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Circle is a place where crypto meets stability, where local businesses meet global customers, and the US dollar meets USDC. Visit circle.com slash podcast. Inspired by Ubisoft's famous video game series, Assassin's Creed, the Echoes of History podcast offers a deep and fascinating dive into history. In this season's Assassin versus Templars, these two organizations have a rich history that takes its root in the medieval era and the time of the crusades within the Assassin's Creed universe. Hosted by Dan Snow and Matt Lewis from History Hit, each episode offers us a history of these two not-so-secret societies. New episodes weekly.
Listen to Echoes of History, Assassins versus Templars on iHeart or wherever you get your podcasts. This week on Leguizamo does America, John Leguizamo heads to Washington DC to explore Latino representation within our government. Talking to young politicians like Richie Torres gives me hope that someday our leadership will be as diverse as America itself. No one is going to fight more vigorously for the Latino community than Latinos themselves. Leguizamo does America.
All new episodes Sunday April 30th at 10 p.m eastern on MSNBC and streaming on Peacock. This is Lee Habib and this is Our American Stories, the show where America is the star and the American people. Up next the story of a man whose politics are as controversial today as they were in his time. He excelled at the lost art of dueling and was our first president with a D in front of his name. We're of course talking about Andrew Jackson. Here to tell the story of the man is Dr. Bradley Burzer, a professor at Hillsdale College and author of In Defense of Andrew Jackson.
Here's Dr. Burzer. When Andrew Jackson took the oath of office for the very first time on March 4th of 1829, he did so wearing all black. He was still lamenting the very recent loss of his wife, his partner, his absolute intellectual equal. He also, when he gave his talk, when he gave his inaugural, he bowed twice to the American people. Once when he started and once when he finished his talks and both times he recognized that they were the true sovereigns of America.
This was not affectation or theater on his part. One of the things that astounded me absolutely in getting to write on Andrew Jackson is how unbelievably honest he was and how unbelievably dedicated he was to the American people. So in 2017, and I don't want to make this too autobiographical about me, but in 2017 I got asked through John Miller who teaches here at the college, he was asked by Harry Crocker who was the head then of Regnery Publishing if they knew somebody who could write a very quick and short biography of Andrew Jackson. I've been teaching Andrew Jackson during a class that we have here at Hillsdale College for the last 20, 21 years since 1999. I've been teaching a course called Jacksonian America and throughout most of the time that I had the privilege of teaching that course which I absolutely loved.
There are incredible figures like Ralph Waldo Emerson and Henry David Thoreau and John Quincy Adams. During much of that I always taught Andrew Jackson as the bad guy. He was the first really strong executive. This was a person who tried to distort what the founders wanted. He was our seventh president. He was the first non-classically educated president. He was kind of a country bumpkin. He was an Indian murderer and I taught him basically as that for roughly 18 years of my career here at Hillsdale College. So when John Miller and Harry Crocker asked me to write about Andrew Jackson I was kind of taken aback.
I wasn't quite sure if I could do this and I decided to go ahead because I got from Harry Crocker an assurance that I could write whatever I wanted as long as I was able to back it up. I found very quickly that I fell in love with Andrew Jackson. I was told that Andrew Jackson was a rapist. It's not true. I was told he was a murderer. It's not true and I was told he was an ethnic cleanser.
It's not true. Fascinating. Of all the people I've had the privilege to write on and I've written only upon people that I really like I found that I got to know Andrew Jackson better than almost every other figure that I've been able to write about and the reason was because he speaks so openly. There is no duplicity in his language, in his mind.
I actually think it would go constitutionally against the very character and the very soul and person of Andrew Jackson to be duplicitous. Now he's also the most brutal person I have ever come across in my own life in terms of studying someone this intimately. So he was both incredibly honest and incredibly brutal and I had to come to grips with that. What is it about this man and what is it about his brutality that in many ways plays into his honesty and what is it about his honesty that plays into his brutality? He was called a knight in buckskin, the Napoleon of the woods, old hickory, and the greatest title that any American could have held prior to the 20th century.
He was the hero of New Orleans. He is really the frontier personified. I couldn't help but think of Johnny Ringo in Stagecoach, that great John Ford movie and I couldn't think of that help but think of the innocence of Johnny Ringo. For those of you who've seen Stagecoach and if you haven't recently you should, one of the great classics in American cinema. Johnny Ringo, this young gun fighter, finds himself on a stagecoach with a whole variety of different people from different parts of society and one of the persons on the stagecoach is a prostitute and Johnny Ringo doesn't get that. He just knows that she's a fancy woman and he's a woman, she's a woman and he needs to treat her in a certain way.
