Andrew Jackson and the Removal of Native Americans
Many events have shaped the United States. They carved our society, laws, and beliefs. For starters, before Europeans and other peoples set foot on American soil, it was inhabited only by Native Americans, or Indians.
These indigenous people built towns, hunted, and some even farmed. However, when the Spanish, Europeans, and others broadened their horizons into America, the Native Americans were forced to conform to the ways of others, or die. Andrew Jackson’s decision to remove these humble peoples, via the Indian Removal Act, exemplifies that statement. At the age of 13, Andrew Jackson quit school and became a soldier. During the war, he was captured. Jackson went on to become the first president to be a prisoner of war. He was known to have a temper from the time he entered the military and throughout his presidency. During one account it is stated …he engaged in brawls, and in a duel killed a man who cast an unjustified slur on his wife. Although his ambitious nature was a good contributing factor in his time of leadership, it caused him to make quick and biased decisions.
As stated before, Jackson’s decision to remove the Native Americans of North America was ignorant and immature in some ways. The Native Americans were humble people. They submitted to other people for years. Very few times did they get involved with war, and when they did it was only to protect themselves and their tribe. Andrew Jackson created the Indian Removal Act during the 1800s and pushed it through several government systems for ratification. One of these systems was Congress. Jackson met with many of the Native American tribes before making his decision. In one document he even referred to the Native Americans as friends and his red children. However, even though Congress voted against the removal of the humble natives Jackson still signed the document to have them removed. In Jackson’s eyes, removing natives was the key to success. He belived them to be infirior to whites. He stated,…under the protection of the Government, and through the influence of good councels, [will cause them] to cast off their savage habits, and become an interesting, civilized, and Christian community. In the letter from the secretary of war it is even mentioned that they would erect new building as soon as possible where the Native American’s homes once were.
In enacting the the Indian Removal Act, Andrew Jackson consequently created the Trail of Tears. This historical event was the march of thousands of Native Americans out of their territory and into a new, government appointed, territory. The Trail of Tears included approxamately 4,000 indian men, women, children, and elders. These people were forced to march several miles with barely any rest. In addition to this, when they did rest, their brief breaks were in shabby makeshift tents. Other indians were put onto boats with similiar, horrid conditions. This tragic historic event has forever marred the United States of America as a very ignorant, gruesome, and harsh occurence. It shall forever provide an example of why differences should be respected and embraced. The Indian Removal Act and the Trail of Tears has contributed to the lesons taught to Americans about equality for all.
Primary Sources United States War Department, 1770?-1843 Sequoyah, Thomas Loraine McKenney, and United States Bureau Of Indian Affairs. Report of the Secretary of War.On Indian affairs. [Washington, 1826] Pdf. https://www.loc.gov/item/08036496/.
“”Alfred Balch to Andrew Jackson, January 8, 1830.”” Alfred Balch to Andrew Jackson. January 8, 1830. In Image 4 of Alfred Balch to Andrew Jackson, January 8, 1830. Accessed November 13, 2018. https://www.loc.gov/resource/maj.01074_0281_0284/?sp=4.
“”Andrew Jackson to John Pitchlynn, August 5, 1830.”” Andrew Jackson to John Pitchlynn. August 5, 1830. In Andrew Jackson to John Pitchlynn, August 5, 1830. Accessed November 12, 2018. https://www.loc.gov/item/maj012027/.
Secondary Sources “”Primary Documents in American History.”” Planning D-Day (April 2003) – Library of Congress Information Bulletin. March 27, 2018. Accessed November 10, 2018. https://www.loc.gov/rr/program/bib/ourdocs/indian.html.
“”Indian Removal Timeline.”” Digital History. 2018. Accessed November 15, 2018. https://www.digitalhistory.uh.edu/active_learning/explorations/indian_removal/removal_timeline.cfm.
“”President Andrew Jackson’s Message to Congress ‘On Indian Removal’ (1830).”” Our Documents – Interstate Commerce Act (1887). Accessed November 15, 2018. https://www.ourdocuments.gov/doc.php?flash=false&doc=25.
“”Andrew Jackson.”” The First March From Selma. Accessed November 12, 2018. https://www.americaslibrary.gov/aa/jackson/aa_jackson_subj.html.
“”Andrew Jackson.”” The White House. Accessed November 8, 2018. https://www.whitehouse.gov/about-the-white-house/presidents/andrew-jackson/.
“”Cherokee Trail of Tears.”” About North Georgia. 1994-2018. Accessed November 15, 2018. https://www.aboutnorthgeorgia.com/ang/Cherokee_Trail_of_Tears.
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