The Origins and Development of the Indian Removal Policy
Worcester, Richard F.
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SubjectIndians of North America--Governmental policy.; Indians of North America--Law and legislation
The problem. The purpose of this work is to present a descriptive narrative of the men, problems and events which made up American Indian policy from 1800 to 1840. A primary objective is to trace the origins and mark the major developments of the Federal Government's policy of removing Indian tribes to the western side of the Mississippi River. Andrew Jackson's role in these developments will be stressed. Procedure. After a brief review of pre-Jeffersonian Indian policy, the thesis traces the events which led from the formulation of the removal concept at the beginning of the 19th century to its final culmination in the late 1830's. By combining primary sources such as government documents and collected correspondence with recent secondary books and articles, the thesis focuses on the formulation of removal and not the actual removal operations. Findings. The study finds that while removal was considered prior to the War of 1812, it was not until Indian military power east of the Mississippi was broken in that conflict, that removal came to be seen as the final solution to the Indian "problem" in the 1820's. James Monroe, John C. Calhoun and other federal leaders actually defined the policy which Andrew Jackson implemented. Jackson used this foundation, supported states' rights and allowed Congress to provide the necessary legislation for removal.