The other woman on the stagecoach is deeply offended by this. I'll come back to why this is important especially for Andrew Jackson or I think of John Wayne again as Ethan Edwards in The Searchers, another John Ford movie. John Ford and John Wayne understood something about this unique character.
The man who loses, the man who struggles no matter the cost but no matter the loss and no matter the struggle, he continues to fight for what's right because he knows that's at the essence of what it means to be an American male. But we could jump forward a little bit as well and now I'm probably revealing my own age because I certainly wasn't around when Stagecoach or The Searchers came out but I was very much alive and rather in love with a science fiction story called Firefly in the early 2000s, about 20 years ago and for those of you who've seen that, it is a western set in space and the main figure is a John Wayne kind of figure by the name of Malcolm Reynolds and there's a great moment in the pilot of that show. The show only lasted I think 16 episodes.
They did 13 for the pilot season and then another three and it failed and then they made a movie. It's unfortunate that it failed but it's one of those things I'm glad it existed at all but there's a moment where a young doctor comes up to the captain of the ship, the Firefly or the Serenity, a Firefly class ship and this character, Malcolm Reynolds, is challenged and the doctor says, you know, after all the violence I've seen, are you going to shoot me? And Malcolm Reynolds says something to him that's incredible and Andrew Jackson could have said it. He says, you don't know me son so let me explain it to you once.
If I ever kill you, you'll be awake, you'll be facing me and you'll be armed. Now that's the ultimate American male statement and for me this is what Andrew Jackson was all about. And you've been listening to Dr. Brad Berzer of Hillsdale College tell the story of Andrew Jackson and in a way he's telling the story of how he came to teach about and admire Andrew Jackson.
When we come back, more of the story of Old Hickory here on Our American Stories. Folks, if you love the stories we tell about this great country and especially the stories of America's rich past, know that all of our stories about American history from war to innovation, culture and faith are brought to us by the great folks at Hillsdale College, a place where students study all the things that are beautiful in life and all the things that are good in life. And if you can't get to Hillsdale, Hillsdale will come to you with their free and terrific online courses.
Go to hillsdale.edu to learn more. What is circle? First of all, it's a beautiful shape. It's consistent. A community.
It's meant to be inclusive. The globe. At Circle, we build USDC, a digital dollar that's actually dollar backed one to one. We're building a future where money will travel at the speed of the internet for fractions of a penny and no one will think about it because it will just be the way we work.
Circle is the place where crypto meets stability, where local businesses meet global customers and the US dollar meets USDC. Visit circle.com slash podcast. Inspired by Ubisoft's famous video game series, Assassin's Creed, the Echoes of History podcast offers a deep and fascinating dive into history. In this season's Assassin versus Templars, these two organizations have a rich history that takes its root in the medieval era and the time of the Crusades within the Assassin's Creed universe. Hosted by Dan Snow and Matt Lewis from History Hit, each episode offers us a history of these two not so secret societies. New episodes weekly.
Listen to Echoes of History, Assassin's versus Templars on iHeart or wherever you get your podcasts. The music community is really united for St. Jude. I love that families never receive a bill from St. Jude. Because of that, they can focus on helping their child live. St. Jude shares the breakthroughs it makes. So doctors and scientists worldwide can use that knowledge to save thousands more children. Everybody wearing this shirt is giving a little bit. And it's all adding up to go a long, long way for kids fighting cancer all over the world. Join us in this mission to cure childhood cancer and save lives.
Go to musicgives.org to donate and get your own shirt. And we continue with our American stories. And with Hillsdale College Professor Dr. Brad Burzer, telling the story of Andrew Jackson.
Let's pick up where Dr. Burzer last left off. So Andrew Jackson is born in 1767. And he dies in 1845.
It's a pretty amazing life. When you think about everything that he went through, he was born into absolute poverty, Scotch Irish poverty in every way. He was able to work his way up into the world, even though he had lost the entirety of his family by the time he was 14. He was able to work his way up out of poverty and into not just respectable middle class, but southern gentry status in Nashville, Tennessee, which I would argue was as western and frontier as it was southern. His mother, as I mentioned, died when he was young.
