides were mixed with Indians and whites fighting on both sides which often amounted to civil wars between tribal factions. The Creek War of 1813-1814 where Jackson first rose to prominence was certainly this type of struggle. Jackson was a major player in the conflict between Whites and Indians in the Southwest, and he used the wars to grab land for the white settlers, but I have little doubt that if Jackson had never been born precisely the same sort of wars would have been fought with the same sorts of outcomes. As for accusing Jackson of genocide, that is simply rubbish. Jackson wanted the Indians removed to across the Mississippi; he did not want them eliminated as a race.

    Jackson is the only American president to adopt an Indian child, which is what he did for a two year old Creek toddler, Lyncoya, found on the battlefield of Talladega. He lived with Jackson and his wife thereafter as their adopted son, with Jackson hoping to eventually send him to West Point. Tragically, Lyncoya died of tuberculosis in 1828. Complicated does not begin to describe Andrew Jackson.

  • “Have you ever heard “The Battle of New Orleans” by Johnny Horton?”

    Indeed I have Sandra!

  • Some of my thoughts on the ever-controversial Andrew Jackson, tied into a very good video on Old Hickory and his role in American history.

  • “As for accusing Jackson of genocide, that is simply rubbish. Jackson wanted the Indians removed to across the Mississippi; he did not want them eliminated as a race.”

    Okay, then, ethnic cleansing, which is oh so much better (although I fully concur with the genocide charge).

  • Words have meanings Jay and genocide does not fit what Jackson accomplished with the Indian Removal Act of 1830. However, if any of you palefaces wish to solace your grief for the wrong done to my Cherokee ancestors, for a reasonable monetary contribution to me I can send you out a certificate of forgiveness in Cherokee! 🙂

  • However, if any of you palefaces wish to solace your grief for the wrong done to my Cherokee ancestors, for a reasonable monetary contribution………….”

    That’s great!

    Man, you’d fit right in down here with the radical Maori grievance industry.

    Would you like a referral? 🙂 😀 😆

  • I’m only beginning Don! My Irish ancestors are still waiting for a personal apology from the Queen of England for the Potato Famine. Then my Scottish ancestors are still waiting for an apology from the Queen of England for Culloden. My Irish ancestors also are upset due to the English settling the barbarous Scots in Ulster, but then my Scottish ancestors take umbrage at this, begin muttering about drunken Irish, and then my Irish and Scottish ancestors begin to fight among themselves! At any rate, when it comes to the right to be historically aggrieved, I will take a backseat to no one!

  • As an Irishman (potato famine and otherwise being treated like $h!+ by the Brits and their American cousins for 700+ years), a Scotsman (Highland clearances), and a pinch of Native American thrown in for good measure, I’m wondering when I’m going to receive my reparations for all the ethnic cleansing we’ve suffered.

    Don, I take a backseat to no one when it comes to harboring ethnic grievances for which I hope to receive full restitution some day.


  • I’m almost certain there’s an ancient chiefdom in Ireland or Scotland of which I’ve been deprived. Surely I can be compensated for that loss by being awarded some castle or manor on a remote lough/loch (with a good village pub nearby, of course).

  • The song “Battle of New Orleans” was actually written by an Arkansas school principal named Jimmy Driftwood as a learning aid to his students; it was set to a traditional fiddle tune called — you guessed it — “The Eighth of January.”

  • Great post. Always enjoy reading your articles Don even if I somewhat disagree. I think you are correct though about what would have happened had Jackson not been born. Probably the same thing, only God knows. There were horrible atrocities. Few can match those of the Brits under Oliver Cromwell when he slaughtered 1/3 of the Irish, well funded by the Rothschilds. Some of hIs soldiers, after shooting the husband, ripped children from their mothers arm, tossed them into the air, and catch them on their swords. His statue still stands tall in Trafalgar Square (I think) in London. He is so honored with a statue for inviting the Jews back to England after they had been exiled.

  • Thank you Brian. Old Ironsides was a piece of work indeed.

