The Indian Removal Act

By Mason Quinn

What is the Indian Removal Act?

The Indian removal Act was a law passed by Andrew Jackson against the will of the supreme court to remove the Indians from there lands and relocate them to reservations across the Mississippi river. This Act was suppose to be peaceful and allow the Indians to move into lands where white people would stop there attacks on them. However, when southern tribes refused to move peacefully Jackson forced them to move by having 7,000 US troops roughly escort them to western lands. This removal was later known as the Trail of Tears, and was called by the Indian Removal Act.
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Why Was It Created?

The Indian Removal Act was made by Andrew Jackson who was a very strong advocate for Indian Removal. Over the past decades, pressure between states and Native Americans escalated over who owned lands in the states. As the amount of white settlers rose by hundreds of thousands, there became a bigger and bigger push to try to relocate the Indians so the settlers could have there lands. With Andrew Jackson as president and the tension higher than ever, the Indian Removal Act was created.

Andrew Jackson's Talk To The Indians On Why This Was Good

‘You are now placed in the midst of a white population …. You are now subject to the same laws which govern the citizens of Georgia and Alabama. You are liable to prosecutions for offenses, and to civil actions for a breach of any of your contracts. Most of your people are uneducated, and are liable to be brought into collision at all times with your white neighbors. Your young men are acquiring habits of intoxication. With strong passions . . . they are frequently driven to excesses which must eventually terminate in their ruin. The game has disappeared among you, and you must depend upon agriculture and the mechanic arts for support. And yet, a large portion of your people have acquired little or no property in the soil itself …. How, under these circumstances, can you live in the country you now occupy? Your condition must become worse and worse, and you will ultimately disappear, as so many tribes have done before you.’

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Who were the main people involved?

Andrew Jackson - 7th president of the US and the person who created and pushed the Indian Removal Act into action. He had the US military work against the supreme court and force Indians out of there lands.

William Wirt - The person that the Cherokee nation hired to take there case to the supreme court with the Cherokee Nation vs Georgia case and petitioned that the Indians should be able to remain in Georgia as a sovereign state.

John Marshall - Supreme Court chief justice who ruled that the Indians were part of the US but should be able to stay in Georgia and be protected by the state.

Dr. Elizer Butler and Samuel A. Worchester - Missionaries to the Cherokee Nation who ignored the law not to go into Indian lands and were arrested. After refusing pardon from the governor and saying they would not enter Indian lands again, they went to the supreme court in Worchester vs Georgia and had all laws put on the Cherokee nation made void. They also were strong advocates for the Indians during the time when the Indian removal act was being enforced.

Wilson Lumpkin - Governor of Georgia during the Indian Removal Act

John Ross - Leader of the Cherokee Nation and pressed them not to surrender their homelands

John Ridge - A leader of the Cherokee Nation who pressed for the nation to accept the Removal act and leave peacefully

Martin Van Bruen - Andrew Jackson's hand picked successor for president who enforced the Indian Removal Act

John F Schermerhorn - The person that Andrew Jackson had negotiate the Treaty of New Echota with the unofficial representatives of the Cherokee Nation

How Were The Cherokee Legally Pushed Out Of There Lands?

President Jackson met with a small group of Cherokee leaders to establish a treaty that decreed that the Cherokee would get 4.5 million dollars in exchange for there 8,000 acres of land and would have two years to leave there land. This treaty group was not a true representative of the Cherokee people but President Jackson refused to recognize there claims and accepted the treaty.
Indian Removal Act