Andrew Jackson was of one of the most critical and controversial figures in American history. The dominant actor on the American scene in the half-century between Thomas Jefferson and Abraham Lincoln, Jackson lent his name first to a political movement, then to an era, and finally to democracy itself. As the Hero of New Orleans, he became a symbol of American nationalism. As a frontiersman and military commander, he spearheaded the westward expansion of the nation and the subjugation of its native peoples. As the first westerner and first man of humble origins to reach the White House, he stood as the embodiment of American democracy and the rise of the common man. Jackson transformed American politics by governing in the name of what he called “the humble members of society – the farmers, mechanics, and laborers” against “the rich and powerful.” He remade the president’s role from chief administrator to popular tribune. He also created the country’s first mass political party and fashioned a disciplined party machine featuring the notorious “spoils system” of political reward.
The Papers of Andrew Jackson is a project to collect and publish Jackson’s entire extant literary record. After an extended worldwide search, the project has obtained photocopies of every known and available Jackson document, including letters he wrote and received, official and military papers, drafts, memoranda, legal papers, and financial records – some 100,000 items in all. In 1987 the project produced a microfilm edition of 39 reels, including all the new documents that had been found. It also issued a comprehensive Guide and Index, listing every known Jackson item by sender or recipient, date, and microfilm location.
The project is now producing a series of seventeen volumes that will bring Jackson’s most important papers to the public in easily readable form. PDFs of all published volumes are now available for free, immediate download via the University of Tennessee’s Newfound Press. Also online is the Library of Congress’s Andrew Jackson Papers, a digital archive that provides direct access to the manuscript images of many of the Jackson documents transcribed and annotated in our volumes. Rotunda’s American History Collection hosts digital versions of all our volumes, with advanced features such as cross-volume and cross-collection searching and links pairing documents with manuscript images on the Library of Congress’s Jackson Papers site.
The Papers of Andrew Jackson is sponsored by the University of Tennessee-Knoxville and supported by grants from the National Historical Publications and Records Commission, the National Endowment for the Humanities, and the Tennessee Historical Commission.
Daniel Feller is a Professor of History at the University of Tennessee, Knoxville, and the Director of The Papers of Andrew Jackson. Professor Feller’s scholarly interests encompass mid-nineteenth-century America as a whole, with special attention to Jacksonian politics and the coming of the Civil War. Besides the publications listed below, he has contributed to numerous historical reference works, including the Oxford Companion to United States History, the Reader’s Guide to American History, the Dictionary of American History, and American National Biography. His critical essays and review articles have appeared in the Journal of the Early Republic, Reviews in American History, Documentary Editing, and on H-SHEAR. Professor Feller has been active in the Association for Documentary Editing, the Southern Historical Association, British American Nineteenth-Century Historians (BrANCH), and especially the Society for Historians of the Early American Republic (SHEAR), where he served from 1991 to 2004 as Conference Coordinator for its annual summer meeting. In 2000 he was a Commonwealth Fund Lecturer in American History at University College London. He is currently at work on a biography of Benjamin Tappan, a Jacksonian politician, scientist, social reformer, and freethinker. He is the author of The Public Lands in Jacksonian Politics and The Jacksonian Promise: America, 1815 to 1840.