Andrew Jackson and His Indian Wars

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9780786127221: Andrew Jackson and His Indian Wars

The expulsion of Native Americans from the eastern half of the continent to the Indian Territory beyond the Mississippi River remains one of the most notorious events in US history, and the man most responsible and most widely blamed for their removal is Andrew Jackson. Robert Remini, hailed by the New York Times as "our foremost Jacksonian scholar," now provides a thought-provoking analysis of this single most controversial aspect of Jackson's long career. Masterfully capturing Jackson's flaws and limitations as well as his heroism, Remini contends that, despite the injustice and atrocities that accompanied the removal, Jackson in fact ensured the tribes' survival. This is at once an exuberant work of American history and a sobering reminder of the violence and darkness at the heart of that history.

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Like many of his Scots-Irish contemporaries on the western frontier of the early United States, Andrew Jackson grew up despising and fearing his Indian neighbors. He proved to be a formidable enemy, campaigning against the Cherokee, Creeks, Chickasaws, and other peoples, some of them former allies against England in the Revolution and the War of 1812. In doing so, he established precedents that his compatriots would follow for the rest of the 19th century.

Robert Remini, the National Book Award-winning biographer of Jackson, here turns his attention to Jackson's relations with the Indian nations of the American South. Those relations, he writes, were tempered by the racism of the day, but, as both general and president, Jackson was also unusual in enforcing rights guaranteed to those nations by treaty, even in instances when he disagreed with the terms. Despite his sense of justice, Jackson kept to his conviction that "Indians had to be shunted to one side or removed to make the land safe for white people to cultivate and settle," and during his tenure as president he pursued a policy of forced removal through which the Indian nations were relocated to the so-called Indian territories west of the Mississippi River, which in turn would be overrun only a few years later.

Though critical of Jackson's policies and actions, Remini suggests that removal saved many of the eastern Indian nations from almost certain annihilation. That view, while capably argued, is controversial, and some scholars of American Indian history are sure to take issue with it. Still, this is a valuable addition to the historical literature, one of interest to general readers as well as Remini's fellow historians. --Gregory McNamee

About the Author:

Robert V. Remini, historian of the US House of Representatives, has been teaching and writing about American history for more than half a century. He has written more than twenty books, including the definitive three-volume biography The Life of Andrew Jackson, which won the National Book Award (1984). His other books include biographies of Henry Clay, Daniel Webster, John Quincy Adams, and Joseph Smith. His Andrew Jackson and His Indian Wars won the Spur Award for best western nonfiction from the Western Writers of America. He lives in Wilmette, Illinois.

Grover Gardner is an award-winning narrator with over eight hundred titles to his credit. Named one of the "Best Voices of the Century" and a Golden Voice by AudioFile magazine, he has won three prestigious Audie Awards, was chosen Narrator of the Year for 2005 by Publishers Weekly, and has earned more than thirty Earphones Awards.

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