Controversy with Jackson

Indian Removal Act of 1830

The Indian Removal Act of 1830

The Trail of Tears

The Trail of Tears

The two main controversies surrounding the presidency of Andrew Jackson were his treatment of Native Americans and African Americans. Andrew Jackson is well known for redefining Indian relations and his harsh treatment of the Native Americans. Jackson’s predecessors favored removal of the Indians as well as civilization and assimilation of them, He favored for voluntary relocation of different Native American tribes living in the South to West of the Mississippi. In 1830, the act passed through Congress with many southern members of Congress voting in favor and many northern congressmen voting against.The act authorized the president to negotiate treaties with southern Native American tribes for their removal to federal territory west of the Mississippi River, in exchange for their lands. The land was sold to southerners and travelers headed into the region in hopes to make their fortune. Thus, expanding the growth of cotton and the amount of plantation, increasing the reliance on save labor and expanding slavery as an institution.

The travel of the Indians West were included outbreaks of cholera, inadequate supplies, bitter cold, and death from starvation and exhaustion. The Cherokee, in particular were forced from their lands by the United States army, known as the “Trail of Tears". Their removal was  tragic, as thousands were forced to leave behind their homes, livestock, crops, and places that had spiritual significance for them. It is estimated that around 25% of the Cherokee died on their journey West, the main causes of death being starvation and disease.

Another controversial aspect of Andrew Jackson’s presidency was his stance on slavery. Jackson grew wealthy due to his slave ownership. Slaves grew his cotton on the Hermitage, built and worked in his house, making him a more prominent figure in the Southern society. Jackson owned as many as 161 slaves, which is how he became so successful in Southern society. He was also seen to treat his slaves cruelly and harshly, adding to the controversy.Jackson also never spoke out against slavery or spoke on the inhumanity of the institution. He believed the abolitionists were threatening the Union, and in December of 1835 he prohibited the circulation through the South of "incendiary publications intended to instigate the slaves to insurrection”.