Indian Removal Act
The Indian Removal Act ended the rights of the five major Indian tribes, which include Cherokee, Chickasaw, Choctaw, Creek and Seminole. Their rights to live in their homelands under the own traditional laws was nullified by the Act. Even though their removal was intended to be voluntary, the action was forcefully (Stewart, 2006). They were forced to leave their lands and went to settle in Oklahoma. The white settlers are the ones who benefited from the forceful removal of the Indians from their lands. They took over the control of their lands which were full of resources and very productive (Stewart, 2006). In return, the Indians were given lands that were not worthy to live in as compared to their ancestral lands.
What were the benefits?
The benefits that came with the removal of Indians from their homelands are many. The white settlers took away the Indians lands that were very fertile. The Indian tribes that were living in the southeast were good farmers and livestock keepers (Sturgis, 2007). The white settlers enjoyed all these when the Indians were chased away. In addition, the lands had minerals, plenty of water for irrigation, and many other good things. The removal of the Indians from their lands was seen as a way of improving the economy of the country. The white settlers introduced cotton production that improved the economy of the nation.
What were the problems with the Act?
One of the problems with the Indian Removal Act is that it negatively affected the history of United States. The Act was segregative in nature and denied the citizens equal rights to live in the U.S land irrespective of tribe or color of skin. Secondly, even though the act spelt clearly that relocation was voluntary, this was not the case. The Indians were forced to leave their homelands, and in the process many of them died on their journey from cholera, starvation, exhaustion, and other diseases. Thirdly, the Indian tribes did not receive any assistance from the government during their relocation to Oklahoma, leave alone military protection. Lastly, there was the issue of resistance from relocation by the Creeks and Seminoles, which caused a lot of bloodshed. The U.S government spent a lot to cool down the resistance.
Stewart, M. (2006). The Indian Removal Act: Forced Relocation, New York: Capstone.
Sturgis, H. A. (2007).The Trail of Tears and Indian Removal, Connecticut: Greenwood Publishing Group