Celebrating American Independence, President Andrew Jackson, and Mt. Rushmore
By Cliff Kincaid – July 3, 2020
It was a highlight when I received the Andrew Jackson "Champion of Liberty" Award from Howard Phillips and the U.S. Taxpayers Alliance on September 17, 2008. The award was given on the Conservative Caucus 8th annual commemoration of Constitution Day. Today, President Jackson is supposed to be a villain, as communist agitators tried to take down his statue in Lafayette Park near the White House, calling him a “killer” for removing Indians from areas of conflict in the new America to federal safe zones or havens for their own protection. Jackson offered the Indians federal protection and became the legal guardian to a Native American orphan Jackson found in battle.
The agitators didn’t succeed in taking down the statue, since federal police arrived in time to prevent that, but the communists did vandalize it.
Jackson and his supporters founded the modern Democratic Party and his policies on the Indians were considered benevolent at the time. For many years, before it became politically incorrect, there were Jefferson-Jackson Day fundraising dinners, named for Thomas Jefferson and Andrew Jackson, which were sponsored by the Democratic Party.
Today, Democratic Party officials and candidates hate Jackson. The former Democratic Party presidential candidate, New Ager Marianne Williamson, had promised to remove the Andrew Jackson painting from the Oval Office, referring to the federal government’s “historic mistreatment of America’s original inhabitants,” citing the Indian Removal Act in 1830. The Indians were removed, but for their own good, to avoid more Indian deaths in the long run.
Indeed, as Robert Remini writes in his book on Jackson, “The Trail of Tears was a terrible price to pay for this legislation but, as Jackson predicted, the Cherokee, Chickasaw, Creek, Chocraws, and Seminole tribes are alive today. They were not annihilated like the Yamassee, Mokawks and Pequote, and other eastern tribes.” In his book on Jackson, Sean Wilentz confirms this, writing, “In completing the removal of the Indians to what he considered a safe haven, Jackson may well have spared them the obliteration that had been the fate of many northeastern tribes.”
Her mind clouded by esoteric New Age ideas, Marianne Williamson and other fashionable thinkers must think that the European-Americans who settled in the United States encountered back-to-nature natives at home with Mother Earth.
As we (most of us) celebrate American independence, let’s read that sacred document, the Declaration of Independence, especially the section that says: “He [King George III] has excited domestic insurrections amongst us, and has endeavored to bring on the inhabitants of our frontiers, the merciless Indian Savages, whose known rule of warfare, is an undistinguished destruction, of all ages, sexes and conditions.”
This passage was once labeled “hate speech” by Facebook.
Clearly, the British-backed Indian attacks on the Americans were a factor in the cause of independence. Our founders understood that some of these “savages” were ruthless killers fighting for the British against the American revolutionaries.
An honest rendition of American history shows that Indians hostile to the revolution raided white settlements, murdering men, women, and children. The barbaric practice of scalping was so common by the Indians that some forts had people who specialized in treating scalped heads. One of the scalping treatments was called “pegging.”
The dissertation, “Andrew Jackson and the Indians, 1767-1815,” includes some important hard-to-find information about this period, citing one case in which Indians scalped several settlers, “stripped them naked, roasted their bodies, and ate the men, then took the scalps back through the Chickamauga towns to show off as war trophies.”
Indians Owned Slaves
Another part of relevant history, frequently overlooked, is that Indian tribes owned slaves. One tribe, the Chickasaws, owned over a thousand black slaves, as noted by David S. Reynolds, the author of Waking Giant: America in the Age of Jackson. The Cherokees owned two thousand black slaves. In fact, one Indian expert noted that the so-called “Five Civilized Tribes” -- Cherokee, Chickasaw, Choctaw, Creek and Seminole – “were deeply committed to slavery, established their own racialized black codes, immediately reestablished slavery when they arrived in Indian territory, rebuilt their nations with slave labor, crushed slave rebellions, and enthusiastically sided with the Confederacy in the Civil War.”
Although they lost the Indian wars and were on the losing side in the Civil War, they were able to use the American constitutional system on their own behalf. Some tribes went before the U.S. Supreme Court, arguing unsuccessfully (Cherokee Nation v. State of Georgia) that they were independent nations on American soil. However, in another case, Worcester v. Georgia, the Court ruled that the Cherokees were “a distinct community” exempt from state laws. Jackson was said to have reacted by saying “Justice [John] Marshall has made his decision. Now let him enforce it.”
Such a statement demonstrated his grit. Gaining new lands for America, Jackson fought the Indians, the British and the Spanish. As president, he vetoed a national bank under the control of private interests and paid off the national debt. He rooted out corruption and replaced government bureaucrats not serving the people.
