Document Type


Publication Date

Summer 2018

Journal / Book Title

Journal of the Early Republic


On June 8, 1845, Andrew Jackson, former president, military hero, and Democratic Party icon died at his Hermitage estate outside Nashville, Tennessee. Word of Jackson's death spread rapidly across the nation. Democratic newspapers eulogized him as a champion of the common man, while Whig journals adopted a more temperate tone—partisan divisions and political memories still cast a long shadow. Cities and towns held funeral observances to commemorate the General's passing. Jackson's last will and testament, his final message to his countrymen as it were, commanded notice too: Bequests to family and friends included the "elegant" swords awarded Jackson for his various military deeds, no less than four of these, along with the pistols the Marquis de Lafayette presented to George Washington. Equally notable was a gold box bestowed by New York City upon Jackson in 1819, which the General instructed his adopted son, Andrew Jackson, Jr. to give to the New Yorker "adjudged by his countrymen... to have been the most valiant in defense of his country and our country's rights." Who was the bravest New Yorker? That question Andrew Jackson, Jr. New Yorkers, and indeed many Americans found difficult if not impossible to answer.



Journal ISSN / Book ISBN


Published Citation

Cray, R. (2018). " The Most Valiant in Defense of His Country": Andrew Jackson's Bequest and the Politics of Courage, 1819–1857. Journal of the Early Republic, 38(2), 231-260.