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

By Louis Filler; Allen Guttmann | Go to book overview

David Crockett:


FROM SPEECH BEFORE CONGRESS (MAY 19,1830)

Born in Hawkins County, Tennessee, Davy Crockett lived wildly and became, at one time, a legendary teller of tall tales and a three- time member of the House of Representatives. He was (and is) a symbol of the American frontiersman and was, concurrently, a determined opponent, political and personal, of Andrew Jackson. It is not surprising that he opposed Jackson on this issue as on others. Like the Indians whom he failed to save, Davy Crockett became disheartened by Jackson's repeated victories. In 1836 he left for Texas and martyrdom at the Alamo.

MR. Crockett said, that, considering his very humble abilities, it might be expected that he should content himself with a silent vote; but, situated as he was, in relation to his colleagues, he felt it to be a duty to himself to explain the motives which governed him in the vote he should give on this bill. Gentlemen had already discussed the treaty-making power; and had done it much more ably than he could pretend to do. He should not therefore enter on that subject, but would merely make an explanation as to the reasons of his vote. He did not know whether a man (that is, a member of Congress) within 500 miles of his residence would give a similar vote; but he knew, at the same time, that he should give that vote with a clear conscience. He had his constituents to settle with, he was aware; and should like to please them as well as other gentlemen; but he had also a settlement to make at the bar of his God; and what his conscience dictated to be just and right he would do, be the consequences what they might. He believed that the people who had been kind enough to give him their suffrages, supposed him to be an honest man, or they would not have chosen him. If so, they could not but expect that he should act in the way he thought honest and right. He had always viewed the native Indian tribes of this country as a sovereign people. He believed they had been recognised as such from the very foundation of this government, and the United States were bound by treaty to protect them; it was their duty to do so. And as to giving the money of the

____________________
From Speeches on the Passage of the Bill for the Removal of the Indians ( Boston: Perkins & Marvin, 1830), pp. 251-253.

-39-

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