Although I don’t usually care for free magazines, I read one or two pieces in every issue of The Tennessee Magazine. So, thank you for the magazine. The most recent issue (September 2022), though, was a bit of a disappointment. The “travel feature” “Three Presidents: Forty Years of Change” is really unacceptable in its current form.
I fully understand that a travel feature has to focus on the beauty of the houses and the gardens, and The Hermitage — more so than the other two sites — certainly delivers on both counts. That said, it is still a bit jarring to celebrate a place that was a slave plantation without even mentioning that. Indeed, the Greek Revival architecture and the beautiful gardens were a way of camouflaging the actual purpose of the place. That the article has nothing to say about that — or about Jackson’s involvement in the Trail of Tears — is particularly odd since The Hermitage itself now includes the experience of enslaved persons in its various displays.
What really irks me, though, is that the few references to the historical context included in the feature seem deliberately obtuse. Andrew Johnson, usually considered one of the worst presidents in U.S. history by professional historians, is said “to have pledged to carry out Lincoln’s plan for reunification ‘with malice toward none.’” That he opposed the 14th Amendment could have been mentioned, that he was impeached might have merited a mention, and that he was determined to carry out “Lincoln’s plan” doesn’t strike me as a reasonable perspective on his presidency. In other words, that’s a bit too much presidential whitewashing.
We’re in 2022, and we can do better. I say this as an old white man.
Thank you for sharing your thoughts. Re-evaluating our past leaders can bring us to complex, conflicted, even jarring conclusions about their legacies. James K. Polk doesn’t escape scrutiny: He has been criticized over his pursuit of war with Mexico, among other controversies.
In the end, our travel feature was meant to focus on visiting these historic homes. Articles exploring these presidents’ lives would certainly require critical looks that more deeply examine the effects of their policies and decisions.
My wife and I just sold our property in Wilson County supplied by Middle Tennessee Electric and are about to sell our property in Coffee County supplied by Duck River Electric. We have so enjoyed the information and articles published in your magazine. They are so well done, and we always look forward to reading each month.
Our permanent residence is supplied by NES and with the sale of these two properties we will no longer receive your magazine.
We are saddened by that and wonder if there is a way to subscribe to your magazine without being a member of the co-op?
If not, we will sorely miss your creativity and useful information about Tennessee.
John and Marie Golden
Hi, I haven’t been getting my magazine. Can you please make sure I get it?
Linda Stankard, Upper Cumberland EMC
I used to receive The Tennessee Magazine every month until May, and then they stopped! I’d really like to continue receiving the magazine.
Christine Smith, Southwest Tennessee EMC
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