restricted access 35. Message of President Monroe on Indian Removal. January 27, 1825
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35. Message of President Monroe on Indian Removal January 27, 1825 In the 1820s white pressures against the Indians in the eastern states increased and in the southern states especially created a severe crisis in Indian affairs. Georgia, citing the compact with the federal government of April 24, 1802, in which the United States had agreed to extinguish the Indian land titles in the state as soon as it could be done peaceably and on reasonable terms in exchange for the state’s western land claims, insistently demanded the removal of the Indians from within her borders. Although not accepting Georgia’s position, President James Monroe proposed a voluntary removal policy as the best solution and urged the policy upon Congress in a special message. To the Senate and House of Representatives of the United States: Being deeply impressed with the opinion that the removal of the Indian tribe from the lands which they now occupy within the limits of the several States and Territories to the country lying westward and northward thereof, within our acknowledged boundaries, is of very high importance to our Union, and may be accomplished on conditions and in a manner to promote the interest and happiness of those tribes, the attention of the Government has been long drawn with great solicitude to the object. For the removal of the tribes within the limits of the State of Georgia the motive has been peculiarly strong, arising from the compact with that State whereby the United States are bound to extinguish the Indian title to their lands within it whenever it may be done peaceably and on reasonable conditions. In the fulfillment of this compact, I have thought that the United States should act with a generous spirit; that they should omit nothing which should comport with a liberal construction of the instrument and likewise be in accordance with the just rights of those tribes. From the view which I have taken of the subject I am satisfied that in the discharge of these important duties in regard to both the parties alluded to the United States will have to encounter no conflicting interests with either. On the contrary, that the removal of the tribes from the territory which they now inhabit to that which was designated in the message at the commencement of the session , which would accomplish the object for Georgia, under a well-digested plan for their government and civilization, which should be agreeable to themselves, would not only shield them from impending ruin, but promote their welfare and happiness. Experience has clearly demonstrated that in their present state it is impossible to incorporate them in such masses, in any form whatever, into our system. It has also demonstrated with equal certainty that without a timely anticipation of and provision against the dangers to which they are exposed, under causes which it will be difficult, if not impossible, to control, their degradation and extermination will be inevitable . The great object to be accomplished is the removal of these tribes to the territory designated on conditions which shall be satisfactory to themselves and honorable to the United States. This can be done only by conveying to each tribe a good title to an adequate portion of land to which it may consent to remove, and by providing for it there a system of internal government which shall protect their property from invasion, and, by the regular progress of improvement and civilization, prevent that degeneracy which has generally marked the transition from the one to the other state. I transmit herewith a report from the Secretary of War, which presents the best estimate which can be formed, from the documents in that Department, of the number of Indians within our States and Territories and of the amount of lands held by the several tribes within each; of the state of the country lying northward and westward thereof, within our acknowledged boundaries; of the parts to which the Indian title has already been extinguished, and of the conditions on which other parts, in an amount which may be adequate to the object contemplated, may be obtained. By this report it appears that the 39 40 Indian title has already been extinguished to extensive tracts in that quarter, and that other portions may be acquired to the extent desired on very moderate conditions. Satisfied I also am that the removal proposed is not only practicable, but that the advantages attending it to the...