Pearsall's Books

This blog is defunct! Check out my new music blog at

Tuesday, July 26, 2005

Before Focus Groups and Spin Doctors

Can you imagine the US ever again having a 100% hard-ass bastard like Andrew Jackson as president?

Andrew Jackson had been born with gunpowder spicing his blood. He was one of the most quick-to-fight white men living on the Tennessee frontier. He was untutored, except for a brief apprencticeship at law in Salisbury, North Carolina, beginning at age seventeen, a period of study interspersed with gambling, horse racing, cockfighting, dueling, and fistfighting. He harbored an especially keen hatred of the English, who had imprisoned him during the Revolution.

He practiced law in Nashville, a town as tough and raw as fresh-cut hide. In the April term of 1790, out of 192 cases on the docket of the county court, Jackson was employed as counsel in 42 of them; in 1794, out of 397 cases, he was employed in 228. In addition, he was representing a number of Indians, some of whom had committed murders and thefts in the district. He served briefly in Congress. Appointed to the Senate, he resigned the next year to become a state Supreme Court judge; as a judge he was a failure, never wrote an opinion. He opened a store and went broke. He quarreled with almost everybody, and when a military man was needed by Tennessee, his name was mentioned because of his natural belligerence. He was elected major-general of the militia for the western district of Tennessee, even though he lacked any military experience or training; and in 1812, when war broke out between the United States and England, he organized a force of 2,5000 Tennessee volunteers. To the north the Sioux and Shawnee were joining the English, fighting under Tecumseh, and in the south the Red Sticks were also falling in with the English; but he had somewhere a letter from three Cherokee chiefs offering to raise an army of Cherokees to fight for the United States.

He shared the white Tennessean's common opinion of Indians. As he saw it they were the festering sore that afflicted the settlers and limited the colonization of this great land, the progress of this newest and best nation on Earth, man's hope for freedom from kings and dukes and tyrants and priests, and also from the long-nosed, overeducated, weak-kneed sophisticates of New England who preferred an Atlantic Coast nation, and the north-eastern states that had already slain their Indians and now pleaded every cause except that of the common white man, the average voting citizen, who was, thank God, patriotic and a fighter and a voter still.

He was convinced that Indians would not become civilized. He cherished all of his convictions, but most of all that one. The Cherokees were a roadblock in the way, isolating Tennessee. They made it blisteringly difficult for Tennessee to join the union in any respect more than name. Cherokee: a blob of forests, burn-off fields, and raging streams with savages robbing travelers and, often enough, torturing them to death. That was Cherokee to him. (p. 106-7)

John Ehle Trail of Tears: The Rise and Fall of the Cherokee Nation

Things may change, but not that much. You can tell that Jackson would have been entirely at home with the neocon-influenced global democracy agenda and militant anti-Muslim feeling that are the twin poles of so much grassroots right-wing feeling on the internet.

|| RPH || 5:25 AM || |