Learning Unit 12 Lecture “Was Indian Removal a Humanitarian Policy?”
Part One:Acculturation/Assimilation OR Removal? Federal Indian Policy from Jefferson to Jackson
The Louisiana Purchase• In Europe, Napoleon, the Toussaint L’Ouverture French emperor, defeated Spain and took back the Louisiana Territory for France.• Napoleon’s dream to rebuild a French empire in N. America was thwarted by the Haitian Revolution, a large slave rebellion led by Toussaint L’Ouverture.• U.S. diplomats in Paris were offered the Louisiana Territory for $15 million.
Jefferson Reversed Himself • As a ‘strict constructionist,’ Jefferson doubted the constitutionality of the LA purchase.• BUT, he went ahead and accepted a ‘loose construction’ of the President’s constitutional powers to make treaties & took the deal.
Louisiana Purchase & Lewis & Clark Expedition, 1804-1806
Louisiana Purchase & Lewis & Clark Expedition, 1804-1806
Impact of the Louisiana Purchase on Native Americans• Jefferson proposed shifting the eastern Indian populations to the West so that their lands would be available for white farmers.• He favored “civilizing” Indians with white education & agricultural methods, turning Native Americans into farmers & homemakers.• He believed Indians would eventually assimilate with white America through intermarriage.• Moreover, by engaging in trade with Native Americans & extending them credit, Indians would become debtors & have to sign away their lands to pay debts.• Of course, the USA could forcibly take the lands of any Native Americans who engaged in armed resistance.
Museum recreation of a government-run “Indianfactory,” or trading post, where the U.S. Govt.’s aim was to entrap Native Americans with debt.
Creek AcculturationAcculturation = changes in the culture of a group as a result of contact w/ a different culture; milestone on the road to full assimilation
Pigeon’s-Egg-Head, an Assiniboine Chief, ‘before & after’ a trip to Washington, D.C.,to make a treaty. Whilein the nation’s capital, he adapted to American society & it corrupted him in the eyes of his people. They killed him upon his return.
Part Two: Cotton Agriculture, IndianRemoval & the Revitalization of Slavery
The cotton gin was invented by Eli Whitney, a northerner who solved the problem of how to efficiently The Cotton Ginclean short-staple cotton, making its large-scale cultivation profitable. The southern United States had the best cotton land, but much of it still belonged to Native Americans. Cotton wasn’t that important to the economy of Colonial America, but in the Pre- Civil War USA it would become the country’s biggest export.
The spread of cotton agriculture spurred the growth of slavery on lands taken from Native Americans.
Part Three:The War of 1812 & the Rise of Andrew Jackson
Tenskwatawa, the Shawnee Tecumseh Prophet was based in Indiana, but his mother was a Creek. Tecumseh attempted to put together a wide Pan- Indian alliance to resist whites’ expansion & carve out a country for Native Americans between the USA & Canada.Some Native Americans resigned themselves to following the Govt.’sremoval policy while other Native Americans resisted these changes in various ways. Tecumseh and his brother Tenskwatawa led arebellion during the War of 1812 that attracted Indians willing to fight the settlers; even the “Red Stick” Creeks of Alabama joined Tecumseh’s alliance.
The End of Tecumseh’s Confederacy Before Tecumseh could launch hisuprising, Indians led by Tenskwatawa attacked U.S. soldiers under William Henry Harrison at Tippecanoe River & were defeated;Tecumseh joined the British & was laterkilled at the Battle of the Thames (1813).
Horseshoe Bend Spells Disaster for “Red Stick” Creeks The “Red Stick” Creeks, Tecumseh’s southern allies, attacked white settlers in Alabama, but were later defeated at Horseshoe Bend by forces under Gen. Andrew Jackson, who then went on to defend New Orleans against the British and won a victory that eventually propelled him to the White House in 1828.
The Battle of New Orleans JacksonA multiethnic force under Gen. Jackson turned back the final attempt by the British to reconquer the USA.
After losing thecontroversial election of 1824 (decided in the House of Representatives), Jackson--a Democrat from TN--won his 1828 re-match with John Quincy Adams. The election was arguablythe nastiest in American history in terms of “mudslinging” & evencontributed to the death of Jackson’s beloved wife, Rachel.
Jackson always styled himself as the “Great Father” to the Indians,Jacksonian Democracy whose beststood for three things, interests he claimed to have at heart.all of which appealed tovoters on the frontier of Paternalism -- In Jackson’ssettlement in the Old view, Native AmericansSouthwest (today’s were like children orsouthEASTern USA): wards of the U.S. Govt.1) White Supremacy2) Territorial Expansion3) Destroy the NationalBank!
Part Four:Territorial Expansion in the Age of Jackson
When people spoke of the ‘Old Southwest’ during the first half of the 1800s, they were referring to the states we think of today as partof the Southeast--KY, TN, GA, AL, MS, FL, LA, &AR. The land we think of today as the Southwest still belonged to Mexico until 1848.
“Indian Removal”• Jackson’s Goal? • Expansion into the Old Southwest for white southern planters & farmers (many voted for him)• 1830 Indian Removal Act • 5 Civilized Tribes: (forced removal) • Cherokee Creek Choctaw • Chickasaw Seminole• Cherokee Nation v. GA (1831) • “domestic dependent nation”• Worcester v. GA (1832) • Cherokee law is sovereign and Georgia law does not apply in the Cherokee nation.• Supreme Court’s decision had no effect, however, on the 1830 Indian Removal Act.
