I finished watching the PBS special on Andrew Jackson tonight.  I’d Tivoed it when it was on a week or two back – I was really interested in an easily digestible history of the fellow because one of the primary characters in the Theomythy storyline is named after him.  (Every so often I like to throw in a detail like that which, unlike the typical detail, is not chosen because I know it reinforces the the pattern of the character, but because I don’t know much about it and figuring out how to work it in can add a new dimension and breath of life to the character).

I knew Andrew Jackson wasn’t held in too high a regard because of his stance on slavery and his attitude toward Indians; I knew he was a president who, much like our current office-holder, had a reputation for consolidating previously unknown powers in the executive branch and thereby gained the reputation of an autocrat.  I didn’t much care for him.  Somehow I completely missed the fact that he formed the Democratic party and abolished the second American bank because he felt it was drawing power away from everyday Americans and placing it in the hands of already-wealthy and powerful corporation heads.  In many ways, he reminds me of the National Socialist Party in Germany before the Second World War, and that’s bad.  But perhaps more significantly, George Bush and his Neocons, who also are compared to the Nazis, are not like the Jacksonian Democrats but perhaps worse (not because of slavery or forced Indian relocation) – they seem to want to portray themselves as something between the Nazis and Jacksonian Dems (in that they are for good ole American values, for the every-day middle-class hard-workin’ american and against the universitied elites, the artists, the American aristcrats, etc.; in that they use scapegoats (Indians, Jews, Islamic Extremists) to focus the hate and attention of their constituency outside the country to give them a common cause for Patriotism), but they are in fact scarier for the economic fact that they are not trying to counter the iron grip of big business: they ARE the iron grip of big business.  How did this happen?  Am I missing something?  Am I boxing at shadows?

The good news is, I think this piece of the American history puzzle finally connected a few things and made me EXCITED about American history.  I don’t think that’s every happened before – ESPECIALLY not for this part of it.  That makes me very happy!

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