The generalization that, “The decision of the Jackson administration to remove the Cherokee Indians to lands west of the Mississippi River in the 1830s was more a reformulation of the national policy that had been in effect since the 1790s than a change in that policy,” is valid. Every since the American people arrived at the New World they have continually driven the Native Americans out of their native lands. Many people wanted to contribute to this removal of the Cherokees and their society. Knox proposed a “civilization” of the Indians.
President Monroe continued Knox’s plan by developing ways to rid of the Indians, claiming it would be beneficial to all. Andrew Jackson ultimately fulfilled the plan. The map indicates the relationship between time, land, and policies, which affected the Indians. The Indian Tribes have been forced to give up their land as early as the 1720s. Between the years 1721 and 1785, the Colonial and Confederation treaties forced the Indians to give up huge portions of their land. Successively, during Washington’s, Monroe’s, and Jefferson’s administration, more and more Indian land was being commandeered.
The Washington administration signed the Treaty of Holston and other supplements between the time periods of 1791 until 1798 that made the Native Americans give up more of their homeland land. 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. In later years, those speaking on behalf of the United States government believed that teaching the Indians how to live a more civilized life would only benefit them.
Rather than only thinking of benefiting the Indians, we were also trying to benefit ourselves. We were looking to acquire the Indians’ land. In a letter to George Washington, Knox says we should first is to destroy the Indians with an army, and the second is to make peace with them. The Indian Trade and Intercourse Act of 1793 began to put Knox’s plan into effect. The federal government’s promise of supplying the Indians with animals, agricultural tools and appropriate instructions only showed how unaware the government actually was of the native peoples’ lives.
First, it claimed that the Indians were easily influenced, saying that their tradition of common landholdings could be effortlessly changed. The promise was also ignorant to the fact that Indians have had years of agricultural experience. The focus was mostly on Indian men. In these societies the fact that women traditionally did the farming was irrelevant. Officials believed that Indian women, like those of European descent, should properly limit themselves to child rearing, household chores, and home manufacturing.
The Federal government has violated the Indian Tribes independence and sovereignty. The government has forced them to become civilized. The Indians are natural born hunters, yet they have grown to become herdsmen and cultivators as it states in the Treaty of Holston. The government wanted to shape their lives to better accommodate the white peoples need for land because of the ever-growing population. In a letter to Andrew Jackson, Thomas Jefferson says Indians “should be led to an agricultural way of life, thus lessening their need for land. ” The Indians had taken up many white aspects of life.
A member of the Cherokee nation, Sequoyah, invented a Cherokee alphabet that made possible a Cherokee-language bible and a bilingual tribal newspaper. According to a letter written by Calhoun to Clay, the Cherokee nation also had established “two flourishing schools among themBesides reading, writing, and arithmetic, the boys are taught agriculture and the ordinary mechanics arts; the girls, sewing, knitting, and weaving” This wasn’t the customary culture of the Native American people. These hunters and rugged outdoors-people now had schools and a civilization. They never had these things prior to the governments’ civilization plan.
James Vann, a Cherokee, had a house built in Georgia around 1804 with 800 acres, 42 cabins, 6 barns, a sawmill, a blacksmith shop, a trading post, 1,133 peach trees, 147 apple trees, and slaves. This was a clear indication that some Cherokees had assimilated into white society. These once simplistic people were now being distracted by the seemingly ornate lives of Americans. On March 4, 1817, General Andrew Jackson explained to President James Monroe that the Indians were U. S. subjects. He also explained that subjects should not have to negotiate a treaty, and that taking the land should be a right of the United States upon the Cherokees.
In his “First Annual Message to Congress,” Monroe declared the beginning of a future plan to remove the Indians, claiming that, “The hunter state can exist only in the vast uncultivated desert. ” On March 29, 1824, John C. Calhoun told Monroe that the growth of the Cherokee civilization and knowledge is the result “of the difficulty of acquiring additional cessions from” them. In late 1824, in his annual message to Congress, Monroe proposed that all Indians beyond the Mississippi River be removed. He sent word to Congress proposing removal three days later.