Cherokee Nation v. Georgia (1831)• The U.S. Supreme Court ruled that the state of Georgia could not seize the lands of a “domestic, dependent nation” which possessed some sovereignty. The Cherokees were NOT a foreign nation as described in the Constitution.• “The conditions of the Indians in relation to the United States is perhaps unlike that of any two peoples in existence. Their relation to the United States resembles that of a ward to his guardian. [They are a] domestic dependent nation.”--John Marshall, Chief Justice• Established a “trust relationship” with tribes directly under federal authority.
Worcester v. Georgia (1832)• Samuel Worcester was a missionary who took Georgia to court for requiring missionaries to the Cherokee Nation to be licensed by the state.• The case established the extent of tribal autonomy (i.e., a self- governing state, community, or group with territorial boundaries),• The tribes were “distinct political communities, having territorial boundaries within which their authority is exclusive.”--John Marshall, Chief Justice• The U.S. Supreme Court ruled that the laws of Georgia had no force within the territorial boundaries of the Cherokee Nation. Only the U.S. Federal Government can make policy affecting Native American tribes.• The judicial ruling was a hollow victory for Cherokees, however, because it did nothing to halt the Federal Indian Removal Act, which was, in fact, already being implemented.
Trails of Tears: Many TribesExperienced Their Own “Trail of Tears,” but the Plight of the Cherokees is the Most Well- Known.
“Indian Removal”By 1837, almost all the Civilized Tribes hadbeen forced to move west of the MS River.
“Indian Removal”President Jackson--who speculated in land & personally profited from his own Indian removal policy--reflected on the condition of the Indians, and on Indian-white relations in his 1829 message to Congress: “Our conduct toward these people is deeply interesting to our national character.... Our ancestors found them the uncontrolled possessors of these vast regions.“By persuasion and force they have been made to retire from river to river and from mountain to mountain, unntil some of the tribes have become extinct and others have left but remnants to preserve for awhile their once terrible names.
“Indian Removal” “Surrounded by the whites with their arts of civilization, which by destroying the resources of the savage doom him to weakness anddecay, the fate of the Mohegan, Narragansett, and the Delaware is fast overtaking the Choctaw, the Cherokee, and the Creek. “That this fate surely awaits them if they remain within the limits of the States does not admit of a doubt. “Humanity and national honor demand that every effort should be made to avert such a calamity.”
Vast tracts of land in MS, AL, TN, and FLwere occupied by one or more of the Five Civilized Tribes--Cherokees, Creeks, Choctaws, Chickasaws, & Seminoles. They were termed ‘civilized’ because significant numbers had acculturated themselves to the societal norms of whites. They dressed as whites; many practiced Christianity; lived in houses as small farmers; some practiced slavery; the Cherokees even had a constitution & a tribal newspaper. But acculturation did not stop Jackson from proceeding with their forced removal to the Oklahoma Territory. Some Choctaws in Mississippi were allowed to remain as small, independent farmers. A small band of Cherokees also successfully hid out in the Smoky Mountains, and theirdescendants remain there to this day. TheCherokees finally lost their land when the U.S. Govt. signed a treaty w/ a minority faction that sold the majority’s land. John Ross, Paramount Chief of the Cherokee Nation, By ancestry, Ross was 1/8 Cherokee.
Division in the Cherokee Nation• Cherokee Nation went from being a peaceful nation to a community divided between the Ridge Faction (minority) and the Ross Faction (majority).• The Ridge Faction, in cooperation with the U.S. Government, illegally signed the Treaty of New Echota, believing the tribe had no other choice. U.S. Govt. gave land and goods to Cherokees who left their land peacefully.• Georgia and the U.S. Govt. used the treaty as justification to force almost all of the 17,000 Cherokees from their southeastern homeland.
John Ross Major Ridge• “full blood,” yet leader of ‘modernists’ • “mixed blood,” yet leader of ‘traditionalists’• pro-Treaty • anti-Treaty• minority support among Cherokees • majority support among Cherokees• believed resistance was futile • believed Ridge Faction were traitors & targeted them for death• slaveholder • slaveholder
Major Ridge’s House, located in Rome, Georgia, near New Echota
• In 1838, General Winfield Scott arrived in Georgia with approximately 7000 men to enforce the provisions of the Treaty of New Echota, which prescribed the relocation of the Cherokees in Georgia to what is now Oklahoma.• About 4000 Cherokees died en route in what became known as the ‘Trail of Tears.’
“We were eight days in making the journey (80 miles), & it “Long time we travel on way to new land. People feel badwas pitiful to behold the women & children who suffered when they leave old nation. Women cry and make sadexceedingly as they were all obliged to walk, with the wails. Children cry and many men cry, and all look sadexception of the sick.... I had three regular ministers of like when friends die, but they say nothing and just putthe gospel in my party, and ... we have preaching or heads down and keep on go towards West. Many daysprayer meeting every night while on the march, and you pass and people die very much. We bury close by Trail.”--may well imagine that under the peculiar circumstances Survivor of the Trail of Tearsof the case, among those sublime mountains and in thedeep forest with the thunder often roaring in the distance,that nothing could be more solemn and impressive. And Ialways looked on with ... awe, lest their prayers which Ifelt... ascending to Heaven and calling for justice to Himwho alone can & will grant it... [might] fall upon my guiltyhead as one of the instruments of oppression.”--Lieutenant L.B. Webster