restricted access 42. Indian Removal Act, May 28, 1830
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52 use; we have placed among them instructors in the arts of first necessity; and they are covered with the aegis of the law against aggressors from among ourselves.” These, sir, are sentiments worthy of an illustrious statesman. None can fail to perceive the spirit of justice and humanity which Mr. Jefferson cherished towards our Indian allies. He was, through his whole life, the firm unshrinking advocate of their rights, a patron of all their plans for moral improvement and elevation . . . . I trust, sir, that this brief exposition of our policy, in relation to Indian affairs, establishes , beyond all controversy, the obligation of the United States to protect these tribes in the exercise and enjoyment of their civil and political rights. Sir, the question has ceased to be—What are our duties? An inquiry much more embarrassing is forced upon us: How shall we most plausibly, and with the least possible violence, break our faith? Sir, we repel the inquiry—we reject such an issue— and point the guardians of public honor to the broad, plain . . . [path] of faithful performance , and to which they are equally urged by duty and by interest. . . . [Register of Debates in Congress, 6:311–16.] 42. Indian Removal Act May 28, 1830 After bitter debate in Congress and in the public press, Congress passed an act authorizing the president to exchange lands in the West for those held by Indian tribes in any state or territory and appropriated $500,000 for the purpose. This act enabled President Jackson to proceed with the removal policy and to negotiate removal treaties with the southern tribes. An Act to provide for an exchange of lands with the Indians residing in any of the states or territories, and for their removal west of the river Mississippi. Be it enacted . . . , That it shall and may be lawful for the President of the United States to cause so much of any territory belonging to the United States, west of the river Mississippi , not included in any state or organized territory, and to which the Indian title has been extinguished, as he may judge necessary , to be divided into a suitable number of districts, for the reception of such tribes or nations of Indians as may choose to exchange the lands where they now reside, and remove there; and to cause each of said districts to be so described by natural or artificial marks, as to be easily distinguished from every other. Sec. 2. And be it further enacted, That it shall and may be lawful for the President to exchange any or all of such districts, so to be laid off and described, with any tribe or nation of Indians now residing within the limits of any of the states or territories, and with which the United States have existing treaties, for the whole or any part or portion of the territory claimed and occupied by such tribe or nation, within the bounds of any one or more of the states or territories, where the land claimed and occupied by the Indians, is owned by the United States, or the United States are bound to the state within which it lies to extinguish the Indian claim thereto. Sec. 3. And be it further enacted, That in the making of any such exchange or exchanges, it shall and may be lawful for the President solemnly to assure the tribe or nation with which the exchange is made, that the United States will forever secure and guaranty to them, and their heirs or successors, the country so exchanged with them; and if they prefer it, that the United States will cause a patent or grant to be made and executed to them for the same: Provided always, That such lands shall revert to the United States, if the Indians become extinct, or abandon the same. Sec. 4. And be it further enacted, That if, upon any of the lands now occupied by the Indians, and to be exchanged for, there should be such improvements as add value to the land claimed by any individual or individuals of such tribes or nations, it shall and may be lawful for the President to cause such value to be ascertained by appraisement or otherwise, and to cause such ascertained value to be paid to the person or persons rightfully claiming such improvements. And 53 upon the payment of such valuation, the improvements so valued and paid for, shall pass to the United States, and possession...


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