Andrew Jackson, the 7th President of the United States, is one of the presidents who gained popularity during their era not for the good reasons, but for his controversial actions. This does not mean that his leadership was not effective, but it implies that despite having good intentions for his country, some of the approaches he took become a source of suffering for other communities in the country. Jackson his particularly well-known for the stand he took on the Native Americans. During his military life, at the Battle of Horseshoe Bend, he went into war with and defeated the Creek Indians. From this time on, he pioneered the relocation of the Indians to further west. Jackson took this stand prior to his presidency, as he was involved in negotiated removal treaties, and when he became the President he supported and implemented removal policies.
Jackson’s presidency is marked with the controversy of his policy concerning the Native Americans. For many years, prior to his election as president, he was an influential figure in talks for agreements and removal policies with the leaders of the Indians. Because of these agreements, various tribes were forced to move to Arkansas Territory. The removal policy was one of the main political agendas during his presidential campaigns. When he was eventually elected, he signed into law the Indian Removal Act. According to this Act, the President had the authority to discuss agreements related to buying ethnic lands in the east for a share of lands in the west region.
He received tremendous support in the South, where pressure was increasing on ethnic lands as a result of population increase and the discovery of gold, especially around Cherokee. It is argued that Jackson intimidated leaders of Cherokee to agreeing with and signing a removal treaty. However, most Cherokees were opposed to his advances, despite their leaders having signed the treaties, and signed a petition in protesting the intended removal. The petition was never to materialize as it was ignored by the Supreme Court; and to make matters worse, Jackson sent his troops to forcefully relocate the Cherokees, a move that led to the deaths of more than 3, 999 Cherokees.
As a result of his removal policies, numerous Native Americans were forced to relocate to the West. Although a few of them avoided forced relocation and moved back later on, the conditions were not favorable for them to operate independent of the Whites. During his era, the government acquired millions of acres of land from the Native Americans. The stand that he took with regard to the removal policies has received serious criticisms from most historians; which explains why it is considered as the devastating episodes in the history of America.
In conclusion, Andrew Jackson’s presidency was full of controversy, especially because of the approach he took concerning the Native Americans. He was the pioneer of the relocation of the Indians to further west, the position he took even before becoming the President as he was involved in negotiated removal treaties. When he eventually became President he supported and implemented removal policies fully. However, as a result of his removal policies the government claimed thousands of acres of land from the ethnic communities, something which was well-received in the South.
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Behrman, Carol H. Andrew Jackson. Minneapolis: Lerner Publications Co, 2005
Rausch, Monica. Andrew Jackson. Milwaukee, WI: Weekly Reader Early LearningLibrary, 2007.
Ray, Kurt. Native Americans and the new American government: treaties and promises. NewYork: Rosen Pub. Group, 2004
Remini, Robert Vincent. Andrew Jackson & his Indian wars. Harmondsworth, England: PenguinBooks, 2002