The Indian removal act was a policy based in the United States in the 19th century. People such as the Native Americans were removed from their ancestral lands forcibly. After the Native Americans had been removed from their lands, they were taken moved to the western parts of the Mississippi river that was later known as the Indian Territory. Andrew Jackson, in his speech, states that the consequences of the Indian removal will be vital to the United States, the Indians, and also to the individual states. According to Andrew Jackson, the most significant effect of the Indian removal is that it will relieve Mississippi and the western parts of Alabama of Indian occupancy and aid the states population to increase rapidly. Additionally, the states would also advance quickly regarding power and wealth. The policy would also separate the Indians from having immediate contact with the whites, allow them pursue their happiness and also free them from the states power.
L. O'Sullivan initially used the term Manifest Destiny which a term that was introduced in the 19th century and this was the period of American development that the United States was destined and could expand from coast to coast. That is, they were able to develop their institutions and civilization across North America. The expansion involved progress of liberty, territorial aggrandizement, and also individual economic opportunity. The Manifest Destiny fuelled the western settlement, the removal of the Native Americans and war with Mexico. Andrew Jacksons speech on the Indian removal fits in the wider context of Manifest Destiny. From his speech, it is clear that the reason why he wanted the Indians removed from the European territory was to allow expansion of the state (Cave n.p). Andrew Jackson argued that when the Indian were withdrawn from the European region, the states would advance rapidly. The states needed to gain access to lands that were inhabited by the Indian. The desire to get land shows how the American territory wished to expand this shows how Jacksons speech fits in the greater context of Manifest Destiny.
The Native Americans were depicted as a lesser race. Thus, the Indian removal was a racially motivated idea. The Americans viewed the Indians in racial terms, and they ignored the aspect of cultural differences. Andrew Jackson, in his speech in Indian Removal, portrays the Native Americans as hunters. He also claimed that the group hindered the development of the land. Thus, their removal was seen as a relieve to the state of Mississippi. Jackson said that
It will relieve the whole State of Mississippi and the western part of Alabama of Indian occupancy; and enable those States to advance rapidly in population, wealth, and power. It will separate the Indians from immediate contact with settlements of whites; free them from the power of the States; enable them to pursue happiness in their own way and under their own rude institutions; will retard the progress of decay, which is lessening their numbers, and perhaps cause them gradually, under the protection of the Government and through the influence of good counsels, to cast off their savage habits and become an interesting, civilized, and Christian community (Cave n.p).
When one analyzes the presidents speech and the Indian Removal Act, it is evident that the European-American was portrayed as a superior territory. The Americans saw themselves as being superior to the Native Americans. When President Jackson was giving a speech to the Congress on Indian Removal, the superiority can be seen when he said that the American society would be a place for civilized population and will be occupied by few savage hunters. He also said that the Indian would be separated from immediate contact of the white settlement hence showing how the European society was considered to be superior.
The ideal of progress occurred in the 18th century. The idea was based on the fact that humankind has made progress in the past, is now progressing and is also expected to expand in the near future. Indian Removal fits in the ideal of progress because we people have now changed the perceptions they had regarding the Native Americans. Racial segregation fueled the movement. As time went by, people started acknowledging cultural differences and ethnic discrimination was eliminated and this is how the removal fitted in the ideal of progress.
The themes discussed in the text include nationalism, industrial revolution, and colonialism. Nationalism is referred as the devotion to a nation. The aspect of nationalism can be seen from the Jacksons speech. The issue of removing the Indians from their ancestral land showed how the Europeans valued their land and had loyalty to their nation. The Europeans emphasized on the promotion of their culture rather than that of the Indians, and that is why a majority of them supported the Indian Removal. From the text, industrial revolution can be seen in the desire of the Americans to expand their territory. The other theme that is seen in the text is colonialism. Colonialism is the policy of gaining full potential over another nation, exploiting it economically and occupying it with the settlers. From the text, colonialism is depicted when the European territory tries to gain control over the Indians and chasing them from the land where they were born.
In summary, I think that Indian Removal was not a good policy. It does not auger well when someone comes and removes individuals from their ancestral lands. When removal happens, it might leave a scar in peoples hearts. Thus, the removal might have planted anger among the Indians, and as a result of that, Indians may hold that anger up to today.
Cave, Alfred A. "Abuse of Power: Andrew Jackson and the Indian Removal Act of 1830." Historian 65.6 (2003): 1330-1353.
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