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Jeffersonian vs. Jackson and His Supporters’ View on Native Americans Essay

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Updated: Nov 8th, 2021

Jefferson’s ideas and policies regarding Native Americans are perceived to be one of the most critical aspects of American history. Even though Jefferson admired and praised the American Indian ways of life, his idea of who would be an ideal citizen of his idealized federal republic was clear. In this believe, he did not welcome the modern visions of a multicultural, multiracial republic. He wanted to include the people of Native American, as long as they agree to let go of their traditional ways and culture and wholly embraced the agricultural ways of life that he had insisted was the only true basis of a good society. Failure to do that, Native Americans nations would have to accept exile outside the borders of the United States. On several instances, Jefferson described the native people of North America as noble people who just became innocent victims of history. Jefferson’s efforts in the removal of Indian was first noticed when he acknowledged the forceful eviction of the Cherokee and Shawnee tribes from their ancestral lands to the west of River Mississippi. Jefferson defied the treaty between the Cherokee and the United States by offering military support to help in the forceful eviction of the Cherokee people and settled in Georgia, where it was believed they belong. In essence, Jefferson’s interest was to assimilate the Native Americans to the modern life of Agricultural economy. Again his interest was to see the Native Americans’ culture, religious belief, as well as lifestyle integrated into the Western Europe’s culture, which he believed held the key to the prosperity of the United States and the Native’s survival. It could be interpreted that Jefferson wanted the Natives transformed so that they could achieve economical dependence since through adopting the agricultural activities, these people could become more open to external trading with the whites and thus would be more willing to exchange their land with goods and services. Without this, Jefferson believed that the Native Americans would not accept to part with their land. Probably one would view Jefferson’s interests and believes to be linked to his earlier association with Native Americans as a child and in school life, where he interacted with them a lot and due to his father’s tales of Native Americans adventure.

Like Jefferson, President Jackson and his supporters (mostly white Americans) wanted to eliminate the Native Americans (Indians) from the United States. In his views, Jackson’s view was basically political considerations. He and some of his supporters believed that independent, self-governing people of India within the United States borders were a threat to the United States. In this context, he signed the Indian Removal Act of 1830, which forced Native Americans to give up their land in the East and move west of the Mississippi (Behrman 49). The average white American on the other hand had different reason for eliminating the Native Americans from their land. Theirs was not political as their president’s. Most of Jackson supporters viewed Indians as ignorant and people who did not deserve or even had a right to the land they inhabited. Furthermore, most of the white Americans believed in manifest destiny, the idea that God wanted the United States to stretch from the Atlantic to the Pacific oceans. According to many whites, Native Americans stood on the way of this vision and thus were supposed to face forced eviction. They justified the policy of killing as well relocating the Indians.

The damaging part of it was that the Jackson’s supporters portrayed the Native Americans as ignorant and immature. This was seen in the way white leaders who supported Jackson as they kept on referring to the Indians adults as children. According to them, the Indians were objects of amusement as was seen in the Buffalo Bills Wild West Show. This show exposed exaggerated dramas abut western life, such as cowboy and Indian battles, buffalo hunts, and Indian raids on stagecoaches. This is how they were portrayed as wild creatures who rode wildly across the planets, to the amusement of Jackson’s supporters (Behrman 50).

It is worth noting that both Jefferson, and President Jackson and his supporters had supported the eviction of the Native Americans from their ancestral land. However, the reasons for supporting such eviction were different. While Jefferson’s views were more of economic perspectives, Jackson’s views were basically political. Jackson’s supporters on the other hand had a lot of reservation on the Native Americans ways of life, i.e. they viewed the native’s culture and religion as primitive and one that need not live next to the civilized society of the white Americans. I would sum up Jackson supporter’s views as social.

Work Cited

Behrman, Carol H. The Indians Wars. Minneapolis: Lerner Publications Co. 2005.

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