Andrew Jackson on Indian Removal

(1830)

Context

During the early years of its existence, the U.S. government struggled to establish peace and order with the many Indian tribes that resided within and adjacent to the country's borders. American policy makers, including George Washington and his secretary of war, Henry Knox, intended for the United States to expand westward. At the same time, they realized that the Indian peoples possessed rights to lands under the law of nations, and they expressed the intent to treat these nations in an honorable fashion. By the late 1780s policy makers had developed a strategy to acquire Indian territory—a strategy that they believed would respect the autonomy and territorial rights of the tribal nations and, at the same time, prepare Native peoples for their eventual social and political assimilation.

Pursuant to Washington's instructions, the United States followed British colonial precedent and acquired tribal lands through diplomatic treaties, an indication that the American...

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Andrew Jackson on Indian removal (National Archives and Records Administration)

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