The History Book Club discussion

American Lion: Andrew Jackson in the White House
This topic is about American Lion
37 views
PRESIDENTIAL SERIES > 4. TPS - THE AMERICAN LION - CHAPTER FOUR - NON SPOILER

Comments Showing 1-14 of 14 (14 new)    post a comment »
dateDown arrow    newest »

message 1: by Bentley, Group Founder, Leader, Chief (last edited Aug 24, 2009 06:44PM) (new) - rated it 4 stars

Bentley | 44168 comments Mod
This is the section to discuss Chapter Four of the book The American Lion.

The Chapter Title is YOU KNOW BEST, MY DEAR.

American Lion Andrew Jackson in the White House by Jon Meacham


message 2: by Bentley, Group Founder, Leader, Chief (new) - rated it 4 stars

Bentley | 44168 comments Mod
When Jackson took over as President; he felt at the time that the young country was corrupt and in crisis; by corruption he did not mean scandal and mismanagement; he saw as corrupt the grab of power by the few at the expense of the whole. He was very much against the special deal or the selfish purpose. He also saw his role as the defender of the many and protector of the nation. He did not want the insiders to thrive while the average citizen did not get what it wanted. He worried about the Bank because it was not subject to the citizens' control. He thought it made loans to influence elections.

Adam appeared to be depressed in defeat and Clay was physically sick. He was melancholy and pale. Clay and others thought that the arrival of Jackson was the end of geniality as they had known it. I think that they had created an insular society prior to Jackson coming to Washington.

What do you think about Jackson's observations?


message 3: by Bentley, Group Founder, Leader, Chief (new) - rated it 4 stars

Bentley | 44168 comments Mod
Jackson was concerned that the Bank could control much of the economy on a whim. How is that much different from what has happened in recent years?


message 4: by Bentley, Group Founder, Leader, Chief (new) - rated it 4 stars

Bentley | 44168 comments Mod
South Carolina was having problems with slave rebellions and usually when black seamen had their boats docked in port. South Carolina decided to lock up all docking black seamen. Washington decided not to press matters so South Carolina started to override Federal authority. They had been very concerned about rebellions led by Denmark Vesey and others.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Denmark_...

They were having a problem with the tariffs (hostile to the South Carolina way of life). How was the South going to be able to protect its interests? They were really worried about further taxation. Pickens seemed to be talking to Calhoun about nullification even back then.

Were some of these earlier events more of a reason for the Civil War when it finally came to a head? It is hard to understand how this young nation turned on its own with some of the practices of the English monarch. South Carolina was asking what was in it for them?




message 5: by Bentley, Group Founder, Leader, Chief (new) - rated it 4 stars

Bentley | 44168 comments Mod
How did Jackson distinguish between his despising the clergy but willing to leave religion alone?

It is interesting that he saw a separation of the two.


message 6: by Bentley, Group Founder, Leader, Chief (new) - rated it 4 stars

Bentley | 44168 comments Mod
Andrew Jackson was also concerned about the National Debt. He felt that debt put power in the hands of the creditors. Jackson felt that if the power was in the hands of the creditors; it could not be in the hands of the people where it belonged.


message 7: by Bentley, Group Founder, Leader, Chief (last edited Aug 31, 2009 08:35PM) (new) - rated it 4 stars

Bentley | 44168 comments Mod
This was probably one of the great issues of Jackson's presidency:

He wanted to remove Indians to the West of the Mississippi
Interests of whites were paramount
He thought co-existence was impossible.
He thought it would secure the country even if it was for the whites.

Jackson was responsible for the Trail of Tears and to this day many Indians despise Jackson. What do you think Jackson was trying to accomplish and do you agree with his decision - why or why not.


message 8: by Bentley, Group Founder, Leader, Chief (new) - rated it 4 stars

Bentley | 44168 comments Mod
20,000 descended upon Washington for the inauguration; this was the largest of the crowds to turn up for an inauguration. Two men's lot were being thrown in with each other: Calhoun with Jackson.

John C. Calhoun was bright but not action oriented and did not see eye to eye with Jackson. Calhoun was a Nationalist and a War Hawk and supported the War of 1812. Protective Tariffs were harmful to the South. And they were worried about their slaves being taken away from them. But one thing that kept these two apart was that Calhoun was toying with the nullification idea and of forcing the union's hand and that troubled Jackson.

Is anyone sympathetic to South Carolina's plight? And was Jackson correct in worrying about Calhoun?


message 9: by Bentley, Group Founder, Leader, Chief (last edited Sep 02, 2009 09:13AM) (new) - rated it 4 stars

Bentley | 44168 comments Mod
John C. Calhoun was an interesting study in this chapter.

Meacham made the following points about him:

a) Calhoun's theory of disunion threatened the union that Jackson loved
b) Calhoun was smart enough to keep the vehemence of his views quiet
c) Calhoun believed that Jackson would listen to his views and slash the tariffs
d) Calhoun hoped that Jackson would understand being from Tennessee and protect the Southern way of life
e) Calhoun had secret ambitions himself about the presidency and that his hour would come.

From the view of history, what do the readers think of Calhoun and his views at that time?

I thought the following showed an interesting photo of Calhoun from a Southern perspective:

http://www.google.com/imgres?imgurl=h...

United States Congress biography:

http://bioguide.congress.gov/scripts/...

Biography:

http://www25.uua.org/uuhs/duub/articl...

From Revolution to Reconstruction:

http://www.let.rug.nl/usa/B/calhoun/j...

John C.Calhoun:Selected Writings and Speeches:

http://books.google.com/books?id=9dhB...

