In a recent New York Times op-ed, NPR reporter and Jacksonland author Steve Inskeep examined the ways in which Donald Trump's character on the campaign trail mirrors that of a figure from American history two centuries ago—Andrew Jackson.
"What Mr. Trump borrows from Jackson is not an issue, but a way of thinking about the world," Inskeep writes. And that world view of Jackson's is, even beyond the campaign trail, one that still animates public debate today. Just last year, there was a strong (though ultimately unsuccessful) grassroots effort to take Jackson off the $20 bill, largely because of his role in removing Native Americans from their homelands in the South.
For this week's episode of the Presidential podcast, we explore this enduring dark legacy of Jackson's and the way that violence—done to him, and by him—dramatically influenced his leadership style and the new type of presidency he ushered in nearly 200 years ago. Guests featured in this episode include Steve Inskeep, the Library of Congress's Barbara Bair and Pulitzer Prize-winning biographer Jon Meacham.
The Presidential podcast, consisting of 44 episodes leading up to election day in November, examines of each of the American presidents. In previous episodes, we explored topics like the mythology of George Washington and why John Quincy Adams made an effective congressman but an ineffective president. The podcast is hosted by Lillian Cunningham, editor of The Washington Post's On Leadership section.
As listeners tune in each week, the podcast reveals the ways in which our collective sense of what’s ’presidential’ has evolved over the years and how each president—esteemed, loathed or nearly forgotten—has something to tell us about what it takes to hold the nation’s highest office.
Want to learn more about Andrew Jackson? Listen to the seventh episode of Presidential here:
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