  • What a great reminder of the power of prayer through the Holy Sacifice of the Mass. We have an extraordinary Catholic history, as witnessed in this account of the Battle of New Orleans. When Andrew Jackson would later, as president, make that fateful and tragic act against the native Americans, known as the “trail of tears” in 1830ff, I have no doubt that the power of the prayers of the Ursuline Sisters was with the Cheerokee people and all who suffered.

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  • My grievance over Jackson’s Indian relocation policy isn’t JUST that he did it, it’s that he did it after the Supreme Court ruled it was unconstitutional! So much for honor and upholding a vow to “preserve, protect, and defend” the Constitution…

  • Actually Jackson’s apocryphal response to John Marshal, “John Marshall has made his decision, now let him enforce it!” is about the only thing I like about Jackson’s Indian Removal program. John Marshall had a bad habit of getting John Marshall and the Constitution confused.

    Contrary to popular belief, the Supreme Court in Worcester v. Georgia did not rule the Indian Removal Act unconstitutional. What it did hold is that Georgia could not ban whites from being present on Indian lands in Georgia. Marshall wrote the opinion finding that only the federal government had jurisdiction in regard to Indian lands.

60-40: The Party of Jackson Creates A Jacksonian Moment

Monday, December 21, AD 2009

By a vote of 60-40 early this morning in the Senate, the Democrats, with not a Republican vote, voted to cede power to the Republicans in 2010.  The Democrats thought they were voting to invoke cloture on the ObamaCare bill, but the consequences of the passage of this bill, assuming that it passes the House, will likely be to transform a bad year for the Democrats next year into an epoch shaping defeat.  As Jay Cost brilliantly notes here at RealClearPolitics:

“Make no mistake. This bill is so unpopular because it has all the characteristics that most Americans find so noxious about Washington.

It stinks of politics. Why is there such a rush to pass this bill now? It’s because the President of the United States recognizes that it is hurting his numbers, and he wants it off the agenda. It might not be ready to be passed. In fact, it’s obviously not ready! Yet that doesn’t matter. The President wants this out of the way by his State of the Union Address. This is nakedly self-interested political calculation by the President – nothing more and nothing less.

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26 Responses to 60-40: The Party of Jackson Creates A Jacksonian Moment

  • Possibly.

    The president did campaign heavily on insurance reform. I can see his impatience to get something done. Continuing the delay would do little more than look like defeat. And since the GOP never had any alternatives, keeping the status quo would, in fact, also be painted as defeat.

    So we move ahead, as it were, and as you say, corporate America is well-positioned to benefit in some way from all this. Surely they weren’t going to stand to be put out of business with government insurance.

    As for the 2010 elections, they are still a long way off. If we had a solid third or fourth party option, I’d join you to say the Dems should be tweaked. But voting for do-nothing, sit-on-their-hands Republicans? Please. They’ve shelved themselves even in the pro-life side of this debate. It’s been Stupak and Nelson leading the charge. The GOP is standing pat with their hand as dealt. Let’s see how that plays out before handing the election to them eleven months ahead of the fact.

  • “They’ve shelved themselves even in the pro-life side of this debate. It’s been Stupak and Nelson leading the charge.”

    Todd, the Stupak Amendment only passed because every Republican in the House but one voted for it. The Democrats in the House as well as in the Senate are overwhelmingly pro-abortion as the forthcoming battle over the Stupak Amendment in the House will reveal.

    As for Republican alternatives, they have had several including this one.

    What the Democrats are about to do is massively unpopular with the American people, as has been so much of what they have enacted this year. Rarely has a political party so quickly stepped off into a political abyss as the Democrats have been in the process of doing throughout this year.

  • And since the GOP never had any alternatives,

    I guess if you repeat a false assertion it eventually becomes truth.

  • “They’ve shelved themselves even in the pro-life side of this debate. It’s been Stupak and Nelson leading the charge. ”

    Uh What about Cao?