John C.Calhoun: An American Portrait:

http://books.google.com/books?id=HIo5...

John C.Calhoun Monument (video done by students)

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=qANzYT...

US Senate Biography:

http://www.senate.gov/artandhistory/h...

Vice Presidents of the United States: (Joseph Biden is missing at the end)

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=IIW5_x...

John C. Calhoun American Portrait by Margaret L. Coit

John C. Calhoun Selected Writings and Speeches (Conservative Leadership Series) by H. Lee Cheek Jr.


message 10: by Bentley, Group Founder, Leader, Chief (last edited Sep 02, 2009 09:03AM) (new) - rated it 4 stars

Bentley | 44168 comments Mod
For all of the duels that Jackson was involved in and for all of his tempetuous behavior in earlier years; Jackson as a President knew when to keep quiet and reserve his counsel. I loved the quote: "Politics like emotion is not static."

I would have loved to see a video of Jackson riding down the street in DC on a white horse on the way to the White House. What a sight that must have been.

And then we have the question of Eaton's wife? It seems to me that Emily played a part in this behind the scenes. What a mess that was? John C.Calhoun could have spoken to his wife about this but was really encouraging this behind closed doors.

Peggy Timberlake Eaton - now that is a name that shook the government!

It really was a National Soap Opera:

http://www.suite101.com/article.cfm/p...

http://www.presidentprofiles.com/Wash...

Also called the Petticoat Affair:

http://americanhistory.suite101.com/a...

Regarding the Peggy Eaton Affair:

http://www.academicamerican.com/jeffe...

Book on the Petticoat Affair:

http://findarticles.com/p/articles/mi...

The Petticoat Affair Manners, Mutiny, and Sex in Andrew Jackson's by John F. Marszalek


message 11: by Bentley, Group Founder, Leader, Chief (last edited Sep 02, 2009 09:22AM) (new) - rated it 4 stars

Bentley | 44168 comments Mod
Major Eaton (Secretary of War):

A History of the War Department of the United States: (Ingersoll) - 1880

http://books.google.com/books?id=mAsS...

John Henry Eaton:

http://www.history.army.mil/books/sw-...

John Eaton: Wikipedia

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/John_Eaton

He was also the youngest Senator in history; I guess they overlooked the rules then because he was not the only one (Armistead Mason or Henry Clay were two others)

His life did not end with his resignation:" Eaton later served as Governor of Florida Territory from 1834 to 1836, and ambassador to Spain from 1836 to 1840."




message 12: by Bentley, Group Founder, Leader, Chief (last edited Sep 02, 2009 03:28PM) (new) - rated it 4 stars

Bentley | 44168 comments Mod
Floride Calhoun

A very interesting woman who was John C. Calhoun's wife (also the initiator of the Eaton situation). She was quite well liked in social circles but head strong at home. Additionally, she is the one who had the family money and controlled the purse strings.

Her daughter who married Thomas Clemson (of the Clemson University family) eventually inherited her mother's estate (3/4ths of it) and a great grand-daughter (Floride Isabella Lee inherited the other 1/4). The home Fort Hill was eventually owned by the one surviving daughter. And all of that property became part of what Clemson Univeristy eventually was.

This is a favorable write-up about Floride; John C. Calhoun's wife.

http://www.clemson.edu/about/historic...

This is the Clemson write-up on the daughter of John and Floride Calhoun: (Anna Maria Calhoun Clemson (Mrs. Thomas Green Clemson)

http://www.clemson.edu/about/historic...

A very favorable write-up on John C. Calhoun:

http://www.clemson.edu/about/historic...

Fort Hill - the former John C. Calhoun plantation

http://www.clemson.edu/about/history/...

Floride Elizabeth Clemson Lee (Mrs. Gideon Lee) - grand-daughter of Mrs. Floride Calhoun and daughter of Anna

http://www.clemson.edu/about/historic...

Floride Isabella Lee Calhoun (Mrs. Andrew Pickens Calhoun II) - only grandchild of Thomas and Anna Maria Clemson (Anna Maria Calhoun):

http://www.clemson.edu/about/historic...

Thomas Green Clemson (founder of Clemson University with Anna Maria's inheritance):

http://www.clemson.edu/about/historic...


message 13: by Bentley, Group Founder, Leader, Chief (new) - rated it 4 stars

Bentley | 44168 comments Mod
Two other blogs about Floride Calhoun and the Eaton situation:

Mean Girls:

http://historychat.wordpress.com/2009...

Thoroughly Modern Margaret:

http://vernondent.blogspot.com/2008/0...


message 14: by Bentley, Group Founder, Leader, Chief (last edited Sep 02, 2009 05:55PM) (new) - rated it 4 stars

Bentley | 44168 comments Mod
Calhoun's great grand daughter filed a suit:

http://www.lib.clemson.edu/SpCol/find...

It seems to me that Thomas Clemson should have consulted with living members and descendants of the Calhoun family about passing the estate out of the Calhoun family lines. His deceased wife did not mention that he had ever discussed this with her or that Thomas Clemson had in fact been given the OK by her to give away his financial securities which were also obviously his wife's as well. I can see why his grand daughter filed the suit. This would never have happened if more of the Calhoun family had remained alive I am sure. However, at the very least, he did see fit that Fort Hill was preserved forever and maintained and out of it came Clemson (so not all bad).

His will:

http://www.clemson.edu/about/history/...

The great grand daughter of John C Calhoun (Florida Lee) got married to the great grandson of John C. Calhoun IAndrew Pickens Calhoun)- the same girl who filed suit against her grandfather.

http://query.nytimes.com/mem/archive-...

What do the rest of you think about it?




back to top