I have my issues with Walter Russell Mead. But I'd have to agree with this paragraph from a review he did, Old Hickory Switch The American Interest Spring 2006:
As the last American president to have fought in the Revolution, Jackson deserves to be numbered among the Founding Fathers of the Republic, and of that august company he is by no means the least. As a politician, he transformed the limited, republican government created in the Constitution into a much more direct and unmediated democratic system that endures to this day. As president, he first enunciated the theory of the Union that would guide Abraham Lincoln in the Civil War, and he built a political consensus behind the use of force to compel South Carolina to accept Federal supremacy.