    That being said no one is going to pay attention to what GOP Prolifers say. We (as a party) are pretty much poiwerless right now. That is why the action is the Democrat party and it segments

  • Todd,

    Apparently you didn’t follow the House. There was a GOP Alternative that the CBO scored as cheaper and more efficient at reducing the deficit. The GOP Alternative included an actual exchange allowing for the purchase of health care policies across state lines (thus creating greater competition), enacted tough Medical Liability Reform (TORT) that would reduce inefficiencies in the practice of medicine caused by defensive medicine, and it would increase some of the privatization of Medicare seen in the popular Medicare Advantage Program (a program that now only will exist in 3 counties in Florida).

    The fact you declare there was no GOP alternative indicates in fact that you are just taking your talking points from the DNC.

  • The president did campaign heavily on insurance reform. I can see his impatience to get something done.

    Start that truck and drive it into the ditch. You’ll be getting something done!

  • Will Todd and all – Obama-worshipping imbeciles – also blame Bush for tens of thousands of small businesses that go bust because of this requirement and the excess taxes they will impose?

    “The Democrats’ government takeover of health care will increase premiums for families and small businesses, raise taxes during a recession, cut seniors’ Medicare benefits, add to our skyrocketing debt, and put bureaucrats in charge of decisions that should be made by patients and doctors. The bill also authorizes government-funded abortions, violating long-standing policies prohibiting federal funding of abortion. That’s not reform. My message to the American people is now is not the time to give up. Now is the time to fight harder. When the American people are engaged, Washington listens. Now is the time to speak out, more loudly and clearly than ever, against this monstrosity.”
    John Boehner (R-OH) 21 Dec 2009

  • In true Jacksonian fashion, the country fired the Republicans in 2006 and 2008 because they bungled the war in Iraq and allowed the economy to sink into recession. They might soon have another Jacksonian moment, and fire these equally useless Democrats for hampering the recovery, exploding the deficit, and playing politics with health care.

    The big difference is that Americans saw the death toll mounting in Iraq and the economy going down the toilet. Americans won’t see the effects of ObamaCare in 2010. In fact, a not-yet-implemented ObamaCare should be an electoral asset. “You get health care! You get health care! Everybody gets health care!” The GOP may see gains in 2010, but it won’t be because of ObamaCare.

  • With only 34% of the people saying that passing ObamaCare is better than doing nothing restrainedradical, I think this bill is an anchor which will take Democrat electoral prospects straight to the bottom next year.

  • “Will Todd and all – Obama-worshipping imbeciles …”

    With insightful analysis like this, I feel confirmed that conservative Catholics have as much of a sense of a pulse on the nation as they do when they feel a coconut. When you can’t distinguish between voting while holding nose or political worship (we sure had a lot of that with Bush II) we might as well turn to tea leaves than attend carefully to your analysis. Not everybody thinks like you guys do, comprende?

    The president invested a lot–and some might rightly say too much–in health insurance reform. One might even say he backed himself into a corner on this. By your account, Mr Obama was a loser any way he tried to put a face on this. Alternate proposals aside, he had no incentive whatsoever to caucus with the GOP on this. None.

    As for congressional elections next year, get serious. The House is ensconced in the land of incumbentia. And the Senate is reliving the 2004 election. I can’t see the GOP taking back the Senate, especially if the economy recovers in any way, and the Afghan surge remains a non-disaster.

    2012 is another story, but the GOP has yet top surface a viable national candidate.

    Interesting that you picked Jackson as your theme. Wasn’t that when the Whigs ascended to major party status? They had to wait till 2016–I mean 1840, right?

  • “The House is ensconced in the land of incumbentia. And the Senate is reliving the 2004 election.”

    Wrong on both counts Todd.

    The Democrats are defending quite a few vulnerable seats in the House which McCain carried last year, and many more which Bush carried in 2000 and 2004. Traditionally Republican districts will be swinging back to the GOP next year. Incumbency after the fiasco this year I doubt can be regarded as a positive in competitive districts. The Democrats are also beginning to be plagued by retirements from Congress, a sure sign of a party in trouble in the next election cycle.

