Jacksonland: President Andrew Jackson, Cherokee Chief John Ross, and A Great American Land Grab

Inskeep, Steve

Penguin, 2015

pp. 6-7

White Americans in the nineteenth century regarded Indians as simply in the way. Andrew Jackson epitomized this attitude. He was “an orphan from an Appalachian valley,” a man of humble background who rose to the highest position in America. “Proclaimed to be a champion of common people, he smashed what he considered elitist institutions and permanently altered American politics. Throughout his career he also constantly pressed Indians to surrender land. He used reason, intimidation, bribery, duplicity, and force. As President he codified a policy known as Indian removal, saying both races would benefit if natives moved westward to make room for white settlement. . . . The Cherokees were more than mere victims: they were skilled political operators who played a bad hand long and well. Their resistance to Indian removal forced much of the nation to take sides, foreshadowed modern movements for the rights of racial minorities, and added to our democratic tradition.”