Indian Removal Act

By: Tessa Schroeder & Kenzie Balcerak

Andrew Jackson & the Removal Bill

During Andrew Jackson's presidency (1829-1837), there were 21,500 Cherokee Indians living East of the Mississippi River. Overall there were 73,668 Native Americans living with the whites.

In 1829, the Cherokee Indians discovered gold within their homeland, Georgia. This was reported back to President Andrew Jackson. He then wanted to move all Native Americans living on the East side of the Mississippi River, to the West of the river. So at Jackson's request, the United States Congress opened a fierce debate on an Indian Removal Bill.

In the end, the bill was passed, but the votes were close. The Senates votes passed the bill; 28-19, the House also passed the measure; 102-97. Jackson then signed the legislation into a law on June 30, 1830.

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Indian Removal Act

Imagine your family peacefully living in your home. Then one day, a new neighbor comes to the neighborhood. That neighbor decides that he wants your house, the home you've been living in your entire life. And they just simply force you out of your house, not caring where you end up? That is how the Cherokee Indians felt when Andrew Jackson forced them out of their homeland.

At first, Andrew Jackson didn't believe that Native Americans should be living with the whites, so he left them alone; until one day, when the Cherokee Indians found gold in their land. At that point, Jackson then created a bill that called for all Native Americans living on the East of the Mississippi to relocate to the West side of the river. He went to Congress and created a treaty. Some tribes left, but most fought for their land.

White's Beliefs

Before the act became a law, and before the Native Americans living in the West was a problem, the whites had their own perspective on the Indians. Some hoped that the Natives could absorb the white culture, and others wanted them to leave permanently because they were "uncivilized". Many wanted Native Americans to move because they thought this was the only way to avoid conflict over land.

When the Native American people heard of their new reputation of being "uncivilized", instead of fighting with the Americans, they simply created a Cherokee language, they created a constitution similar to the Americans, wrote newspapers, and elected leaders to show they had a government. They hoped now, that they followed what the civilized whites do, they would be about to keep there land and live with the Americans in peace. But that was just the opposite. Georgia refused to recognize that they were trying to unite. Georgia threatened to take their land, so the Cherokee's took their case to the U.S Supreme Court and won a favorable decision. The Court told Georgia they had no right to move the Native's to different land. The Georgia officials simply ignored the rule, and Jackson refused to enforce it. Jackson was angry with Marshall because John Marshall switched sides during these acts. He stated "Mr. Marshall has made his decision. Now let him enforce it!".

Forced to the West

Oklahoma, parts of Kansas and Nebraska were the Indian Territory, this is where the Indians were forced to live.

When the Cherokee people, led by Chief John Ross, heard that the white people were coming to move them, they built a barrier formed form upright wooden posts to protect themselves. They resisted to leave until the bitter end. They Americans had no patience and marched about 20,000 Cherokees to the Indian Territory at gunpoint. Nearly a quarter of the Cherokee tribe perished on the cold and dreadful, Trail of Tears.

Trail of Tears

The Trail of Tears is a journey that was taken by the Cherokee Native American Tribe. This harsh and brutal journey was 1000 miles long. This trip took place because Andrew Jackson wanted the land that the Native Americans were settled into. So he decided to move these families on attack right out of their homes. Then came the journey the tribes were forced to move west so Jackson could have whites settle into their lands. This trip took place in winter, meaning these tribes had to walk in winter with snow, rain, and wind. Many asked the soldiers if they could have a blanket. The soldiers would gladly gave it to them, but what the Native Americans didn't know was that the blankets where infected with small pox. They got these blankets from the hospitals, were patients who had small pox used the blankets. This was considered cruel to many people but Jackson did not care. He felt that this was punishment for not cooperating with his commands. 25% of the tribes or 5000-6000 out of 16000 died from weakness and illness. Through the summer the Native Americans were forced to concentration camps and then forced further west.

Kenzie's Reaction

My reaction to the Indian Removal Act was that it was a very harsh way to be knocking people out of land that in the beginning was theirs. They where kicked out just because Andrew Jackson wanted their to be whites settles there not Native Americans. He was willing to go to the Nations court to make these Indians got out of their territory. Jackson was furious on the way the Cherokees fought back. They took the case to the countries court and the court favored the Native Americans. Jackson was even more mad then but decided to enforce his words and keep forcing the Indians out of their homes. That is when he sent the Cherokees on a journey called the Trail of Tears, which in my opinion was a bad way to prove to the Indians that they just want peace and you out of your land. Another reason that Jackson was angry was because in 1830 he got permission to remove the Indians from the land but when they went back to court the court had looked further in and then where for the Native Americans.

Tessa's Reaction

I believe this was an unfair act by Andrew Jackson. The Natives were there first, so he does not have right to take their land. He should have been reasonable like some of the other whites. He should have reasoned because they made an effort on trying to become a union. And now ever since that unfair act, Natives and Americans have a bad relationship. I still think his decision impacted today because not always are White people very nice to other races, such as black people, and natives.
Indian Removal Act 1830 Andrew Jackson