What were the major economic, humanitarian, political, and social arguments for and against Indian removal in the US?

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First, it should be clear that Indian removal is, modern observers can agree, a national disgrace. Indeed, many made made exactly that claim at the time. So it is important to note that the arguments for Indian removal were contemporary arguments, made by its supporters. The economic and social arguments...

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First, it should be clear that Indian removal is, modern observers can agree, a national disgrace. Indeed, many made made exactly that claim at the time. So it is important to note that the arguments for Indian removal were contemporary arguments, made by its supporters. The economic and social arguments made for Indian Removal were that it would open up land for white settlement and exploitation (especially by cotton plantations.) Whites argued, speciously since the southeastern Native peoples in particular had taken up white farming practices, that the land would be more useful in the hands of white men. The humanitarian argument was that Native peoples would be more secure from harassment by white settlers in so-called "Indian Territory" than on their own lands. Politically, the issue took on overtones of states rights, as states undertook to negotiate removal with Indian peoples living within their borders. This was actually a strong argument against removal, because, according to the Worcester v. Georgia Supreme Court decision famously derided by President Andrew Jackson, the states had no authority to negotiate as independent powers. The humanitarian argument against uprooting thousands of people is an obvious one, and it was made by many in the North who saw removal as a massive land grab by slavers who coveted the lands. Opponents of Indian removal became one of the first national reform movements, anticipating the abolitionist movement that came later, and they argued that the entire undertaking was immoral, corrupt (because it benefited Jackson's political cronies), and fundamentally an abuse of power.

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