Rachel Donelson Jackson

The First Lady Who Never Was

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About the Book

Rachel Jackson, wife of President Andrew Jackson, never wanted to be First Lady and tried to dissuade her husband from his political ambitions. Yet she publicly supported his political advancement and was the first wife of a presidential candidate to take to the campaign trail. Privy to his political decisions, she offered valued counsel, and Jackson sometimes regretted not taking her advice. Denied a traditional education by her father, Rachel’s innate business savvy made the Jacksons’ Tennessee plantation and businesses profitable during her husband’s continual absences.

This biography chronicles the life of a First Lady who rebelled against 19th-century constraints on women, overcame personal tragedies to become an inspirational figure of persistence and strength, and found herself at the center of one of the vilest presidential smear campaigns in history.

About the Author(s)

Betty Boles Ellison, a former journalist and noted historian, is a nationally recognized historical researcher as well as an established author. She prepared the script for the prize-winning documentary, Dreamers and Doers: Voices of Kentucky Woman. An avid and longtime historic preservationist, she is a board member of Friends of Kentucky Libraries, which provides support for the commonwealth’s public libraries.

Bibliographic Details

Betty Boles Ellison
Format: softcover (6 x 9)
Pages: 293
Bibliographic Info: 38 photos, notes, bibliography, index
Copyright Date: 2020
pISBN: 978-1-4766-7018-8
eISBN: 978-1-4766-3897-3
Imprint: McFarland

Table of Contents

Acknowledgments ix
Preface 1
Introduction 4
1. The Many Faces of Rachel Jackson 9
2. The Early Days 24
3. The Adventure 31
4. A New Home 43
5. World Turned Upside Down 51
6. A Dangerous Choice 61
7. Landed Gentry 75
8. The Hermitage Begins and Children Cometh 89
9. Drum Tap at the Post 99
10. New Orleans 120
11. Florida in Her Future 131
12. Rachel Goes to Washington 152
13. The 1828 Campaign Begins 176
14. Political Briars 194
15. Rachel Becomes a Political Battering Ram 203
16. Rachel Survived and Departed 224
Chapter Notes 241
Bibliography 265
Index 273