The Long, Bitter Trail: Andrew Jackson and the Indians (A Critical Issue Series)

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The Hill and Wang Critical Issues Series: concise, affordable works on pivotal topics in American history, society, and politics.

This account of Congress's Indian Removal Act of 1830 focuses on the plight of the Indians of the Southeast—Cherokees, Creeks, Choctaws, Chickasaws, and Seminoles—who were forced to leave their ancestral lands and relocate to what is now the state of Oklahoma. Revealing Andrew Jackson's central role in the government's policies, Wallace examines the racist attitudes toward Native Americans that led to their removal and, ultimately, their tragic fate.

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Editorial Reviews

From the Publisher
"This informative, insightful, and sobering study deserves the attention of all who would understand American Indian policy, not just in Jackson's period but in our own."—Howard Lamar, Yale University

"Lucidly written, free of professional jargon, and a good synthesis of Jacksonian Indian policy and the Native American response."—R. David Edmunds, Journal of American History

"In this splendid little book, Anthony F.C. Wallace surveys the making and the legacy of a monumental tragedy, as seen from all sides. Wallace's exactness, concision, and calmness of tone render his account all the more powerful and instructive."—Sean Wilentz, Princeton University

Publishers Weekly - Publisher's Weekly
Wallace, who won a Bancroft Prize in 1978 for Rockdale: The Growth of an American Village , turns to Native American history in this retelling of the story of the Trail of Tears. This refers to the forced removal in the 1830s of thousands of Indians, particularly the Cherokee and the Choctaw, from the American east to west of the Mississippi River. The author expands his focus to examine the relocation of numerous Indian groups. Central to the story is Andrew Jackson, who assumed the presidency confronted with a government divided over the question of Indian removal and who soon became one of its major proponents. Responses of the Natives ranged from legal action and ultimate resignation on the part of some to warfare on the part of the Seminole. In a concluding chapter, Wallace shows how the effects of removal continue to the present day. All of this is told in a straightforward manner. Although he points to certain well-known white historians who give short shrift to this history, he overstates the uniqueness of his study. While it is a good introduction to the topic, this volume is far from the only modern historical treatment. Two documentary appendixes will be helpful to readers new to the subject. (July)
Library Journal
The Indians, not Jackson, are the chief focus of this excellent account of the five ``civilized tribes'' being forced west with the Indian Removal Act of 1830. Wallace succinctly traces the evolution of the government's Indian policies from colonial days to this removal. It was Jackson's actions--or lack of them--that forced the westward migration. Wallace paints an uncomplimentary picture of a man driven by politics, land hunger, and profit who justified his ambitions as a desire to save the Indians from extinction. Wallace's work compares favorably with Ronald N. Satz's critical study, American Indian Policy in the Jacksonian Era (1975), and contrasts sharply with Francis Paul Prucha's favorable treatment in The Great Father: The United States and the American Indian (Univ. of Nebraska Pr . , 1984. 2 vols). This sobering study is essential for people wanting a terse description of the Indians' trek over the ``Long, Bitter Trail.''-- Richard Hedlund, Ashland Community Coll., Ky.
School Library Journal
YA-The Indian Removal Act of 1830 summarily dismissed the rights of Native Americans to their homelands east of the Mississippi and mandated their relocation to the wilds of the Oklahoma plains. The infamous Trail of Tears is indeed a riveting tale of political expediency, greed, and sorrow. In this book, Wallace recounts in a balanced and clear manner the influences that gave rise to a governmental policy that regulated the disenfranchisement of Native peoples within American boundaries. The author carefully traces the movement and activities of the Cherokees, Creeks, Choctaws, Chickasaws, and Seminoles through the Trail of Tears to their eventual destinations and fortunes. While almost scholarly in tone, the calm and precise narrative remains arresting because of the strength of its subject matter.-Carol Beall, Immanuel Christian School, Springfield, VA
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780809015528
  • Publisher: Farrar, Straus and Giroux
  • Publication date: 7/1/1993
  • Series: Critical Issue Series
  • Pages: 144
  • Sales rank: 598,482
  • Product dimensions: 5.49 (w) x 8.22 (h) x 0.42 (d)

Meet the Author

Anthony F.C. Wallace is a professor of history and anthropology at the University of Pennsylvania. He is the author of many books, including Rockdale, which won the Bancroft Prize in 1978. He lives in Pennsylvania.

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Sort by: Showing 1 Customer Reviews
  • Posted October 5, 2009

    more from this reviewer

    I Also Recommend:

    Great exploration of politics to justify the Trail of Tears

    Wallace is almost too balanced in discussing the US political and social landscape that required continual land expansion and the expropriation of Native American land.
    Great analysis of the scholarly efforts and cultural explanations developed by nascent anthropologists and government officials to justify such land grabs by declaring the land could not properly 'used' by the nations of the Southeast; therefore Native Americans should be removed so that the 'proper' agricultural system could be established.
    Wallace does not focus on personalizing the removal to Andrew Jackson, but describes the developing US as constantly buying internal social peace thru expansion onto Native American land.

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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