The Indian Removal Act of 1830Priya RamprabhuSenior DivisionHistorical Paper2,311 WordsThe land is sacred. These words are at the core of your being. The land is our mother, the rivers our blood. Take our land away and we die. That is, the Indian in us dies.– Mary Brave Bird, LakotaPresident Andrew Jackson’s signature on the Indian Removal Act provided authorization to grant unsettled lands west of the Mississippi in exchange for Indian lands which conflicted the lives of many by acting as a force that engendered thousands of Indians to untie from their homeland, sunder from their families, and proceeded to act as the cause for the demise of over 4,000 Cherokee people. In the wake of requesting both political and military activity on expelling Native American Indians from the southern conditions of America in 1829, President Andrew Jackson marked this into law on May 28, 1830. In spite of the fact that it just gave the privilege to consult for their withdrawal from territories toward the east of the Mississippi stream and that migration should be intentional, the majority of the weight was there to make this everything except inescapable.Early Framework In the early 1800s, the United States government started a precise push to expel American Indian clans from the southeast. The Chickasaw, Choctaw, Muscogee-Creek, Seminole, and unique Cherokee Nations had been built up as self-sufficient countries in the southeastern United States.Long before Andrew Jackson’s presidency, there were many efforts from colonists to make the Indians assimilate with American culture. Americans, especially the individuals who lived on the western outskirts, regularly dreaded and loathed the Native Americans they experienced. To them, American Indians appeared to be a alien like, outsider individuals who involved land that white colonists needed and believed they earned. Some officials in the early years of the American republic, Indians were encouraged to “convert to Christianity, learn to speak and read English, and adopt economic practices such as the individual ownership of land and other property.” In the fall of 1835, a census was taken by authorities from the U.S. War Department to identify the Cherokee residing in Alabama, Georgia, North Carolina, and Tennessee. The report showed a count of 16,542 Cherokee, 201 intermarried whites, and 1592 slaves.This was the land that their predecessors had evolved and developed for generations.American pioneers had been forcing the central government to expel Indians from the Southeast. Numerous pilgrims were infringing on Indian grounds, while others needed more land made accessible to white pioneers. Preceding 1830, the settled limits of these independent inborn countries, involving extensive territories of the United States, were liable to consistent cession. As these domains progressed toward becoming U.S. states, state governments tried to break up the limits of the Indian countries inside their outskirts, which were autonomous of state ward. These weights were exacerbated by U.S. populace development and the extension of subjugation in the South with the major financial development through the cotton business. Many presidents prior to Jackson had attempted to decrease the Indian population from the south. They had attempted various methods such as getting armies to raid their land but no major change showed. However, Andrew Jackson sought to renew a policy of political and military action for the removal of the Indians from these lands and worked toward enacting a law for Indian relocation. In his 1829 State of the Union address, Jackson called for removal. The act was passed in 1830, although dialogue had been ongoing since 1802 between Georgia and the federal government concerning such an event. Jackson stated that “the federal government had promised Georgia that it would extinguish Indian title within the state’s borders by purchase ‘as soon as such purchase could be made upon reasonable terms'” Documentation Statement With the onset of westward expansion and increased contact with Indian tribes, President Jackson set the tone for his position on Indian affairs in his message to Congress on December 6, 1830. Jackson’s message justified the removal policy already established by the Indian Removal Act of May 28, 1830. The Indian Removal Actwas passed and stated the opening up for settlement those lands still held by Indians in states east of the Mississippi River. The states primarily included Georgia, Tennessee, Alabama, Mississippi, North Carolina, and others. Jackson declared that removal would “incalculably strengthen the southwestern frontier.”Cherokee Nation v. State of GeorgiaThe Cherokee people filed a case against Georgia which was admitted into the United States Supreme Court. The Nation sought a federal injunction against laws passed by the U.S. state of Georgia depriving them of rights within its boundaries. In June 1830, a delegation of Cherokee led by Chief John Ross and William Wirt, attorney general in the Monroe and Adams administrations, were selected to defend Cherokee rights before the U.S. Supreme Court.Georgia pushed hard to bring evidence that the Cherokee Nation couldn’t sue as a “foreign” nation due to the fact that they did not have a constitution or a strong central government. The Court did hear the case but declined to rule on the merits. The Court determined that the framers of the Constitution did not really consider the Indian Tribes as foreign nations but more as “domestic dependent nation” and consequently the Cherokee Nation lacked the standing to sue as a “foreign” nation. Chief Justice Marshall said; “The court has bestowed its best attention on this question, and, after mature deliberation, the majority is of the opinion that an Indian tribe or nation within the United States is not a foreign state in the sense of the constitution, and cannot maintain an action in the courts of the United States.”Loss of Homeland/PropertyNational policy to move Indians west of the Mississippi developed after the Louisiana Purchase in 1803. Eager for land to raise cotton, the white settlers moving into these lands pressed the U.S. government to remove the Native Americans from their homelands. When gold was found on Cherokee lands in 1829, efforts to dislodge The Principal People from their lands were intensified. Besieged with gold fever and with a thirst for expansion, the white communities and the U. S. government decided it was time for the Cherokee to leave behind their farms, their land and their homes.The Cherokee were forcefully removed without any full consent. This land they lived on was their own and was first inhabited by