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Indian Removal Act (1830)

This law, signed by President Andrew Jackson, gave the president the power to negotiate treaties with American Indian tribes east of the Mississippi River in order to move the Indians west and open lands in Georgia and Mississippi to white settlement. Indians who did not wish to relocate would become citizens of their home state. The War Department offered protection from white squatters and looters to the Indians who stayed, but frequently neglected that promise.

The Indian Removal Act and the subsequent forced removal of tens of thousands of people from their native lands, including the 1838 forced removal of thousands of Cherokee known as the Trail of Tears, challenged American constitutional principles and values including equalityintegrityjusticemajority rule versus minority rights, and respect.