By David S. Reynolds
Waking Giant is a superb, definitive heritage of America’s shiny and tumultuous upward thrust throughout the Jacksonian period from David S. Reynolds, the Bancroft Prize-winning writer of Walt Whitman’s America. Casting clean mild on Andrew Jackson, who redefined the presidency, besides John Quincy Adams and James ok. Polk, who multiplied the nation’s territory and bolstered its place across the world, Reynolds captures the turbulence of a democracy stuck within the throes of the talk over slavery, the increase of capitalism, and the beginning of urbanization.
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Extra resources for Waking Giant: America in the Age of Jackson (American History)
To the executive chair. . ” The presence of his rivals Clay and Crawford in the race stirred Jackson’s interest in campaigning. Not one to back down from a challenge, he gathered a core of able supporters that in time grew into a political machine. He already showed signs of being the people’s candidate. His haziness on issues like the tariff or internal improvements was in fact a boon, since he avoided the hard positions that made the other candidates seem sectional. ” What especially attracted voters were his personal qualities—ﬁrmness, passion, shrewdness—as tested on the battleﬁeld.
Under Monroe, America had discovered itself as a nascent world power. Under Adams, it celebrated itself wildly. “I celebrate myself, and sing myself,” Walt Whitman would announce in his poem Song of Myself. The optimistic Whitman absorbed his nation’s exuberant spirit at a time when he was a young boy growing up in Brooklyn. Whitman never forgot the thrilling reception his town gave to the Marquis de Lafayette, the aged Revolutionary hero who was on a long tour of the United States. Late in life, Whitman recalled Lafayette at the laying of the cornerstone of Brooklyn’s Apprentices’ Library, where the legendary veteran bent down, picked up the six-year-old Walt, and kissed him on the cheek.
Maryland. Of middle height, with wide shoulders and a barrel chest, he seemed to dominate every scene he entered. The old-style knee breeches and waistcoat he donned for public occasions enhanced his histrionic majesty. His jet-black hair, swarthy complexion, and smoldering dark eyes beneath his broad brow accounted for his nickname, Black Dan. His resonant voice mesmerized audiences. ” As he strode to the lecture platform, the air rang with “Webster! Webster! ” Webster addressed Lafayette: “Fortunate, fortunate man!