The Spoils of Plunder


I was walking the grounds of The Hermitage, near Nashville and turned around to see this nicely framed scene. I respect the way the Hermitage treats the subject of Andrew Jackson's practice of slavery. They deal with it head-on, not sugar-coating it but also not allowing it to completely color all thoughtful analysis of the former president. They present it, in my opinion, without extra softening or vilification. It left me with appropriately mixed feelings about Jackson and The Hermitage. An impressive and serene estate, conceived in principles grander and nobler than the moral capacity of its owners, and built off the forced suffering and sacrifice of others. A perfect microcosm of that period of American history, actually.