Did Andrew Jackson's Removal Act Benefit the Indians?

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Robert V. Remini shows that Andrew Jackson’s Indian Removal Act benefits the Native Americans. Andrew Jackson made notice of the issue with the Indians in his inaugural speech on March 4, 1829. He declared that he wanted to give humane and considerable attention to the Indian’s rights and wants in respect to the government and people. Jackson knew that meant to get rid of all remaining tribes beyond the Mississippi River. He (Jackson) believed that the Indians would be better off in the west; without the influence from the white man or local authority. Jackson hired two Tennessee generals to go visit the Creeks and Cherokees to see if the Indians would leave voluntarily. In that, those who did not leave would be protected by the federalgovernment. But he implies that if they refuse to move, their race would most likely be destroyed.

Jackson became very concerned about the Native Americans. He was well liked by many chiefs due to his worrying for their welfare. He even took an orphaned Indian and raised him. Jackson was sure that as soon as the Indians adopted the white man’s’ habits, they would become complete citizens. But Jackson felt that since the white man wanted Indian territory and the two races could not cooperate, it would be best for the existence of Indians if they were removed.

Jackson was concerned about national security and he was a racist (even though he had no clue what that word meant,) but he did not want to kill the Indians. He wanted to relocate them so that they could be safe from the white men who wanted them dead for their land. So the two men (Carroll and Coffee) that Jackson had hired to talk to the chiefs of both tribes did not have the skill to do so. The chiefs did not want to move their tribes, nor did they know the land they would be moving to. They would have to leave the land that their fathers were buried in. Both the Creek and Cherokee chiefs denied commissioners request to emigrate, and told Carroll and Coffee that they would advise other tribes not to move. Jackson knew that the Indiansrefusing to move was becoming a political problem. He knew it was important to get them out of the south. Jackson started by calling in the army to run the white men off of the Indian lands by any means necessary. The longer the Indians stayed where they were, the more apt the white men were to kill them off for their land. Thomas McKenney cared about Native Americans and was intent on convincing them to leave their land. He advocated through church groups, but they wouldn’t listen.

In the summer of 1829, gold was found in Northeastern Georgia. White men rushed there, onto Cherokee lands, and ignored church groups’ requests to leave. The Indians were overwhelmed and begged their Great Father (Jackson) for help. All of the non-violent relationships built after the Indian wars were collapsing. White men became more determined to take what little land the Native Americans had. Jackson made the removal of Indians top priority. He drafted a document along with four other men that became the Indian Removal Act. But it didn’t actually “remove” them. It gave the Indians that moved titles to the new land and compensated for improvements made on the land they were on. The Act granted $500,000 to carry this out. Jackson forcedCongress to address the Indian issue. Their way was “harsh, arrogant, racist-and inevitable.” The American white folk would no longer let the tribes inhabit the fertile land they wanted.

Jackson was sure that the Indians could not live under state jurisdiction; which they would have to if they did not relocate. Immigrating not only gave them rights to live under their own laws and practices, it kept them safe from the greedy white men. They could also preserve their way of life and their heritage. Jackson tried very hard to give them a choice of staying or going, but the American’s greediness made it almost impossible to...
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