• anonymous
The basic question is: what was the impact the Age of Jackson had on American Indians. But specifically: What might have happened to the Cherokees, and other Indian nations, if they had remained in the South? Was Jackson right to remove them in order to protect them? Were Jefferson's attempts to finesse the situation with assimilation policies realistic? What different outcome can you envision?
  • Stacey Warren - Expert
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  • katieb
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  • anonymous
Jackson is relatively famous (or infamous) for being quite aggressive with Native Americans. In his State of the Union in 1829, he discussed policies of removing Indians from states like Georgia. The Indian Removal Act was passed in 1830, which basically gave the President power to negotiate with tribes to move West in exchange for them leaving their current homes. Not so fair, is it? In 1832, in Worcester v. Georgia, Chief Justice John Marshall stated that the Cherokee were, "distinct, independent political communities retaining their original natural rights". Despite this decision, President Jackson and the state government of Georgia removed many of the Cherokee through the Trail of Tears. So was it right? That's up for debate. Some would argue Jackson exercised too much power in ignoring the Supreme Court ("Marshall has made his decision, now let him enforce it"). Also, some modern historians have compared it genocide and systematic killings of native people. Others would argue that it was necessary to the security of a young US, and that there was no way both nations could coexist. What would have happened if the Cherokee remained? Many would say it was only a matter of time until Native Americans were forced out of their homelands. The 1830's is only the beginning of this conflict, which will extend throughout the entirety of the 19th century. If we imagine for a second that this Manifest Destiny never seeds itself in the American people and government, some argue that Indian nations large enough may have formed their own states, although this is very unlikely considering other issues like slavery and states' rights that ran rampant throughout the South at this time. It's hard to say exactly what would've happened. The most likely outcome is that something similar to Jackson's removal would have just happened, only later (and probably more peacefully). Remember that the Indian Removal Act and Jacksonian Era "diplomacy" with Native Americans not only completely destroyed much of the cultural identity, but it also left a lasting economic impact on tribes, as well as set precedents that will be followed for many decades to come.

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