President Jackson discussed the forced removal of Native Americans to lands west of the Mississippi River. Would you characterize this removal as a "benevolent policy of the government? Why or why...

President Jackson discussed the forced removal of Native Americans to lands west of the Mississippi River. Would you characterize this removal as a "benevolent policy of the government? Why or why not?

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mkoren | Middle School Teacher | (Level 3) Senior Educator

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President Jackson, when describing the forced removal of the Native Americans to lands west of the Mississippi River, said this removal was a “benevolent policy of the government.”  In order to answer this question, I will give you some ideas to consider as you develop your answer.

First, you need to consider how the Native Americans and the American people viewed these policies.  Generally, Native Americans resisted these policies that required them to relocate.  In some instances, they had signed agreements or treaties with the government. Some of these agreements were upheld in court, including the Supreme Court.  They didn’t want to move to an area that was considered by most people as a great wasteland and to an area with which they were unfamiliar. They understood relocating was not an easy thing to do under any circumstances, especially when it was forced upon them.

The American people believed the Native Americans were a primitive people who were holding back the growth of the United States. Some Americans believed that getting the Native Americans out of the way was better for the Native Americans and for the American people.  They believed the Native Americans would be harmed if they stayed where they were in the lands east of the Mississippi River.  The Americans saw the country growing in so many ways. Industries were expanding. Roads, canals, and eventually railroads were being built.  Americans believed these changes would be harmful to the Native American way of life. They believed relocating the Native Americans would be beneficial for them.

With these two opposite viewpoints, this should help you decide if our Native American policy under the presidency of Andrew Jackson was or was not benevolent.

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