Books in Brief

The Rise of Andrew Jackson: Myth, Manipulation, and the Making of Modern Politics, by David S. Heidler and Jeanne T. Heidler (New York: Basic Books; 448 pp., $32.00).  Andrew Jackson ran for President in 1824 and was defeated by John Quincy Adams, the son of former President John Adams.  In 1828 he tried again and won, owing—the Heidlers argue—to the “Jacksonites”: his political machine, which, having learned from the previous defeat, invented the modern American political campaign by breaking from the more deferential style of politics that had characterized the early Republic and replacing it with a demotic one.  The Jacksonians, as the Heidlers describe them, wanted universal white male suffrage, were keen on territorial expansion, eager for the destruction of the Second Bank of the United States, and anxious about the increasing power of the federal government.  Those whom they call the Jackson-ites were professional political operators eager to translate the hero of the Battle of New Orleans into a popular figurehead behind whom they could combine to achieve political power for themselves.  Andrew Jackson himself was a man of no distinction, beyond his victorious 30 minutes of fighting in 1815.  He was also a crude and unpleasant man with an uncontrollable temper who required careful management on the part of his handlers.  Moreover,...

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