Tag Archives: Southern Culture

A Reflection On Andrew Jackson

JacksoInaug1929.jpg
source: https://potus-geeks.livejournal.com/1055691.html

Andrew Jackson And “Decades Of Division”

Growing up in Virginia the Civil War history unit always started with Andrew Jackson. Andrew Jackson – the only president we don’t know the true state of birth for because he was born on the border of North and South Carolina. He is best known as the Original Jackass – the reason the Democratic party has a donkey as its mascot. He took office in 1828 “by a landslide,” reported the papers. In reality? It was the same margin as the previous election. He was popular and earned the name “The Peoples’ President.” He used campaign slogans that suggested he was fighting for the “common man” against the “corrupt aristocracy.” He was extraordinarily popular among White Men (the only people that could vote at the time). Especially southerners, frontiersmen, prospectors, and businessmen who saw his election as a financial opportunity.

His opponents were not his fans. They went so far as to call themselves the Anti-Jacksonian Party. They found many of his actions in office excessive uses of executive power, and he avoided foreign affairs to the extent that it became a point of tension and even had a sex scandal. It’s hard to forget that he is the president most responsible for American genocide against the Native American Nations across the U.S with the Indian Removal Act of 1830. There were even hints of heavy foreign influence regarding his treaties given his avoidance of foreign policy. He added supreme court justices that agreed with him to “stack the courts” to keep his interpretation of the executive powers as outlined in the constitution protected. He set off a chain of events that unfolded for the next 23 years following his departure from office.

Does this sound familiar to you at all?

Here, I’ll throw a quote from this J. Michael Martinez article from July at you:

During his initial bid for the presidency in 1824, Jackson had endured all manner of insults and humiliation. He was an uneducated bumpkin, a blasphemer, a fraudulent land speculator, and even a murderer.

Okay. Hopefully, you see where I’m going with this now.

But What About Foreign Interference!?

Hush. Do you remember nothing from history class? Or did I only learn this because I grew up in The South?

Andrew Jackson and France made a treaty in 1831. Here‘s how that played out:

In an 1831 treaty, France agreed to pay claims for Napoleonic depredations on American shipping. Nevertheless, the French Chamber of Deputies refused to appropriate the necessary funds. Jackson finally lost patience and asked Congress to authorize reprisals if the money was not paid. The French government then demanded retraction of this insult as a condition of payment. Jackson responded in effect that what he said to Congress was none of a foreign government’s business. The impasse deepened through 1835: ministers were recalled and military preparations begun. Finally, under British urgings, the French agreed to construe a conciliatory passage in a later message of Jackson’s as sufficient apology. France paid the debt and the crisis passed without repercussions.

Once the British became involved in 1835, they did not disengage. The continued conflict between Britain and France played out on American soil, as did the conflict over land claims between the United States, Spain, and Mexican independence. This foreign interference did not happen in a vacuum and absolutely influenced the war to come.

France, Spain, England and the fight for Mexican Independence were totally involved in propaganda campaigns during the 23 years leading up to the Civil War. During the Civil War, France actively sent insurgents to spread propaganda to ensure the port cities they cared about (they succeeded with Savannah!) surrendered to General Sherman.

England, on the other hand, was Pro-Confederacy for economic reasons and demonstrated this by choosing to recognize the Confederacy as an independent nation state and trade partner. All of the foreign interference was for economic reasons. The United States provided cheap goods and resources from the backs of slave labor that were integral to major international trade routes in its budding Empire.

Unfortunately, it’s hard to find hard evidence of these propaganda campaigns anymore besides what was written in letters, printed in certain newspapers, or specifically distributed in port cities. There’s some evidence to suggest Savannah’s case in General Sherman’s account of the interaction based on the individuals he spoke with and their associates. Other diaries also provide the suggestions of international presence in the decision by the city of Savannah to surrender.

“The houses all had a shut up look – but from many French, Austrian, British + some American flags were flying + from others people were putting out flags. A few doors opened as we passed + faces peered from windows.”

As an international port city (and the future Port Of Call for my family once they immigrated to the United States many many years after the Civil War) a heavy foreign influence is not terribly surprising, but it is often forgotten and left out of discussions about the Civil War.

What Does This Have To Do With 2020?

A week from today you have the option to go vote. You will vote for whomever you choose and that is your choice as an American citizen. I cannot say if the pattern above would have happened had Andrew Jackson only served one term. I can’t say that because that’s not what happened. During Andrew Jackson’s second term tragedy befell his life and, to put it mildly, he started acting more extreme than before and his political opponents vowed to behave in kind. This is when The Petticoat Affair happened. Assassination plots and attempts started cropping up. The most famous story being when he beat his assailant with his cane.

We live in “the cool zone” – we have a responsibility to decide how cool we’re going to allow it to get.


Thank you for reading this today! Please remember to go out and vote a week from today if you haven’t already participated in early voting or you haven’t dropped your mail-in ballot off to be mailed. Feel free to let me know if I need to add any additional sources or make any corrections. I try my best to fact-check, but no one is perfect.

Short Story: Cicadas

I’m happy to announce my short story ‘Cicadas‘ is live on Coffee House Writers! I’m excited to bring my readers back to one of my past homes as I pay homage to a city I love. Richmond is a beautiful city filled with rich history and the kind of muggy summer heat you don’t easily forget.

For those not from The South or eastern United States, cicadas are those insects you hear about spending the majority of their lives underground (17 years; 19 years; etc. depending on the species) only to emerge for a couple days to molt, eat a lot, mate, and die. In parts of the United States, cicadas are eaten because they are so numerous. They’re gluten free and low carb!

Thank you for taking the time to read my short story today! Have you ever written or read anything set in a place you have lived? What did you think of it? What do you think of this piece? I’d love to hear in the comments!

If you’d like to see more flash fiction, please like, comment, and/or share this post. It helps me know what content my readers are most interested in seeing, so I can better know what to share here.

An Examination of Death – A Poem

Here is the next of this series of forgotten poems from 2000 – 2005. I used to use a lot more structure in my poetry and didn’t actually start experimenting with avant garde/free verse until I was in college.

At the end of the poem I decided to add a final stanza to provide closure to the narrative and try to make sense of the story being told.



An Examination Of Death

Marybeth died at 65
Too bad her children aren’t still alive
No one was there to plant the tree
On top of her mound to set her free

Harold passed at only 7
Told his mama he was going to heaven
Didn’t hear the fights night and day
Or the shot fired when Mama got in the way

Tommy was gone in ’44
Never had been to war before
When his bride received the news
Next they found her in a noose

Kristy was only 18 years old
When her poor mama was told
She took her life one sunny day
Leapt from the building – cross the way

Daisy was a carefree girl
Loved her Johnny’s special lure
Watched him die before her eyes
At the hands of paradise

All the world can find its fate
Then associate and relate
With every death comes less time
All to end this awful rhyme

Daisy stands by Marybeth’s stone
Knowing they both were together alone
She kneels down to plant a seed
So finally her soul, from pain, is freed


Thank you for taking the time to read these today! Have you ever found any of your old writing? What did you think of it? What do you think of this one? I’d love to hear in the comments!

If you’d like to see more of my forgotten poetry, please like, comment, and/or share this post. It helps me know what content my readers are most interested in seeing, so I can better know what to share here.