“Now Defend Yourself, You Damned Rascal!”

Andrew Jackson challenged Thomas Hart Benton in a bloody frontier brawl, but they later formed a political team which left its mark on America.

As the chanting of his slaves announced the approaching death of Andrew Jackson, on a June day in 1845, the old warrior spent part of his last conscious moments dictating farewell messages to men whose love he had valued—Francis P. Blair, Sam Houston, and Thomas Hart Benton.Read more »

The Lordly Hudson

Over 350 years a mighty pageant of history has moved through the myth-haunted valley of the “Great River of the Mountains”

Orientals were first upon the river. They came by land, and their journey eastward across the continent from its northwest coast to the banks where, their soothsayers had said, they might rest beside a water that-flows-two-ways, had lasted many generations. There is no knowing who first saw the ocean bound current turn about and run toward the mountains whence it came, but the realization of: a prophecy fulfilled must have come upon him with a stunning impact.

Victory At New Orleans

On August 24 and 25, 1814, British forces were in full possession of Washington; from August 29 to 31 other forces held Alexandria. From September 11 to 14 they were feeling out the defenses of Baltimore. Then the greater part of them vanished out of sight; once the British ships were over the horizon there was almost no means of knowing where they were and far smaller means of knowing what they intended, for by this time the blockade of the Atlantic Coast was highly effective, and there were few ships to bring in news even of the outside world, certainly not of the movements of the British lleet. No one could even be sure that any further offensive movement was meditated, but it was the duty of the American government to act on the hypothesis that the enemy would attempt to do all the harm possible —and that implied that British movements must be foreseen and guarded against.

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Jackson’s Fight With The ‘Money Power’

The third in a series on TIMES OF TRIAL IN AMERICAN STATECRAFT 

Old Hickory's attack on Biddle's bank had some unexpected consequences

Editor's Note: Bray Hammond wrote this essay for American Heritage in 1956 and developed it into Banks and Politics in America from the Revolution to the Civil War, for which he won the Pulitzer Prize for history in 1958.


“Relief, sir!” interrupted the President. “Come not to me, sir! Go to the monster. It is folly, sir, to talk to Andrew Jackson. The government will not bow to the monster. … Andrew Jackson yet lives to put his foot upon the head of the monster and crush him to the dust.”  Read more »