|President Andrew Jackson
It gives me pleasure to announce to Congress that the benevolent policy of the Government, steadily pursued
for nearly thirty years, in relation to the removal of the Indians beyond the white settlements is approaching to a happy
consummation. Two important tribes have accepted the provision made for their removal at the last session of Congress, and
it is believed that their example will induce the remaining tribes also to seek the same obvious advantages.
The consequences of a speedy removal will be important to the United States, to individual States, and to
the Indians themselves. The pecuniary advantages which it promises to the Government are the least of its recommendations.
It puts an end to all possible danger of collision between the authorities of the General and State Governments on account
of the Indians. It will place a dense and civilized population in large tracts of country now occupied by a few savage hunters.
By opening the whole territory between Tennessee on the north and Louisiana on the south to the settlement of the whites it
will incalculably strengthen the southwestern frontier and render the adjacent States strong enough to repel future invasions
without remote aid. It will relieve the whole State of Mississippi and the western part of Alabama of Indian occupancy, and
enable those States to advance rapidly in population, wealth, and power. It will separate the Indians from immediate contact
with settlements of whites; free them from the power of the States; enable them to pursue happiness in their own way and under
their own rude institutions; will retard the progress of decay, which is lessening their numbers, and perhaps cause them gradually,
under the protection of the Government and through the influence of good counsels, to cast off their savage habits and become
an interesting, civilized, and Christian community.
What good man would prefer a country covered with forests and ranged by a few thousand savages to our extensive
Republic, studded with cities, towns, and prosperous farms embellished with all the improvements which art can devise or industry
execute, occupied by more than 12,000,000 happy people, and filled with all the blessings of liberty, civilization and religion?
The present policy of the Government is but a continuation of the same progressive change by a milder process.
The tribes which occupied the countries now constituting the Eastern States were annihilated or have melted away to make room
for the whites. The waves of population and civilization are rolling to the westward, and we now propose to acquire the countries
occupied by the red men of the South and West by a fair exchange, and, at the expense of the United States, to send them to
land where their existence may be prolonged and perhaps made perpetual. Doubtless it will be painful to leave the graves of
their fathers; but what do they more than our ancestors did or than our children are now doing? To better their condition
in an unknown land our forefathers left all that was dear in earthly objects. Our children by thousands yearly leave the land
of their birth to seek new homes in distant regions. Does Humanity weep at these painful separations from everything, animate
and inanimate, with which the young heart has become entwined? Far from it. It is rather a source of joy that our country
affords scope where our young population may range unconstrained in body or in mind, developing the power and facilities of
man in their highest perfection. These remove hundreds and almost thousands of miles at their own expense, purchase the lands
they occupy, and support themselves at their new homes from the moment of their arrival. Can it be cruel in this Government
when, by events which it can not control, the Indian is made discontented in his ancient home to purchase his lands, to give
him a new and extensive territory, to pay the expense of his removal, and support him a year in his new abode? How many thousands
of our own people would gladly embrace the opportunity of removing to the West on such conditions! If the offers made to the
Indians were extended to them, they would be hailed with gratitude and joy.
And is it supposed that the wandering savage has a stronger attachment to his home than the settled, civilized
Christian? Is it more afflicting to him to leave the graves of his fathers than it is to our brothers and children? Rightly
considered, the policy of the General Government toward the red man is not only liberal, but generous. He is unwilling to
submit to the laws of the States and mingle with their population. To save him from this alternative, or perhaps utter annihilation,
the General Government kindly offers him a new home, and proposes to pay the whole expense of his removal and settlement.
Source: National Archives
Recommended Reading: 1491: New
Revelations of the Americas Before Columbus. Description: 1491 is not so much the story of a year, as of
what that year stands for: the long-debated (and often-dismissed) question of what human civilization in the Americas was
like before the Europeans crashed the party. The history books most Americans were (and still are) raised on describe the
continents before Columbus as a vast, underused territory, sparsely populated by primitives whose cultures would inevitably
bow before the advanced technologies of the Europeans. For decades, though, among the archaeologists, anthropologists, paleolinguists,
and others whose discoveries Charles C. Mann brings together in 1491, different stories have been emerging. Among the revelations:
the first Americans may not have come over the Bering land bridge around 12,000 B.C. but by boat along the Pacific coast 10
or even 20 thousand years earlier; the Americas were a far more urban, more populated, and more technologically advanced region
than generally assumed; and the Indians, rather than living in static harmony with nature, radically engineered the landscape
across the continents, to the point that even "timeless" natural features like the Amazon rainforest can be seen as products
of human intervention. Continued below...
Mann is well
aware that much of the history he relates is necessarily speculative, the product of pot-shard interpretation and precise
scientific measurements that often end up being radically revised in later decades. But the most compelling of his eye-opening
revisionist stories are among the best-founded: the stories of early American-European contact. To many of those who were
there, the earliest encounters felt more like a meeting of equals than one of natural domination. And those who came later
and found an emptied landscape that seemed ripe for the taking, Mann argues convincingly, encountered not the natural and
unchanging state of the native American, but the evidence of a sudden calamity: the ravages of what was likely the greatest
epidemic in human history, the smallpox and other diseases introduced inadvertently by Europeans to a population without immunity,
which swept through the Americas faster than the explorers who brought it, and left behind for their discovery a land that
held only a shadow of the thriving cultures that it had sustained for centuries before. Includes outstanding photos and maps.
Reading: Atlas of the North
American Indian. Description: This unique resource covers the entire history, culture, tribal
locations, languages, and lifeways of Native American groups across the United States,
Canada, Central America, Mexico, and the Caribbean. Thoroughly updated, Atlas of the
North American Indian combines clear and informative text with newly drawn maps to provide the most up-to-date political and
cultural developments in Indian affairs, as well as the latest archaeological research findings on prehistoric peoples. The
new edition features several revised and updated sections, such as "Self-Determination," "The Federal and Indian Trust Relationship
and the Reservation System," "Urban Indians," "Indian Social Conditions," and "Indian Cultural Renewal." Continued below...
Other updated information includes: a revised section
on Canada, including Nunavut, the first new Canadian territory created since 1949, with a population that is 85% Inuit; the
latest statistics and new federal laws on tribal enterprises, including a new section on "Indian Gaming"; and current information
on preferred names now in use by certain tribes and groups, such as the use of "Inuit" rather than "Eskimo."
Recommended Reading: Indian
Removal (The Norton Casebooks in History). Description: This casebook traces the evolution of U.S. Indian
policy from its British Colonial origins to the implementation of removal after 1830. Placing Indian removal in political
and social contexts, the editors have selected contemporary primary-source documents that reveal the motives and perspectives
of both whites and Indians and cover the complicated influences of Jacksonian Democracy and the early stirrings of what would
later be referred to as Manifest Destiny. Letters, treaties, and journal entries give readers a sense of the ordeal of removal
for American Indians.
Removal: The Emigration of the Five Civilized Tribes of Indians (423 pages) (University of
Try the Search Engine for Related Studies: President Andrew Jackson’s message to Congress,
Indian Removal Act of 1830, Transcript, Original Copy, History of the Indian Removal and Trail of Tears 1838 Details, List
of Cherokee Indian Removal Acts.