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A Bloodless Victory

The Battle of New Orleans in History and Memory

Joseph F. Stoltz III

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Exploring the changing narrative of the Battle of New Orleans through two centuries of commemoration.

Once celebrated on par with the Fourth of July, January 8th—the anniversary of the Battle of New Orleans—is no longer a day of reverence for most Americans. Although the United States’ stunning 1815 defeat of the British army south of New Orleans gave rise to the presidency of Andrew Jackson, the Democratic Party, and the legend of Jean Laffite, the battle has not been a national holiday since 1861.

Joseph F. Stoltz III explores how generations of Americans have consciously revised...

Exploring the changing narrative of the Battle of New Orleans through two centuries of commemoration.

Once celebrated on par with the Fourth of July, January 8th—the anniversary of the Battle of New Orleans—is no longer a day of reverence for most Americans. Although the United States’ stunning 1815 defeat of the British army south of New Orleans gave rise to the presidency of Andrew Jackson, the Democratic Party, and the legend of Jean Laffite, the battle has not been a national holiday since 1861.

Joseph F. Stoltz III explores how generations of Americans have consciously revised, reinterpreted, and reexamined the memory of the conflict to fit the cultural and social needs of their time. Combining archival research with deep analyses of music, literature, theater, and film across two centuries of American popular culture, Stoltz highlights the myriad ways in which politicians, artists, academics, and ordinary people have rewritten the battle’s history. While these efforts could be nefarious—or driven by political necessity or racial animus—far more often they were simply part of each generations’ expression of values and world view.

From Andrew Jackson’s presidential campaign to the occupation of New Orleans by the Union Army to the Jim Crow era, the continuing reinterpretations of the battle alienated whole segments of the American population from its memorialization. Thus, a close look at the Battle of New Orleans offers an opportunity to explore not just how events are collectively remembered across generations but also how a society discards memorialization efforts it no longer finds necessary or palatable.

Reviews

Reviews

In A Bloodless Victory, historian Joseph F. Stoltz III investigates the different ways white Americans created, contested, and eventually monetized public memory of the Battle of New Orleans. He explores the ways in which narratives are created and recreated and how selective memory of events changes with new political contexts... I applaud Stoltz for his ability to take on such a large topic in such a short space

Stoltz's book is a comprehensive study of the battle of New Orleans's presence in the American historical imagination and will serve as the definitive book on the topic.

Well researched and presented in clear, precise, and robust prose, Stoltz's engaging read reminds us that interpretations of history are often subject to the eyes of the beholder.

Clearly a labor of love that has been years in preparation, this refreshingly engaging, detail-rich narrative draws on a truly impressive body of scholarship. A worthy new contribution to cultural memory studies.

At a time when Andrew Jackson plays such a prominent role in the political fight over public memory, Stoltz demonstrates that Old Hickory's greatest military triumph was a contested battleground of myth and memory during his lifetime and remains so today. In lucid prose and with in-depth research, he reminds us that there is still much to learn about Jackson and his legacy.

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About

Book Details

Publication Date
Status
Available
Trim Size
6
x
9
Pages
192
ISBN
9781421423029
Illustration Description
13 halftones
Table of Contents

Preface
Acknowledgments
1. "By the Eternal, They Shall Not Sleep on Our Soil"
2. "Half a Horse and Half an Alligator"
3. "Under the Command of a Plain Republican—an American Cincinnatus"
4. "The Union Must

Preface
Acknowledgments
1. "By the Eternal, They Shall Not Sleep on Our Soil"
2. "Half a Horse and Half an Alligator"
3. "Under the Command of a Plain Republican—an American Cincinnatus"
4. "The Union Must and Shall Be Preserved"
5. "True Daughters of the War"
6. "Not Pirate... Privateer"
7. "Tourism Whetted by the Celebration"
8. A "Rustic and Factual" Appearance
Conclusion
Notes
Bibliography
Index

Author Bio
Joseph F. Stoltz III
Featured Contributor

Joseph F. Stoltz III

Joseph F. Stoltz III is a historian at the Fred W. Smith Library for the Study of George Washington at Mount Vernon.