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Jacksonian America

Overviews | Tocqueville's Democracy in America | Joseph Smith


Jacksonian Democracy by Sean Wilentz, The Reader's Companion to American History. Excellent lengthy summary.

"From another angle, however, Jacksonianism appears as a political impulse tied to slavery, the subjugation of Native Americans, and the celebration of white supremacy—so much so that some scholars have dismissed the phrase 'Jacksonian Democracy' as a contradiction in terms. Such tendentious revisionism may provide a useful corrective to older enthusiastic assessments, but it fails to capture a larger historical tragedy: Jacksonian Democracy was an authentic democratic movement, dedicated to powerful, at times radical, egalitarian ideals—but mainly for white men."

Amazon. The Jacksonian Era, Robert V. Remini's short, fast-paced introduction to this critical period in American history.

"The Age of Jacksonian Democracy" Lecture-summary by Henry J. Sage, includes a 10 bullet-point summary of why Jackson was popular.

"The Jackson Era" an overview of mostly social trends, from Hall Morris' biography of Jackson.

Guided Readings: Jacksonian Democracy from Prof. Steven Mintz's Hypertext History, an online American history textbook for high-school students. Includes sections on Jackson, Indian Removal, Nullification and the Bank War.

"Jacksonian Politics, 1829–1841" by Don Mabry. Idiosyncratic but not uninteresting summary of events, notably the Peggy Eaton affair, Nullification and the Bank of the United States.

Jefferson and Jackson's America Resources from Henry J. Sage's course United State History I, through Northern Virginia Community College but taught online.

Growth of the National Map by Peter Mays, from As one blogger put it "Thrill to the sight of Andrew Jackson's disembodied head repelling the British from [New Orleans] in the war of 1812."

Jacksonian America lecture notes from History 2010: U.S. History to 1877 by Neil Greenwood.

Tocqueville's Democracy in America

Amazon. Democracy in America by Alexis de Tocqueville, the new translation by Harvey C. Mansfield, Delba Winthrop. Here's a table of contents.

Excerpt: "Why the Americans Show Themselves So Restive in the Midst of Their Well-Being" from the publisher (U. Chicago)
Review by Stephen Holt, History Today (May, 2001)

Booknotes with Harvey Mansfield (December 17, 2000). Transcript also available.

Wikipedia: Alexis de Tocqueville. Not yet fully developed. See also the French Wikipedia.

"Tocqueville for all time" by Biancamaria Fontana, Times Literary Supplement (July 2004). Review article covering four recent de Tocqueville books. Interesting exploration of his French context and French works. She digs up a fascinating fact that citing de Tocqueville was so prevalent in the New Republic in the 1980s that the editor banned the practice.

de Tocqueville bibliography by Paul P. Reuben.

Joseph Smith

Amazon. Remini's short biography of Joseph Smith, the founder of Mormonism, for the Penguin Lives series. (I love this series; who says biographies have to be doorstops? Back to Plutarch! I say.)

Review of Joseph Smith from Dave's Mormon Inquiry Weblog, "This book is likely as fair and balanced a treatment of Joseph Smith as any non-Mormon scholar is capable of producing."

Review by Jeff Needle writing for the Association for Mormon Letters.

"Instead, the non-Mormon reader will find here a comprehensive, and fair, treatment of the Joseph Smith story. And Mormons will find herein a nicely executed study of the cultural, religious and historical context of the beginnings of Mormonism."

Remini discussed Joseph Smith on C-SPAN. The discussion is not online, but you can order a tape.

Short review from the Victoria College/University of Houston-Victoria Library.

"A Bird's-eye View of the Mormon Prophet." Review by Jan Shipps, Farms Review. "…derivative, on occasion uninformed, and not particularly well-written." Ships locates it in the "Gentile oeuvre," and carps repeatedly that Remini didn't read this or that specialized study. Clearly, Remini wasn't picked as the preeminent Smith scholar. (That's not the point of the Penguin Lives series! If it were, Peter Brown would have written the Augustine volume, not Garry Wills.) He was picked because he brought a fresh perspective and writes well.

LibraryThing: Catalog your books online.

If you enjoy this site you may also like these other sites by me:

Alexander Hamilton on the Web. All about Alexander Hamilton, founding father and first Secretary of the Treasury.

D-Day on the Web. Comprehensive directory of resources about the allied invasion of Normandy.