Monday, July 14, 2014

the last book I ever read (Martin Van Buren by Ted Widmer, excerpt six)

from Martin Van Buren: The American Presidents Series by Ted Widmer:

Van Buren offered more satisfaction to the South as he pursued a different Jacksonian legacy. Throughout his presidency he continued the brutal Indian removals that had freed up vast quantities of land in Jackson’s Southwest. Thousands of Cherokees were forced to march along the “Trail of Tears” from Georgia to Oklahoma, and the Seminoles in Florida were violently hunted down (their leader Osceola was tricked into capture with a false flag of truce). Van Buren dwelt in the lying pieties of the day when he reported to Congress that the government’s treatment of the Indians had been “directed by the best feelings of humanity.” One of his favorite nieces, an insubordinate teenager, told him she hoped he lost the election because of what he and Jackson had done to the natives.

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