Andrew Jackson's Indian Policies: Unbridled Aggression Or Pragmatic Solution?

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Andrew Jackson's Indian Policies: Unbridled Aggression or Pragmatic Solution?

"It seems not to be an established fact that they can not live in contact with a civilized community and prosper." Andrew Jackson believed that Indians were savages, incapable of any "civilized" intercommunication between themselves and whites. Through this belief Jackson declared that Indians need not be in contact with white settlers. Throughout Jackson's life he had fought Indians, beginning with his campaign against the Northern Creek Indians of Alabama and Georgia. He led the Tennessee militia to fight Seminoles in Florida in a war known as the "First Seminole War" just seven years before his election into the presidency . Jackson's land policies, which he wrote out in the form of ordinances and acts took land away from Indians. The only reason why many Indians accepted the terms of Jackson's land policies was because of his skillful rhetoric and good speaking skills, as well as the Indian's disorganization in terms of making highly influential decisions. Jackson's land policies eventually only benefited whites, in the form of taking all land from Indians, rendering his policies unfair to the Indians who signed them. Andrew Jackson, who had been fighting Indians for all his life,


expressed his aggressive attitude towards them through land policies that were unfair and destructive to their societies.

Jackson's aggressions towards the Indians began long before his presidency. The beginning of his military career took place in the Tennessee militia, which, during Jackson's time, battled and killed many Indians. He was the colonel of the Tennessee militia at the beginning of his military career. Jackson commanded the campaign against the Northern Creek Indians of Alabama and Georgia, also known as the "Red Sticks." In 1813, Northern Creek Band chieftain Peter McQueen massacred 400 men, women, and children at Fort Mims (in what is now Alabama). Jackson led the campaign against these "Red Stick" Indians, with a fierce disgust and hatred toward them. Jackson conveyed his outright hatred to William Meadows before launching his attack on the "Red Sticks",

These horrid scenes bring fresh to our recollection the influence during the Revolutionary War that raised the scalping knife and tomahawk against our innocent women and children… The blood of our innocent citizens must not flow with impunity. Justice forbids it… and a final check [is needed] of these hostile murdering Creeks.

When Jackson was within un-settled Indian territory he had the intuition that Indians were always around him, waiting for the perfect opportunity to fight him when he least expected.
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