Monday, November 25, 2013

Andrew Jackson: Democratic or Not?

Andrew Jackson The Great Father of The Indians
This painting is a satire on the removal of indians during the Jackson administration. The controversy of Indian Removal first arose when the Americans were "running out of room" in the east. The American leaders, including President Jackson believed that they needed to expand to the west in order for the United states to continue to grow. Jackson also said that America would be better off with white people throughout, instead of the "savages" (native americans) who currently live there. Andrew Jackson tells the indians that it would be in their best interests to leave where they are and head farther west. He tells them that the migration would be voluntary, but in reality he forces them to leave. Some tribes that refuse to leave have to be shut out and destroyed by Jackson. However, from the point of view of the indians, specifically the Cherokee, this is an unfair proposal. They have already taken many steps to integrate into the American society, and they have not broken any laws or infringed on other people's rights. They wish to remain on the lands that their ancestors have lived on for countless generations. Finally, they raise the point that the land in the west will be unsuitable for the Cherokee lifestyle, and they will be in danger. However, Jackson is ignorant of this fact, and forces the indians to leave along the "trail of tears." Along this "trail of tears," over 2000 Cherokees died, and they were forced to walk hundreds of miles. Throughout this whole ordeal, Jackson claimed that he was acting like the "Great white father" to the natives. It is unclear whether he was delusional in thinking that he was helping the natives, or if he was just trying to maintain his democratic image with the American people.
This artist seems to be portraying Jackson in exactly the way that Jackson thinks he is treating the indian people. However, the scene is so childish, that it seems that the artist is poking fun at Jackson's idea of being a "Great father" to the indians. In my opinion, Andrew Jackson definitely does not deserve the "people's president" reputation that he has. He treated the Cherokees and other indian groups brutally, and essentially deported them to a strange land. Although this may have been good for the whites of America, a true democracy includes everyone, and is fair and equal to all. This was clearly not the case in Jacksonian America.

No comments:

Post a Comment