President Jackson


"The decision of the Jackson administration to remove the
Cherokee Indians to lands west of the Mississippi River in
the 1830's was more a reformulation of the national policy
that had been in effect since the 1790's than a change in
that policy." The dictum above is firm and can be easily
proved by examining the administration of Jackson and
comparison to the traditional course which was carried out
for about 40 years. After 1825 the federal government
attempted to remove all eastern Indians to the Great Plains
area of the Far West. The Cherokee Indians of northwestern
Georgia, to protect themselves from removal, made up a
constitution which said that the Cherokee Indians were
sovereign and not subject to the laws of Georgia. When the
Cherokee sought help from the Congress that body only
allotted lands in the West and urged them to move. The
Supreme Court, however, in Worcester vs. Georgia, ruled
that they constituted a "domestic dependent nation" not
subject to the laws of Georgia. Jackson, who sympathized
with the frontiersman, was so outraged that he refused to
enforce the decision. Instead he persuaded the tribe to
give up it's Georgia lands for a reservation west of the
According to Document A, the map shows eloquently, the
relationship between time and policies which effected the
Indians. From the Colonial and Confederation treaties, a
significant amount of land had been acquired from the
Cherokee Indians. Successively, during Washington's,
Monroe's, and Jefferson's administration, more and more
Indian land was being commandeered. The administrations
during the 1790's to the 1830's had gradually acquired more
and more land from the Cherokee Indians. Jackson followed
that precedent by the acquisition of more Cherokee lands.
According to Document B, "the first of which is by raising
an army, and [destroying the resisting] tribes entirely or
2ndly by forming treaties of peace with them", "under the
existing circumstances of affairs, the United States have a
clear right, consistently with the principles of justice
and the laws of nature, to proceed to the destruction or
expulsion of the savages." The use of the word savages,
shows that the American had irreverence toward other ethnic
backgrounds. Henry Knox wanted to destroy the cherokee
tribes inorder to gain land for the United States, although
he questions the morality of whether to acquire the
cherokee land, his conclusion forbode's the appropriation.
According to Document C, "That the Cherokee Nation may be
led to a greater degree of civilization, and to become
herdsmen and cultivators, instead of remaining in a state
of hunters, the United States will from time to time
gratuitously the said nation with useful implements of
The statement made by Henry Knox shows an ethnocentric view
toward the indians. Knox viewed them as savages, and said
that the role of the United States is to propagate their
evolution into herdsmen and cultivators instead of hunters.
What Knox did not realize was that he was attempting to
change the culture of the Cherokee Indians, and that would
be an infringement upon their sovereignty.
According to Document E, "[In exchange for Georgia's
cession of claims to certain western lands] . . . the
United States shall, at their own Expense, [obtain for] the
Use of Georgia, as early as the same can be peaceably
obtained on reasonable terms, the indian Title . . . to all
the other Lands within the State of Georgia." The statement
above, explains how the United States is being avaricious
in expanding the State of Georgia into cherokee lands.
Manifest Destiny and irreverence toward the Cherokee
Indians can be explained by this.
According to Document F, "The Indian tribes . . . have for
a considerable time been growing more and more uneasy at
the constant diminution of the territory they occupy,
although effected by their own voluntary sales, and the
policy has long been gaining strength with them of refusing
absolutely all further sale on any conditions . . . . In
order peaceable to counteract this policy of theirs and to
provide an extension of territory which the rapid increase
of our numbers will call for [they should be led to an
agricultural way of life, thus lessening their need for
land], In leading them thus to . . . civilization . . . I
trust and believe we are acting for their greatest good."
Thomas Jefferson believed that some people were
dependent(slaves, women, indians) and some people were
independent (White males), he believed that the independent
of society should help the dependents to become
independent. Jefferson was attempting to be benevolent
toward the indians, but Jefferson was only trying to
acquire the land for the United States. Precedent was
reinforced in the United States not respecting rights of
sovereignty of the Cherokee Indians.
According to Document H, "I have long viewed treaties with
the Indians an absurdity not to be reconciled to the
principles of our Government. The Indians are the subjects
of the United States, inhabiting it's territory and
acknowledging it's soverignty, then is it not absurd for
the soverign to negotiate by treaty with the subject. . .
." Andrew Jackson had made the assumption that the Indians
were subjects to the united states, which is not factual.
Jackson is explaining that subjects should not have to
negotiate a treaty, and that taking the land should be a
right of the master (U.S), upon his slave (Cherokee
According to Document N, ".....[I am] deeply impressed with
the opinion that the removal of the Indian tribes from teh
lands which they now occupy . . . is of very high
importance to our unio, and may be accomplished on
conditions and in a manner to promote the interest and
happiness of those tribes . . . For the removal of the
trives within the limits of the State of Georgia, the
motive has been peculiarly strong, arising from the compact
with that State, whereby the United States are bound to
extinguish the Indian title to the lands within it,
whenever it may be done peaceably and on reasonable
conditions." Again, the United States is expanding upon
Cherokee land, which Monroe believes that will benefit the
Indians and benefit the Americans. The statement is a
contradiction because Monroe as well as the president's
before him, believe that they are helping the Indians, but
are actually oppressing the Indians
According to Document O, "It has long been the policy of
Government to introduce among them the arts of
civilization, in hope of gradually reclaiming them from a
wandering life." Converting the Cherokee Indians from
hunters into cultivators, seems like the object of
Jackson's speech, but the underlying reason for the
movement is for gold which was found in Georgia. "Actuated
by this view of the subject, I informed the Indians
inhabiting parts of Georgia and Alabama that their attempt
to establish an independent government would not be
countenanced by the Executive of the United States, and
advised them to emigrate beyond the Mississippi or submit
to the laws of those States." Jackson gives the Cherokee
Indians an ultimatum, whereby either the Cherokee Indians
move west of the mississippi or they will have to abide by
the laws of Georgia and the United States. The Cherokee
Indians seeking their independent sovereignty, moved west
of the Misssissippi, while almost half of their tribe had
been decimated (The Trail of Tears). Again, The United
States is violating the soverignty of the Cherokee Indian
land and is following precedent of the past policies toward
the irreverance of Indian Lands.
According to Document P, "The Cherokee Nation, then is a
distinct community. . . in which the laws of Georgia can
have no force, and which the citizens of Georgia have no
right to enter but with the assent of the Cherokees
themselves or in conformity with treaties and with the acts
of Congress . . . ." The statement made by John Marshall is
correct by saying that the territorial boundries and land
of the Cherokee Indians is soverign to the Cherokee
Indians. Marshall announced that the laws of Georgia are
not applicable within the Cherokee Lands, and the
constitution acknowleges the soverignty of it's bordering
territories. Since the Supreme Court couldn't enforce this
opinion, Jackson carried through his act of moving the
Indians west of the Mississippi.
All in all, from the early 1790's to the late 1830's, the
policy that Jackson set forth reinforced the precedent
which shaped national Indian policy between 1789 and mid


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