He was only 14. And his mother died because she was nursing American soldiers during the American Revolution and caught a fever and was not able to overcome it. But she did leave some advice for Andrew, whom she hoped would grow up to be a Presbyterian minister. It was actually one reason that they saved up their money, very little that they had, for Andrew to be able to go to a liberal arts college when he was a young man. He didn't use the money for that.
It went for other things. Andrew Jackson did end up having somewhat of a classical education, but as he himself said, everything that he ever needed to know, he learned by reading stories of William Wallace, the great Scottish nationalist. And there's something to that, especially when we think about Andrew Jackson. But here's what his mother wrote him before she died as a piece of advice. Andrew, if I should never see you again, I wish you to remember and treasure up some things that I have already said to you. In this world, you always have to make your own way. To do that, you have to have friends. You must make friends by being honest, and you must keep them by being steadfast. You must keep in mind that friends worth having will in the long run expect as much from you as they give to you. To forget an obligation or to be ungrateful for a kindness is a base crime, not merely a fault or a sin, but an actual crime. Men guilty of this crime sooner or later suffer the penalty. In personal conduct, be always polite, but never obsequious.
None will respect you more than you will ever respect yourself. Avoid quarrels as long as you can without yielding to imposition, but sustain your manhood always. Never bring a suit of law for assault or battery or defamation to a courtroom. The law affords no remedy for such outrages that can satisfy the feelings of a true man.
Everybody catch that? You beat the snot out of your opponent on the street. You don't take him to court. This is what it means to be a real man of the law. Never wound the feelings of another. Never, Brooke, once an outrage upon your own feelings. If you ever have to vindicate your feelings or defend your honor, do it calmly. And then, if angry, wait until your wrath cools before you proceed.
What motherly advice? There we have it. And Andrew loves this. This is everything to him. And one of the most fascinating things I found in going through the life of Andrew Jackson was how much to an almost surrealistic degree he respected women.
Now, this is a great thing. We should respect women. Men should respect women. But Jackson took this to the point where his mother and his wife, who is his intellectual equal in every way and his partner, he took it so far that I have never seen anyone in history think so highly of a woman except for maybe Roman Catholics in the way they approach the Virgin Mary.
And I say that without any kind of recrimination, just straightforward. Jackson had a great reverence for women. So if you remember, I brought up a little bit ago Johnny Ringo on the stagecoach. We find letters in Andrew Jackson's collected letters where he wrote to the prostitutes of Nashville, Tennessee, inviting them to the town balls, not as dates, but as equals because they too were citizens or at least residents of Nashville.
Wasn't a joke. It wasn't meant in any way to be derogatory. Andrew truly believed that this was how you treated women. And we could say, and this was something that was brought up against Andrew Jackson in his own lifetime today.
Well, what about black women? He was a slave owner. We have the testimony of one of his slaves, Hannah, who said that every time Andrew Jackson came to the plantation, everybody celebrated. He solved problems. He served as a judge. He treated all of his slaves with respect. He rolled up his shirt sleeves and worked with them in every way. And not only that, but when Rachel Jackson passed away in 1829 and Jackson had to leave his estate to go up to Washington to be president, he left Hannah, his black slave, in charge of the estate for the eight years that he was gone.
It's pretty impressive. Point number two about Andrew Jackson. As I mentioned earlier, Jackson was as honest as he was violent. And one of the things that shocked me to no end, and I will admit I'm from Kansas, I'm a Volga German, Russian German stock. My family refused to fight during World War I, which my wife's family still likes to tease me about because they have fought in every, every encounter America's been in. I think going back to last week's war.
So they have been in everything and very proudly so. My family has done everything to dodge war in every way. So this is not from my background in Kansas. But I think about the complex set of rules that went around dueling during the 1800s and how complicated this was. Andrew Jackson once said, for malicious slander, all men are answered only at the bar of honor. Now think about what his mother told him. Anytime you're wronged, you never take it to court.
You settle it in the street. That's what real men do. And that's exactly what Andrew Jackson did. But there's something about Jackson's duels that are absolutely fascinating. The duels dictated that no people ever of unequal worth could challenge one another in a duel. And Jackson has in his own letters in his diaries that when younger men who were clearly trying to make their way in society and prove their worth within Scotch Irish society, when they would challenge Jackson, Jackson would actually go up to him in the street with his cane and just beat them. He would tell them, you're not worthy of a duel, but someday you will be. And it would actually, to be caned by Andrew Jackson was regarded as a good thing.
