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What are some essay topic ideas about the Indian Removal Act of 1830?

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Quick Answer

An interesting essay idea on the topic of the Indian Removal Act of 1830 is a criticism of the act as violating federal law and the principles on which the nation was founded. Another is to defend the act as necessary to maintain the sovereignty of the tribes and avoid a Constitutional crisis. Both arguments have some validity that warrants further investigation to clear up possible misconceptions and bring greater attention to little known details.

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Full Answer

Critics of the act consider the relocation of the Five “Civilized” Tribes from their ancestral homes in Georgia and Florida to federal territory west of the Mississippi River as an injustice that contradicted the nation’s founding principles and violated federal law. They see the act as a result of the greed of southern states for Indian lands and personal bigotries of state and federal officials. The act also destroyed the nation’s credibility by violating policies enacted under Washington and Jefferson that established the tribes as sovereign nations and promised to preserve their lands.

Supporters of the act claim that the government had no choice in the matter since the southern states claimed the Constitutional authority to enact the removal and that the Indians would have to submit to Constitutional authority to remain within state borders. Supporters credit Jackson with averting a Constitutional crisis and upholding his personal political ideals by arriving at a viable solution of relocating the Indians to territory outside the jurisdiction of the states.

Regardless of the position taken, further investigation into these arguments can only lead to better understanding, and frame the removal in the context of its role in establishing future policies toward Indian and other nations.

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