    In the Senate I see the Republicans taking Senate seats in Arkansas, Connecticut, Colorado, Nevada, New York (Gillabrand’s seat), North Dakota, Pennsylvania, Illinois, Delaware and either Washington or Wisconsin. I see them holding all their seats and Lieberman caucusing with the GOP in 2011. If Linda Lingle, popular Republican governor of Hawaii, gets into the Senate race she might topple 85 year old Inouye who has served in the Senate since I was 5 years old in 1962. It is hard to imagine Evan Bayh losing in Indiana, but if the political winds are gale force against the Democrats I think there is a small chance he might.

    The Whigs Todd first gained control of Congress in the election of 1834, the year after it was formed. The Whigs were formed as a reaction to the policies of Old Hickory.

  • I don’t know about the Senate, but it would be surprising to see the GOP pick up less than 20 seats in the House. That doesn’t net them a majority, but that’s a worst case scenario. It’s folly to make a firm prediction, but at the current course I think many of the Blue Dogs better start looking for alternative employment. As for the “incumbentia,” that’s funny in light of the recent spate of Democrat retirements. Perhaps they lack Mr. Flowerday’s acute political acumen, but I suspect that might have a better sense of where the country is heading.

    I don’t see a ten-seat pickup for the Senate. There are a couple of very shaky GOP-held seats at the moment, and even considering the possible voter backlash against the Dems, I wouldn’t bet the house on the Republicans holding on to them.

  • I see three Republican seats as offering the Dems possibilities for a switch: the open seats in Missouri and Ohio and Burr in North Carolina. I think 2010 is going to be a strong GOP year in Ohio. Ohio went strongly for the Dems in the last two election cycles and buyer’s remorse has set in. I’ll be shocked if the GOP doesn’t hold the seat. Burr is a weak incumbent, but I think the GOP will have a great election night next year throughout the South. Missouri will be a battle, as open seat elections in that state tend to be. I think the GOP will hold on, but I think that is their shakiest current seat.

  • Don’t know about the comment on politiucal acumen–aside from local politics, I try to stay as apolitical as possible. I wouldn’t say that eleven months with a volatile economy, and who-knows-what on the international front makes for an easy prediction of what is to come.

    The Dems still have eleven months to make a case to stay in power. If some third party in Iowa wants to make a case for my congressional seats, I’m willing to listen. I’m not inclined, like some other progressives, to stay home to make my point next Election Day. I’ll continue to hold my nose and pull the blue lever, but not because I think they’re generating the best ideas.

  • Must correct Mr. McClarey.

    The Republican Party in New York has suffered a secular decline in the calibre of the people they run for about thirty years now. It has left Upstate, conventionally a Republican preserve, represented in Congress almost entirely by Democrats. One exception is a fellow from Buffalo who is a man of genuine accomplishment in private life. (By what accounts have appeared in print, the Republican State Chairman, Stephen Minarik, was partial to him as a candidate because he could ‘self-finance’. The late Mr. Minarik always had his priorities).

    I will offer better than even odds the Republican sachems will arrange for the nomination of some seedy lush who has been making cruddy little deals in Albany for 25 years, because that is who they know and that is their idea of a normal person. Kristin Gillibrand will then eat him for breakfast.

  • I always hesitate to disagree with you Art, but I think that next year it will be anything but politics as usual. As the uprising in New York 23 indicates, there are plenty of Republican voters fed up with precisely the type of machinations you describe.

  • Evidently former Governor Pataki seems poised to make a run at Gillebrand. Yeah, good luck with that. Had Rudy run, he probably would have won that seat, but evidently the Senate was too low a prize for the guy who still seems to have some delusion that he will be president one day. Pataki might be viable, but that would be a race where I would weep few tears if the Republican lost.

