The Indian Removal Act of 1830 was an act of the Senate and House of Representatives of the United States on May 26, 1830 in order to empower President Andrew Jackson to direct the transfer of the five largest Indian tribes or the “Five Civilized Tribes”…
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Although considered cruel and unfair by the American Indians, the Indian Removal Act promised security and monetary compensation to the Indians that would be removed, as well as protection from invaders (“The Removal Act,” 2010). The Cherokees, who were the largest group among the five tribes, were asked to transfer from Georgia to Oklahoma. However, despite the large population of the Cherokees compared to the other Indian Tribes, they were given only the second largest tract of land at 4,420,068 acres, compared to the 4,707,903 acres given to the Chickasaws. However, for the Cherokees, the largest amount at $2,716,979 was given as compensation (Jennings, 1995). In the early 1800’s, particularly in 1828, the Cherokees were not anymore the nomadic savages that they used to be and in fact, had adopted the economic and political lifestyle of the white settlers at that time. The Cherokees owned large plantations and many of them even owned slaves. Moreover, they have already adopted some “European-style” customs, a representational government, an alphabet known as “Talking Leaves,” and some were already ranch owners (“The Trail of Tears,” 1996). It was also around the early 1800’s that Cherokees started owning rights to lands, and this caused several white settlers in Georgia to protest and to propose to the government that “the Cherokee Nation be moved west of the Mississippi to make room for white settlers” (Jennnings, 1995). Despite various protests of the Cherokees under their Principal Chief John Ross against the Indian Removal Act, some leaders of the Indian tribe secretly signed the Treaty of the New Echota in 1835. The Treaty of Echota “ceded all rights [of the Cherokees] to their traditional lands to the United States” in exchange for land in the Indian territory west of the Mississippi River (“Indian Remove,” n.d.). The result was favorable to Jackson and the national government. He then ordered that the Cherokees be given until 1838 to relocate themselves to Oklahoma. Among the disadvantages of the Indian Removal Act towards the Cherokees included the acts of taking their property, the burning of their houses, the mistreatment of their women, and the selling of their liquor in their churches “to render them even more helpless” (Zinn). Another disadvantage of the Indian Removal Act to the Cherokees was the deaths of many of them on the Trail of Tears. What followed the Treaty of Echota was the forced removal of around 17,000 Cherokees from their homes in Georgia through a trail leading to Oklahoma. On May 17, 1838, General Winfield Scott of the United States Army arrived at the Cherokee territory with 7,000 soldiers. The Indians were forced to walk through the so-called “Trail of Tears,” an approximately 800-mile long path that took them ten months or until March1839. This was the place where around 4,000 or 5,000 Cherokees died while walking (“The Trail of Tears,” 1996). They died “of sickness, of drought, of the heat [and] of exposure” (Zinn). Moreover, they buried around 14 or 15 bodies wherever they stopped (“Trail of Tears,” 2010). Nevertheless, around 1,000 Cherokees escaped from the Trail of Tears to the Great Smoky Mountains of Tennessee and North Carolina, and were called the Eastern Band of Cherokee (Jennings, 1995).With 5,000 horses, 600 wagons and an estimated 100 oxen, the Cherokees
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In the view of the author, the Act was enforced in the United States mainly in order to provide sufficient land to white invaders, to ensure security against foreign invaders, and to foster Native American civilization. However, the Indian Removal Act 1830 evidently violated the US constitution as the Indians were removed from their land by force.
The obsession that Andrew Jackson had with the Indian Removal Act somehow stemmed from the fact that the Cherokees themselves were equally relentless in their pursuit for independence. For the Cherokees, “independence” did not mean becoming a separate nation from America but simply a geographical area exempt from the laws of the state of Georgia and those of the federal government (Remini 48).
According to the background of the Cherokees, they are related to the Iroquois of the New England and the Northern New York but they later migrated towards the south and settled in Georgia before 1600s century. The main point of focus under the topic is the removal of the Cherokees from their native land in the US by various forces.
These people are settled to the Indian Territory situation in Western United States that is now known as Oklahoma. During this force relocation massive deaths of people occurred and according to estimates around 4000 Cherokees were met to death in this harsh move (Perdue and Green, p121).
This democracy has shaped the development of the United States and the people outside the country throughout history until the present day. However, a critical aspect of American history that cannot be forgotten is the development of Indian-EuroAmerican relations, especially from the time of the first contact to the time of the removal of the Indians.
Many native communities were divided over which side to support in the war (Native Americans). Native American Indians were surprised to learn that when the British made peace with the Americans in the Treaty of Paris (1783), the British had ceded a vast amount of Native American Indian territory to the United States without even informing their Native American Indian allies (Native Americans).
Because of this lack of knowledge, poverty stricken reservations were created. Since Native American tribes were community orientated, they remained together in poverty. The loss would impact the Native American to this day. On the other hand, the American government granted the Cherokee’s right to self rule.
The major cause for the passing of this act has been attributed to the greed for land by white settlers who wanted to expand their territory to the southern regions of the United States. These southern regions were occupied by five civilized tribes namely:
Greed of revenge, paternalism as well as fear contributed greatly as projected factors leading to removal. Dissenting arguments as well as divergent opinions both from United States and amongst Cherokee
The indigenous population was progressively reduced in a variety of ways. They were killed directly by firearms during organized wars and individual acts of vigilante violence and were killed indirectly by the addition of European diseases such as smallpox, measles and influenza.
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