Date of Award


Document Type


Degree Name

Master of Arts (MA)




This study attempts to provide the tools necessary for an accurate formulation of Andrew Jackson's administrative policies regarding the removal of the Five Civilized Tribes to the west of the Mississippi River. Such an undertaking integrates the biographical material available on Jackson with the narrative data compiled on the removal of the tribes, in a manner that will promote better understanding of the justifications, politics, and personal biases of the individuals involved.

This paper challenges the predominant view that Jackson was guided by an ideological affinity for states' rights philosophy in his presidential relations with the Indians. Jackson was not guided by any single preeminent philosophy or doctrine, but a combination of forces which logically could have influenced the institution of Indian removal.

The format of this work is in two sections; the first section analyzes contradictions encountered in the states' rights explanation of Jackson's Indian policy. This is done in two parts, an investigation of his administrative activities concerning Indians, and the legal foundations of the states' rights argument. The second section of this study devotes itself to three of the logical alternatives to the states' rights theory; it does not, however, pretend to be an exhaustive list. The first of these alternatives points out the political advantages that accrued and that could have been predicted by Jackson's actions. The second alternative seeks to show the effects of the influence of economic forces on Jackson's decisions. The third alternative explores the importance of Manifest Destiny in the justification of Andrew Jackson's Indian policy.