Native American Events

This photo portrays the hardships that the Indians had to go through in the trail of tears; they had to leave everything behind for a long, hard and forced journey.

Context: We were assigned the four topics of the Worcester vs. Georgia case, the Indian Removal Act of 1830, the Trail of Tears, and the Second Seminole war (1835-1842). During all four of these events, Andrew Jackson was the president

Our first topic, the case or Worcester vs. Georgia, involved a case regarding Native American rights. In the end, the court ruled with Worcester, but the main significance of this case was that the supreme court ruled that it was the federal government that had the right to determine the fate of Native Americans, not the state. Overall, this ruling was a favorable one for the Native Americans. Andrew Jackson was not a fan of this ruling though. He wasn't fond of native Americans and only saw them as nuisances on American lands. This strong dislike ultimately led him to ignore the ruling of the Worcester vs. Georgia case and pass the Indian Removal Act of 1830. This act basically stated that he, Andrew Jackson, had the power to negotiate the Indians into a territory West of the Mississippi in exchange for their homelands. This act was very controversial as it received much support from the South but a lot of criticism from the North and Christian missionaries. Eventually, this act led to the famous event of the Trail of Tears. This event was the forced march that Indians had to undertake to their new territories in the West. On this trail thousands of Indians died. Witnessing this forced march, many Indians became frightened and retaliated in what is know as the second Seminole war. This was a war fought by various Indian groups in Florida that eventually ended with a US victory and the deportation of Indians. Overall, most of these topics had a very negative effect on the Native Americans and weakened their influence in America for the remainder of its existence.

Primary source

"The consequences of a speedy removal will be important to the United States, to individual States, and to the Indians themselves. The pecuniary advantages which it promises to the Government are the least of its recommendations. It puts an end to all possible danger of collision between the authorities of the General and State Governments on account of the Indians. It will place a dense and civilized population in large tracts of country now occupied by a few savage hunters. By opening the whole territory between Tennessee on the north and Louisiana on the south to the settlement of the whites it will incalculably strengthen the southwestern frontier and render the adjacent States strong enough to repel future invasions without remote aid. 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."

-Andrew Jackson to Congress in 1830

In this passage Jackson is discussing Indian Removal and how beneficial it could be to the US. It was this speech that eventually led to the Indian removal Act of 1830 and then the Traik of Tears and then Seminole wars. This speech partially came from the ruling of the Georgia vs Worcester case.

Additional Information

At the beginning of the 1830s, nearly 125,000 Native Americans lived on millions of acres of land in Georgia, Tennessee, Alabama, North Carolina and Florida–land. To this day, many Native Americans still live on the reservations given to them during this time and other times.