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Kathrine Yeaw Blog Post 9/23

The reading in A People’s History of the United States, I was less surprised as I have been in past chapters. The reason for this could be because I’ve learned a lot about Indian Removal and the horrible things that happened on both sides. While I say I’ve learned about it, one of the most important parts (if not the most important) of the Indian removal is the role of Andrew Jackson, which I didn’t really know about until senior year of high school. Before that, I only knew him as the president who passed the Indian Removal Act, which in itself is already horrible. But, learning about the truly inhuman things he did or thought was normal for these Indians was shocking. The main reason for this shock was because, as Zinn says, he was “a national hero”. He was someone that was respected, and he was someone people looked up to, yet he did some really horrible things. I know now most people disagree with Jackson’s actions and do not like him, but was it the same when he was living? Although, Zinn mentions how Northerners were opposed to Indian Removal, so clearly some realized the horrible things Jackson wanted. What surprised me was how the Northerners eventually stopped caring, preoccupied with their own issues. 

Just like most other chapters in this book, it does not put the US in a very positive light, or at least who were supposed to be the leaders and representatives of the country. This chapter made me realize once again that there are so many things to not be very proud of in our history. Although, it also reminds me of how important it is to stand up for what we believe in and fight back when we need to. It makes me think back to the last chapter about women, because my life is different today because of a few women who spoke up, when they knew something was wrong. For the Indians, there seems as though there was no right thing to do, except try to speak up. If they signed the treaties and agreed to leave, the treaties were broken or they died while leaving, and if they tried to fight back, they lost their land and once again died. In this story, the oppressed didn’t gain anything back, the same way women and slaves eventually did. Like Zinn says in the first sentence “Indians were the most foreign, the most exterior”, which was in part the reason for being pushed out, because as history shows, we fear and push out things/people that are different from us.

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One Comment

  1. Sophia Peltzer Sophia Peltzer

    Your comment about Northerns forgetting about the plights of the Native Americans in the South because they became too preoccupied with their own issues stuck out to me. I think this is a pattern we can see emerge in many places in history – social justice and civil rights movements can only gain traction if unaffected, outside participants rally behind the hardships of an oppressed group and fight alongside them for their rights. If oppressed groups try to fight their fight on their own, they often end up being further beaten down by the people or the systems that work to oppress them in the first place. We can see this today with the Black Lives Matter movement – the movement gets the most traction and media attention when non-black people become just as outraged by the oppression and inequality as the black community fighting for their rights.

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