Andrew Jackson and his era have always intrigued me. For a man who saw himself, and has often been described as simple and straightforward, he seems especially hard to explain. For many decades he was labeled as the first western president who led the march away from the influences of Europe toward that unique condition known as democracy. He was the man of the frontier, the border captain, the epitome of great courage and extraordinary leadership ability despite lack of formal education or training. Jackson was the hero of an American victory over a European army, a victory not just of one army over another but of one culture over another.
Beginning with the publication in 1933 of Thomas Abernethy Frontier to Plantation in Tennessee, the portrayal of Jackson as the heroic westerner has gone through a number of major revisions. Abernethy saw Jackson as a frontier capitalist, far from heroic, intent on the pursuit of his self-interest. In 1945 Arthur Schlesinger claimed that Jackson was a champion of eastern working men and western farmers, a nineteenth- century version of Franklin D. Roosevelt. In the 1950s, Marvin Myers and Richard Hofstadter each portrayed Jackson as a defender of an American past rather than the leader of a second American revolution as others had observed him. His most recent biographer, Robert Remini, has painted a