Explain what the Indian Removal Act stipulated. What tribes were affected by this legislation? Describe the Trail of Tears.
President Andrew Jackson called for an Indian Removal Act on May 26, 1839. This authorized him to grant unsettled lands west of the Mississippi in exchange for Indian lands within existing state borders, and appropriated $500,000 to cover the operating cost of removal. However the real cost of removal, human and financial was much greater. In the eight years that Jackson held office, the US Federal Government forced Indians to hand over more than 100 million acres of land, in return, only receiving 32 million acres of public land. A few tribes went peacefully, but many resisted the relocation policy. During the fall and winter of 1838 and 1839, the Cherokees were forcibly moved west by the United States government. Approximately 4,000 Cherokees died on this forced march, which became known as the "Trail of Tears."
The Choctaws and Chickasaws began their removal to the west without force by the Government. In 1836, Creeks who clung to their homes and refused the “voluntary” removal ran the risk of having their land taken and were then removed with force. The majority of the Seminole tribe in Florida were eventually forced out, but only after a seven year war between 1835 and 1842 cost the Government over $20 million.
The Removal Act paved the way for the reluctant and often forcible emigration of tens of thousands of American Indian Tribes into the Western United States. The first removal treaty signed after the Removal Act was the Treaty of Dancing Rabbit Creek on September 27, 1830, in which Choctaws in Mississippi ceded land east of the river in exchange for payment and land in the West. The Treaty of New Echota which was signed in 1835 resulted in the removal of the Cherokee on the Trail of Tears.
In 1823 the Supreme Court handed down a decision which stated that Indians could occupy lands within the United States, but could not...