The Longue Durée of Choctaw Removal, 1800-1860
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[ACCESS RESTRICTED TO THE UNIVERSITY OF MISSOURI--COLUMBIA AT REQUEST OF AUTHOR.] Historians have long considered Indian removal to be a product of Andrew Jackson's Presidency (1829-1837). They point to the Indian Removal Act (1830), the Cherokee's legal struggles, and their final violent expulsion from Georgia. In these renderings, the story is quick, violent, and most of all successful. At all levels, this is a story of a developing conflict between the federal government and native peoples, with both sides given a unanimity of purpose and desires. This project takes a radically different understanding of removal, challenging both the limited temporal bounds and the myopic focus on the Cherokee tribe by examining the Choctaws' experience in Mississippi. The locality of the process is stressed: neither federal agents nor Choctaws pursued a consistent policy through the process. Removal was messier, convoluted, and at times contradictory, all as a result of the decentralised policies of the federal government and the Choctaws efforts to mitigate them. Chapter one shows the varied federal policies in the years before removal began and concludes that two distinct American ambitions for the tribe emerged in the period. Chapter two examines the first efforts of forced removal between 1831 and 1833, emphasising the ways in which Choctaws turned the situation to their own advantage. Chapter three considers the various legal methods that the Choctaw used to stay in Mississippi long after the federal government had considered removal "accomplished". Finally, chapter four considers the privatised efforts at removing the holdouts from the state, showing Mississippi to be the true driver of removal.
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