President Andrew Jackson had supported the idea of “Indian removal” for a long time. When he was the General of the Army, he led remorseless campaigns against Indians in Georgia, Alabama and Florida. They resulted in the transmission of hundreds of thousands of acres of land from Indians to white farmers. When he became a President, he continued this initiative. In 1830 the Indian Removal Act was signed by him. The federal government was empowered to exchange the land owned by Natives in the cotton kingdom, east of the Mississippi River, for the land to the west. The Western land, or the “Indian colonization zone”, had been added to the United States as part of the Purchase of Louisiana, and was designated to be the territory for Natives.
The government was required to make removal a voluntary and peaceful act. The President Jackson or anyone else was not permitted to compel the Indians to give up their land. Nevertheless, Andrew Jackson and his government often broke the law and made the Native Americans leave the lands forcibly. In the winter of 1831 The Choctaw nation was removed from its land under the threat of invasion by the U.S. Army. They had to travel to the designated Indian territory on foot, marching along the route of more than 1,200 miles. Some of them were bound in chains. They suffered from exposure, epidemic diseases, and starvation, that is why approximately four thousand Indians died before they reached the destination. One Choctaw leader called this trip “the trail of tears and death”.
Andrew Jackson negotiated the Treaty of New Echota in May of 1836. It gave Cherokee Indians two years to move to the Indian zone. Only some Cherokees left by their own desire. The rest of them were forced to move to the Western lands in 1838. They were split into groups and traveled westward, enduring heavy rains, snow and frost.
Not only Choctaw and Cherokee, but also Creek, Muscogee, Seminole and Chickasaw nations were removed from their native territories. By the year 1840, tens of thousands of Native Americans had been expelled from their land in the Southeastern states and made to move across the Mississippi to the new Indian territory. The federal government promised that their new place of life would remain untouched forever, but as white people settled more and more in the West, the Indian zone became smaller and smaller. In 1907 the state of Oklahoma was formed, and the territory of Indians was gone for good.
President Andrew Jackson had supported the idea of “Indian removal” for a long time. When he was the General of the Army, he led remorseless campaigns against Indians in Georgia, Alabama and Florida. They resulted in the transmission of hundreds of thousands of acres of land from Indians to white farmers. When he became a President, he continued this initiative.