Thomas Jefferson Papers

Thomas Jefferson to Andrew Jackson, 22 November [1819]

To Andrew Jackson

Monticello Nov. 22.

Th: Jefferson returns his thanks to General Jackson for the copy he has been so good as to send him of the Vindication of the proceedings in the Seminole war. if doubts on these proceedings have existed in candid minds this able vindication can scarcely fail to remove them. in addition to what had before been laid before the public, it brings forward some new views, and new facts also, of great weight. on the whole he cannot doubt but that the gratitude of his country for former atchievements will be fortified by these new proofs of the salutary energies of their great benefactor. he salutes the General with assurances of his constant & affectionate attachment & high respect.

RC (NjP: Andre deCoppet Collection); partially dated; dateline at foot of text; addressed: “Majr Genl Andrew Jackson Nashville Tennissee” and redirected in an unidentified hand: “via Washington City”; franked; postmarked Charlottesville, 22 Nov.; endorsed by Jackson as “Recd Decbr 1820.” PoC (DLC: TJ Papers, 216:38622); on verso of reused address cover to TJ; endorsed by TJ as a letter of 22 Nov. 1819 and so recorded in SJL. Tr (DLC: William C. Rives Papers); in William C. Rives’s hand; misdated “Nov. 1820.”

Andrew Jackson (1767–1845), president of the United States, 1829–37, was born in South Carolina’s Waxhaw settlement and educated in local schools and at Presbyterian academies before he quit school at the outbreak of the American Revolution. He joined a North Carolina state cavalry unit and in 1781 was captured by the British but soon released. In 1784 Jackson began to study law in Salisbury, North Carolina. He qualified for the bar in 1787 and moved late in the following year to Nashville. Elected to the 1795 convention that drew up Tennessee’s first constitution, in 1796 Jackson won the new state’s first seat in the United States House of Representatives. The next year he was elected to the United States Senate, but he resigned that position to accept a seat on the Tennessee Superior Court, serving until 1804. Jackson was elected major general in charge of the Tennessee militia in 1802, and after defeating the Creek Indians in 1814, he successively received commissions that year as brigadier general and major general in the United States Army. Following his successful defense of New Orleans against the British in 1815, he briefly visisted TJ at Poplar Forest later that year. Jackson led a controversial invasion of Florida in pursuit of hostile Seminoles in 1818, and he served briefly as territorial governor of Florida in 1821 before returning home to Tennessee. He again sat in the United States Senate, 1823–25, during which term he lost a bitterly contested presidential election to John Quincy Adams. When Jackson ran again in 1828 he was elected president. His two terms were marked by his implementation of the “Spoils System,” his opposition to federal funding for internal improvements, his support of federal authority during the Nullification crisis, his aggressive stance favoring removal of Native Americans from their lands, his success in completely paying off the national debt, and his veto of the charter renewal for the Second Bank of the United States. Jackson was a strong nationalist and a founder of the Democratic Party. He died at the Hermitage, his plantation in Davidson County, Tennessee (ANB description begins John A. Garraty and Mark C. Carnes, eds., American National Biography, 1999, 24 vols. description ends ; DAB description begins Allen Johnson and Dumas Malone, eds., Dictionary of American Biography, 1928–36, 20 vols. description ends ; Jackson, Papers description begins Sam B. Smith, Harold D. Moser, Daniel Feller, and others, eds., The Papers of Andrew Jackson, 1980– , 10 vols. description ends ; PTJ description begins Julian P. Boyd, Charles T. Cullen, John Catanzariti, Barbara B. Oberg, James P. McClure, and others, eds., The Papers of Thomas Jefferson, 1950– , 43 vols. description ends , 37:608–9; Heitman, U.S. Army description begins Francis B. Heitman, comp., Historical Register and Dictionary of the United States Army, 1903, repr. 1994, 2 vols. description ends , 1:566; TJ to Martha Jefferson Randolph, 4 Nov. 1815; Weekly Nashville Union, 11 June 1845).

The vindication was [John Overton], A Vindication of the Measures of the President and His Commanding Generals, in the Commencement and Termination of the Seminole War (Washington, 1819). No covering letter for its transmission from Jackson to TJ is recorded in SJL, and none has been found.

Index Entries

  • A Vindication of the Measures of the President and His Commanding Generals, in the Commencement and Termination of the Seminole War (J. Overton) search
  • Indians, American; Seminole search
  • Jackson, Andrew; identified search
  • Jackson, Andrew; letter to search
  • Jackson, Andrew; Pensacola seized by search
  • Jackson, Andrew; sends work to TJ search
  • Jefferson, Thomas; Books & Library; receives works search
  • Overton, John; A Vindication of the Measures of the President and His Commanding Generals, in the Commencement and Termination of the Seminole War search
  • Pensacola, W. Fla.; seized by A. Jackson search
  • Seminole Indians search