How did Jackson's military experiences influence his Native American policies?

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saintfester | Middle School Teacher | (Level 3) Associate Educator

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Andrew Jackson’s military experience heavily influenced his presidential policies regarding Native Americans.

Jackson grew up on the frontier where Indian issues were central to everyday life. Although his family specifically was never the target of Indian violence, he no doubt knew settlers who were killed and that might have affected his opinions.

Jackson first came into the spotlight due to his military exploits. He first gained fame fighting the Creek Indians of Georgia. He played different factions of the Creek against each other in order to defeat them, then turned on his allies after the war. Jackson also fought against the Seminole of Florida during the First Seminole War. He pursued the Seminoles into Florida, a Spanish Territory, and attacked their venerable villages, burning down their homes and crops. Jackson received the nickname, “Sharp Knife” from the Seminole for his ferocity in battle and his use of executions. It is safe to say that based on his actions, Jackson had little respect for Native Americans or their rights. 

These experiences also contributed to his decision to sign The Indian Removal Act of 1830 which forced several tribes out of the East and into a special Indian Territory created in the present state of Oklahoma.

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