In This Review

Jacksonland: President Andrew Jackson, Cherokee Chief John Ross, and a Great American Land Grab
Jacksonland: President Andrew Jackson, Cherokee Chief John Ross, and a Great American Land Grab
By Steve Inskeep
Penguin Press, 2015, 448 pp

Andrew Jackson dominated the U.S. political landscape between the War of 1812 and his death in 1845; Inskeep’s compelling book offers important insights into Jackson’s legacy and exemplifies the process of reevaluation that has led much of the American left to reject the man whom the historian Arthur Schlesinger, Jr., famously portrayed as the father of American democracy. The “Jacksonland” of Inskeep’s title is the area of the Deep South that the United States seized from Native Americans and Spaniards, mostly under Jackson’s leadership. This is an area that in large part went on to become the core of the so-called Black Belt, where slavery-based cotton agriculture largely defined society. Jacksonland, Inskeep suggests, became a cultural and political, as well as an economic, force, and it still haunts U.S. politics. The book is a detailed account of the doomed efforts of the Cherokee leader John Ross to resist the expulsion of his people from their ancestral homes. It is a harrowing story skillfully told, and Inskeep’s readers will thank him for a balanced account of one of the most fascinating and tragic struggles in U.S. history.