Jackson's Administration

Essay by fitzsarah1High School, 11th gradeA+, June 2004

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The decision of the Jackson administration to remove the Cherokee Indians to lands west of the Mississippi River is thought by many to have been an brusque and abrupt judgment. However, historical documents spanning from the founding of the country to just before Jackson, show that this was not a bold, new decision. Rather, the removal of the Cherokees was the conclusion of 40 years of government policy. Historical documents, in the form of letters, negotiation settlements, and laws, all prove this. These documents traverse a wide variety of categories, with reference to political, constitutional and practical issues.

The first place where evidence of the trend of Indian expulsion can be found is in political documents. Document E says: "In exchange for Georgia's cession of claims to certain western lands, the United States will...obtain for the use of Georgia...the Indian title to all other lands within the state of Georgia."

This was a political deal cut between Congress and Georgia in 1802, almost 30 years before the Jackson administration made its decision. Document H, written by Andrew Jackson in 1817 when he was a treaty negotiator for President Monroe, shows further the political views of Indian affairs: "I have long viewed treaties with the Indians as an absurdity not to be reconciled to the principles of our Government. The Indians are the subjects of the United States, inhabiting its territory and acknowledging its sovereignty, then it is not absurd for the sovereign to negotiate by treaty with the subject..." The evidence provided by these two documents is conclusive in relation to the political frame of mind; Document H boldly states that the government, as sovereign over the Indians, has the right to bargain with treaty. Document E shows that Indian removal was not a new concept, in fact it had...