Did Andrew Jackson Really Hate the British?

Two years ago, I had the opportunity to present a paper at a symposium commemorating the bicentennial of the Battle of New Orleans. The papers from that symposium have now been published in a new book, The Battle of New Orleans in History and Memory (LSU Press).

The table of contents gives you some idea of the variety of topics covered by the essays:

Introduction by Laura Lyons McLemore

  1. “What We Know That Ain’t So”: Myths of the War of 1812 (Donald R. Hickey)
  2. “I Owe to Britain a Debt of Retaliatory Vengeance”: Assessing Andrew Jackson’s Hatred of the British (Mark R. Cheathem)
  3. “The Dreams of Empire”: The War of 1812 in an International Context (Alexander Mikaberidze)
  4. Objects of Scorn: Remembering African Americans and the War of 1812 (Gene Allen Smith)
  5. In Defense of Liberty: The Battalion d’Orleans and Its Battle for New Orleans (Paul Gelpi)
  6. Lessons Learned from the War of 1812 for the US Military in the Twenty-First Century (Blake Dunnavent)
  7. One Hundred Years of Hickory and Cotton Bales: The Battle of New Orleans Centennial Celebration (Joseph F. Stoltz III)
  8. Continually Heroic: Portraying Andrew Jackson through Classical and Contemporary Heroic Devices (Leslie Gregory Gruesbeck)
  9. The Battle of New Orleans in Popular Music and Culture (Tracey E. W. Laird)

My own contribution examines the commonly held idea that Jackson possessed a lifelong hatred of the British. In the essay, I traced the historiographical and popular development of this claim, then examined the historical evidence, including Jackson’s own writings. Like most history, the idea that Old Hickory saw red when he thought about the British seems to be mostly myth, with some truth mixed in.

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2 Replies to “Did Andrew Jackson Really Hate the British?”

  1. I would be very interested in seeing your essay. If he didn’t harbor at least a deep-seated suspicion of British intentions and global activities he would seem to be a real anomaly of his party and his time.

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