Indian removal

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Indian removal was a nineteenth century policy of the government of the United States to relocate Native American tribes living east of the Mississippi River to lands west of the river. The Indian Removal Act was signed into law by President Andrew Jackson on May 26, 1830.

Contents

Overview

President Thomas Jefferson, promoted assimilated or "civilized". Though Jefferson's plan included assimilation, but "he wanted to get Indians into debt so he could lop off their holdings through land cessions", and this is why he encouraged indigenous peoples to become individual land owners.[1]

In the early 19th century "land exchange" developed and began to be incorporated into land cession treaties. Indigenous nations were coerced and sometimes forced to relinquish land in the east in exchange for land west of the Mississippi River. In 1817, for example, the Cherokee agreed to cede two large tracts of land in the east for land in present-day Arkansas. The process was used in President Andrew Jackson's policy of forced migration in the Indian Removal Act of 1830.[2]

Forced migration

In 1830, some of the "Five Civilized Tribes" — the Chickasaw, Choctaw, Creek, Seminole, and Cherokee — were still living east of the Mississippi, while others had already been forced west. They were called "civilized" because many tribesmen had adopted various aspects of European-American culture, including Christianity. The Cherokees had a system of writing their own language, developed by Sequoyah, and published a newspaper in Cherokee and English.

In spite of this acculturation, many white settlers and land speculators simply desired the land. Some claimed their presence was a threat to peace and security. Some U.S. states, like Georgia in 1830, passed a law which prohibited whites from living on Native American territory after March 31, 1831 without a license from the state. This law was written to justify removing white missionaries who were helping the Native Americans resist removal.

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