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Toward the aborigines of this
country no one can indulge a more friendly feeling than myself,
or would go further in attempting to reclaim them from their
wandering habits and make them a happy, prosperous people.
Humanity has often wept over the fate of the aborigines of this
country, and philanthropy has been long busily employed in devising
means to avert it, but its progress has never for a moment been
arrested, and one by one have many powerful tribes disappeared
from the earth. To follow to the tomb the last of his race and
to tread on the graves of extinct nations excites melancholy
reflections. But true philanthropy reconciles the mind to these
vicissitudes as it does to the extinction of one generation
to make room for another....Nor is there anything in this which,
upon a comprehensive view of the general interests of the human
race, is to be regretted. Philanthropy could not wish to see
this continent restored to the condition in which it was found
by our forebears. 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?
Andrew Jackson defends the
removal policy, 1830
The Cherokees were happy and
prosperous under a scrupulous observance of treaty stipulations
by the government of the United States, and from the fostering
hand extended over them, they made rapid advances in civilization,
morals, and in the arts and sciences. Little did they anticipate,
that when taught to think and feel as the American citizen,
and to have with him a common interest, they were to be despoiled
by their guardian, to become strangers and wanderers in the
land of their fathers, forced to return to the savage life,
and to seek a new home in the wilds of the far west, and that
without their consent.
We wish to remain on the land of our fathers. We have a perfect
and original right to remain without interruption or molestation.
The treaties with us, and laws of the United States made in
pursuance of treaties, guaranty our residence and our privileges,
and secure us against intruders.
Memorial and Protest of the
Cherokee Nation, 1836
The Cherokee nation...is a distinct
community, occupying its own territories, with boundaries accurately
described, in which the laws of Georgia can have no force, and
which the citizens of Georgia have no right to enter.
Chief Justice John Marshall
The ingenuity of man might be
challenged to show a single sentence of the Constitution of
the United States giving power, either direct or implied, to
the general government...to nullify the laws of a State...or
coerce obedience, by force, to the mandates of the judiciary
of the Union.
Wilson Lumpkin, Governor of
Indians and white Americans peacefully coexist?
2. How does
Andrew Jackson defend his removal policy?
3. Was John
Marshall's Supreme Court decision realistic? Can a president
and states disregard a high court decision?
4. Was Jackson's
policy unjust? What policy might have been better?