In This Review

The Rise of Andrew Jackson: Myth, Manipulation, and the Making of Modern Politics
The Rise of Andrew Jackson: Myth, Manipulation, and the Making of Modern Politics
By David S. Heidler and Jeanne T. Heidler
Basic Books, 2018, 448 pp
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Since the election of U.S. President Donald Trump in 2016, Jacksonian populism has begun to receive serious, if not always sympathetic, scholarly treatment. In this detailed and diverting book, the Heidlers look at something quite different but equally relevant: the political and media machinery that Andrew Jackson’s core supporters erected to assist his presidential bids. The Heidlers call these savvy media manipulators and occasional purveyors of fake news “Jacksonites” rather than “Jacksonians” to reflect the fact that some of them were more interested in associating with a successful presidential candidate than in promoting Jackson’s (often inchoate) ideas. The Jacksonites created a network of patronage and media influence that led to positive press coverage for Jackson across the country, and they leaped into action to suppress unfavorable reports, including accounts of Jackson’s many incivilities and gaffes. The Jacksonites did not invent collusion between politicians and journalists, but they did create the integrated approach to media that made mass politics possible and continues to this day.