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Today in History - August 9

Andrew Jackson

On August 9, 1814, Major General Andrew Jackson, “Old Hickory,” signed the Treaty of Fort Jackson ending the Creek War. The agreement provided for the surrender of twenty-three million acres of Creek land to the United States. This vast territory encompassed more than half of present-day Alabama and part of southern Georgia.
Major General Andrew Jackson, [detail], Thomas Sully, artist, James Barton Longacre, engraver, Wm. H. Morgan, c 1820. Chronological List of Presidents, First Ladies, and Vice Presidents of the United States: Selected Images from the Collections of the Library of CongressPrints & Photographs Division
The war began on August 30, 1813, when a faction of Creeks known as the Red Sticks—because of their red war clubs—attacked American settlers at Fort Mims, near Lake Tensaw, Alabama, north of Mobile. This attack is considered a primary cause of the Creek War. In response, Jackson led a force of militiamen in the destruction of two Creek villages, Tallasahatchee and Talladega. On March 27, 1814, Jackson’s forces destroyed the Creek defenses at the Battle of Horseshoe Bend. More than 800 Creek warriors were killed defending their homeland. Tensions between the frontier settlers and the Creeks had been brewing since the Revolutionary Era. During the years preceding the Creek War, the Continental Congress received numerous reports on the status of Indian affairs in the South. The following excerpt, from a 1787 report, identifies settler greed as a major cause of the conflict:

An avaricious disposition in some of our people to acquire large tracts of land, and often by unfair means, appears to be the principal source of difficulties with the Indians…various pretences seem to be set up by the white people for making those settlements, which the Indians, tenacious of their rights, appear to be determined to oppose.

The committee consisting of Mr. Kearney, Mr. Carrington, Mr. Bingham, Mr. Smith, and Mr. Dane, to whom was referred the report…relative to Indian affairs in the Southern Department…,” 1787. Documents from the Continental Congress and the Constitutional Convention, 1774-1789

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