Andrew Jackson and the War of 1812 Centennial

The most recent issue of Tennessee Historical Quarterly includes an article, entitled “Forging the ‘Hero of New Orleans’: Tennessee Looks at the Centennial of the War of 1812,” by Dr. Tom Kanon, a TSLA staff member and an expert on Tennessee during the War of 1812.  Kanon argues that “much of the reason for the ‘success’ of the Hero of New Orleans’s legacy rests in how Tennesseans perceived the War of 1812 a hundred years ago, during the centennial celebration of the war” (128).

Kanon’s article examines the role of the Ladies’ Hermitage Association (LHA) and its leaders, especially Mary C. Dorris,  and the Andrew Jackson Memorial Association. He proposes that these two organizations’ efforts sought three objectives: To make Jackson “the hero of the War of 1812″; to emphasize the importance of the Battle of New Orleans in “[stopping] British aggression . . . [and saving] the Louisiana Purchase for the United States”; and to create a sense of pride about Tennessee “backwoodsmen” and their importance in winning the battle and the war (152).

This article is exactly what I’ve hoped someone would undertake to help explain the evolution of the memory of Jackson among Americans. By focusing on the epicenter of Jacksonian memory, Kanon has provided a starting point for other studies.

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