Get Your Free Audiobook

Listen with a free trial

1 credit a month to use on any title, yours to keep (you’ll use your first credit on this title).
Stream or download thousands of included titles.
Access to exclusive deals and discounts.
$16.45 a month after 30 day trial. Cancel anytime.
Buy Now for $34.76

Buy Now for $34.76

Pay using card ending in
By confirming your purchase, you agree to Audible's Conditions Of Use and Privacy Notice and authorise Audible to charge your designated credit card or another available credit card on file.

Publisher's Summary

Often remembered as the president who died shortly after taking office, William Henry Harrison remains misunderstood by most Americans. Before becoming the ninth president of the United States in 1841, Harrison was instrumental in shaping the early years of westward expansion. Robert M. Owens now explores that era through the lens of Harrison’s career, providing a new synthesis of his role in the political development of Indiana Territory and in shaping Indian policy in the Old Northwest. 

Owens traces Harrison’s political career as secretary of the Northwest Territory, territorial delegate to Congress, and governor of Indiana Territory, as well as his military leadership and involvement with Indian relations. Thomas Jefferson, who was president during the first decade of the nineteenth century, found in Harrison the ideal agent to carry out his administration’s ruthless campaign to extinguish Indian land titles. 

More than a study of the man, Mr. Jefferson’s Hammer is a cultural biography of his fellow settlers, telling how this first generation of post-Revolutionary Americans realized their vision of progress and expansionism. It surveys the military, political, and social world of the early Ohio Valley and shows that Harrison’s attitudes and behavior reflected his Virginia background and its 18th-century notions as much as his frontier milieu.

Mr. Jefferson’s Hammer offers a much needed reappraisal of Harrison’s impact on the nation’s development and key lessons for understanding American sentiments in the early republic. 

The book is published by University of Oklahoma Press. The audiobook is published by University Press Audiobooks.

"A cogent and compeling addition to the scholarship....” (Journal of America’s Military Past)

©2007 University of Oklahoma Press (P)2019 Redwood Audiobooks

What listeners say about Mr. Jefferson's Hammer

Average Customer Ratings

Reviews - Please select the tabs below to change the source of reviews.

No Reviews are Available
Sort by:
Filter by:
  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    4 out of 5 stars
Profile Image for William Jenks
  • William Jenks
  • 18-06-2019

Title = Truth in Advertising

I picked this book in part because there are so few on presidents from roughly Harrison through Pierce. It is read very very well, and the author has a dry sense of humor that comes from time to time. It's clearly an academic work of a professor (or perhaps deriving from a PhD dissertation), but the text is well written and with as good as narrative as one can imagine for the topic. The strength and weakness is how well the book adheres to the the subtitle.

Anyone really interested in Indian policy in the early 19th century will love the detail here. As one with more casual interest in that topic in particular, I was pleased to learn the big picture particularly well, but I got a little bogged down here and there with all the names, etc. A more general interest study of Harrison would have spent some more time on the latter part of his life, for example.

In any case, I can strongly recommend this book to anyone who finds the title intriguing ... others looking for a more general biography of Harrison should just be aware of what they are getting into.

8 people found this helpful

  • Overall
    3 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    3 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    3 out of 5 stars
Profile Image for Robert Martin
  • Robert Martin
  • 08-05-2021

An informative analysis of Harrison's early career

This book was not meant to be a thorough biography on William Henry Harrison and that is unfortunate given the fact that such books are scarce. However, what it sets out to do, it does well enough. The book gives an in-depth, academic, unapologetic and sometimes highly critical view of US expansionist policy from the late 1790s to the mid 1810s through the events in Harrison's life. This covers the period of time when Harrison was the principal executive of US policy in the old Northwest Territory and when he served as the Indiana Territory's governor from 1801 to 1812.

After reading it, I feel I have a much better understanding of what transpired between the Native Americans and the expanding population of the United States as they pushed inexorably Westward. It is without a doubt a very sad chapter in our history and one that deserves critical analysis. The author does a good job of illuminating the best and worst of what happened without dwelling in either pointless self-loathing or hero-worship for the principals involved.

What the book lacks is any serious attempt to look into the type of man William Henry Harrison was and what made him tick. The same could be said for other principal characters in the narrative like Tecumseh and Tenskatawa. Because of this, it reads a bit like an academic paper. But one can get a rough idea of the personalities in the narrative through their actions. Harrison comes across as a driven and calculating individual with a deep devotion to his country.

I was disappointed in the lack of any details on Harrison's long political life from 1815-1841 which culminated in two important national campaigns for President against Martin Van Buren. Harrison won the second one and changed the very nature of political campaigns in the process ("Tippecanoe and Tyler Too"). Overall, I am glad to have learned a bit more about the man most people simply know for having the shortest Presidential term in US History. We owe him more than that.

1 person found this helpful

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    5 out of 5 stars
Profile Image for bruce kittrick
  • bruce kittrick
  • 17-05-2020

Appreciate the fine insights

The attitudes of Americans toward Britain and the tribes of the Old Northwest had lasting impact on American culture. W H Harrison played an important role during this time. I really enjoyed the measured treatment of the players on this stage. Keep up the great work.

1 person found this helpful

  • Overall
    2 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    3 out of 5 stars
Profile Image for A Person of Substance
  • A Person of Substance
  • 21-12-2019

Not much of a presidential biography

It's a self described "cultural biography" about how the early Americans treated the Indians using Harrison's life as a vehicle.
Additionally the story is told and judgements made through the values of today. This creates a sense of mocking "quaintness" about the culture and people of that time.

1 person found this helpful

  • Overall
    1 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    3 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    1 out of 5 stars
Profile Image for Cheryl Vick
  • Cheryl Vick
  • 28-08-2021

Tough to get through

While this is not technically a presidential biography, it is why I chose it as I love to learn about the presidents. I have now read or listened to 25 of them and this was the hardest one to get through. Now that I’m done there is no doubt in my mind I should’ve quit listening to it I just kept thinking it would get better. It doesn’t. If you’re interested in a history of Indian battles you might like it. If you want to learn something about Harrison don’t bother.

  • Overall
    2 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    4 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    2 out of 5 stars
Profile Image for mmills2010
  • mmills2010
  • 13-08-2021

Should Have Been More

The author seems torn between telling a narrative about Native American culture and a biography of William Henry Harrison, and instead tries to do both. At times, it seems to work, such as the Battle of Tippecanoe, but for the most part, I wish it was either a one or the other. Because of this, its not a good biography, nor a good cultural account. It brings out the key players, such as Tecumseh and his brother, "the Prophet," but I didn't feel like I understood them any better after reading the book than I did before. The same is true with Harrison. I will say, that his time as a governor and military leader was more significant than his one-month presidency, but there's a lot more to his story that's not found in the book. The author makes it clear that he did not intend to write a comprehensive biography of Harrison, so I shouldn't fault the book on what it is not trying to be, but at the same time, I can't help but think there could have been more.

  • Overall
    2 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    4 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    2 out of 5 stars
Profile Image for victoria
  • victoria
  • 15-01-2021

it was more about Indiana territory than Harrison

the amount of attention spent laying names of people and Indian tribes was distracting. so was the lack of a chronological pregression.

  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars
Profile Image for Amazon Customer
  • Amazon Customer
  • 01-05-2020

Interesting

This is an interesting analysis of the U.S.'s Native American policy on the frontier through the lens of Harrison's actions.

In the spirit of reconciliation, Audible Australia acknowledges the Traditional Custodians of country throughout Australia and their connections to land, sea and community. We pay our respect to their elders past and present and extend that respect to all Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples today.