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Indian Removal Act of 1830

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On May 26, 1830, the Indian Removal Act of 1830 was passed by the Twenty-First Congress of the United states of America. After four months of strong debate, Andrew Jackson signed the bill into law. Land greed was a big reason for the federal government's position on Indian removal. This desire for Indian lands was also abetted by the Indian hating mentality that was peculiar to some American frontiersman.

This period of forcible removal first started with the Cherokee Indians in the state of Georgia. In 1802, the Georgia legislature signed a compact giving the federal government all of her claims to western lands in exchange for the government's pledge to extigiush all Indian titles to land within the state. But by the mid-1820's Georgians began to doubt that the government would withhold its part of the bargain. The Cherokee Indian tribes had a substantial part of land in Georgia that they had had for many generations though. They were worried about losing their land so they forced the issue by adopting a written constitution. This document proclaimed that the Cherokee nation had complete jurisdiction over its own territory.

But by now Indian removal had become entwined with the state of Georgia's rights and the Cherokee tribes had to make their claims in court. When the Cherokee nation sought aid from newly elected president Andrew Jackson, he informed them that he would not interfere with the lawful prerogatives of the state of Georgia. Jackson saw the solution of the problem with the removal of the Cherokee tribes to lands west. This would keep contact between Indians and colonists rare. He suggested that laws be past so that the Indians would have to move west of the Mississippi river.

Similar incidents happened between the other "civilized" tribes and white men. The Seminole tribe had land disputes with the state of Florida. The Creek Indians fought many battles against the federal army so they could keep their land in the states of Alabama and Georgia. The Chickisaw and Choctaw had disputes with the state of Mississippi. To ensure peace the government forced these five tribes called the Five Civilized Tribes to move out of their lands that they had lived on for generations and to move to land given to them in parts of Oklahoma. Andrew Jackson was quoted as saying that this was a way of protecting them and allowing them time to adjust to the white culture. This land in Oklahoma was thinly settled and was thought to have little value. Within 10 years of the Indian Removal Act, more than 70,000 Indians had moved across the Mississippi. Many Indians died on this journey. This was called "The Trails of Tears"

The term "Trails of Tears" was given to the period of ten years in which over 70,000 Indians had to give up their homes and move to certain areas assigned to tribes in Oklahoma. The tribes were given a right to all of Oklahoma



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