Andrew Jackson Indian Removal

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In May of 1830, President Andrew Jackson signed The Indian Removal Act into law.32 This law allowed the president to grant lands west of the Mississippi in exchange for tribal lands within State borders. Few Natives moved peacefully, most resisted the new relocation policy.35 Approximately 125,000 Natives of the ‘Five Civilized Tribes’ – Chickasaw, Choctaw, Creek, Seminole and Cherokee, lived on the millions of acres in Georgia, Tennessee, North Carolina and Florida.36 As new settlers were flooding into the United States, prime farm land was coveted by them.37 Georgia passed laws limiting Native Peoples sovereignty and rights and the Natives used the courts to regain their rights.38 In a few cases, such as Cherokee Nation v. Georgia (1831) …show more content…

As President Andrew Jackson noted in 1832, if no one intended to enforce the Supreme Court’s rulings (which he certainly did not), then the decisions would “[fall]…still born.”44 Southern states were determined to take ownership of Native lands and would go to great lengths to secure this territory, burning out Natives and squatting on their lands.45 President Andrew Jackson outlined his Indian removal policy in his Second Annual Message to Congress.46 Jackson's comments on Indian removal begin with the words, "It gives me pleasure to announce to Congress that the benevolent policy of the Government, steadily pursued for nearly thirty years, in relation to the removal of the Indians beyond the white settlements is approaching to a happy consummation. Two important tribes have accepted the provision made for their removal at the last session of Congress, and it is believed that their example will induce the remaining tribes also to seek the same obvious advantages.47 Once gold was found in Georgia, the Native populations of the South had to be removed. The Five Civilized Tribes were to be relocated by the federal government. The government forcefully drove the Creeks from their land for the last time in 1938: 3,500 of the 15,000 Creeks who set out for Oklahoma Indian Territory, did not survive the …show more content…

Others thought it was better to agree to leave in exchange for money and other concessions.49 A few self-appointed representatives of the Cherokee nation negotiated the Treaty of New Echota, which traded all Cherokee land east of the Mississippi for $5 million, relocation assistance and compensation for lost property.50 Many of the Cherokee felt betrayed because the negotiators did not represent the tribal government or anyone else.51 “The instrument in question is not the act of our nation,” wrote the nation’s principal chief, John Ross, in a letter to the U.S. Senate protesting the treaty. “We are not parties to its covenants; it has not received the sanction of our people.”52 Nearly 16,000 Cherokees signed Ross’s petition, but Congress approved the treaty regardless of their disagreement.53 President Van Buren sent 7,000 soldiers to expedite the removal process and the Cherokee were forcibly moved West.54 They marched over 1,200 miles into Indian Territory, with whooping cough, typhus, dysentery, cholera and starvation becoming deadly along the journey. Historians estimate that more than 5,000 Cherokee died as a result of the forced march, which became known as the "Trail of

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