The focus of the seminar will be the evolutionary changes that occurred in American government and society during the Jacksonian era. It will explore the ways in which revolutionary English colonials finally emerged as Americans and moved from a republican, mainly agrarian, society to a more democratic and industrial one. In point of fact the United States changed more profoundly in these years than during any other period in its history. Not only was the physical size of the nation stretched across a 3,000 mile continent, but the government was dramatically altered, and Americans set to work to purge their society of all the abuses that disfigured it. Religion, literature, the arts, the world of business and finance—each one experienced the invigorating and sometimes catastrophic jolts that characterize this antebellum age, an age that ultimately shaped many aspects of American life today and ended in bloody civil war.
Robert Remini is Professor of History and Research Professor of Humanities Emeritus at the University of Illinois at Chicago. He is the author of many books, including a definitive three-volume Andrew Jackson biography for which he won the National Book Award. Some of his other books include The Life of Andrew Jackson, Daniel Webster: The Man and His Time, Henry Clay: Statesman for the Union, Martin Van Buren And The Making of The Democratic Party, and The Battle of New Orleans. His most recent book, Andrew Jackson and His Indian Wars, was published by Viking Press in 2001.