Andrew Jackson: Good, Evil and the Presidency

A biography of America’s seventh president, Andrew Jackson: Good, Evil and the Presidency explores whether Americans should celebrate Jackson or apologize for him.

Jackson is full of contradictions. He fought in the Revolutionary War when he was 13 years old, only later to uses the skills he learned in battle to kill a man over a gambling debt. He led the American army to one of the most surprising victory in its history in the Battle of New Orleans. In the same vein, he also launched an unauthorized invasion of Florida. Jackson owned more than a hundred black Americans, but was also the first great champion of the common white man. Jackson dramatically expanded the United States, yet did so by brutally wresting vast regions of the south from Native Americans. Finally, Jackson, in one of the boldest political strokes in history, founded the Democratic Party, but his enemies viewed him as an American Napoleon.

The film concludes with the words of Jackson’s first biographer, James Parton: “Andrew Jackson was a patriot, and a traitor. He was the greatest of generals, and wholly ignorant of the art of war. He was the most candid of men, and capable of the profoundest dissimulation. He was a democratic autocrat, an urbane savage, an atrocious saint.” Martin Sheen narrates.

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