- Indian Removal Act
The Indian Removal Act, part of a United States government policy known as
Indian removal, was signed into law by President Andrew Jacksonon May 26, 1830.The U.S. Senatepassed the bill on 24 April 1830(28-19), the U.S. Housepassed 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.]
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 Cherokeenation. President Jackson hoped removal would resolve the Georgia crisis. The Indian Removal Act was also very controversial. While Indian removal was, in theory, supposed to be voluntary, in practice great pressure was put on American Indian 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 reelection in 1832.
Most white Americans favored the passage of the Indian Removal Act, though there was significant opposition. Many
Christianmissionaries, most notably missionary organizer Jeremiah Evarts, agitated against passage of the Act. In Congress, New Jersey Senator Theodore Frelinghuysenand Congressman David Crockettof Tennesseespoke out against the legislation. The Removal Act was passed after bitter debate in Congress.
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 Creekon September 27, 1830, in which Choctaws in Mississippiceded land east of the river in exchange for payment and land in the West. The Treaty of New Echota(signed in 1835) resulted in the removal of the Cherokee on the Trail of Tears.
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. [ [http://www.pbs.org/wgbh/aia/part4/4p2959.html Indian removal ] ]
Cherokee Nation v. Georgia"
Worcester v. Georgia"
Treaty of New Echota
Five Civilized Tribes
List of Choctaw Treaties
* [http://www.loc.gov/rr/program/bib/ourdocs/Indian.html Indian Removal Act and related resources] , at the Library of Congress"
* [http://www.civics-online.org/library/formatted/texts/indian_act.html Indian Removal Act of 1830 Transcript] , at www.civics-online.org
* [http://www.presidency.ucsb.edu/ws/index.php?pid=29471 Text of 1829 State of the Union] at The American Presidency Project
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