Historical Question

Download 43.76 Kb.
Size43.76 Kb.

Historical Question:
Did President Andrew Jackson promote democracy for all?

Author: Deborah Bottaro

School: Cheshire High School

District: Cheshire

The idea democracy in our culture means “government by the people” and the supreme power of the government exists in the people through elected officials. A democracy is characterized by formal equality of rights and privileges. Democracy during the early 1800s was a fairly young idea and was accepted. People had moved away from the thinking that democracy would lead to possible chaos or anarchy as feared by some Americans during beginnings of the United States. By the late 1830s, the United States had become a full democracy for adult white males, but inequalities still existed. Poor people existed and it was wealth that helped gain “real” power. However, it was possible that people, other than slaves, could gain wealth and power during this time. It was thought that America offered opportunity. It’s been said that the time surrounding the presidency of Andrew Jackson democracy grew and expanded.

Document Summary:
Document 1 shows

Prior to the westward expansion, on December 6, 1830, President Jackson delivered to the United States Congress his position on Indian affairs in “President Andrew Jackson’s Message to Congress ‘On Indian Removal’ (1830)” In eight years Congress only passed one major law, the Indian Removal Act of 1830, at Jackson’s command.

Document 2 shows The Cherokee Phoenix, the first Native American newspaper, printed its first issue in February 1828 in the Cherokee town of New Echota, Georgia, and Elias Boudinot served as its editor. The newspaper’s circulation included Cherokee Indians and white people who supported the Cherokees. 30 percent of the content of the paper was printed in parallel columns of English and Cherokee.

Document 3 shows The Indian Removal Act of 1830 was meant to encourage Native Americans to voluntarily give up lands east of the Mississippi. President Jackson believed Native Americans were close to extinction and the only hope for survival was to move west so missionaries could continue their work of civilizing them.

Document 4 shows The Cherokee who did not support the New Echota Treaty, which stripped the tribe of their land and rights eventually led to the Trail of Tears. Chief John Ross ands other leaders of the Cherokee nation wrote a letter to Congress to protest the 1835 Treaty of New Echota. The Cherokee Indians, in particular, fought in court against the state of Georgia's attempts to take away their lands, and in 1832 the Supreme Court finally ruled in their favor. Georgia did not have authority over the Cherokee lands, the court said. Georgia ignored the Supreme Court ruling and continued taking land. President Jackson did nothing to enforce the ruling.

Document 5 shows a satirical cartoon in response to the passing of the 1830 Indian Removal Bill which would move the Indians to unoccupied lands west of the Mississippi River.

Document 6 shows The Jacksonian Era marked a period of unprecedented growth for the United States. Many Native American tribes were forced into removal agreements during this time and relocated west. By the 1830’s 100,000 Eastern Indians moved from their homes in the east.

Procedure (80 minutes):

  1. Introduction of lesson, objectives, overview of SAC procedure (15 minutes)

  1. SAC group assignments (30 minutes)

    1. Assign groups of four and assign arguments to each team of two.

    2. In each group, teams read and examine the Document Packet

    3. Each student completes the Preparation part of the Capture Sheet (#2), and works with their partner to prepare their argument using supporting evidence.

    4. Students should summarize your argument in #3.

  1. Position Presentation (10 minutes)

    1. Team 1 presents their position using supporting evidence recorded and summarized on the Preparation part of the Capture Sheet (#2 & #3) on the Preparation matrix. Team 2 records Team 1’s argument in #4.

    2. Team 2 restates Team 1’s position to their satisfaction.

    3. Team 2 asks clarifying questions and records Team 1’s answers.

    4. Team 2 presents their position using supporting evidence recorded and summarized on the Preparation part of the Capture Sheet (#2 & #3) on the Preparation matrix. Team 1 records Team 2’s argument in #4.

    5. Team 1 restates Team 2’s position to their satisfaction.

    6. Team 1 asks clarifying questions and records Team 2’s answers.

  1. Consensus Building (10 minutes)

    1. Team 1 and 2 put their roles aside.

    2. Teams discuss ideas that have been presented, and figure out where they can agree or where they have differences about the historical question

  1. Closing the lesson (15 minutes)

    1. Whole-group Discussion

    2. Make connection to unit

    3. Assessment (suggested writing activity addressing the question)

Document 1

Below is an excerpt from “President Andrew Jackson’s Message to Congress ‘On Indian Removal’ (1830)”. He delivered his message to Congress on December 6, 1830.

Doubtless it will be painful to leave the graves of their fathers; but what do they experience differently than our ancestors did or than our children are now doing? To better their condition in an unknown land our forefathers left all that was dear in earthly objects. Our children by thousands yearly leave the land of their birth to seek new homes in distant regions. Does Humanity weep at these painful separations from everything, animate and inanimate, with which the young heart has become entwined? Far from it. It is rather a source of joy that our country affords scope where our young population may range unconstrained in body or in mind, developing the power and facilities of man in their highest perfection. These remove hundreds and almost thousands of miles at their own expense, purchase the land they occupy, and support themselves at their new homes from the moment of their arrival. Can it be cruel in this Government when, by events which in can not control, the Indian is made discontented in his ancient home to purchase his lands, to give him a new and extensive territory, to pay the expense of his removal, and support him a year in his new abode? How many thousands of our own people would gladly embrace the opportunity of removing to the West on such conditions! If the offers made to the Indians were extended to them, they would be hailed with gratitude and joy.


