40. President Jackson on Indian Removal, December 8, 1829
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47 Respecting the intrusions on your lands, submitted also for consideration, it is sufficient to remark, that of these the Department had already been advised, and instructions have been forwarded to the agent of the Cherokees directing him to cause their removal; and it is earnestly hoped, that on this matter, all cause for future complaint will cease, and the order prove effectual. [Office of Indian Affairs, Letter Book no. 5, pp. 408–12, Record Group 75, National Archives.] 40. President Jackson on Indian Removal December 8, 1829 The executive branch of the federal government was firmly committed to the removal of the eastern tribes to the region west of the Mississippi by President Andrew Jackson. In his First Annual Message to Congress in December 1829 he set forth his views. . . . . The condition and ulterior destiny of the Indian tribes within the limits of some of our States have become objects of much interest and importance. It has long been the policy of Government to introduce among them the arts of civilization, in the hope of gradually reclaiming them from a wandering life. This policy has, however, been coupled with another wholly incompatible with its success. Professing a desire to civilize and settle them, we have at the same time lost no opportunity to purchase their lands and thrust them farther into the wilderness. By this means they have not only been kept in a wandering state, but been led to look upon us as unjust and indifferent to their fate. Thus, though lavish in its expenditures upon the subject, Government has constantly defeated its own policy, and the Indians in general, receding farther and farther to the west, have retained their savage habits. A portion, however , of the Southern tribes, having mingled much with the whites and made some progress in the arts of civilized life, have lately attempted to erect an independent government within the limits of Georgia and Alabama . These States, claiming to be the only sovereigns within their territories, extended their laws over the Indians, which induced the latter to call upon the United States for protection. Under these circumstances the question presented was whether the General Government had a right to sustain those people in their pretensions. The Constitution declares that “no new State shall be formed or erected within the jurisdiction of any other State” without the consent of its legislature. If the General government is not permitted to tolerate the erection of a confederate State within the territory of one of the members of this Union against her consent, much less could it allow a foreign and independent government to establish itself there. Georgia became a member of the Confederacy which eventuated in our Federal Union as a sovereign State, always asserting her claim to certain limits, which, have been originally defined in her colonial charter and subsequently recognized in the treaty of peace, she has ever since continued to enjoy, except as they have been circumscribed by her own voluntary transfer of a portion of her territory to the United States in the articles of cession of 1802. Alabama was admitted into the Union on the same footing with the original States, with boundaries which were prescribed by Congress. There is no constitutional, conventional, or legal provision which allows them less power over the Indians within their borders than is possessed by Maine or New York. Would the people of Maine permit the Penobscot tribe to erect an independent government within their State? And unless they did would it not be the duty of the General Government to support them in resisting such a measure? Would the people of New York permit each remnant of the Six Nations within her borders to declare itself an independent people under the protection of the United States? Could the Indians establish a separate republic on each of their reservations in Ohio? And if they were so disposed would it be the duty of this Government to protect them in the attempt? If the principle involved in the obvious answer to these questions be abandoned, it will follow that the objects of this Government 48 are reversed, and that it has become a part of its duty to aid in destroying the States which it was established to protect. Actuated by this view of the subject, I informed the Indians inhabiting parts of Georgia and Alabama that their attempt to establish an independent government would not be countenanced by the Executive of the...


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