President Monroe Justifies the Removal Policy
Digital History ID 677
In a message to Congress, President Monroe describes the removal of Indians to lands west of the Mississippi River as a providential solution to a series of problems: to the United States' need to solidify control over its southeastern border, the desire of land-hungry settlers for new lands to cultivate, the goal of protecting Indians from white encroachments, and the aim of "civilizing" Native Americans at their own pace.
Being deeply impressed with the opinion that the removal of the Indian tribes from the lands which they now occupy within the limits of the several States and Territories...is of very high importance to our Union, and may be accomplished on conditions and in a manner to promote the interest and happiness of those tribes, the attention of the Government has been long drawn with great solicitude to the object. For the removal of the tribes within the limits of the State of Georgia the motive has been peculiarly strong, arising from the compact with the State whereby the United States are bound to extinguish the Indian title to the lands within it whenever it may be done peaceably and on reasonable conditions....The removal of the tribes from the territory which they now inhabit...would not only shield them from impending ruin, but promote their welfare and happiness. Experience has clearly demonstrated that in their present state it is impossible to incorporate them in such masses, in any form whatever, into our system. It has also demonstrated with equal certainty that without a timely anticipation of and provision against the dangers to which they are exposed, under causes which it will be difficult, if not impossible to control, their degradation and extermination will be inevitable.
Source: James D. Richardson, Messages and Papers of the Presidents, Vol. 2, pp. 280-3.
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