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Audio and Video

Robert V. Remini | Andrew Brustein | John Marszalek | C-SPAN American Presidents series

Robert V. Remini

Three hours with Robert Remini, the pre-eminent Jackson scholar. This is a real gem—probably the best Jackson resource on the web, and a must-listen for anyone interested in Jackson and his times. The First session is largely about Jacksonian America—a remarkably dynamic period when, as Remini argues:

"I think the American, as we understand the American today—whatever we understand those characteristics may be—emerges in the Jacksonian era."
This and discussing the Battle of New Orleans leads to a nice comparison between Jackson and Washington:
"Andrew Jackson was a hero for the rest of his life. He was more loved than Washington. Washington is hard to love—you can love Lincoln—but Washington sorta remains that statue—cold. Maybe it's because he's not really like the rest of us."
The first session also includes a wondeful attack on Abigail Adams (something you don't hear every day). The Second session, ostensibly devoted to some primary-source analysis, is much less focused. Remini is fond of digressions historical and political. His politics are a mix of "Jacksonian" elements—eg., direct election of Supreme Court justices—and New Deal liberalism. Every now and then, however, we wander back to Jacksonian issues, and he can certainly surprise. Witness his assessment of Jackson's policy of Indian removal:
"It's the best thing that ever happened to the Indians. They are alive today because they were removed. The tribes who were not removed earlier … they've disappeared. The only way to preserve them was to remove them. But that's not why Jackson did it. Jackson did it because they are a danger to the national security. And just as we are doing crazy thing today … because of national security … And the Indians were a threat because they were armed by our enemies. And they attacked us, and they were killing us. And we hated them and they hated us, and we didn't trust them and they didn't trust us."
Sessions were recorded on 9/7/2002 at Ashland University in Ohio.

C-SPAN interivew with Remini. Remini talks to Washington Journal ahead of a talk at the Whitehouse on "Is President Bush like former President Andrew Jackson?" Bush, however, is not much mentioned in this interview, which also includes call-ins of an exceedingly diverse character. Remini repeats much of what he said at Ashland University regarding Indians. Taped 9/19/2002.

Andrew Brustein

Brustein interview, appeared on StudioTulsa (April 20, 2004). On why he wrote it:

"… no one had really written a re-evaluation of Jackson in a whole generation, and all that we have on bookshelves… has been a highly patriotic, celebratory—hero of New Orleans. This kind of traditional biography was fine, but it certainly doesn't tell the whole story of the violent frontier that shaped Andrew Jackson, and how an individual who comes out of this physical as well as psychological environment could become associated with the popular will, and a 19th century vision of expansionist democracy."
Brustein comes off as a something of an intellectual weenie, mistaking his own failure to understand for a unique interpretive advantage:
"How did a man with so little education—and he really was virtually unschooled—feel that he was qualified to lead the nation? What makes him perplexing is that he really lacked the intellectual capability to be a political leader, and yet he was so absolutely confident in his instinctive ability to form judgments, and radically change the way politics was conducted. … And how does somebody like that become a popular hero when there's so many highly-educated, beautiful orators on the floor of the Senate and the House scrambling to be president—how come this guy who literally can't spell—how did he capture the popular imagination and how did he capture a majority of the votes?"

John Marszalek

C-SPAN Booknotes with John Marszalek, author of The Petticoat Affair (1 hour). Marszalek is an entertaining speaker with an interesting topic. Lamb is a marvellous interlocutor, asking highly-specific factual questions. After the first half-hour he asks more general questions about Jackson and Jacksonian America. You can also read the full interview transcript.

C-SPAN American Presidents series

C-SPAN page on Andrew Jackson, from American Presidents: Life Portraits (aired March-December 1999). This page houses a number of Jackson resources, including video selections.

Full 2.5-hours of C-SPAN programming on Jackson, made for the American Presidents series (April 25, 1999). Portions of this programming are selected below. Unfortunately, these selections were cut wrong, with interviews or vignettes often split between sections. That problem aside, there's nearly three hours of great material here. Use this link for the Booknotes show on John Marszalek's Petticoat Affair. The one on the AmericanPresidents site is chopped wrongly.

C-SPAN vignette on Andrew Jackson's birthplace and rambunctious early life, with historian guide Nancy Sambets (3:50 into this clip to end).

"Jackson and the Battle of New Orleans," C-SPAN vignette with historian Doug Brinkley (11 minutes)

C-SPAN vignette on Jackson's career in the U.S. Senate with Senate Historian Don Ritche. In fact, this piece starts in the final four minutes of this one (on Jackson's papers). Ritche stresses his "executive temperament."

C-SPAN vignette on the "Attempted Assassination of Andrew Jackson" with historian Don Ritchie. As before this is miss-cut; go forward to 51:00 minutes to watch the interview. If you don't know it, the incident is fascinating. Imagine a modern president facing down two pistols and then attacking the attacker.

C-SPAN show on Andrew Jackson's papers at the Library of Congress, with manuscript specialist Gerard Gewalt (22 minutes). Gewalt touches on documents that relate to Jackson's slaves, his Indian policy, his altercation with the Bentons, the assassination attempt. This is a somewhat dry show; it's not clear what benefit there is to seeing the documents—so small and fuzzy over the web—without reading them. The final four minutes are a summary of Jackon's senate career by Senate Historian Don Ritche.

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.