Westward Expansion: Impact on the Original Americans. Questions for thought: How was the United States living this out? In what areas was the United States not living up to the words written in the Declaration of Independence ?. We hold these truths ….
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The Declaration of Independence: A Transcription
IN CONGRESS, July 4, 1776.
The unanimous Declaration of the thirteen united States of America,
When in the Course of human events, it becomes necessary for one people to dissolve the political bands which have connected them with another, and to assume among the powers of the earth, the separate and equal station to which the Laws of Nature and of Nature's God entitle them, a decent respect to the opinions of mankind requires that they should declare the causes which impel them to the separation.
We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness.--That to secure these rights, Governments are instituted among Men, deriving their just powers from the consent of the governed, --That whenever any Form of Government becomes destructive of these ends, it is the Right of the People to alter or to abolish it, and to institute new Government, laying its foundation on such principles and organizing its powers in such form, as to them shall seem most likely to effect their Safety and Happiness. Prudence, indeed, will dictate that Governments long established should not be changed for light and transient causes; and accordingly all experience hath shewn, that mankind are more disposed to suffer, while evils are sufferable, than to right themselves by abolishing the forms to which they are accustomed. But when a long train of abuses and usurpations, pursuing invariably the same Object evinces a design to reduce them under absolute Despotism, it is their right, it is their duty, to throw off such Government, and to provide new Guards for their future security.
“There shall be neither slavery nor involuntary servitude in the said territory, otherwise than in the punishment of crimes whereof the party shall have been duly convicted: Provided, always, That any person escaping into the same, from whom labor or service is lawfully claimed in any one of the original States, such fugitive may be lawfully reclaimed and conveyed to the person claiming his or her labor or service as aforesaid.”
On Native Americans
“Religion, morality, and knowledge, being necessary to good government and the happiness of mankind, schools and the means of education shall forever be encouraged. The utmost good faith shall always be observed towards the Indians; their lands and property shall never be taken from them without their consent; and, in their property, rights, and liberty, they shall never be invaded or disturbed, unless in just and lawful wars authorized by Congress; but laws founded in justice and humanity, shall from time to time be made for preventing wrongs being done to them, and for preserving peace and friendship with them.”
“Congress, I hereby propose that we instate the Indian Removal Act. All I need is land to move the Indians to- someplace where they won’t be in the way. I also need money to make treaties with them. If they agree to move West, we will pay them, and provide them with land in the West where they can live.”
As Americans moved West, the fact that the Native Americans could keep their land became very inconvenient for the New Americans. The New Americans wanted the land for farming, mining, and searching for gold. Also, the Native Americans were different. The New Americans did not really like the Native Americans’ culture. Many Native Americans trying to fit in with American culture, by learning to read and write, develop their own written languages, establishing governments similar to those of the United States, and even starting a plantation system with slavery. However, it was not enough. The New Americans still did not like the Native Americans, and wanted them to go. President Andrew Jackson was the one who thought of an immediate solutions to the problem.
President Andrew Jackson told Congress that he would only remove the Native Americans peaceably. There would be no war or violence. However, in spite of his promise, he used the military to kick Native Americans off of their land when they refused to move voluntarily.