Andrew Jackson and His Tennessee Lieutenants: A Study in Political Culture

By Lorman A. Ratner | Go to book overview

Introduction

Political culture has been defined as the "subjective orientation to politics" of a particular group.1 It might be said about political culture that it provides the stage on which the political actors perform. Political culture involves the acceptance of a common ground which in turn serves to set the terms of the political contest. That culture provides the criteria for determining qualifications to lead and the agenda the leader should pursue.

Andrew Jackson's rise as a political leader can be understood best by placing him in the context of the political culture of which he was a part. When Jackson emerged from the War of 1812 as the warrior who had vanquished his country's enemies, the Indians and the British, his fame propelled him from the ranks of his State's important people to that of state and national hero. Jackson had earned the right to claim the role of thane, that person who in the tradition of Scotland rose from the ranks of the people and as a result of his courage and success on the battlefield earned the right to be leader.2 Although Jackson's right to be thane was established in the minds of many, others rejected it. To the skeptics Jackson's behavior, marked as they saw it by ungentlemanly outbursts of temper, occasional failure to obey the law or show proper respect for authority, too much of a taste for power and more, were evidence of a

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Andrew Jackson and His Tennessee Lieutenants: A Study in Political Culture
Table of contents

Table of contents

  • Title Page iii
  • Contents vii
  • Preface ix
  • Introduction 1
  • Notes 4
  • 1 - Home Left, Home Found 7
  • Notes 16
  • 2 - Andrew Jackson: In Search of Honor, in Defense of Reputation 19
  • Notes 33
  • 3 - John Overton: The Power Behind the Throne 35
  • Notes 40
  • 4 - John Coffee: Kin but by Blood 41
  • Notes 48
  • 5 - George Washington Campbell: Jackson's Man in the East 49
  • Notes 55
  • 6 - William B. Lewis: The Loyal Retainer 57
  • Notes 64
  • 7 - William Carroll: The People's Advocate 65
  • Notes 71
  • 8 - Hugh Lawson White: The Tennessee "Brutus" 73
  • Notes 82
  • 9 - John Henry Eaton: A Lost Man 83
  • Notes 90
  • 10 - James K. Polk: The Cause Above All Else 91
  • Notes 96
  • 11 - Sam Houston: The Prodigal Son 99
  • Notes 107
  • Epilogue 109
  • Bibliography 111
  • Index 119
  • About the Author 123
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