In making the case for the Indian Removal Act in his First Annual Message to Congress on December 8, 1829, Jackson asked, “…is it supposed that the wandering savage has a stronger attachment to his home than the settled, civilized Christian?” It sounds harsh, in retrospect, but European-Americans had left their own homelands to start a new life, too. Jackson tried to resolve the Indian Wars in a peaceful manner, negotiating treaties with some tribes, but when others resisted, conflict broke out.
Arguing for a “progressive” solution to the Indian problem, he told Congress, “The waves of population and civilization are rolling to the westward, and we now propose to acquire the countries occupied by the red men of the South and West by a fair exchange, and, at the expense of the United States, to send them to a land where their existence may be prolonged and perhaps made perpetual.” One can argue with the end result, but it was his determination to end the clashes between the white settlers and the Indians, saving many of the Indians in the process.
Author David S. Reynolds notes, “Altogether, over forty-five thousand Indians moved west under Jackson’s policies – with a similar number designated for late removal – at the expense of $68 million of public funds and perhaps around thirteen thousand deaths among the natives.”
Modern Indian Agitation
The term “red men,” used by Jackson and others, is today controversial, just like the “Redskins” name for the Washington, D.C. NFL team, is considered by the Washington Post and its communist allies to be “offensive” these days. But “Redskins” is an acknowledgement of their fighting ability.
Tragically, as with the case of the George Floyd death, the communists are exploiting the “Redskins” controversy and the plight of the Indians, with one Marxist group, the Party for Socialism and Liberation, actually running the incarcerated Leonard Peltier as its 2020 vice presidential candidate. He was a member of the American Indian Movement now serving two consecutive life sentences for the execution-style murders of FBI Special Agents Jack Coler and Ronald Williams in 1975. The communists consider Peltier a "political prisoner," a label he originally acquired through a sophisticated Soviet propaganda campaign on his behalf. The No Parole Peltier Association (NPPA) exists to keep him in prison.
However, the National Congress of American Indians has sought Peltier’s release.
To guard against attempts to alter or destroy Mount Rushmore, also considered “offensive” by some radical Indian groups, Representative Dusty Johnson (R-SD) introduced the Mount Rushmore Protection Act, in order to “prohibit the use of federal funds to alter, change, destroy or remove the likeness, the name of, or any of the faces on the Mount Rushmore National Memorial.” Radical Indian groups circulated a meme showing the faces on Mount Rushmore (Presidents George Washington, Thomas Jefferson, Theodore Roosevelt and Abraham Lincoln) being blown to bits. The Democratic Party has said that Mount Rushmore “glorifies white supremacy.”
Democrats didn’t always talk this way about American presidents.
In his foreword to Remini’s book on Jackson, General Wesley K. Clark, a prominent Democrat, called America’s seventh president a great military hero. Although he was not without controversy and had personality flaws, Clark said Jackson’s “military prowess, proved on half a dozen battlefields, makes him one of our greatest generals and strategic force in the shaping of modern America.”
Former Democratic Virginia Senator Jim Webb called Jackson “one of our great presidents,” explaining, “A product of the Scots-Irish migration from war-torn Ulster into the Appalachian Mountains, his father died before he was born. His mother and both brothers died in the Revolutionary War, where he himself became a wounded combat veteran by age 13.” He noted, “On the battlefield he was unbeatable, not only in the Indian Wars, which were brutally fought with heavy casualties on both sides, but also in his classic defense of New Orleans during the War of 1812. His defense of the city (in which he welcomed free blacks as soldiers in his army) dealt the British army its most lopsided defeat until the fall of Singapore in 1942.”
Webb said Jackson “became the very face of the New America, focusing on intense patriotism and the dignity of the common man.” For this reason and others, President Trump has cited Jackson as one of his heroes while visiting the Jackson home The Hermitage in 2017 and giving a speech in his honor. In his remarks, Trump quoted Jackson as saying about the elites in his day, “The rich and powerful too often bend the acts of government to their selfish purposes.”
Under the Obama administration, however, the Treasury Department recommended that Andrew Jackson’s image be taken off the $20 bill. Trump Treasury Secretary Steve Mnuchin has wisely delayed that change.
Andrew Jackson’s Farewell Address highlighted the plight of the Indians, referring to their “unhappy race” and being “the original dwellers in our land” but now “in a situation where we may well hope that they will share in the blessings of civilization.” He said their removal had placed them “beyond the reach of injury or oppression.”
He concluded, “I thank God that my life has been spent in a land of liberty and that He has given me a heart to love my country with the affection of a son.”
Let’s hope that when the communists return to Lafayette Square, to threaten once again to topple the Jackson statue, that they will be met with the force of law.
Perhaps President Trump should propose a “Communist Removal Act.” They could be sent to Cuba, where the Black Lives Matter hero, cop-killer Assata Shakur, is living.