Dan Feller, professor of history and director of The Papers of Andrew Jackson project, was interviewed by several media outlets coinciding with President Donald Trump’s visit to Andrew Jackson’s home, The Hermitage, in Nashville on Wednesday. Trump toured the home and laid a wreath on Jackson’s grave on what would have been Jackson’s 250th birthday. Trump has often compared himself to Jackson.
Feller spoke to reporters at The Tennessean for their piece about Trump’s visit and said he finds it surprising that Trump embraces Jackson. “Partly because Jackson was the founder of the Democratic Party, and those who have traditionally embraced Jackson have been in the past Democratic constituencies.”
For a story for NBC News, Feller said, “Jackson had the reputation of being impetuous, a shoot-from-the hip, very volatile guy. He earned that reputation. … But by the time he was president, he was 62. He occasionally staged temper tantrums, but that was nothing compared to Trump’s 5 a.m. tweets.”
In the Washington Times’ story, Feller said, “When Jackson first appeared on the national political scene, a lot of people dismissed him. He was an outsider. Not exactly the same kind of outsider as President Trump, but still an outsider. His meteoric rise to national prominence surprised a lot of people and upset people. So I can understand why President Trump, who is certainly an outsider, would want to embrace that lineage.”
Feller’s interests encompass mid-nineteenth-century America as a whole, with special attention to Jacksonian politics and the coming of the Civil War. He is a member of UT’s Experts Guide.