End Of A Native Empire

Essay by PaperNerd ContributorHigh School, 11th grade February 2002

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The Indian Removal Act was passed in May 1830 by the administration of President Andrew Jackson. It empowered the president of the United States to move eastern Native Americans west of the Mississippi, to what was then "Indian Territory"�; now Oklahoma. It just passed through Congress by a single vote. President Andrew Jackson was convinced that the only solution to the Indian "problem"� was the complete removal of all natives beyond the Mississippi and now he had the law with which to accomplish it. No people would be more affected by this than the Cherokees. The Choctaw, Creek and Chickasaw moved reluctantly but the Cherokee decided to fight for their lands in court. The Supreme Court decided that the government had no right to remove the Indians from their lands. Andrew Jackson ignored the Supreme Court ruling and forcible removed the Cherokee Indians from their land. This began what is known as the Trail of Tears.

This was a period of ten years in which over 70,000 Indians had to give up their lands and move to assigned areas in Oklahoma.

"The Indian Removal Act of 1830"�- Although it was supposed to be voluntary, removal became mandatory whenever the federal government felt it necessary. The memory of these brutal forced marches of Native Americans, sometimes in the dead of winter, remained vivid for years to come in the minds of those who survived. To many in the North, where support for the removal idea was at best tepid, the Indian Removal Act represented another outrage committed by slaveholding southerners. Removal would be another wedge separating the North from the South.

By mid-century, as it became clear that U.S. expansion was going to claim the trans-Mississippi West as well, the removal concept was further refined into the concept of...