their ancestral Indians. Cherokees found it unfair that they had to leave their home that the state of Georgia did not own. Along with the unfair treatment, they also faced hardships and judgement from white neighbors who did not want them around. All of these tied together caused major conflict within the Cherokee nation itself as some merely wanted out and others wanted to stand for the rights of their home.A guard who forcefully removed the indians from their home would later say in an interview: “I saw the helpless Cherokees arrested and dragged from their homes, and driven at the bayonet point into stockades.” Indians were cruelly and unfairly taken away from land that was their own even though thousands opposed the act of removal.Forfeiture From Family Most of the Cherokee, including Chief John Ross, did not believe that they would be forced to move. In May 1838, 7000 federal army troops under the command of General Winfield Scott began arresting the Cherokee and moving them in stockades until they could be removed west. Altogether there were 31 forts constructed for this purpose. In spite of orders to troops to treat the tribe members kindly, the roundup was very cruel. Men, women and children were taken away from their homes, families were separated, the elderly and ill forced out at gunpoint, and people were given only few moments to collect their belongings, and then they were herded into forts with minimal facilities and food. They were not allowed time to gather their belongings, and as they left, whites received their belongings their homes. American Native Press is an archive which stores a collection of journal entries, stories, and interviews on the cruelty and hardships Cherokee Indians faced when being faced with detachment from their families. In it, is a story told by Margaret McGuire in 1837. She discusses about the life of her grandfather, Washington Lee, who migrated as a Cherokee earlier that decade. McGuire addresses how her grandfather was estranged from the rest of his family and how no one was heard from him since:”In 1838, my grandfather, Washington Lee, came to the Territory and stopped at Westville. He was driven from his home in Georgia over the Trail of Tears with all the other Cherokee Indians and while on the trail somewhere he lost his father and mother and sister, and never saw them any more. He did not know whether they died or got lost…Aunt Chin Deanawash was my grandmother’s sister and she came from Georgia on the Trail of Tears. Her husband died shortly after they got out of Georgia and left her to battle her way through with three small children, one who could not walk. Aunt Chin tied the little one on her back with an old shawl, she took one child in her arms and led the other by the hand; the two larger children died before they had gone so very far and the little one died and Aunt Chin took a broken case knife and dug a grave and buried the little body by the side of the Trail of Tears.Through stories like these, we are able to understand the difficulties families went through as they were deprived of each other as the removal was put into play.Casualties by the ThousandsIt is difficult to imagine the hardships, which the people of the Cherokee nation who made the forced march to the Indian Territory had to face. Most of them hoped that the government would not force them to leave and made no plans for the long journey. When the government roundup of Cherokee began, many were forced from their homes with only the barest possessions. 16 000 Cherokee were divided into 16 detachments of about 1000 each. The groups were separated so that some travelled by land and others would take a water route.On water route, 15 000 captives still awaited removal. Poor sanitation and drought made them miserable. Many of them died. Chief Ross and The National Council of Cherokee appealed to General Scott to permit the rest of the Cherokee to wait until fall to move, and to supervise their own removal. When looking at the land route, many hardships on their 1200 miles long journey to the west. Heavy rains turned the primitive roads to mud, and the Cherokee were often forced to manually drag the wagons out of the mud. Supplies of food were of poor quality. Road conditions, illness, and the distress of winter, made death a daily occurrence.A fellow migrating Indian who witnessed a death wrote:”She could only carry her dying child in her arms a few miles farther, and then, she must stop in a stranger-land and consign her much loved babe to the cold ground, and in that without pomp or ceremony, and pass on with the multitude.”In March 1839, all survivors had arrived to the Indian Territory, now known as Oklahoma, a word that means red people. It was estimated that of 16,000 who started the dreary march westward, more than 4,000 Cherokee (nearly a fifth of the Cherokee population) died as a result of the removal.AftermathIn the Indian territory the Cherokee tried to adapt to their new homeland, and they re-established their own system of government, which was modelled on that of the United States. In 1839, John Ross was elected Principal Chief of the reconstituted Cherokee Nation. It remains headquarters for the Cherokee Nation today. About 1000 Cherokee in Tennessee and North Carolina escaped the roundup. They gained recognition in 1866, establishing their tribal government in 1868 in Cherokee, North Carolina. They are known as the East Band of the Cherokee Indians. Today, the Cherokee are the second largest Indian nation in the United States.Passing of the Indian Remotion Act provided potency to grant unsettled estate west of the Mississippi in exchange for Indian lands which conflicted the lives of many by standing as a personnel that caused conflict by making many Cherokee people to separate from their property, leave their families, and proceeded to act as the cause for the death of thousands of Cherokee.Appendix IThe above is the documentation of the Indian Removal Act passed by Andrew Jackson.”Indian Removal Act”. A Century of Lawmaking for a New Nation: U.S. Congressional Documents and Debates. Web.Appendix II The above photograph was the title page for the case overview on State of Georgia v. Cherokee Nation”Cherokee Nation v. State of Georgia”. A Century of Lawmaking for a New Nation: U.S. Congressional Documents and Debates. Web.Appendix IIIThe above map shows the water route used to transport the Cherokee people.”Cherokee Water Route”. The Trail Where They Cried. Web.Appendix IVThe above map shows the land route used to transport the Cherokee people.”Cherokee Land Route”. The Trail Where They Cried. Web.
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