Andrew Jackson and the Republican Fear of a Standing Army

While Andrew Jackson is a particular type of American, he is very much that type, the definition and embodiment of that type. In the twentieth century, he would become Ethan Edwards, played by John Wayne, in John Ford’s The Searchers (1956). In the twenty-first century, he would become Malcolm Reynolds, played by Nathan Fillon, in Joss Whedon’s Firefly (2002). “You don’t know me, son, so let me explain this to you once,” Reynolds says to a new member of his crew. “If I ever kill you, you’ll be awake, you’ll be facing me, and you’ll be armed.” Honest and earnest to a fault, this type of American republican knows that nothing matters more in the world than one’s honor. Once this is lost, life is no longer worth living, and it can be regained only through extreme self-sacrifice.

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