Dr. Cheathem first discovered Andrew Jackson at Cumberland University.


Dr. Cheathem first discovered Andrew Jackson at Cumberland University.

As an undergraduate, he took Professor Monty Pope’s Jacksonian Democracy course and became intrigued by the president whom nineteenth-century historian James Parton described as “a democratic autocrat. An urbane savage. An atrocious saint.” Cheathem spent a summer as an historical interpreter at the Hermitage, where he landed upon what became the subject of his thesis, dissertation, and first book: Andrew Jackson Donelson, Jackson’s nephew and a well-known political operative in the Jacksonian and Civil War periods.

Dr. Mark R. Cheathem

Today, Cheathem has returned to studying Old Hickory. He is currently writing a biography of the 7th president that focuses on how kinship, violence, slavery, and honor all contributed to Jackson’s southern identity and shaped his political views.

Cheathem shares his scholarship with other historians and the general public on a regular basis. He has conducted a variety of workshops at the Hermitage, organized the Tennessee Conference of Historians on CU’s campus for the past two years, and spoken at community meetings across Middle Tennessee. He also writes a blog called “Jacksonian America: Society, Personality, and Politics.”

Most importantly, Dr. Cheathem brings his research into the classroom. His students are regularly exposed to new ideas and sources that he is examining. Students even find themselves in the archives, getting their first experience in the research process.


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