And here's why. Because it meant that you would mean something someday, even if you don't yet. If Jackson ignored you, that was the worst thing possible. Here's one of the most interesting comments, and I'll give you two stories about Jackson and dueling. When he was in the U.S. Senate, and he only served twice in the U.S. Senate, and neither for a full-time job, and he was in the U.S. Senate, and neither for a full term, just a couple of years, in the 1790s, and then again in the 1820s, he just served for about two years each. But the first time that he was in, he was in during John Adams' administration, and he was absolutely disgusted by a fight that was going on, not a real fight, but a political argument going on the floor that lasted for 16 days. And Jackson writes in his diary, I don't get this.
These men are a feat. This is all sticks and spittle. We have spent 16 days of the people's money spending $10,000 for this debate, and what an absolute disgrace.
They could have easily solved it by a quick duel outside of Congress. And you're listening to Dr. Bradley Burzer tell the story of Andrew Jackson. We learned early that Jackson, well, he did not exactly have a privileged life. He was born to Scotch-Irish poverty, lost his entire family. By the time he's 14, he has worked his way up to southern gentry status.
And of course, Dr. Burzer reminds us that back then, Nashville was as much a western frontier town as it was a southern town. And my goodness, that note of his mother, that's something I want to post in my own home. It's so beautiful. I think it's so timely, much of it, and how to settle our affairs, how to conduct ourselves, what great advice to a child. And my goodness, Jackson took it to heart. And then that last story about dueling, can you imagine now 16 days seeming like a long time? Our Congress will argue for a half century about some point or another.
When we come back, more of the remarkable story of Andrew Jackson here on Our American Stories. What is Circle? First of all, it's a beautiful shape. It's consistent, a community. It's meant to be inclusive, the globe. At Circle, we build USDC, a digital dollar that's actually dollar backed, one to one. We're building a future where money will travel at the speed of the internet for fractions of a penny, and no one will think about it because it will just be the way we work.
Circle is the place where crypto meets stability, where local businesses meet global customers, and the US dollar meets USDC. Visit circle.com slash podcast. Inspired by Ubisoft's famous video game series, Assassin's Creed, the Echoes of History podcast offers a deep and fascinating dive into history. In this season's Assassin versus Templars, these two organizations have a rich history that takes its root in the medieval era and the time of the crusades within the Assassin's Creed universe. Hosted by Dan Snow and Matt Lewis from History Hit, each episode offers us a history of these two not so secret societies. New episodes weekly.
Listen to Echoes of History, Assassins versus Templars on iHeart, or wherever you get your podcasts. The music community is really united for St. Jude. I love that families never receive a bill from St. Jude. Because of that, they can focus on helping their child live. St. Jude shares the breakthroughs it makes. So doctors and scientists worldwide can use that knowledge to save thousands more children. Everybody wearing this shirt is giving a little bit. And it's all adding up to go a long, long way for kids fighting cancer all over the world. Join us in this mission to cure childhood cancer and save lives.
Go to musicgives.org to donate and get your own shirt. And we continue with our American stories. And with the story of Andrew Jackson, telling the story is Dr. Bradley Burzer. And he's the author of In Defense of Andrew Jackson. When we last left off, Dr. Burzer was telling us about Jackson's life. The death of his mother at a young age profoundly impacted him and her words of advice to never take personal disputes in front of a court of law, but rather face men head on resonated deeply with him. Naturally, he became a proficient doer.
Let's return to the story here again, is Dr. Burzer. Andrew Jackson, as you may know, was extremely intelligent, but not very well educated. And one of the funniest things about going through his letters is he never spells the same word the same way twice, right?
And I think he would have considered it a badge of dishonor had he been able to spell consistently. But he would write these challenges in the in the Nashville newspaper, where he would say, because of this person's actions, I challenge this person to a duel, for whatever reason, and he would list it. And then he would say, I call on this person to give me a time and a date.
And one of the persons that he got into a fight with was the governor, John Sevier. And so they were trying to figure out a time. And they kept sending and I've seen all these notes, they're hilarious. They keep sending these notes back to each other saying, well, I think we should fight by long sword. We'll do it at this place at this time. Other one will write back, no long swords, not appropriate.
