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The Indian Removal Act, part of a United States government policy known as Indian removal, was signed into law by President Andrew Jackson on May 26, 1830.[1]

President Andrew Jackson called for an Indian Removal Act in his 1829 "State of the Union" message.

The Removal Act was strongly supported in the South, where states were eager to gain access to lands inhabited by the "Five Civilized Tribes". In particular, Georgia, the largest state at that time, was involved in a contentious jurisdictional dispute with the Cherokee nation. President Jackson hoped removal would resolve the Georgia crisis. The Indian Removal Act was also very controversial. While Native American removal was, in theory, supposed to be voluntary, in practice great pressure was put on Native American leaders to sign removal treaties. Most observers, whether they were in favor of the Indian removal policy or not, realized that the passage of the act meant the inevitable removal of most Indians from the states. Some Native American leaders who had previously resisted removal now began to reconsider their positions, especially after Jackson's landslide re-election in 1832.

Most European Americans favored the passage of the Indian Removal Act, though there was significant opposition. Many Christian missionaries, most notably missionary organizer Jeremiah Evarts, protested against passage of the Act. In Congress, New Jersey Senator Theodore Frelinghuysen and Congressman David Crockett of Tennessee spoke out against the legislation. The Removal Act was passed after bitter debate in Congress.[2]

The Removal Act paved the way for the reluctant—and often forcible—emigration of tens of thousands of American Indians to the West. The first removal treaty signed after the Removal Act was the Treaty of Dancing Rabbit Creek on September 27, 1830, in which Choctaws in Mississippi ceded land east of the river in exchange for payment and land in the West. Choctaw chief (thought to be Thomas Harkins or Nitikechi) quoted to the Arkansas Gazette that the 1831 Choctaw removal was a "trail of tears and death."[3][4] The Treaty of New Echota (signed in 1835) resulted in the removal of the Cherokee on the Trail of Tears. The Seminoles did not leave peacefully as did other tribes; along with fugitive slaves they resisted the removal. The Second Seminole War lasted from 1835 to 1842 and resulted in the forced removal of Seminoles, only a small number to remain, and around 3,000 were killed amongst American soldiers and Seminoles.[5]

In 1823 the Supreme Court handed down a decision (Johnson v. M'Intosh) which stated that Indians could occupy lands within the United States, but could not hold title to those lands.[6]

Contents

See also

Further reading

  • Howe, Daniel Walker. What Has God Wrought: The Transformation of America, 1815-1848. (2007) ISBN 978-0-19-507894-7

Notes

  1. ^ The U.S. Senate passed the bill on 24 April 1830 (
    -19), the U.S. House passed it on 26 May 1830 (102-97); Francis Paul Prucha, The Great Father: The United States Government and the American Indians, Volume I (Lincoln: University of Nebraska Press, 1984), p. 206.
  2. ^ Howe pp. 348-352
  3. ^ Chris Watson. "The Choctaw Trail of Tears". http://www.thebicyclingguitarist.net/studies/trailoftears.htm. Retrieved 2008-04-29. 
  4. ^ Len Green. "Choctaw Removal was really a "Trail of Tears"". Bishinik, mboucher, University of Minnesota. http://www.tc.umn.edu/~mboucher/mikebouchweb/choctaw/trtears.htm. Retrieved 2008-04-28. 
  5. ^ (Eric Foner.Give me liberty.Norton,2006.)
  6. ^ "Indial Removal 1814-1858". Public Broadcasting System. http://www.pbs.org/wgbh/aia/part4/4p2959.html. Retrieved 2009-08-11. 

External links


Source material

Up to date as of January 22, 2010

From Wikisource

Acts of the 22nd United States Congress by United States Congress
Chapter 148: Indian Removal Act of 1830
The Indian Removal Act authorized the president of the United States to negotiate with Native American tribes living within the borders of the United States for their land. While the Act did not explicitly authorize the forced relocation of people, it did help enable it.
An Act
to provide for an exchange of lands with the Indians residing in any of the states or territories, and for their removal west of the river Mississippi.
Wikipedia logo Wikipedia has more on:
Indian Removal Act.

Contents

Section 1

Be it enacted by the Senate and House of Representatives of the United States of America, in Congress assembled, That it shall and may be lawful for the President of the United States to cause so much of any territory belonging to the United States, west of the river Mississippi, not included in any state or organized territory, and to which the Indian title has been extinguished, as he may judge necessary, to be divided into a suitable number of districts, for the reception of such tribes or nations of Indians as may choose to exchange the lands where they now reside, and remove there; and to cause each of said districts to be so described by natural or artificial marks, as to be easily distinguished from every other.

Section 2

And be it further enacted, That it shall and may be lawful for the President to exchange any or all of such districts, so to be laid off and described, with any tribe or nation within the limits of any of the states or territories, and with which the United States have existing treaties, for the whole or any part or portion of the territory claimed and occupied by such tribe or nation, within the bounds of any one or more of the states or territories, where the land claimed and occupied by the Indians, is owned by the United States, or the United States are bound to the state within which it lies to extinguish the Indian claim thereto.

Section 3

And be it further enacted, That in the making of any such exchange or exchanges, it shall and may be lawful for the President solemnly to assure the tribe or nation with which the exchange is made, that the United States will forever secure and guaranty to them, and their heirs or successors, the country so exchanged with them; and if they prefer it, that the United States will cause a patent or grant to be made and executed to them for the same: Provided always, That such lands shall revert to the United States, if the Indians become extinct, or abandon the same.

Section 4

And be it further enacted, That if, upon any of the lands now occupied by the Indians, and to be exchanged for, there should be such improvements as add value to the land claimed by any individual or individuals of such tribes or nations, it shall and may be lawful for the President to cause such value to be ascertained by appraisement or otherwise, and to cause such ascertained value to be paid to the person or persons rightfully claiming such improvements. And upon the payment of such valuation, the improvements so valued and paid for, shall pass to the United States, and possession shall not afterwards be permitted to any of the same tribe.

Section 5

And be it further enacted, That upon the making of any such exchange as is contemplated by this act, it shall and may be lawful for the President to cause such aid and assistance to be furnished to the emigrants as may be necessary and proper to enable them to remove to, and settle in, the country for which they may have exchanged; and also, to give them such aid and assistance as may be necessary for their support and subsistence for the first year after their removal.

Section 6

And be it further enacted, That it shall and may be lawful for the President to cause such tribe or nation to be protected, at their new residence, against all interruption or disturbance from any other tribe or nation of Indians, or from any other person or persons whatever.

Section 7

And be it further enacted, That it shall and may be lawful for the President to have the same superintendence and care over any tribe or nation in the country to which they may remove, as contemplated by this act, that he is now authorized to have over them at their present places of residence.

See also


Simple English

The Indian Removal Act was a law in the United States that was passed in 1830. It became a law when President Andrew Jackson signed it. It gave the President the power to force Native American tribes to move to land west of the Mississippi River. Not all American citizens liked the law. Davy Crockett, a Congressman from Tennessee, hated the law.[1] Some tribes signed treaties with the United States and moved; others fought with the government,[2] including the Cherokee Nations, which was forced to march west in 1838. Their trip west is now called the "Trail of Tears".

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