The following story is from Knoxville NBC Affiliate: WBIR. The full story, with video, can be found on WBIR’s website at: http://www.wbir.com/news/article/161712/8/Latest-volume-of-Andrew-Jackson-Papers-is-juicy-and-revealing
Dan Feller has spent nearly his entire life’s work trying to understand Andrew Jackson.
“I feel like I know him better, but the result of knowing him better is that if he was here with me, I would expect him, within the next 5 minutes, to do something completely unexpected,” says Dan Feller, Chief Editor of the Andrew Jackson Papers Project.
He and his colleagues on UT-Knoxville campus have become the “go-to” for anything Andrew Jackson.
“This is where you go to get the definite answers.”
After 2 1/2 years and thousands of documents, Feller and his colleagues offer even more answers in another juicy and revealing look at our 7th president, “The Andrew Jackson Papers,” Volume 8.
They’ve downsized dozens of folders to 900 pages. This particular volume focuses on 1830, Jackson’s second presidential year.
“This is a letter where Jackson lays out all his grievances against his Vice President John C. Calhoun.”
In addition to Jackson’s letters, there are presidential messages and legal papers. Some of the highlights- a sex scandal involving Jackson’s Secretary of War and the controversial subject of Indian removal. History has painted Jackson as vicious and unsympathetic.
“There’s also evidence whether right or wrong he sincerely believed he was doing them a favor. And, he thought he was being a great philanthropist/humanitarian. Now, that doesn’t mean we have to believe it, but there’s enough here to prove that he really believed it.”
Without question, the volume captures Jackson’s contradicting personality.
“He could turn almost on a dime. There are documents that show Jackson as being cool, calculating and Machiavellian and really a good politician. And there are documents that show him being almost paranoic. It’s as if the man had multiple personalities.”
With at least 6 more volumes to come, Andrew Jackson will keep Feller busy for many more decades.
“I think Jackson’s ability to fascinate and confound me is going to outlast my professional career and maybe my life.”
According to Feller, the Andrew Jackson Papers Project should be complete in about 20 years. “The Andrew Jackson Papers,” Volume 8 is published by the University of Tennessee Press.