I say we use this caliber pistol. We'll do it at this time. And they went, this went on for weeks. And Jackson got really frustrated. And so he finally published in the newspaper, to all whom shall see this present greetings. Know ye that I, Andrew Jackson, do pronounce, publish and declare to the world that the excellency John Sevier, your governor, captain general, commander in chief of the land and naval forces of the state of Tennessee is a base coward.
He will basically insult, but he has not the courage to repair the wound. Now there's the final statement. And so Sevier agrees and they come up on a time and Jackson is anxious about this duel. And they have to duel right on the Tennessee-Kentucky border. They don't want to be either exactly in Kentucky or Tennessee in case the law decides to get involved.
So they picked this spot on the Kentucky-Tennessee border. Jackson shows up early. He's got his number two.
You always have a second with you in case you fall who can pick up the fight. And he sees about 15 minutes late, Sevier riding in on a horse with a friend, his number two. And Jackson is furious because the guy's late. And so Jackson pulls his cane. Remember the cane. He pulls his cane out and he charges.
Sevier charges him across this field. And Sevier is so befuddled by this that he tries to pull his sword out. But in the act of trying to pull his sword out, he falls off his horse and he falls onto the ground on top of his sword and his sword breaks in two. Jackson comes up to him and says, I see you removed your sword. I consider this duel satisfied. They shook hands, rode back to Nashville together, and became constant allies for the rest of each of their career.
Can you imagine on Twitter? Oh, you scoundrel. All right, point number three. One of the most interesting things about Andrew Jackson that I think we often don't remember about him is that he actually had a great animosity towards the standing army, even though he was a general within the standing army. He wrote constantly throughout his life. He didn't write, he wrote lots of letters.
He didn't write a lot of public documents, but he did a few. And in these statements that he wrote about the standing army, he had kind of the old-fashioned, smaller Republican notion that a true republic will be defended by its navy. It can be permanent, but never by a standing army, which is almost always the tool of oppression, as he thought. He said, there are really only two reasons to call up the army and you never have it for more than two years, right? And this is in the Constitution. We know that no bill that gives revenue to the army can last for more than two years.
There are no such restrictions on the navy, but there is that in the U.S. Constitution. Jackson said there are only two reasons we would ever call up the standing army. Number one, if the Indians are harassing us, or number two, if the Europeans are.
He's not expecting anyone else, but if the Europeans or the Indians. And even then, when we call up the standing army, we always put limitations on it and we always make sure that the militia is superior to the standing army. Here he is in 1805 during his July 4th toast in Tennessee. He says, and this is toast number, oh, I'm sorry, I did not write this. It's toast number seven, and it actually mattered the number of toast because I'll read you seven and then 11. So toast number seven, to the militias of the United States, the surest bulwark of freedom. And then number 11, to the army of the United States, which we must always remember can be doomed to persecution and tyranny under a government of laws to satiate the private spleen of any would be despot.
So that's pretty amazing. We're praising the army, but not really, because we don't know exactly what that army is going to do. Five years later, in 1810, he explained his own position in a letter to the governor of Tennessee. He says, our independence and liberty as a people was not obtained without expense.
It was dearly bought with blood and treasure, and it must be preserved. The pence on this subject can never be counted, but the only real and substantial defense of a free people is the organized militia. This is always, and I quote from Jackson, in contrast with the corruption manifested at all times in our regular army.
And this has been verified by our constitution, which only allows the two year funding for things in the army. In 1812 and 1813, when Andrew Jackson called up his own private militia and state army within Tennessee, he told them that no matter what he assured them he would not allow the federal government to federalize them in any way. He said to his men in March of 1812, there will be no drafts or compulsory levies, and if they are made, there will be a simple invitation to those who buy into that idea to leave to us the fighting. So if you've been drafted, if you're here against your will, we'll ask you to leave. Jackson, when he was told by the Secretary of War that he must federalize his troops, he refused. And he said, this is not what I promised the parents of these young men.
These young men are here strictly because they believe the fight is correct. And he refused to follow the order of John Armstrong, then the Secretary of War, and he said, I would remind you of your own army's success. Was it not under the US Army command of William Hole at Detroit in 1812 that you surrendered a third of our forces to the British? Where is your glorious army?
And by what right do you have to regulate my militia? He says, a nobler feeling should impel us to action. Who are we? What are we going to fight for? Are we the slaves of George III? This is in 1813. Are we the slaves of George III or the military conscripts of Napoleon or the frozen peasants of the Russian Tsar?
