The Reign of Andrew Jackson eBook

This eBook from the Gutenberg Project consists of approximately 183 pages of information about The Reign of Andrew Jackson.
Choctaws and Chickasaws had done the same thing and were on their way westward.  Only the Cherokees remained, and in his message of December 3, 1833, Jackson reiterated his earlier arguments for their removal.  Realizing that further resistance was useless, a portion of the tribe signified its readiness to go.  The remainder, however, held out, and it was only at the close of 1835 that the long-desired treaty of cession could be secured.  All Cherokee lands east of the Mississippi were now relinquished to the United States, which agreed to pay five million dollars for them, to provide an adequate home in the new Indian Territory created by Congress during the preceding year, and to bear all the costs of removing the tribe thither.

It was not alone the South, however, that witnessed widespread displacements of Indian populations in the Jacksonian period.  How the Black Hawk War of 1832 grew out of, and in turn led to, removals in the remoter Northwest has been related in another volume in this series.[13] And, in almost every western State, surviving Indian titles were rapidly extinguished.  Between 1829 and 1837 ninety-four Indian treaties, most of them providing for transfers of territory, were concluded; and before Jackson went out of office he was able to report to Congress that, “with the exception of two small bands living in Ohio and Indiana, not exceeding fifteen hundred persons, and of the Cherokees, all of the tribes on the east side of the Mississippi, and extending from Lake Michigan to Florida, have entered into engagements which will lead to their transplantation.”  With little delay the Cherokees, too, were added to this list, although a group of irreconcilables resisted until 1838, when they were forcibly ejected by a contingent of United States troops under General Winfield Scott.

All of this was done not without strong protest from other people besides the Indians.  Some who objected did so for political effect.  When Clay and Calhoun, for example, thundered in the Senate against the removal treaties, they were merely seeking to discredit the Administration; both held views on Indian policy which were substantially the same as Jackson’s.  But there was also objection on humanitarian grounds; and the Society of Friends and other religious bodies engaged in converting and educating the southern tribes used all possible influence to defeat the plan of removal.  On the whole, however, the country approved what was being done.  People felt that the further presence of large, organized bodies of natives in the midst of a rapidly growing white population, and of tribes setting themselves up as quasi-independent nations within the bounds of the States, was an anomaly that could not last; and they considered that, distressing as were many features of the removals, both white man and red man would ultimately be better off.



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The Reign of Andrew Jackson from Project Gutenberg. Public domain.
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