The Legacy Of President Jackson

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During his two term tenure, President Andrew Jackson worked strenuously and vigorously to implement the vision of political opportunity that he had for all white men in the United States. President Jackson was particularly passionate about relocating all the eastern Indian tribes in order to open land for white settlement, nothing defined Jackson’s presidency more than the “Indian problem”.[i] At the beginning of the 1830s, there were nearly 125,000 Native Americans spread across southeastern United States in Georgia, Tennessee, Alabama, North Carolina and Florida, by the end of the decade there were few Natives left in this part of the country.[ii] Jackson claimed to want to protect the Indians, however, this seemingly noble theme did not translate to how the government dealt with the thousands of Indians, forcing them to leave their homelands and walk thousands of miles to a specially designated “Indian territory” along the Mississippi River under the uncompromising leadership of Andrew Jackson.[iii] In his first message to Congress in 1829, Jackson stated that moving the Indians to a territory west of the Mississippi was the best way to ensure that they would be saved since white civilization would destroy Indian resources.[iv] President Andrew Jackson claimed: “That this fate surely awaits them if they remain within the limits of the states does not admit of a doubt. Humanity and national honor demand that every effort should be made to avert so great a calamity.” [v] Andrew Jackson, unlike his predecessors, saw the Indians as subjects of the United States who needed to be moved across to “Indian territory” to ensure their survival.[vi] Prior administrations had tried to civilize the Indians by converting them to Christianity ... ... middle of paper ... ...g to drive the Native Americans away by passing laws that limited the Indians rights and encroached on their land. Although the Indian Removal Act required the government to negotiate treaties fairly and to not coerce the Native Americans to give up their land, Jackson and his government were not too concerned with these aspects and frequently ignored them. The Native Americans were still forced to leave the lands they had lived on for generations before the Americans began to encroach on their land despite the facet of the act that forbid the government from those actions. Not only were the Indians forced to leave home, they also had to endure much pain and suffering while being exiled as the government did not provide any food or supplies; thousands died on account of this tragedy and to this very day Andrew Jackson is infamously associated with the Trail of Tears.

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