No, we are freeborn sons of the Republic of America, the citizens of the only republic now existing in the world and the only people on earth who possess rights, liberty, and property, which they dare call their own. It's amazing. And you're listening to Dr. Bradley Burzer tell the story of Andrew Jackson. His book in defense of Andrew Jackson is available on Amazon and the usual suspects. And my goodness, his comments about standing armies historically is just dead true.
They were so easily corrupted by the king or whomever else was in power. When we return, more of the story of Andrew Jackson here on Our American Stories. What is Circle? First of all, it's a beautiful shape. It's consistent. A community.
It's meant to be inclusive. The globe. At Circle, we build USDC, a digital dollar that's actually dollar backed one to one. We're building a future where money will travel at the speed of the internet for fractions of a penny, and no one will think about it because it will just be the way we work.
Circle is the place where crypto meets stability, where local businesses meet global customers, and the US dollar meets USDC. Visit circle.com slash podcast. Inspired by Ubisoft's famous video game series Assassin's Creed, the Echoes of History podcast offers a deep and fascinating dive into history. In this season's Assassin versus Templars, these two organizations have a rich history that takes its root in the medieval era and the time of the crusades within the Assassin's Creed universe. Hosted by Dan Snow and Matt Lewis from History Hit, each episode offers us a history of these two not so secret societies. New episodes weekly.
Listen to Echoes of History, Assassins versus Templars on iHeart, or wherever you get your podcasts. The music community is really united for Saint Jude. I love that families never receive a bill from Saint Jude. Because of that, they can focus on helping their child live. Saint Jude shares the breakthroughs it makes. So, doctors and scientists worldwide can use that knowledge to save thousands more children. Everybody wearing this shirt is giving a little bit. And it's all adding up to go a long, long way for kids fighting cancer all over the world. Join us in this mission to cure childhood cancer and save lives.
Go to musicgives.org to donate and get your own shirt. And we continue with our American stories and the final portion of our story on Andrew Jackson. Telling the story is Dr. Bradley Berzer, author of In Defense of Andrew Jackson. He's also a professor of history at Hillsdale College. When we last left off, Dr. Berzer was telling us about Jackson's belief in a militia, rather than a standing army being all important to the survival of the United States. It may seem anti-military to us today, but in his day, Jackson had reasons, good reasons for believing what he believed. Let's return to the story.
Here again is Dr. Berzer. But he takes this even further. When he is inaugurated on March 4 of 1829, he will not allow any military officers to be present. And if they're present, they may not be in uniform. But he does invite all the militias of the present day and of all those who fought during the Revolutionary War to come and parade. And he walks with them during his inaugural.
That's astounding in all kinds of ways. Okay, point number four. Well, despite this, Andrew Jackson is one of the greatest victors in US history. And we can think about what he did on January 8 of 1815. And I would remind everyone here that Jackson's force was a force of only 2000 that he had at the Battle of New Orleans. And it was Jackson, almost alone, who understood that after the British had invaded in the Great Lakes and then up the Chesapeake, their next venue would be Mississippi.
Very few people believe that was going to be the case. We were in the middle of signing a peace in the fall and early winter of 1814 with Britain. Britain had just concluded hostilities by defeating Napoleon.
And we thought this was it. Jackson knew better. He knew that the British would do one last thing. We also know this, that when the British were given orders and there were 14,000 troops being carried on 60 ships under the leadership of Ned Pakenham coming from Britain. These were all Napoleonic soldiers battle hardened. These were not draftees. These were not new recruits. These were men who had seen much action in Europe throughout the Napoleonic Wars and they had express permission from both Parliament and the king that when they were to attack. It was not to be harassment raid. It was to be an attack to reclaim property all along the Mississippi River. That's something we often forget about in history.
This was not meant to be some harassment run. The British were here for blood and for our soil and Jackson understood this. He knew that this was coming. And so he and what would resemble modern trench warfare, what we will see at Petersburg during the Civil War, or what we'll see at the Battle of the Somme and other great battles in World War I. He created massive trenches waiting for the British to come.
And again, I'll remind us of that force. Jackson has just a little over 2,000 men, all recruits, all free. He refused to allow any draftees with him at all.
