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Andrew Jackson And The Indian Removal Policy Of 1830

935 words - 4 pages

There are many theories and sorted opinions as to why Andrew Jackson implemented the Indian Removal Act of 1830.
Andrew Jackson's motives for enforcing the policy, and the actions he performed when he carried it out, can be interpreted in various ways depending on the analyzer's perspective. Robert V. Remini, for one, believes that Andrew Jackson forced the Indians out of their lands solely for humanitarian reasons. He states, "[Andrew Jackson] felt he had followed the 'dictates of humanity' and saved the Indians from certain death." Andrew Jackson himself stated, in Document Q, "It is better for [the natives] to treat and move," because, "the arm of the government is not sufficiently strong to preserve them from destruction." Robert V. Remini also states, "The actual removal of the Choctaw Nation violated every principle for which Jackson stood," and "Jackson tried to prevent this calamity but he was too far away to exercise any real control. "On the other hand, Anthony F. C. Wallace insists that Jackson intentionally "oversaw a harsh policy with regard to the Native Americans." In addition, Anthony F. C. Wallace believes, "It was the team of Jackson, Cass, and Herring that supervised the removal of most of the Southern Indians."
The president, Andrew Jackson, could have also enforced the Indian Removal act for political reasons. Before the act, "white citizens demanded that their governments, at both the state and national levels, do something about the Native American tribes in their midst." Jackson could have seen it as an opportunity to gain popularity among the citizens, for the plan gave Jackson the chance to "exercise leadership as the head of the
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Democratic party within congress." Also, in the end, the policy became a "'distinguishing feature' of Jacksonian Democrats," and "it gave greater ideological and structural coherence to the party."
Jackson was a strong nationalist who "defended the states' rights as long as they did not threaten the sanctity of the Union." The nationalistic incentive for the Indian Removal Act was "his concern for the military safety of the United States, which dictated that Indians must not occupy areas that might jeopardize the defense of this nation." Contradictoraly, Jackson sees the natives as part of the nation, for he states,"All persons residing within the states are subject to the jurisdiction and laws of those states," and "Indians are also subject to the states." Robert V. Remini states, "[Jackson] felt he had a duty. And when removal was accomplished he felt he had done the American people a great service."
In 1802, the Intercourse Act was passed. It stated, as shown in Document D, "If any such citizen or other person, shall go into any country which is allotted or secured by treaty . . . to any of the...

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