“Dismayed and disappointed would be two words we would use to describe the decision,” said Howard Kittell, president and CEO of the Andrew Jackson Foundation in Nashville.
Kittell and other Tennesseans argue it’s unfair to judge Jackson’s views on slavery and his treatment of Native Americans in the early 1800s through a 21st-century lens.
Though it’s hard to imagine today, Jackson’s positions on those issues and others “fell within the mainstream of American thinking” at the time, Kittell said, and it’s important to evaluate him in that context.
“We need to remember our history, and history is messy,” he said. “It’s not a straight line of progress. It’s complicated. You can’t tell history in soundbites for Jackson or (Thomas) Jefferson or anyone. Our historical figures were all human, and they had great strengths and weaknesses, just as we do, too.”