He would be he would find that abhorrent. So he has only about 2,000 men, but they are in great battle-hardened mode behind these trenches and these dugouts. Well, one of my favorite historians was actually a journalist before he became a historian, Paul Johnson, writes in his excellent book from 1991, The Birth of the Modern, he describes how terrible the British were in executing this plan at New Orleans. He says, the great Duke of Wellington, Pakenham, had married his sister Catherine, but that was the closest that that man had ever gotten to any military mastery. Money and connections had made Pakenham a major before he was 17 and a colonel at age 21. There was no question of his courage. Serving as a major general under his brother-in-law at Salamanca in 1812, he had been given the chance when Wellington told him to take his division straight at the French center with the words, now's your time, Ned.
Ned broke through the French line in this Wellington set in a dispatch, won the battle, though he admitted, quote, Pakenham may not be the brightest of geniuses. He launched a full frontal assault on Jackson's position on January 8th of 1815. Andrew Jackson, in his own report, says that he had about 10 of his own men killed and about 10 wounded total. 20 casualties out of 2,000. The British that day lost 1,500 Marines and another 500 who were taken prisoner. Imagine that. There were close to 44 bodies that were so decimated in the Gulf of Mexico that they could not find the remains of them. They couldn't identify. This is incredible.
And what do we have and what comes out of this? And this is where no matter what, even if we remembered Andrew Jackson for nothing else, he is the hero of New Orleans. Was he lucky? Maybe. Was he smart?
Maybe. Did he win? He won.
Brutally. He won. And so what does Paul Johnson say? Paul Johnson, who is British himself, says, this was the great moment in Anglo-American relations. It was at this moment alone that the British finally took us seriously as a country.
This was the beginning of our mutual respect with each other. And you think about Andrew Jackson. He's now as great as William Wallace. He's now as great as James Wolfe. He is truly one of the great generals in history at that point. And more than any other title he had, the title that meant the most to him and the one that meant the most to Americans always was that he was the hero of New Orleans.
Finally, point number five. One of my favorite things about Andrew Jackson. So today, you'll have to forgive me for this, but I wore, and I don't know how many of you can see this, but I wore my grandfather, who was the best man I ever knew.
He died in 1982. But I wore his campaign button for Dwight D. Eisenhower from, I don't know if it's from 52 or 56, but it's from one of those elections. And I've had it with me. I've never worn it before.
It's the first time I've worn it. And I thought, we're here to talk about character. We're here to talk about American generals. What better figure other than Andrew Jackson than Dwight D. Eisenhower? You know, what a great thing. And I grew up in Kansas. I've been to the Eisenhower Museum a million times.
So you guys will please forgive me. I've already given you Jackson's views on the military, and they're probably not so well taken necessarily in this audience, and understandably so. But I would also give another view of Andrew Jackson and something that I think we often forget but should remember. At the end of Andrew Jackson's life, he died in 1845, as I mentioned earlier. People, his friends, offered to build him a mausoleum so that they could dedicate at least some memorial to him as hero of New Orleans and as President of the United States. And Jackson writes them back, and he says, I am so honored that you would want to remember me after my death, but I must decline any memorial. My own Republican feelings and my principles of Republicanism forbid it, and the simplicity of our way of life as a republic should forbid it. True virtue cannot exist where pomp and parade are governing passions. It can only dwell with the people, the great laboring and producing classes that form the bone and the sinew of our republic.
Thank you very much. And a terrific job on the production, editing, and storytelling by our own Monty Montgomery, who's a Hillsdale College graduate, and a special thanks to Dr. Bradley Berzer, who teaches history at Hillsdale College. He's also the author of In Defense of Andrew Jackson. And we learned so much here about Jackson.
And that very close, we learned perhaps the most. At the end of his life, friends offered to build him a mausoleum, and Jackson writes to have them back off, that it is not in comportment with what he believes a Republican form of government should be. And that is in the end that we're not honoring the people who are serving. They're serving to honor the people.
And that is one core part of this great republic is that the government gets its power, the consent of the governed. There's so much else here. What a warrior in the Battle of New Orleans, if you ever go, and you should visit New Orleans for a multitude of reasons. You'll get to see what actually Jackson did there, the heroic feats and how he just outgunned and outmaneuvered a mighty army. And in the end, without that win, America is a different place.
By the way, the National World War II Museum is also there. The story of Andrew Jackson, as told by Dr. Bradley Berzer here on Our American Story. I'm Malcolm Grandbaugh. I live way out in the country. I drive everywhere.
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Whisper: medium.en / 2023-04-25 04:13:51 / 2023-04-25 04:30:40 / 17