Monroe said his suggestion would protect Indians from invasion and grant them with independence for “improvement and civilization. ” Force wouldn’t be necessary, because Monroe believed Indians would freely accept western land free from white encroachment. In his “Plan for Removing the Several Indian Tribes West of the Mississippi River,” on January 27, 1825, Monroe explained that he believes acquiring land from the Cherokees will benefit them as well as America. The Cherokees, Creeks, Choctaws, and Chickasaws were the main focus of Monroe’s proposition.
They had rejected the proposal. They had negotiated thirty treaties with the United States between 1789 and 1825 and wanted to remain to the left of their ancestral land. In the 1820s, Georgia accused the federal government of failing to fulfill its 1802 promise to remove the Indians in return for the Georgia’s abandonment of its claim to western lands, as explained in the “Amicable Settlement of Limits with the state of Georgia,” which was accepted by the United States and the Georgia state legislature.
In 1826, under federal pressure, the Creek nation ceded all but a small strip of its Georgia acreage. Georgia, unsatisfied, wanted them to move even further west. Even though the Cherokees had developed a political system and government similar to those of the states, they were unsuccessful in winning respect or acceptance from southerners. In the 1820s, Georgia pressured them to sell the 7,200 square miles of land they held in the state. Congress appropriated $30,000 in 1822 to purchase the Cherokee land in Georgia. The Cherokees ultimately decided to stay where they were and not sell.
Georgia, growing irritated with the Cherokees refusals to discuss cessions, annulled the Cherokees’ constitution, extended the state’s sovereignty over them, prohibited the Cherokee National Council from meeting except to cede land, and ordered their lands seized. The discovery of gold on Cherokee land in 1829 only whet Georgia’s appetite for Cherokee territory. When Jackson became president, in his “First Annual Message to Congress,” on December 8, 1829, he warned the Cherokees that they could either move west of the Mississippi, or abide by the laws of Georgia and the United States.
Supported by sympathetic whites, but not by Jackson, the Cherokees under Chief John Ross turned to the federal courts to defend their treaty with the United States and to disarm new threats by Georgia to seize their land. The legal strategy of the Cherokees was a sign of their developing political refinement. In Cherokee Nation v. Georgia, Chief Justice John Marshall reach the decision that while under the federal Constitution an Indian tribe was neither a foreign nation nor a state and therefore had no standing in federal courts.
Nonetheless, said Marshall, the Indians had an unquestionable right to their lands; they could lose title only by voluntarily giving it up. In 1832, in Worcester v. Georgia, Marshall stated the Cherokee position more clearly. He declared that the Indian nation was a distinct political community in which “the laws of Georgia can have no force,” and into which Georgians could not enter without permission or treaty privilege. The Cherokees were ecstatic. Elias Boudinot, editor for the Phoenix, called the decision “glorious news.
Georgia, however, refused to meet the terms. President Andrew Jackson, a known Indian fighter, refused to get in the way because the case involved a state action. Newspapers widely reported Jackson’s comments: “John Marshall has made his decision: now let him enforce it. ” Eager to open up new lands for settlement, Jackson preferred driving out the Cherokees. In the Removal Act of 1830, Congress gave Jackson the finances he needed to negotiate treaties and resettle the unwilling tribes west of the Mississippi.
In Jackson’s letter to General John Coffee on April 7, 1832, he explained that the Cherokees were still in Georgia, and that they ought to leave for their own benefit because destruction will come upon them if they stay. By 1835, most eastern tribes had unwillingly complied and moved west. The Bureau of Indian Affairs was created in 1836 to help out the resettled tribes. Most Cherokees rejected the settlement of 1835, which provided land in the Indian territory. It was not until 1838, after Jackson had left office, that the U. S. Army forced 15,000 Cherokees to leave Georgia.
The hardships on the “trail of tears” were so great that 4,000 Cherokees died on their heartbreaking westward journey. In conclusion, the above statement is valid and true. The decision the Jackson administration made to remove the Cherokee Indians to lands west of the Mississippi River was a reformulation of the national policy. Jackson, along with past Presidents George Washington, James Monroe, and Thomas Jefferson, tried to rid the south of Indians This process of removing the native people was continuous as the years went on.