The Market Revolution: Jacksonian America, 1815-1846

The Market Revolution: Jacksonian America, 1815-1846

The Market Revolution: Jacksonian America, 1815-1846

The Market Revolution: Jacksonian America, 1815-1846

Synopsis

This title includes the following features: A provocative new look at the age of Jackson; Ranges from the end of the War of 1812 through Andrew Jackson's presidency; Written by the winner of a Bancroft Prize for History and a recognized authority on the period

Excerpt

1815 opened with the fate of the American republic--and worldwide republicanism--hanging in the balance. A pall of chill, ashes, and gloom lay over muddy little Washington. Burned out of the Capitol, congressmen found standing room in a patent office spared by British invaders' reverence for technology. Amid blackened rubble, they dreaded news from every direction.

Four days' travel to the north, the elders of New England were thought to be plotting secession behind closed doors at Hartford. A month away to the South, Sir Edward Pakenham's seasoned British army, fresh from victory over Napoleon Bonaparte, advanced through the swamps of the lower Mississippi toward New Orleans. Few thought it could be stopped by the raw western militia hastily assembling under Indian fighter Andrew Jackson.

Only forty years before, the American Revolution had loosed republicanism on the modern world. Within a generation the French Revolution and Bonaparte's legions broadcast the contagion across Europe. Through twenty years of unparalleled bloodshed, British-led coalitions of European autocracy made war on revolutionary Bonapartism. When the United States rashly joined the fray against the preoccupied British, it brought upon itself a train of left-handed humiliations even as the British right hand crushed Napoleon. And now Britain's mighty fleets and armies redeployed to choke off the republican infection at its New World source.

Americans' only hope lay in stalled peace negotiations at faraway Ghent in the European Low Countries. By last report, two months in transit, British negotiators were still dragging their heels, presumably awaiting a Pakenham victory to dismember the upstart republic.

After weeks of suspense, on February 5 glorious news arrived from below New Orleans. The invaders had been routed on January 8 by murderous fire from Jackson's hasty entrenchment behind the little Rodriguez Canal. With a loss of only thirteen men, the western citizen-soldiers cut down seven hundred Britons, including General Pakenham. Celebration climaxed eight days later, when the capital . . .

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