|Type of paper:||Essay|
|Categories:||Policy Andrew Jackson American history|
President Andrew Jackson on May 28, 1830, ascended to the Indian Removal Act legalizing the president to officiate swapping of unoccupied lands west of the Mississippi, with Indian lands within the existent state borders. A few collaborative tribes embraced the relocation exercise. However, many balked the relocation policy. Scores suffered untold misery in the expedition.
Consequently, in the period between 1838-1839, the United States government forcibly evicted the Eastern Woodlands Indians (Cherokee, Creek, Chickasaw, Choctaw, and Seminole) in a blatantly cruel manner. The action claimed lives of about 15000 people and 100000 others were subjected to untold misery, estimates from the tribal and military records suggest an event described as the "Trail of Tears." With the multiculturalization and cosmogony of diversity, the White fought to defend their racial homogeneity and supremacy (Celano, 2017). The issue of the natives was a political watchword, and Andrew Jackson had it in his manifesto. Disheartening, President Jackson had preconceived attitudes towards Indians ready to put them in the quick stands of barbaric, labeled them as heathen. The permanent solution was their evacuation, and resettlement in the "Great American Desert."
The congressional amendments began on February 22, 1830, when Senator Hugh White, from the Committee on Indian Affairs, reported a bill to swap land with Indians, residing in any of the States or territories and their expedition from West of River Mississippi. The report was debated in the Senate all through to April 23, 1830, where a majority voter's decision of 28 to 19 passed it (Rogin, 2017). The same Bill was subjected to the house of representative as of May 15, 1830, debated all the way to May 26, 1830, when a majority vote of 102 to 97 passed the Indian Removal Act. The Act was then given presidential consent. In his second annual address to the Congress, he is quoted as showing overt support of the punitive Indian policy. His sentiments that "the strategy sought after for a protracted thirty years, about the eviction of the Indians to the West was on the stage of fulfillment." Though we went ahead to take cognizance that two clans had ratified the agreement, he was unflinchingly coercing the other clans to follow suit. With that, the policy was fit for execution.
The relocation was motivated by greed. A statute, the British Proclamation of 1763 had charted the beleaguered by the Appalachian Mountains and the Mississippi River as Indian Territory. That region was to be exclusively safeguarded as a preserve of the indigenous communities in the US. This agreement was breached by a crop of Euro-American land speculators, with the British and Us governments turning a blind eye to these injustices. The 1829 scramble for gold in Cherokee land in Georgia is a case example. Gold existed in extensive untapped amounts, an imminent wealth. The gold mines were speculated to yield in 300 ounces of gold, daily. Land speculators started to clamor for devolution of land ownership by to the federal governments. The Congress passed the Indian Removal Act (1830), granting the president authority to spearhead negotiations over relocation and compensation to landowners. President Andrew Jackson, being a rabid speculator was in full support of this move, justifiably expressed interests in the action.
The development was unwelcomed and most foul. On the one hand, the Southeast Indians, by far a closely knitted community the crowded group of Choctaws, Creek, Chickasaw, Seminole, and Cherokee investing in Agriculture, had extensive farms strategically located a factor that outsiders envied. The land speculators who could acquire the land could make a kill since the land was prepared and ready for cultivation. The southeast tribes set out the terms of conditions as either reimbursement for their investments or protection for their property. The Choctaw negotiations resulted in the concession of their real property in exchange for Western land, commutation, and logistics for the journey. The federal government had no prior skill about conducting this exercise effectively. Due to ignorance from the bureaucracy and corruption, many a Choctaws died from malnutrition, diseases, and exhaustion. Buying from the experiences of the past, The Chickasaw had a smooth and streamlined journey and transition in 1837. For the Creek, Euro-American planters were struggling for the annexation of their property. The change was marred by fraudulence, incompetence bureaucrats, causing conflicts and lagged process, en-route, died many Creeks. A faction of Seminole leaders had bequeathed signatories chosen among themselves, to initiate a removal agreement (Prucha, 2014). However, they withdrew from the agreement forcing the US government intervention by forcibly ejecting them, spawning a conflict dubbed "The Second Seminole War (1835-42) was prolonged guerrilla warfare pitting the indigenous and the Everglades. The resistance was crushed and the seizure of Osceola, their ringleader, was imprisoned and left for dead at Fort Moultrie around Charleston Harbor. The Cherokee first sent an envoy to the US Congress to seek immunity from the skewed laws of Georgia that subjected them to its power and authority and jurisdiction.
At last, they resorted to legal action in the expression of their dissatisfaction. They filed lawsuits, in the U.S. Supreme Court but they lost the legal battles. The raft of legislation put to take over the land were, December 1830 state law passed barring White men to enter Indian land without the license from the federal government, this was a move to counter clergymen who incited the Indians to flout. In March 1832, Worcester v. Georgia declared all laws of Georgia unconstitutional, null, and void. In a landmark ruling, Chief Justice John Marshall ruled out that the Cherokees were a sovereign nation but still subject to the federal law. The people rejected the removal agreements, and the US military began cruel evictions. At least 4,000 of the 15000 Cherokee population died en-route with some avoiding confinement and sojourning in North Carolina. The Northeast Indian were mobile and liberal though politically disjointed as compared to their counterparts in the Southeast. The removal agreements signed saw ceding of the land rights, yet maintaining rights to fish, hunt, gather, and tree logging.
To crown it all, the Indian policy initiated in president Andrew Jackson's era was an act of bureaucratic overindulgence and opportunistic repression. The Trail of tears was a bloody massacre. The U.S Constitution gazetted the Trail of Tears as a National Historic Trail in commemoration of the victims of the evictions. Similarly, citizens do expeditions following the itinerary, the National Historic Trail from Chattanooga, Tennessee via Hopkinsville, Kentucky to Green Ferry across the Mississippi River. Another commemorative scenery is the Trail of Tears State Park in Missouri with a gravesite and a museum in the historic Cherokee Heritage Center in Tahlequah, Oklahoma. The trail attracts over 30000 visitors and other charitable and good cause humanitarian activities like walks.
Celano, D. (2017). The Indian Removal Act: Jackson, Sovereignty, and Executive Will. The Purdue Historian, 8(1), 6.
Prucha, F. P. (2014). American Indian policy in crisis: Christian reformers and the Indian, 1865-1900. University of Oklahoma Press.
Rogin, M. P. (2017). Fathers and children: Andrew Jackson and the subjugation of the American Indian. Routledge.
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