UT Launches Center for Jacksonian America

Capitalizing on the state of Tennessee-s role in the history of early America and the University of Tennessee-s extensive library holdings and faculty experts, UT has launched the Center for Jacksonian America.

A joint venture of UT’s history department and libraries, the center promotes research, interchange and education. The center will host an annual symposium involving foremost Jacksonian scholars to explore issues relevant to the nation – women-s rights, slavery, prohibition, the Mexican American War, Indian removal and public education, among other topics.

Although focused largely on the influence of the two-term president and war hero, the Jacksonian era covers events and themes from years 1812 through 1848, including the rise of mass parties and popular politics.

-Tennessee played such a large role in antebellum history through Presidents Jackson and Polk- said Dr. Todd Diacon, head of the department of history. -Because of that strong link to the important events in early America, UT is uniquely positioned to be the place for Jacksonian America studies.-

The center will host a scholar-in-residence to complement the history department-s renowned experts – Dr. Feller, Dr. Ernest Freeberg, a UT associate professor of history, and Dr. Paul Bergeron, now professor emeritus.

-Complemented by our archival holdings and excellent faculty, the Center for Jacksonian America is a worthwhile specialty to build upon, as the university continues to establish pre-eminence in key research concentrations in the social sciences and humanities,- said Chancellor Loren Crabtree.

UT publishes the papers of Tennesseans Andrew Jackson, the nation-s seventh president, and James Polk, a Jackson associate and the nation-s 11th president.

A majority of doctoral candidates over the past 20 years have focused on Jacksonian studies, influenced by the expertise of department scholars and the proximity of presidential papers. The center will enhance this trend through a new research library and additional graduate fellowships and internships.

Feller-s studies have been largely motivated by the heated debate about Jackson.

“To some he was a great man and a great democrat, to others he was a very evil person. Mention Jackson these days and most people immediately think of the Trail of Tears,” said Feller, referring to the forcible removal of the Cherokees from North Carolina, Georgia, and Tennessee to Oklahoma in the 1830s. “Fifty years ago that was not so. Our perceptions of Jackson mirror our current concerns,” he said. “You can almost track what’s important to us now by what we think of Jackson.”

UT also published the papers of Andrew Johnson, the nation-s 17th president. The three collections make UT the only university with three presidential editing projects.

For more information, contact Dr. Feller at (885-974-0660).