Sunday, July 12, 2009

Old Hickory

I recently wrapped up a biography on Andrew Jackson which was absolutely splendid. I have been quite interested in Andrew Jackson for a number of years now, and this was a good read on his time as President. He was a man with many flaws and looking back at it him it is easy to judge him for his horrible decisions in the support of slavery and mis-treatment of different Indian groups. That being said, his staunch support of the preservation of the Union set the stage for Abraham Lincoln (who borrowed plenty of thought & action from Jackson) in the Civil War. What makes Jackson so likable is how regular he seemed to be for a President. He wasn't particularly educated (in fact most of his opponents attacked his lack of education), he was prone to a violent temper, and his life and friends were filled with suspect decision making at times. Despite all of his flaws, he somehow rose to the highest office in the land, was an incredible military general, and was one of the most well esteemed people of his time. Like him or hate him (and there were plenty of people on both sides of the fence) - he was just interesting. Meacham has not written the best book on him (Remini or Brands are probably more worthy of that title) - but it was an engaging book and an excellent piece if you are interested in learning more about the Presidency of Andrew Jackson.