    I can see the GOP holding onto the aforementioned seats if it’s a real good year, but it will be tough. They have to hold serve, then win pretty much every toss-up state currently held by the Dems. That’s a tall order, though that’s basically what the Democrats did in 2008.

  • If Pataki’s on the ballot, I’m writing-in the name of my insurance agent’s dog.

    Giuliani ought to retire from political life and attend to mending fences with his children. Putatively, he has told intimates that positions in legislative bodies look unattractive after you have sat in the mayor’s chair producing actual ‘output’. The thing is, as Mayor of New York, he has been among the most accomplished political figures of the post-war period. Most of the presidents we have had over the last sixty years are men of lesser significance. He is 65 years old now and should quit while he is ahead.

  • “If Pataki’s on the ballot, I’m writing-in the name of my insurance agent’s dog.”

    I am certain the dog would do less harm than either Pataki or the incumbent, and would probably have more charisma.

  • That is one cute canine!

  • Parker Griffith, Democrat Congressman from Alabama, is switching to the GOP. He is the first Blue Dog to do so this Congress; he will not be the last.

    Some Democrats can clearly see the electoral ice berg their party is careening towards.

    Merry Christmas Speaker Pelosi!

  • That’s fairly major news. These retirements/party switches are usually a good indicator of significant electoral upheaval – they certainly were in 1994, 2006, and 2008.

  • I don’t think Arlen Specter’s switch indicates an upheaval.

  • It indicated that Specter knew that Toomey would clobber him in the primary. Now Toomey will clobber him in the general.

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The Devil and Andrew Jackson

Monday, February 16, AD 2009


I have never liked President’s Day.  Why celebrate loser presidents like Jimmy Carter and James Buchanan, non-entities like Millard Fillmore, bad presidents, like Grant, with great presidents like Washington and Lincoln?  We have had other great presidents, and one of them, although Republican as I am I bridle on bestowing the title upon him, was Andrew Jackson.  No one was ever neutral about Old Hickory.  He is described as the father of the Democrat party.  Actually, both major parties owe their existence to him.   The Whig party, the main ancestor of the modern Republican party, was founded in opposition to Jackson’s policies.

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7 Responses to The Devil and Andrew Jackson

  • Jackson was a great war hero and I admire his qualities of grit and determination – but he’s always left me a bit cold. He had very little charity in him when it came to the Indians, was indifferent toward slavery (although a very strong Unionist) and his attack on the Bank of the United States was ill-advised, to say the least.

    Like most people of any era, he was very much a man of his time, with the faults and foibles of his time, including his frequent duels, and lack of empathy for the Indians. Since we live in an era when infanticide is casually accepted or even promoted as a good, I think a bit of humility is in order before we condemn our 19th century forbears too harshly for hewing to the conventional wisdom of their day. However, it always seemed to me that our greatest Presidents and the Founding Fathers were great in part because they were able, at times, to somehow see beyond their own place and time and culture. I don’t think Jackson had that quality, however admirable he was in certain respects.

  • You need not worry about the mythical “Presidents’ Day”. Section 6103 of Title 5, United States Code, currently designates this legal federal holiday as ‘Washington’s Birthday.’ Contrary to popular opinion, no action by Congress or order by any President has changed ‘Washington’s Birthday’ to ‘Presidents’ Day’.”

  • My views on Jackson can be summed up as follows:

    It is a shame that Charles Dickinson and Jesse Benton weren’t better shots, or that Junaluska didn’t do that day at the Horseshoe what he later lamented that he wished he had done.

  • You touch on some of the high and low points of his presidency. I tend to think the low points outweight the high. You also fail to mention his spoils systems, which is anathema to someone like me who, while being culturally conservative, could be termed as a procedural liberal.

  • Zak, for a blog post I thought I was already imposing on the patience of my readers in regard to length and therefore I could not address all the aspects of Jackson’s presidency that I would have wished in a different context. I agree that the spoils system was a lowpoint, although I think the civil service system also has its drawbacks.

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