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Historian to discuss new view of Andrew Jackson at APSU on April 9

3/24/2014

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CLARKSVILLE, Tenn. – Many Americans view Andrew Jackson as a frontiersman who fought duels, killed Indians and stole another man’s wife. Historians have traditionally presented Jackson as a man who struggled to overcome obstacles and helped create a more democratic United States. In his compelling new biography of Jackson published by LSU Press, historian Mark R. Cheathem argues for a reassessment of these long-held views, suggesting that in fact “Old Hickory” lived as an elite Southern gentleman.

At 4 p.m. on April 9, Cheathem will visit Austin Peay State University to discuss his new book, “Andrew Jackson, Southerner,” during a special lecture in Morgan University Center, room 103B. The event, sponsored by the APSU Phi Alpha Theta History Honor Society and the Clarksville/Montgomery County Arts and Heritage Development Council, is free and open to the public. The event will kick-off the council’s commemoration of the 200th anniversary or the Battle of New Orleans, which helped established Jackson as a national figure.

Cheathem, an associate professor of history at Cumberland University, contends Jackson had already started to assume the characteristics of a Southern gentleman by the time he arrived in Middle Tennessee in 1788. After moving to Nashville, Jackson further ensconced himself in an exclusive social order by marrying the daughter of one of the city’s cofounders, engaging in land speculation and leading the state militia.

By emphasizing Jackson’s Southern identity, characterized by violence, honor, kinship, slavery and Manifest Destiny, Cheathem’s narrative offers a bold new perspective on one of the 19th century’s most renowned and controversial presidents. 

After the lecture, Cheathem will meet with PAT members to discuss his book and his research. For more information, contact Dr. Minoa Uffelman, APSU associate professor of history, at uffelmanm@apsu.edu.