Entwined: made contact

Scope: opportunity

Abode: a home

Source: Excerpt from President Andrew Jackson, President Andrew Jackson’s Message to Congress ‘On Indian Removal’, 1830. http://www.ourdocuments.gov/doc.php?doc=25

Document 2
Below is an excerpt from an editorial that was written by Elias Boudinot for the November 12, 1831 Cherokee Phoenix edition.

We have on more than one occasion remarked upon the difficulties which lie in the way of civilizing the Indians. Those difficulties have been fully developed in the history of the Cherokees within the last two years. They are such a people as no one can now mistake-their nature is fully revealed, and the source from whence they rise can no longer be a matter of doubt. They are not to be found in the ‘nature’ of the Indians, which a man in high authority once said was as difficult to change as the Leopard his spots. It is not because they are, of all others, the most degraded and ignorant that they have not been brought to enjoy the blessings of a civilized life. But it is because they have to contend with obstacles as numerous as they peculiar.


Degraded: not restrained by morality

Peculiar: Unusual

Source: http://www.cerritos.edu/soliver/Student Activites/Trail of Tears/web/boudinot.html

Document 3
The Indian Removal Act was signed into law by Andrew Jackson on May 28, 1830, authorizing the president to grant unsettled lands west of the Mississippi in exchange for Indian lands within existing state borders. Below is Section 5 of the Act.

SEC. 5. And be it further enacted, That upon the making of any such exchange as is contemplated by this act, it shall and may be lawful for the President to cause such aid and assistance to be furnished to the emigrants as may be necessary and proper to enable them to remove to, and settle in, the country for which they may have exchanged; and also, to give them such aid and assistance as may be necessary for their support and subsistence for the first year after their removal.


Emigrant: A person who leaves their native country

Exchange: replace with an equivalent

Subsistence: means of supporting life


Document 4

Chief John Ross and other leaders of the Cherokee nation wrote a letter to Congress to protest the 1835 Treaty of New Echota. The letter outlines the feelings of the Cherokee majority. An excerpt is below.

We are overwhelmed! Our hearts are sickened, our words paralized, when we reflect on the condition in which we are placed, by the audacious practices of unprincipled men, who have managed to deceive with so much dexterity as to impose on the Government of the United States, in the face of our earnest, solemn, and reiterated protestations.
The instrument in question is not the act of our Nation; we are not parties to its covenants; it has not received the sanction of our people. The makers of it sustain no office nor appointment in our Nation, under the designation of Chiefs, Head men, or any other title, by which they hold, or could acquire, authority to assume the reins of Government, and to make bargain and sale of our rights, our possessions, and our common country. And we are constrained solemnly to declare, that we cannot but contemplate the enforcement of the stipulations of this instrument on us, against our consent, as an act of injustice and oppression, which, we are well persuaded, can never knowingly be countenanced by the Government and people of the United States; nor can we believe it to be the design of these honorable and highminded individuals, who stand at the head of the Govt., to bind together a whole Nation, by the acts of a few unauthorized individuals. And, therefore, we, the parties to be affected by the result, appeal with confidence to the justice, the magnanimity, the compassion, of your honorable bodies, against the enforcement, on us, of the provisions of a compact, in the formation of which we have had no agency.


Audacious: extremely bold

Dexterity: mental cleverness

Earnest: serious intention, purpose or effort

Instrument: A means by which something is done

Covenant: An agreement

Countenanced: permit or tolerate

Magnanimity: generous in forgiving an insult or injury



Document 5

This political cartoon satirizes President Andrew Jackson's paternalistic and false compassion for the Indians.

satire: use of irony, sarcasm or ridicule

Paternalistic: governing individuals, nations, etc... in the manner of a father


Document 6

No states entered the Union during Jackson’s presidency until Arkansas (1836). The Indian Removal Act of 1830 extinguished Indian land titles east of the Mississippi leading to dramatic expansion.

http://www.us-census.org/states/map.htm - 1830


Don’t forget the rules of a successful academic controversy!

  1. Practice active listening.

  2. Challenge ideas, not each other

  3. Try your best to understand the other positions

  4. Share the floor: each person in a pair MUST have an opportunity to speak

  5. No disagreeing until consensus-building as a group of four

Did President Andrew Jackson promote democracy for all?


  1. Highlight your assigned position.

Yes: President Andrew Jackson promoted democracy for all.

No: President Andrew Jackson promoted democracy for the white man only.

  1. Read through each document searching for support for your side’s argument. Use the documents to fill in the chart (Hint: Not all documents support your side, find those that do):

    Document #

    What is the main idea of this document?

    What details support your position?

  2. Work with your partner to summarize your arguments for your position using the supporting documents you found above:

Position Presentation:

  1. You and your partner will present your position to your opposing group members. When you are done, you will then listen to your opponents’ position.

While you are listening to your opponents’ presentation, write down the main details that they present here:

Clarifying questions I have for the opposing partners:

How they answered the questions:

Consensus Building:

  1. Put your assigned roles aside. Where does your group stand on the question? Where does your group agree? Where does your group disagree? Your consensus answer does not have to be strictly yes, or no.

We agree:

We disagree:

Our final consensus:

Download 43.76 Kb.

Share with your friends:

The database is protected by copyright ©vi.originaldll.com 2023
send message

    Main page