The Removal of the Cherokee Nation: Manifest Destiny or National Dishonor?

By Louis Filler; Allen Guttmann | Go to book overview

Andrew Jackson:


INDIAN REMOVAL AND THE GENERAL GOOD

The memorial of the Cherokeenation did not sway President Jacksonfrom his course. Resolutely, more explicitly than a year before, he outlined his determination to see the Indian tribes removed to the West. If anything, Jackson's second Annual Message ( December 6, 1830) was less conciliatory than his first.

IT gives me pleasure to announce to Congress that the benevolent policy of the Government, steadily pursued for nearly thirty years, in relation to the removal of the Indians beyond the white settlements is approaching . . . a happy consummation. Two important tribes, [the Choctaws and the Chickasaws], have accepted the provision made for their removal at the last session of Congress, and it believed that their example will induce the remaining tribes also to seek the same obvious advantages.

The consequences of a speedy removal will be important to the United States, to individual States, and to the Indians themselves. The pecuniary advantages which it promises to the Government are the least of its recommendations. It puts an end to all possible danger of collision between the authorities of the General and State Governments on account of the Indians. It will place a dense and civilized population in large tracts of country now occupied by a few savage hunters. By opening the whole territory between Tennessee on the north and Louisiana on the south to the settlement of the whites it will incalculably strengthen the southwestern frontier and render the adjacent States strong enough to repel future invasions without remote aid. It will relieve the whole State of Mississippi and the western part of Alabama of Indian occupancy, and enable those States to advance rapidly in population, wealth, and power. It will separate the Indians from immediate contact with settlements of whites; free them from the power of the States; enable them to pursue happiness in their own way and under their own rude institutions; will retard the progress of decay, which is lessening their numbers, and perhaps cause them gradually, under the protection of the Government and through the influence of good counsels, to cast off their savage habits and become an interesting, civilized, and Christian community. These consequences,

____________________
From second Annual Message, J. D. Richardson, ed., A Compilation of the Messages and Papers of the Presidents, II, 519-523.

-49-

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