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Write a commentry/analysis on Andrew Jackson's 1835 document on Indian removal.

Extracts from this document...

Introduction

The end of the War of 1812, fought between the fledgling United States and Great Britain, ultimately led to the final recognition that the United States of America was an independent nation that could no longer be fought over by the perpetually warring European countries. It also signalled greater problems for the native American Indians. They could do little against the powerful white Americans who were "... everywhere like locusts..." (pg.42: III) interloping on tribal lands, "...shouting ecstatic praises to this new land of milk and honey...". (pg.165: IV). During the early nineteenth century, overcrowding in the East and soil depravation caused by over extensive cotton farming in the South, led to the exodus of thousands of men and women, willing to attempt to make their fortunes in the new west. One traveller wrote in 1817 that, "Old America seems to be breaking up and moving westward." (pg.294: I) A new hero also emerged after the War of 1812. Andrew Jackson, a renowned Indian fighter became President of the United States in 1829. President Jackson was not the first to advocate the removal of the Indian nations further west beyond the 'civilised' settlements of white Americans. ...read more.

Middle

less industrious in acquiring and exhibited spectacles as disgusting as they are degrading." (pg.26. XII). There is evidence that the Indians were not uncivilised "savages" as depicted by the white Americans. One British visitor described them as "... a better sort of people than commonly represented; they are hospitable, civil and friendly to an immense degree" (pg.24. I). The different tribes, such as the Sioux, Iroquois, Creeks and Choctaw lived in well adjusted societies, each one as different in language and culture as the European nations. Life among many of these tribes was based on the family, farming or hunting and a spiritual reverence for nature and the beauty of the Earth. As in all societies, perhaps some of the more aggressive tribes would not be able to live peaceably alongside or among the relative newcomers. The Cherokees however demonstrated that if necessary, they could adapt to the ways of the dominant white society, as exemplified by the initiation of Indian schools, crop growing and their own newspaper.(pg.83: VI). Jackson's claim in the document that the lands "...were ceded to us," (pg.214: VII) does not sufficiently explain how the lands were obtained. Violence, intimidation and trickery were employed to procure them and if these methods were not sufficient, President Jackson, interceded personally in order to secure removal.(pg.319: VIII) ...read more.

Conclusion

They were often stolen by the agents and carriers and together with the annuities received by the Indians for relinquishing their tribal lands were also used as payment for alcohol, which "...ravaged tribe after tribe until the drunken, reprobate Indian became a fixture of American folklore." (pg.55: XII). President Jackson's policies on Indian Removal as outlined in the document, could not be considered as humanitarian. Jackson typified the era into which he was born and saw the Indian peoples as an obstacle to white American expansionism and the settlement of the west. He saw it as imperative that this obstacle was eliminated. In his last communication to Congress, Jackson "...complimented the states on the removal of "the evil" that had retarded their development." (pg.322; VIII). His policies without doubt contributed to the wealth of the United States of America and transformed the country into a powerful, industrialised nation. But it is the effects that Jacksonian policy-making had on the native American peoples that must surely be subject to closer scrutiny. Without doubt the American Indians suffered almost total annihilation and those that survived were subject to severe depredations. It is little wonder that W.T. Hagan describes such acts "...as approaching the horrors created by the Nazi handling of subject peoples." (pg.87: VI). ...read more.

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