RCC Honors History Project

Jackson’s Second and Third Congressional Addresses (1830, 1831)

Posted by sierralapoint on November 16, 2009

There is much material here regarding the state of international affairs pertaining to trade and war, after the US had remained relatively neutral during many of the major wars. Also, in the way the mindset regarding personal liberties had changed since the time of the revolution is worth noting.  Remember the whole indentured servitude thing?  That whole, I’ll sign myself/my life/my rights over to you as a creditor for some unidentified period 0f time just for the chance to hopefully escape one day and be free and able to survive, thing?  Well, apparently Mr. Jackson thought that “The personal liberty of the citizen seems too sacred to be held, as in many cases it now is, at the will of a creditor to whom he is willing to surrender all the means he has of discharging his debt.”

Anyway, following along the lines of US/ Native American interactions, one observation is that it appears (at least in the careful diplomatic language used by Jackson) that he genuinely disapproves of the actions taken by Americans prior to his involvement, and now is confounded — how to remain a loyal patriotic man, proud of his nation and its purpose, while simultaneously dealing with such a sensitive issue…  It seems as though he is doing what he can within the limits of his authority within the American frame of government, keeping in mind the will of the people, both the general public and the politically powerful people as well.

“Toward the aborigines of the country no one can indulge a more friendly feeling than myself, or would go further in attempting to reclaim them from their wandering habits and make them a happy, prosperous people.” (#2)

“It is pleasing to reflect that results so beneficial, not only to the States immediately concerned, but to the harmony of the Union, will have been accomplished by measures equally advantageous to the Indians. What the native savages become when surrounded by a dense population and by mixing with the whites may be seen in the miserable remnants of a few Eastern tribes, deprived of political and civil rights, forbidden to make contracts, and subjected to guardians, dragging out a wretched existence, without excitement, without hope, and almost without thought.” (#3)

This is just so sad, I don’t know what to believe.  Anyone have any ideas?

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2 Responses to “Jackson’s Second and Third Congressional Addresses (1830, 1831)”

  1. amrich said

    Since we landed on North American shores, the nation that we set up never included Native Americans. Jackson was doing whatever he needed to do in order to secure the necessary land for the expansion of the “new” American people. It was the same later on, when expansion to the West became necessary to make room for all the immigrants. Not to mention the discovery of gold, oil and a secondary sea route to China and the Indies. I’m not saying it’s the right thing to do, but, according to the responsibilities of the President, he is literally bound to the prosperity of the American people first. That, apparently, didn’t include those that were here before us.

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