Cherokees Verses Jackson
In the passage, there is an argument about whether Indians should be allowed to own land or not; the Indians had already embraced white culture to retain their lands. The argument mainly involves two parties: the Cherokees, a Native American people indigenous to the south-eastern U.S especially Georgia, northern Carolina and southern Carolina and President Andrew Jackson who is a notorious Indian hater. Cherokees were against their removal from their lands on which gold had been discovered while Andrew Jackson was for their removal and even argued that the government was not obliged to honor its treaties with Indian countries.
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The Cherokee argument against removal and that of President Andrew Jackson revolve around the issue of removal of and confiscation of Cherokees from their land. Although most Cherokees were against this, some of them signed the treaty of new echota with federal officials; the treaty ceded all Cherokee lands east of the Mississippi in exchange for 5.6 million Dollars and relocation. Most of those who signed it were murdered by their fellow country-men. Those who were for the idea of being removed just like Andrew Jackson supported their removal and argued that they could not think of living as out-laws in their native land, being exposed to countless vexations and excluded from being witnesses or parties in a court of justice.
Another similarity in the debate was the fact that some Cherokees argued that they would rather be evicted from the lands and relocated to a new world exposed to dangers, privations, and sufferings rather than being sentenced to six years in Georgia prison for fighting for one’s nation.
Cherokees appealed to the U.S Supreme Court to stop Georgia’s actions; the court ruled to their favor, claiming no state had a right to invalidate a federal treaty made with a “domestic dependent nation” (Belmonte, 205). The Cherokees were against confiscation of their land on which gold had been discovered; the Georgia legislature attempted to invalidate Cherokee laws and to confiscate tribal lands. “We are not willing to remove; and if we could be brought to this extremity, it would be not by argument not because our judgment was satisfied, not because our condition will be improved; but only because we cannot endure to be deprived of our national and individual rights and subjected to a process of intolerable oppression” ( Belmonte, 205). On the contrary, Jackson implemented a coercive removal policy in 1829 so as to honor his political debt; where the southerners and westerners helped him win the presidency in 1828. He persuaded the congress to pass the Indian removal act in 1830 granting the president authority to remove Indians forcibly if necessary.
While the Cherokees argued that removal of families to a new country would be attended with much depression of mind and sinking of heart, Anderson argued that the consequences of a speedy removal would be important to the U.S, both the natives and the Indians themselves “The removal will have pecuniary advantages which it promises to the government…” (Belmonte, 207). In contrast with the public opinion, Jackson argued that it was the government’s duty as a debt to the new states, to extinguish the Indian title to all lands which congress had included within their limits (Belmonte, 207).
Thus, in my opinion, the position of Cherokees is more persuasive compared to that of President Jackson. This is because all the arguments made by Jackson seemed to drive at a personal and selfish gain. On the other hand, Cherokees were concerned with their well-being and happiness in their indigenous land which was native to most of them (Belmonte, 205).
From the arguments, it can be concluded that the Cherokees have strong ideas to support their resisting to be removed from their native lands. Although some of them agreed to be removed from the lands by signing the treaty of new echota, the entire Cherokee had the right to lawfully remain in the lands. Jackson’s arguments were baseless because they only seemed to drive at one discriminative and selfish aim; his utter distaste for the Indians.
Belmonte, Laura A. Speaking of America: Readings in U.S. History. Belmont, CA: Thomson/Wadsworth, 2007. Print.
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