The Indian Removal Act of 1830 was a law, enacted in 1830, that forced Native American peoples east of Mississippi to move to lands in the west. Under this law, the federal government provided funds to negotiate treaties that would force the Native Americans to move westward. This law was very controversial and few people agreed with the enactment.
Since the 1600s, white settlers’ attitudes towards Native Americans were one of two outlooks. Some favored the removal while others wished to convert Native Americans to Christianity and turn them into farmers. Ultimately, absorbing them into the white culture.
During the time of immediate displacement and dispossession of all Native Americans, former president Andrew Jackson was in office. Jackson thought that assimilation could not work and believed the only way to expand the white culture, was to move Native Americans from their lands to areas farther west (and pass the Indian Removal Act).
Jackson believed the removal was “not only liberal, but generous.” His arguments were based on the rights of states to govern within their own boundaries. He stated that it would eliminate “all possible danger of collision between the authorities of the general and state governments on account of the Indians.” In addition, Jackson claimed that the Indian Removal Act would protect Native Americans against further removal from their lands. During this time, Secretary of war Lewis Cass defended Jackson stating, “The aboriginal population had accommodated themselves to the inevitable change of their condition.”
Although people reasoned with Jackson, not everyone supported the enactment. People reasoned that the Indian Removal Act was “unfortunate but necessary,” while others said it was a “terrible injustice.”
During this time, chief justice of Supreme Court, John Marshall believed that the Cherokee, a Native American tribe, had an “unquestionable right” to their territory. He added, “Until title should be extinguished...
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