Rachel Jackson and the Search for Zion, 1760s-1830s

Gismondi, Melissa, History - Graduate School of Arts and Sciences, University of Virginia
Taylor, Alan, Department of History, University of Virginia

This dissertation provides a scholarly analysis of Rachel Jackson and her partnership with her husband, Andrew, U.S. Major General and president from 1829 to 1837. In tracing Rachel’s life and character, it focuses on her religiosity and its implications for Jackson and his settler war on Indigenous peoples. It argues that Rachel aligned Jackson’s military and political career with her conservative “avenging evangelism," which proved a crucial tool of Jackson’s empire-building. Steeped in frontier violence, Rachel saw Jackson’s warfare against Indigenous peoples, the conquest of their land, and their “removal” to reservations as part of a larger campaign to purge the U.S. of sin and create Zion on earth. This way of thinking (and feeling) justified and accelerated the violent dispossession of Indigenous peoples from southeastern North America during the War of 1812 and Jackson's presidency.

PHD (Doctor of Philosophy)
Andrew Jackson, religion, colonialism, women and gender , Rachel Jackson, American presidents , Indian Removal
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