6 Years of Blogging

Hard to believe that it's been six years since I made my first post. More than ever, I'm convinced that the Jacksonian period is supremely relevant to understanding today's United States, especially its politics. Despite Stanley Fish telling historians to keep quiet about modern-day presidential politics, "nobody puts Baby in the corner!" https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=NyC--vsiGEI

A Historical Precedent for Dumping a Presidential Candidate

The Republican party is set to nominate Donald J. Trump as its nominee this week. Most signs indicate that a plan to derail the New Yorker's convention nomination by unbinding delegates, thus freeing them to vote for someone else, will come to naught. In 1844, another New Yorker discovered that going into a major party's …

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My Thoughts on Jackson and the $20 Bill

Here is the Tennessean editorial I wrote on the change to the $20 bill. Comments on the Jacksonian American Facebook page already reflect exactly what I was arguing against: We Americans can't seem to find a way to understand our nation's past without either vilifying or valorizing those who lived in it.

Books for Fall 2016

American Presidency Randall Balmer, God in the White House: A History (HarperCollins, 2009) ISBN 9780060872588 James Broussard, Ronald Reagan: Champion of Conservative America (Routledge, 2014) ISBN 9780415521956 Evan Cornog, The Power and the Story: How Presidential Narratives Shape America (Penguin, 2004) ISBN 978159420022x Gareth Davies and Julian E. Zelizer, America at the Ballot Box: Elections and Political History (University …

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The $20 Bill and Jacksonian Mythology

I've watched with keen interest the discussion about the $20 bill that has taken place over the last week or so. Most commentators seem to support the decision to move Andrew Jackson to the back of the bill and place Harriet Tubman on the front. I may have a published piece on this topic coming …

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Tariff Wars and the Politics of Jacksonian America

I am pleased to announce that William K. Bolt's book, Tariff Wars and the Politics of Jacksonian America, is the inaugural volume in Vanderbilt University Press' New Perspectives on Jacksonian America series. From the catalog: Bolt's book "show[s] why the tariff was an important part of the national narrative in the antebellum period. The debates …

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Here’s What the Trump/Jackson Comparisons Are Missing

The comparisons between Donald Trump and Andrew Jackson continue to appear. This recent one does a poor job of making its case, but as we discussed it in my Jacksonian America course this morning, it occurred to me that if commentators really wanted to use a Jackson comparison to Trump, they should focus on free …

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Are Conspiracy Theories Central to U.S. Political Debate?

Anne Applebaum's piece in Slate argues that we have been blessed in recent history by a political system that has, for the most part, kept them [conspiracy theories] outside the mainstream of American political life. With the possible exception of the anti-masonic movement in the 19th century and some of the madder moments of the …

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Is Donald Trump a Modern-Day Andrew Jackson? New Thoughts

While I have been wrapped up in launching The Papers of Martin Van Buren project this week, a couple of historians wondered what I thought of Steve Inskeep's piece comparing Donald Trump to Andrew Jackson. I've written about this comparison previously, but Inskeep's take prompted a different set of thoughts for me. One of the problems that I've had …

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Official Launch of The Papers of Martin Van Buren Project

Cumberland University is launching The Papers of Martin Van Buren project on Monday, Feb. 15. (Fittingly, that is Presidents Day.) There will be a press conference in the Vise Library at 2:00 P.M. At 3:30, we will be holding a symposium on presidential papers projects in Labry Hall 130. Speaking at the symposium will be: …

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