Indian Removal Primary Source Readings
Andrew Jackson’s Second Annual Message, 1830.
“The consequences of a speedy removal will be important to the United States, to individual States, and to the Indians themselves. The pecuniary (financial) advantages which it promises to the Government are the least of its recommendations. It puts an end to all possible danger of collision between the authorities of the General and State Governments on account of the Indians. It will place a dense and civilized population in large tracts of country now occupied by a few savage hunters. By opening the whole territory between Tennessee on the north and Louisiana on the south to the settlement of the whites it will incalculably (immeasurably) strengthen the southwestern frontier and render the adjacent States strong enough to repel future invasions without remote (distant) aid. It will relieve the whole State of Mississippi and the western part of Alabama of Indian occupancy, and enable (allow) those States to advance rapidly in population, wealth, and power. It will separate the Indians from immediate contact with settlements of whites; free them from the power of the States; enable them to pursue happiness in their own way and under their own rude institutions; will retard (delay) the progress of decay, which is lessening their numbers, and perhaps cause them gradually, under the protection of the Government and through the influence of good counsels, to cast off their savage habits and become an interesting, civilized, and Christian community.”
According to Andrew Jackson, why should the Native Americans be removed from their land? Provide at least two reasons.
It puts an end to all possible danger of collision between the authorities of the General and State Governments on account of the Indians. The pecuniary advantages which it promises to the government are the least of its recommendations.
According to Andrew Jackson, how will the Indian Removal affect Native Americans?
The Indian Removal Act was signed into law by President Andrew Jackson on May 28, 1830, authorizing the president to grant lands west of the Mississippi in exchange for Indian lands within existing state borders.
“What good man would prefer a country covered with forests and ranged by a few thousand savages to our extensive Republic, studded with cities, towns, and prosperous farms embellished with all the improvements which art can devise (develop) or industry execute (preform), occupied by more than 12,000,000 happy people, and filled with all the blessings of liberty, civilization and religion?”
What tone (attitude) does this excerpt from Andrew Jackson’s message have regarding Native Americans and their society?
Find a four-word phrase from the above excerpt that exemplifies the tone you identified.
“And is it supposed that the wandering savage has a stronger attachment to his home than the settled, civilized Christian? Is it more afflicting to him to leave the graves of his fathers than it is to our brothers and children?
… He is unwilling to submit to the laws of the States and mingle with their population. To save him from this alternative, or perhaps utter annihilation, the General Government kindly offers him a new home, and proposes to pay the whole expense of his removal and settlement.”
What disagreement can you find between this excerpt from Jackson’s message and the documentary “We Shall Remain” and Chapter 7 of Howard Zinn’s A Young People’s History of America?
Speech in Congress, Senator Theodore Frelinghuysen from New Jersey, April 1830
“God, in his providence (Care of God), planted these tribes on this Western continent, so far as we know, before Great Britain herself had a political existence. I believe, sir, it is not now seriously denied that the Indians are men, endowed with kindred faculties and powers with ourselves; that they have a place in human sympathy, and are justly entitled to a share in the common bounties of a benignant (kindly and benevolent) Providence (the protective care of God). And, with this conceded, I ask in what code of the law of nations, or by what process of abstract (intellectual) deduction (conclusion), their rights have been extinguished?”
How does Senator Frelinghuysen argue that the Native Americans have a right to continue to live on their land?
“Our ancestors found these people, far removed from the commotions (uproars) of Europe, exercising all the rights and enjoying the privileges, of free and independent sovereigns of this new world. They were not a wild and lawless horde of banditti (outlaws), but lived under the restraints of government, patriarchal (male-controlled) in its character, and energetic in its influence. They had chiefs, head men, and councils. The white men, the authors of all their wrongs approached them as friends – they extended the olive branch; and, being then a feeble colony and at the mercy of the native tenants of the soil, by presents and professions, propitiated their good will. The Indian yielded a slow, but substantial confidence; granted to the colonists an abiding place; and suffered them to grow up to man’s estate beside him. He never raised the claim of elder title: as the white man’s wants increased, he opened the hand of his bounty wider and wider. By and by, conditions are changed. His people melt away, his lands are constantly coveted; millions after millions are ceded (surrendered). The Indian bears it all meekly; he complains, indeed, as well he may; but suffers on: and now he finds that this neighbor, whom his kindness had nourished, has spread an adverse title over the last remains of his patrimony, barely adequate to his wants, and turns upon him, and says, ‘Away! We cannot endure you so near us! These forests and rivers, these groves of your fathers, these firesides and hunting grounds, are ours by the right of power, and the force of numbers.’ Sir, let every treaty be blotted from our records, and in the judgment of natural and unchangeable truth and justice, I ask, who is the injured, and who is the aggressor?”
According to the Senator, how did they Native Americans live before Europeans arrived?
What was the interaction between the Native Americans and Europeans after they arrived?
Who does the senator believe is the aggressor? Why? How do you know?
“It is, however, admitted, sir, that, when the increase of population and the wants of mankind demand the cultivation of the earth, a duty is thereby devolved (transferred) upon the proprietors (owners) of large and uncultivated (uncivilized) regions, of devoting them to such useful purposes. But such appropriations (the action of taking something for one’s own use) are to be obtained by fair contract, and for reasonable compensation.”
“Do the obligations of justice change with the color of the skin? Is it one of the prerogatives of the white man, that he may disregard the dictates of moral principles, when an Indian shall be concerned? No, sir.”
How is needed land justly gained?
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