A Senator’s Resolve and the Destiny of Two Nations: A Reappraisal of New Jersey’s Theodore Frelinghuysen Role in the Cherokee Removal Debate of 1830
Throughout the first presidential administration of Andrew Jackson, debate over the removal of the Cherokee Nation from northern Georgia elected serious national controversy, with congressional rhetoric serving to document regional stances on the issue. While the executive actions of President Jackson and the Marshall Court's attempts to stymie Jackson are well-documented in prevailing historical narratives on the debate, the extent of congressional opposition to Jackson's Indian Removal Act remains less developed. Congressional records indicate that Senator Theodore Frelinghuysen of New Jersey occupied a crucial position as the U.S. Congress's main opponent to the Indian Removal Act; his debates on the floor of the U.S. Senate laid bare the extent of the regional divide over the issue, as the relatively-obscure New Jerseyan openly questioned Southern supporters of Jackson about the morality of forced deporation of Native American populations. Frelinghuysen did not beleive in equality between Whites and Native Americans, but he still maintained that Native Americans enjoyed rights greater than the Jackson Administration and his congressional allies were prepared to recognize.
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