Andrew Jackson and The Indian Removal Act
Andrew Jackson's lack of positive actions and policies ultimately forced the westward migration of the "five civilized" Native American tribes, the Creeks, Chickasaws, Seminoles, Cherokees and Choctaws. Jackson's failure to enforce his early promise that the migration of the Native American tribes would be voluntary was a major factor in the success of the forced migration, as were Jackson's repeated failures to ensure that treaties with Native Americans were kept and that land deals with Native Americans were not fraudulent. In addition, other legislation like the Indian Trade and Intercourse Act of 1834 resulted in more migration out of the area, by reducing native rights and sovereignty. Further, Jackson's role in forwarding the forced migrations was likely motivated by a desire for profit and land, political concerns, and racism. In The Long, Bitter Trail: Andrew Jackson and the Indians, Anthony Wallace describes the forced removal of thousands of Native Americans from the American east to an area west of the Mississippi River through the Indian Removal Act of 1830. The author focuses on how the policies of Andrew Jackson impacted the relocation, who as a newly elected president faced a caucus
The Indian Removal Act waspassed during Jackson's second year as President, and owed its existencelargely to his efforts even before his tenure as president. A professor of history and anthropology at the University ofPennsylvania, Wallace is clearly qualified to write this history. President Jackson's refusal to abide by legal decisions in favor ofthe Indians also played a large role in the forced migration. However, these attempts at adapting to white culturewould ultimately not save them from being removed from their lands underthe Indian Removal Act. Jackson's lack ofpositive actions and policies likely played an even greater role in themigration, as Jackson failed to enforce the supposedly voluntary nature ofthe migration, and failed to support the Supreme Court's decision that theCherokee in Georgia should be allowed self-government. As such, Jackson wasstrongly motivated to take over the Indian land in order to increase profitand available land for white settlers and businesses. Andrew Jackson's influence on the forced migration of the NativeAmerican tribes can hardly be overstated. Ultimately, Jackson became on of the most vocal and active ofthe proponents of the forced removal of the Native Americans. White settlers wasted little time moving in, and the characterof the former Native Lands was changed forever. Jacksonmet this resistance with an equal or greater resolve to see the migrationcontinue. Certainly, Jacksonmust have seen a potential profit in taking former Indian lands and sellingthem to settlers. Clearly, at the very least Jackson saw the Native Americans aschildlike, and incapable of ruling themselves. The legal ruling was ineffective, as thestate of Georgia refused to abide by the decision, and President Jacksonrefused to enforce the law that was upheld by the Supreme Court.
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