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William Brafford

William Brafford grew up in North Carolina, home of the world's best barbecue, indie rock, and regional soft drinks. He just barely sustains a personal blog and "tweets" every now and then under the name @williamrandolph.

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11 Responses

  1. Avatar Michael says:

    Okay — I’m in the middle of Sean Wilentz’s _The Rise of American Democracy_ right now. I am literally in the middle of a subchapter headed, “The Rise of the Whigs” or something to that effect. I would recommend Wilentz’s book so far. A fair amount of economic/political talk, as opposed to the cultural stuff, if you’re into that.

    Check out this exchange:
    http://www.nybooks.com/articles/22805

    I have not yet read the review in question, but I’ll probably (pay to) do so after I finish the Wilentz. I need to get around to _Battle Cry of Freedom_ first though, I think, as well as a couple of fiction recommendations that I solicited from Freddie.

    So — maybe try out David Reynolds’s book? Based on his letter, it seems that he’s more pro-Jackson and that he’s more focused on the culture of the era (Hawthorne, Melville, Whitman).

    I’ll take a stand once I’ve finished this one. So weird that you posted this, as I just found that NYRB exchange last night and figured, hell, I’ll lug this one with me next week on my travels. Thanks for the recommendation, and I’m sorry I don’t have more suggestions/information — give me a couple of days!Report

  2. Avatar Michael says:

    Oh, also:

    So far, I think that Wilentz has been very sympathetic to Jackson. I have noted multiple instances of his writing something like, “Traditionally historians have attributed Jackson’s actions to _____; however, closer examination shows that he was merely being a shrewd politician/really this action fit perfectly well within his larger political philosophy/whatever.” … For what it’s worth. I am still around 1834 right now, though, so the Whigs haven’t gotten a whole lot of coverage just yet; they don’t seem to be really mobilized right now, but I can see the rumblings and imagine the kind of coalition that’s about to arise.Report

    • Avatar William Brafford in reply to Michael says:

      Howe mentions Wilentz’s book as one that he disagrees with, though I can’t remember if he says anything beyond that. Thanks for that link, too — it is hard to figure out who’s in the right without being able to see the original review.

      It’s a fascinating era, isn’t it? Some of its dirty politicking puts our own time into perspective. I get the feeling that there’s an affinity of spirit between the today’s partisan blogs and the pre-civil war partisan press.Report

  3. Avatar Kyle says:

    Love the post William.

    As confused as I am about contemporary issues, it’s nice to be able to take a stand somewhere. Here’s to the Whigs!

    I’m pretty close to that sentiment, but I’d fit right at home as a turn of the 19th/20th century Republican. Back when they were socially progressive, fiscally responsible, and had a healthy respect for Federalism.Report

    • Avatar Michael in reply to Kyle says:

      Big Teddy Roosevelt fan right here. I’m looking forward to getting a grounding in the 19th century so I know exactly how the Republicans got to where they were in TR’s days.Report

    • Avatar William Brafford in reply to Kyle says:

      I’m going to try to keep reading my way through the nineteenth century over the next few years — I’m not sure where I’d land later in the century.Report

  4. Avatar Buce says:

    Charles Selleres, The Market Revolution: Jacksonian America, 1815-46 (1991), not about Jackson per se, more on the period and context.Report

  5. Avatar Drew says:

    You have got to pick up Schlesinger’s Age of Jackson. So many parallels to today that it hurts. It really does. The Bank fight is almost EXACTLY what is happening today. The banks are bad guys…not always the worst guys but reliably they are bad guys. Wm Henry Harrison? The first cipher Presidential candidate — Reagan and Bush2. Tyler? Well how close did Sarah Palin or Dan Quayle get to the Presidency. Shutting off lights in Albany last month? Been there done that in Tammany Hall.

    You have to read it understanding that Indians and slaves didn’t count for that much in 1945 let alone 1845.

    Read the damn book.Report

  6. Avatar razib says:

    i read wilentz and howe’s book in sequence in that order. good complements.Report

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