This afternoon, we went to The Hermitage, Andrew Jackson’s plantation, just outside of Nashville, Tennessee. Andrew Jackson was the 7th president of the United States, from 1828 to 1836, serving two terms. He was a frontiersman and a rugged individual, who became, in turn, a lawyer, a militia general and war hero, a congressman and a president.
He is said to epitomize the American Dream, rising to great heights from humble beginnings. He was born in a log cabin and even as an important person in frontier Tennessee, he lived like his neighbors. Yet he ultimately became the leader of a nation. Here’s the cabin he lived in with his family before becoming president, though it has ben modified.
He became a wealthy cotton planter at the same time that our ancestor, Robert Paisley, was also farming cotton 50 miles to the north. They both owned and operated their own cotton gins, too. But the similarities stop there.
Andrew Jackson was one of the largest slave owners in Tennessee and his wealth came from the labor of those slaves.
I think that even he might have sensed the contradiction apparent in this picture of his mansion, The Hermitage, in juxtaposition with the slave quarters on his plantation. And, yes, this is where these buildings were actually located by him on his property.
And it is quite a mansion, similar to those of Washington, Jefferson and Madison that we visited in Virginia back in March.
Andrew Jackson was supposedly the president for the common man and he was resented by the Washington elite, but I think he had more in common with them than either they or he liked to admit.