INDIAN REMOVAL ACT
The Indian Removal act was a major piece of legislation passed by President Andrew Jackson on May 28, 1830. The act made it so that the President could grant Indian tribes unsettled prairieland in the west, specifically what is now Oklahoma. This may seem like this was the President doing right by the Native Americans, but it was actually quite the opposite. Although they were given territory west of the Mississippi, these people were essentially being evicted from their native lands, where their ancestors had been long before the arrival of the white man from Europe.
The reason for the removal was because the natural land in the southeast was very fertile land for agriculture, and was an opportunity for the plantation owners to grow more cotton (which they would force another group of people to reside on and maintain for them). With the movement south from the original states to as far west as the Mississippi, it became clear that the white man would not tolerate the presence of the Indians there, no matter how peaceful they were. Jackson “negotiated” treaties with the native tribes which granted them the land in Oklahoma, if they decided to stay, their rights as a tribe would be taken away and the Native Americans would simply become citizens of the state that their lands resided in. Many of the treaties were accepted simply because the tribes wanted to maintain some land rights while avoiding hostility with Jackson and the United States military. As a result, the United States gained almost 3/4ths of Alabama and Florida, as well as smaller portions of Georgia, Tennessee, Mississippi, Kentucky, and North Carolina. All of which were previously controlled by various tribes.
Although many of the tribes felt as though it was a lost cause to try and maintain their original land, other tribes decided to stay and fight. The Creeks and the Seminoles decided to wage war against the United States, with neither instance leading to anything other than the deaths of thousands of people, the loss of 40 to 60 million dollars and further blemishes on our history books. Many saw Jackson for his paternalistic and patronizing attitudes towards the Native Americans, which often times led to brutal and inhumane courses of action.
The United States never intended to move west of the Mississippi River, but sure enough, after they had run out of space for agriculture in the east, many decided to move west, meaning that the new land that the Native Americans had received from the Indian Removal Act, after sacrificing so much, was to be taken away from them once again. This is a common theme throughout American history. The Native Americans were constantly shifted from one area to the next, each getting smaller in turn. It all plays apart in the horrible history of their people after the emergence of the Europeans on American soil.