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Andrew Jackson
Andrew Jackson

Andrew Jackson served two terms as President of the United States, 1829-1837. His administration further elaborated a policy of Indian removal that Jackson himself had begun as an implacable Indian fighter in the American South. In 1814 he had led U.S. forces to a victory over Creek Indians that cost the tribe some 22 million acres of land in present-day Georgia and Alabama. In 1818 Jackson's troops invaded Spanish Florida, stripping the Seminoles of much of their land as well. These exploits helped to elect Jackson president in 1828, and in 1830 he successfully guided an "Indian Removal Act" through both houses of Congress. The Act stipulated that Indians were to abandon their territory east of the Mississippi in exchange for new lands in the west. Those wishing to remain in their original lands would become citizens of their home state. Jackson seemed to believe that the policy benefited Indians, whom he regarded a simple children in need of whites' guidance. Many Americans never imagined that their nation would grow beyond the Mississippi River, and hoped that Indian removal would spare the tribes from whites' persistent quest for more land. But this belief proved to be a convenient fallacy, as Indians remaining east of the Mississippi were hounded from their lands and those who moved west were soon pressured to pick up and leave their new ranges as well. By the end of his presidency, Jackson had removed nearly 50,000 Native Americans from tribal lands east of the Mississippi River.

Image source: Northern Illinois University
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