A Collaborative Effort

"There was a time when the United States had heroes and reveled in them. There was a time when Andrew Jackson was one of those heroes, along with the men who stood with him at New Orleans and drove an invading British army back to the sea." So begins Robert Remini's The Battle of New Orleans, which attempts to recover the history of one of America's greatest heroes.

Before the War Between the States, the Battle of New Orleans was celebrated nearly on a par with Independence Day, each anniversary commemorating the triumph of American liberty over the British monarchy. Andrew Jackson's victory at New Orleans capped his campaigns against the British and the Indians in the Southeast, ensuring American control over the region. Without the new cotton-producing states of Mississippi and Louisiana, slavery might have withered in the 1830's and 40's, rather than expanding. It is understandable, therefore, that postbellum America lost interest in the events of 1815. But today, slavery is long gone from the United States. The time has come for Andrew Jackson and his brave army to reclaim their place in the American pantheon.

To the extent that junior high school history textbooks mention the Battle of New Orleans, they insist that it was irrelevant, since it was fought on January 8, 1815, and the Treaty of Ghent, ending the war, was signed on December 24, 1814. However, had the British captured...

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