Biddle, Jackson, and a Nation in Turmoil
The first half of the 19th century was an era of upheaval. The United States nearly lost the War of 1812. Partisanship became endemic during violent clashes regarding States’ Rights and the abolition of slavery. The battle between Andrew Jackson and Nicholas Biddle over the Second Bank of the United States epitomized a nation in turmoil: Biddle, the erudite aristocrat versus Jackson, the plain-spoken warrior. The conflict altered America’s political arena. Jackson accused Biddle of treason; Biddle declared that the president promoted anarchy. The fight riveted the nation.
The United States is experiencing a reappearance of deep schisms within our population. They hearken back to the earliest debates about the federal government’s role regarding fiduciary responsibility and social welfare. The ideological descendants of Nicholas Biddle and Andrew Jackson are as polarized today as they were during the nineteenth century.
Author Cordelia Frances Biddle gained access to hitherto undiscovered documents that alter Nicholas Biddle’s place in history. In addition to editing the journals of the Lewis and Clark Expedition, Biddle performed confidential work at the behest of President James Monroe.
Praise for Biddle, Jackson, and a Nation in Turmoil:
“Using previously unknown documents, Cordelia Biddle weaves together a rich and vivid tale of one of America's most prominent, brilliant, and misunderstood public figures. The battle between Nicholas Biddle and Andrew Jackson was not just about the place of finance in American life, but about two different visions for the new nation: one Spartan, speculative, and rooted in land (and by extension, slavery); the other cosmopolitan, urban, and built on the bedrock of a centrally-controlled currency. Biddle's telling of her ancestor's rise and fall not only brings a vanished age back to life, but makes us ask crucial questions about our own era and how we got here.”
Steven Ujifusa, author of Barons of the Sea and A Man and His Ship
“In her meticulously researched new book, Cordelia Frances Biddle turns to a critical period in nineteenth-century American life as she brilliantly reveals the human dimensions of historic, true-life conflicts. Biddle, Jackson, and a Nation in Turmoil brings presidents, financiers, and common folk to vivid relevance. This is history at its best--perceptive, witty, elegantly composed and deeply empathetic. I learned a great deal from this richly entertaining volume--in fact, I could not put it down!”
Donald Spoto, New York Times best-selling author
“Most Americans remember Nicholas Biddle as Andrew Jackson’s designated villain during the fight over the Bank of the United States in the early 1830s. In fact, Cordelia Biddle reminds us, Nicholas was actually a prominent renaissance figure of America’s early years— diplomat, lawyer, literary editor, politician, banker— whose life touched notables from Jefferson to Napoleon to Aaron Burr to Lewis and Clark.”
Dan Rottenberg, author of The Man Who Made Wall Street: Anthony J. Drexel and the Rise of Modern Finance
Saint Katharine: the Life of Katharine Drexel
The story of a remarkable woman who rebelled against family, friends, and the luxuries of the Edwardian Age in order to aid and educate the poorest of the poor. Katharine’s life reflects the nation’s history: the tumultuous years leading to the Civil War, Lincoln’s assassination, Reconstruction, Jim Crow, the movement for Women’s Suffrage, and the Equal Rights Movement. She combated racial prejudice as she traveled the country establishing schools for African and Native Americans. Xavier University in New Orleans she considered a crowning achievement; of equal importance was her tireless work on behalf of the Navajo and Pueblo nations. At a time when journeys to the Dakotas, Wyoming, Arizona, and New Mexico were fraught with peril because of the government’s repressive policies, she overcame bigotry, distrust, and threats of murder. She died in 1955, having devoted her life to uplifting the nation’s forgotten peoples.
Praise for Saint Katharine: the Life of Katharine Drexel:
“Biddle is a scrupulous researcher but maintains a refreshingly lucid, readable style. Her scholarship is enriched by her connection to the Drexel family as a descendent of Katharine's grandfather.” Publishers Weekly
“In Saint Katharine, Cordelia Biddle brilliantly portrays Katharine Drexel. Shaped by 19th century Philadelphia, she became a figure for all time.” Jeanne Murray Walker, Author of The Geography of Memory