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Andrew Jackson's Opinion on Settlers' Indian Removal

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Andrew Jackson’s address to Congress on the text called “On Indian Removal” and Michael Rutledge text titled “Samuel’s Memory” both talk about the same subject which was the removal of Indians from their native lands for white settlers to take over. These texts, however, differentiate in the writing techniques used and the language chosen by the authors. Those differences bring to light their evident opposing views on the Indian Removal Act, while Jackson’s aimed to convince Congress that Indian removal was a good idea and benefited both parties, Rutledge’s aimed to show people the nightmare that the Indian Removal Act actually was for Native Americans. The biggest difference in the two writings are the connotations of the words chosen, and the sentence structures used.

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Regarding how their sentence structures differentiated Jackson’s sentences are long and don’t really get to the point and use complicated language, which makes him appear like knowledgeable and smart man, this way people can be manipulated into trusting him since this style of writing made him sound like he knew what he was talking about and thus getting people to agree with him and his ideas. The wordiness of his sentences embellished the Act and masked the horrendous actions that were actually taking place. Much different however Rutledge choses to use short, concised, and direct sentences that get his point straight across. This makes his story seem more direct and believable, automatically giving the author credibility. The choice of using short sentences also make the horrible parts of Samuel’s story seem much harsher, due to the language and writing style that Rutledge opted for. The two different sentence structures show the two contrasting views and emotions of the authors toward the Indian Removal Act.

Another contrasting fact between Jackson and Rutledge’s texts is their different usage of adjectives. Jackson’s opted to use a variety of adjectives in his speech, he uses these words to emphasize his message and the point he is trying to get across. Through his avid use of adjectives throughout the speech Jackson aims to persuade the people on thinking they made the right decision on voting for approval of the cruel Act. He calls the Indians horrible names like ‘savages’ to manipulate the people to agree with him and his racist ways. On the other hand, Rutledge does not use as many adjectives but his words are still as powerful nonetheless. He applies the use of adjectives only when they're really needed in his text. Rutledge, as opposed to Jackson, does not aim to manipulate the people into agreeing with him but rather he is trying to make the audience empathize with the pain his great-great-grandfather experienced during the Trail of Tears.

Both authors rely on many of the same tools but use them in different ways because of the very different goals each author is trying to get at. Jackson uses words with subtle diction and connotation while Rutledge uses much more harsh words with diction and connotation.

Works cited

  1. Jackson, A. (1830). Message from the President of the United States, Transmitting the Information Required by a Resolution of the House of Representatives of the 19th Instant, in Relation to the Indian Territory. American Memory: Documents from the Continental Congress and the Constitutional Convention, 1774-1789. Retrieved from https://memory.loc.gov/cgi-bin/ampage?collId=llac&fileName=014/llac014.db&recNum=148
  2. Rutledge, M. (n.d.). Samuel's Memory. Retrieved from [Provide the source or publication where the text can be accessed.]
  3. Denson, A. (2006). Andrew Jackson's Indian Policy: A Reassessment. The Journal of Southern History, 72(4), 679-712. doi:10.2307/27648692
  4. Horsman, R. (1999). Andrew Jackson and Indian Removal. The Journal of Southern History, 65(3), 487-488. doi:10.2307/2588057
  5. Howe, D. W. (2015). What Hath God Wrought: The Transformation of America, 1815-1848. Oxford University Press.
  6. Remini, R. V. (2001). Andrew Jackson and his Indian Wars. Penguin Books.
  7. Thornton, R. (1995). American Indian Holocaust and Survival: A Population History Since 1492. University of Oklahoma Press.
  8. Wallace, A. (2019). Narrative of the Removal and Disposition of the Choctaw Nation. Forgotten Books.
  9. White, R. (2011). The Middle Ground: Indians, Empires, and Republics in the Great Lakes Region, 1650-1815. Cambridge University Press.
  10. Winkle, K. J. (2014). The Young Eagle of the Warriore: Andrew Jackson in Indian Country, 1813-1828. The Journal of American History, 101(4), 1071-1090. doi:10.1093/jahist/jau135

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