Monday, April 20, 2015

Quotes from the Indian Removal Act. A-Z Challenge

                                     Quotes from the Indian Removal Act of 1830


These words are chilling in themselves.


"On May 28th, 1830, during the presidency of Andrew Jackson, this act was passed which gave the president the authority to negotiate with Indian tribes in the Southern United States for their removal to federal territory  west of the Mississippi, in exchange for their ancestral homeland."  (italics mine).



"As early as the 1800's, the United States Government began a systematic effort to remove Native American Tribes from the southeast.  These tribes were: The Chickasaw, Choctaw, Muscogee-Creek, Seminole, and the original Cherokee Nations--referred to as "Five Civilized Tribes" by European settlers in reference to the tribes' adoption of aspects of colonial culture, and these five had been established as autonomous nations in the southeastern United States."


"The Removal Act paved the way for the forced expulsion of tens of thousands of American Indians from their traditional homeland to the West, an event known as the "Trail of Tears."

There are more details on the Wikipedia website, including the issues discussed in Congress and the Supreme Court. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Indian_removal_Act



Yes,  there was opposition, many Christian missionary groups,  New Jersey senator Theodore Frelinghuysen and Congressman Davy Crockett of Tennessee (yes, that Davy Crockett) spoke out against the legislation. After a bitter debate in Congress, the Removal Act was passed.


Jackson viewed his position as a "wise and humane policy." Here are his words. This is long, but I had to include it. 


"Humanity has often wept over the fate of the aborigines of this country and philanthropy has long been busily employed in devising means to avert it, but its progress has never for a moment been arrested, and one by one have many powerful tribes disappeared from the earth. . . . But true philanthropy reconciles the mind to these vicissitudes as it does to the extinction of one generation to make room for another.  Philanthropy could not wish to see this continent restored to the condition in which it was found by our forefathers.  What good man would prefer a country covered with forests and ranged by a few thousand savages to our extensive Republic, studded with cities, towns, and prosperous farms, embellished with all the improvements which art can devise of industry execute, occupied by more than 12,000,000 happy people, and filled with the blessings of liberty, civilization, and religion."-- Andrew Jackson


Thank you, Wikipedia for all your help.


20 comments:

  1. Well, that was a lot of fancy words to dress up a very brutal policy. No chance of integrating the natives into the new society instead of "removing" them? Sounds like the five civilised tribes were on the way there...

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    1. They were but greed took over and the land looked too good to be left to the "savages" as Jackson put it.

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  2. So horrible. I remember when I first read 'Little House on the Prairie' and feeling bad for the Ingalls family that they got kicked off their homestead in Kansas because it was 'Indian country'. Then I found out the truth about all that.

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    1. I'll have to read that book! The Seminoles in Florida refused and stayed to fight. They were destroyed.. I have heard the argument that because the tribes were "relocated' at least the tribes remained (such as they were). The ones that refused are no longer.

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  3. He certainly had a way with words, I suspect ordinary folk were bamboozled by them, and easily fooled into thinking that it was for the best. Politicians are a law unto themselves.

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    1. And also the greed aspect and thinking that the Native Americans were not on the same level. To read Andrew Jackson's words, though, show an arrogant, superior attitude.

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  4. I know all about this, as hubs is half First Nations blood (his mother is full native ancestry, with a chief in the family too). Way back in my ancestry in Georgia on my mothers' side we had Cherokee blood. The history behind the Trail of Tears was the payback for those tribes being 'civilized'. Better to be like the Apaches and Sioux, I think, and defend their land, but only a few tribes did that.
    I wrote a post about one First Nations group in Merritt BC here who has protested our government dumping sewage sludge on their land without notification to the people living there. It's on my 21st century blog:
    http://dghudson.blogspot.ca/2015/04/first-nations-lower-nicola-objects-to.html
    Why does man never learn to respect his fellow man?

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    1. I did hop over to read your entry about the dumping of the sludge on First Nations' land and left a comment. Thank you for adding to the information I have although you have "first knowledge," so much more than I have. But I did want to add AJ's words, as they are a part of our history as well.

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  5. Hiding behind fancy words. Interesting.

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    1. That is how they talked in the 19th century--think Daniel Webster, but fancy or not, it does sound very arrogant. And then the power of the presidency. . . .

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  6. I think think that referring to the indigenous peoples as 'savages' by Andrew Jackson speaks volumes about attitudes.....

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  7. Very true, fancy words to embellish a cruel policy. Well said. I've said it before, the white man has a lot to answer for. What was done to the Indians was terrible.

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  8. Majority rule and minorities suffer - we are still seeing it today. This was a very emotive subject today and contrasted with the beauty of the paintings you have been show casing

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  9. Reading President Jackson's words made my stomach churn. Of course, before he was President, he was known as an Indian Fighter. Our ancestors were not all moral men.

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    1. So true. And today, more of the same, I'm afraid.

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  10. I for one, would prefer a country covered in forests

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  11. Me too. "Progress, ever forward." But be careful what you wish for.

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  12. Hi Nat - yes life would be different if the 5 tribes had been left to carry on integrating .. we definitely weren't good when we took over lands. However it tells me a bit more about the 'improvements' .. Jackson sounds like he roughshod everyone ..

    Thanks for the informative read ... Hilary

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