Robert V. Remini is acknowledged to be the nations foremost authority on Andrew Jackson. Over the past three decades he has published numerous books on Jackson and his presidency, including a three-volume biography. Although his interpretations can be controversial, his mastery of sources and singular diligence in advancing a revised image of Jackson are universally respected. In his latest book, The Legacy of Andrew Jackson, Remini discusses Jacksons role in htree areas of particular importance in American history: democracy, Indian removal, and slavery.
Reminis first essay shows the steadily democratic evolution of the nation beyond its earlier commitment to the ideology of republicanism and the role Andrew Jackson played in that transition. Remini regards Jacksons contribution to the development of democracy in this country as his most significant legacy and believes that Jackson is not given sufficient credit for his role in that development. According to Remini, few historians fully appreciate Jacksons extraordinarily liberal views on suffrage, his deep commitment to majority rule, or his strong faith in “the incorruptibility of the people.”
In the second essay Remini argues that Jacksons legacy regarding Indian removal was not the unmitigatedly evil one that most recent historians have seen ita as. Rather than being motivated by greed, political opportunism, or genocidal mania, Jackson, Remini contends, insisted on removal not only to ensure the nations security but also as a humanitarian means of preserving Native American life and culture. The Indians, Jackson sincerely believed, had to be removed if they were to survive with any degree of cultural autonomy. Thus, argues Remini, it was not the motivation but rather the implementation of