Book cover of Andrew Jackson, Southerner by Mark Cheathemby Mark Cheathem

Many Americans view Andrew Jackson as a frontiersman who fought duels, killed Indians, and stole another man’s wife. Historians have traditionally presented Jackson as a man who struggled to overcome the obstacles of his backwoods upbringing and helped create a more democratic United States. In his compelling new biography of Jackson, Mark R. Cheathem argues for a reassessment of these long-held views, suggesting that in fact “Old Hickory” lived as an elite southern gentleman.

Jackson grew up along the border between North Carolina and South Carolina, a district tied to Charleston, where the city’s gentry engaged in the transatlantic marketplace. Jackson then moved to North Carolina, where he joined various political and kinship networks that provided him with entrée into society. In fact, Cheathem contends, Jackson had already started to assume the characteristics of a southern gentleman by the time he arrived in Middle Tennessee in 1788.

Interview with the Author

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Q&A with Mark Cheathem
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