American Manifest Destiny and the Genocide of the American Indian

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United States Manifest Destiny and the Genocide of the American Indian

Manifest Destiny is a phrase used to express the belief that the United States had a mission to expand its borders, thereby spreading its form of democracy and freedom. Originally a political catchphrase of the nineteenth-century, Manifest Destiny eventually became a standard historical term, often used as a synonym for the territorial expansion of the United States across North America towards the Pacific Ocean. The United States government believed that the Native Americans were a problem that was hindering Manifest Destiny from being fulfilled (or at the very least, used the idea of Manifest Destiny to gain land and resources the Indians possessed), and would do
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government to acquire Indian Territory. The Seminole nation in Florida, one of the tribes being targeted for removal to areas west of the Mississippi, violently resisted the acquisition. The ensuing war cost the U.S. upwards of twenty million dollars, and ended in the death of fifteen hundred American soldiers. In the end, almost three thousand Seminole had been relocated forcibly across the Mississippi, and countless others killed. This relocation was an idea that had already been proposed by previous U.S. presidents, as George H. Phillips points out in his book, Indians and Indian Agents (1997): “With the end of Seminole resistance, the goal of relocating eastern Indians to the west, suggested by Thomas Jefferson, proposed by James Monroe, and implemented by Andrew Jackson, largely had been achieved.” This goal of relocation, and the annihilation of Indians that would come along with it for years to come, was largely achieved as a direct result of U.S. President Andrew Jackson. In his first inaugural address, Andrew Jackson claims that under his administration the Indians would be treated justly: “It will be my sincere and constant desire to observe toward the Indian tribes within our limits a just and liberal policy, and to give that humane and
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