At the time
Andrew Jackson became president in 1829, 125,000 Native Americans
still lived east of the Mississippi River. Cherokee, Choctaw,
Chickasaw, and Creek Indians - 60,000 strong - held millions of
acres in what would become the southern Cotton Kingdom stretching
across Georgia, Alabama, and Mississippi. The political question
was whether these Indian tribes would be permitted to block white
By 1840, Jackson
and his successor, Martin Van Buren, had answered this question.
All Indians east of the Mississippi had been uprooted from their
homelands and moved westward, with the exception of rebellious
Seminoles in Florida, the Poarch Band of Creek Indians in Alabama,
and small numbers of Indians living on isolated reservations in
Michigan, North Carolina, and New York.
In this exploration,
you will critically examine the assumptions that defined American
Indian policies, why Jackson introduced the Removal Policy, and
the human meaning of removal.