Recent biographies of Pres. Andrew Jackson frequently cite his kindness to the "Indian orphans" he adopted as evidence that his personal feelings about Native Americans were more sympathetic than his public policies would suggest. Rather than framing his actions as paradoxical, or explaining them within a public/private cultural divide, Shire argues that the white paternalism that characterized Jackson's world easily accommodated virulent anti-Indian racism simultaneously with sympathy for orphaned Indigenous boys. While biographies of Jackson from the 1970s tended to be more critical of his paternalistic sympathies, recent studies assess these feelings as "sincere" and fail to treat feelings as entities with historical context and contingencies. Many white Americans in the early republic regularly justified apparent contradictions like this one using racist paternalism, since liberty and equality for their families rested on the enslavement and dispossession of African and Native American families.


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pp. 111-122
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