Andrew Jackson's Indian Policies: Unbridled Aggression or Pragmatic Solution?

Topics: Cherokee, Native Americans in the United States, Andrew Jackson Pages: 5 (1505 words) Published: November 28, 2006
Andrew Jackson's Indian Policies: Unbridled Aggression or Pragmatic Solution?
"It seems not to be an established fact that they can not live in contact with a civilized community and prosper." Andrew Jackson believed that Indians were savages, incapable of any "civilized" intercommunication between themselves and whites. Through this belief Jackson declared that Indians need not be in contact with white settlers. Throughout Jackson's life he had fought Indians, beginning with his campaign against the Northern Creek Indians of Alabama and Georgia. He led the Tennessee militia to fight Seminoles in Florida in a war known as the "First Seminole War" just seven years before his election into the presidency . Jackson's land policies, which he wrote out in the form of ordinances and acts took land away from Indians. The only reason why many Indians accepted the terms of Jackson's land policies was because of his skillful rhetoric and good speaking skills, as well as the Indian's disorganization in terms of making highly influential decisions. Jackson's land policies eventually only benefited whites, in the form of taking all land from Indians, rendering his policies unfair to the Indians who signed them. Andrew Jackson, who had been fighting Indians for all his life,

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expressed his aggressive attitude towards them through land policies that were unfair and destructive to their societies.
Jackson's aggressions towards the Indians began long before his presidency. The beginning of his military career took place in the Tennessee militia, which, during Jackson's time, battled and killed many Indians. He was the colonel of the Tennessee militia at the beginning of his military career. Jackson commanded the campaign against the Northern Creek Indians of Alabama and Georgia, also known as the "Red Sticks." In 1813, Northern Creek Band chieftain Peter McQueen massacred 400 men, women, and children at Fort Mims (in what is now Alabama). Jackson led the campaign against these "Red Stick" Indians, with a fierce disgust and hatred toward them. Jackson conveyed his outright hatred to William Meadows before launching his attack on the "Red Sticks", These horrid scenes bring fresh to our recollection the influence during the Revolutionary War that raised the scalping knife and tomahawk against our innocent women and children… The blood of our innocent citizens must not flow with impunity. Justice forbids it… and a final check [is needed] of these hostile murdering Creeks.

When Jackson was within un-settled Indian territory he had the intuition that Indians were always around him, waiting for the perfect opportunity to fight him when he least expected. In 1788 Jackson headed a group of settlers traveling through Nashville, Tennessee, which was considered to be "more than dangerously infested" with hostile Indians than any other area in the western country. He always believed

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that Indians were "all around them", with intent to "attack…before daybreak!" This illustrates Jackson's distrust in the predominant Indian tribes of the late 18th century, being the Cherokees, Chickasaws, and Creeks. Never once was there an account of Jackson before his presidency feeling safe when traveling near Indians. In the Battle of New Orleans, which took place in January of 1815, Indians were a major part of the British force's troops. Jackson was the colonel of the United States army leading troops against the British and their Indian allies. Though not all of Jackson's decisions weren't his, and were those of higher authority, Jackson's desire to kill and remove the Indians were purely his attitude, not influenced by higher authority. Jackson, in 1816, remarked to fellow General John Coffee, the tribes were a menace to the security of the United States… they must be replaced by white settlers as soon as possible to provide the necessary peace and security to the southern frontier…

During the First...
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