Hugh Lawson White: The Tennessee "Brutus"
For all they shared in the way of ethnic identity, American experience, ambition, and success, both economic and social, it is important to recognize that within the group of lieutenants, there also were important differences. Those differences were as much the result of personality, their own and their leader's, as any difference of political, social, or economic philosophy or policy. We must also remember that political alliance based on personality rather than philosophy has an especially fragile quality about it. What if the key personality, the charismatic figure at the center of the alliance is perceived, at least by some, to be changing, corrupted by power in the same way that the very enemies the group sought to defeat had been corrupted? Hugh Lawson White, the subject of this chapter, and John Henry Eaton, the subject of the next, both came to believe that in his old age, Andrew Jackson had changed in ways that caused him to forfeit his right to lead them. In their minds Jackson had lost his right to command their respect and loyalty. Jackson, of course, saw things differently. To him both men had become apostates, enemies of the worst kind.
Hugh Lawson White was the son of James White. 1 The elder White was the first North Carolina expatriate to follow the Holston River from what was then western North Carolina but soon to become northeastern Tennessee until it merged with the French Broad River, forming the