The tide of working class anxiety that drove Donald Trump into the White House is not a new, 21st century American phenomenon. For Professor Bradley J. Birzer, who teaches a class on “Jacksonian America” at Hillsdale College, today’s working class anxieties are all too familiar—as is the combative political climate, and the rise of a controversial president.
This riveting and fully human portrait of President Andrew Jackson places him within a living context of his time, fleshing out Jackson as a no-compromise warrior and eccentric politician forced to navigate a crucial moment in America’s history, when questions of national identity, political authority, religious authority, and the efficacy of democracy were seeping into all aspects of American life.
Using diaries, letters, and newspaper columns from Jackson’s contemporaries—including John Quincy Adams, James Monroe, Henry C. Calhoun, Daniel Webster, and Alexis de Toqueville—Birzer gives readers a radically new and historically true perspective on Andrew Jackson, while also drawing powerful parallels between the anxieties of Jacksonian America and the anxieties of the “Hillbilly Elegy” voting bloc of today.
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