Indian Removal Act Essay

Submitted By dddevon
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Devon Barry
U.S. History A
Pd. 1 Andrew Jackson’s Indian Removal Act On May 28, 1830 the Indian Removal Act was signed into law by president Andrew
Jackson. This law authorized the federal government to negotiate treaties with eastern Native
American tribes, exchanging their homelands for land in the West. Although the act was very controversial and extremely inhumane, Jackson was able to fortify it through He argued that
Native Americans could not be assimilated, their lands could not be protected from white settlers, and that moving Native Americans to the West would allow them to maintain their way of life. Although Jackson’s arguments were all factual to some degree, their causes were clearly due to his and the rest of America’s own abnegation to regard these natural Indian rights.
Assimilation of Native Americans into white culture was not achievable due to Jackson and the federal government’s ceaseless isolation of the Indians, both culturally and physically.
Attempts to assimilate Indians into the American culture began in the late 1780’s. Missionaries were sent to teach the Indians how to live, worship and farm like Christian Americans. This was somewhat successful, and by the 1830’s five Native American tribes, the Cherokee, Chickasaw,
Choctaw, Creek, and Seminole, had adopted many attributes of white culture at the time. Theses
“five civilized tribes” built European­style homes and farmsteads, laid out European­style fields and farms, developed a written language, established their own newspaper, and wrote a constitution. Even then however, Jackson referred to their ways as “savage habits” (Jackson,

1830). It was obvious that the Native Americans would never be fully accepted in white society, they were their own people. It was understandable that the Native American people would not be able to assimilate into the drastically different white culture, having been accosted and abused by the Americans for such a prolonged period of time; assimilating with their abusers would be the last thing the Indians would want for their nations. Assimilation was possible but definitely not in favor for by either party, and therefore not achievable. Ironically, the time of these Indian assimilation attempts was also the time which began the progressive erosion of Indian land rights. As Americans began to push the frontier and settle the west, their main obstacle was
Indian tribes living there, preventing their westward expansion. This was especially the case in
Georgia. Cherokee in Georgia tried to secure their lands from settlers by adopting a constitution.
Georgia annulled their constitution, declaring that the Cherokee were subject to the Georgian state laws and ordered seizure of their land. However, the supreme court case, Worcester v.s
Georgia, ruled that the federal government, not the states, has jurisdiction over Indian territories.
The judge for this case, John Marshall, decreed that the Cherokee Nation was entitled to federal protection over those of the state laws of Georgia. An outraged Andrew Jackson refused to enforce the ruling because it countered his intentions with the Indian Removal Act. Jackson overrode the supreme court and forcibly removed the recalcitrant tribes. The Indians had essentially no political or legal power to retaliate. Jackson could’ve easily prevented their removal with the power he had, but he chose to drive them from…