Was Andrew Jackson's Indian Policy Merely A Reformulation Of Older Ones Or A Newer And More Dictatorial Style Policy Towards The Savages? This Essay Proves That It Was A Reformulation.

923 words - 4 pages

Since the 1790's, American Indian policies have differed slightly, but the main ideas of attempting to civilize the noble savages and trying to keep them from disturbing white men was kept alive. Thomas Jefferson's Indian policy was something to the effect of civilizing the Indians while also respecting them (Document F). James Monroe's Indian policy had to do with the removal of Indians to keep the amount of problems under control (Documents M and N). Jefferson wrote to major general Andrew Jackson that if America could lead them to grow into a civilized people, they would be helping them immensely (Document F). The Jackson administration was, in a sense, attempting to do exactly the same what Monroe, Jefferson, and others attempted--they would move Indians off of their lands into a more favorable habitat in which they would be away from whites, and in which they can build up a civilization. Although the process was not peaceably and agreed on mutually, the Jackson administration's policy on Indians was in fact a reformulation of older policies because it was an attempt to help civilize the savages.Jackson's idea of moving the Indians off of their lands because of past disagreements was a common idea among past policies. Jackson figured that the Indians would live better if not in contact with whites, and whites would live better if not in contact with Indians. This would enable them to become a stronger civilization. President James Monroe wrote in 1825 that, "the removal of the Indian tribes from the lands which they now occupy...is of very high importance to our Union," (Document N). As Jackson stated in a letter to General John Coffee on April 7, 1832, "The decision of the supreme court has fell still born, and they find that it cannot coerce Georgia to yield to its mandate," (Document Q). Both men are stating simply that Indians had to be removed to, first, preserve any sort of peace there was. Indians had been moved many times and had lost much land over constant fighting and disagreeing with whites on the frontier. The Cherokees ceded land in Kentucky, Virginia, North Carolina, Tennessee, South Carolina, Georgia, and Alabama (Document A). This is a definite sign of many problems between Americans and Indians. In conclusion, moving Indians off of their land to preserve the peace and to lead them towards civilization was not an original plan.In addition to moving Indians off of their lands to benefit both sides, the fact that civilizing Indians was not a matter of question was also a factor. Jackson believed firmly that if Indians lived on United States land, they must act accordingly under United States jurisdiction (Document O). He stated in 1829 that a new way of attempting to civilize them must be used because current operations were not working...

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