Indigenous Birthrights

 We are the 1835-1850 American Indian Law Removal Act Survivors.

Carlson, Leonard & A. Roberts, Mark. (2006). Indian lands, “squatterism,” and slavery: Economic interests and the passage of the Indian Removal Act of 1830. Explorations in Economic History. 43. 486-504. 10.1016/j.eeh.2005.06.003. In May 1830, the U.S. House of Representatives narrowly passed the Indian Removal Act that authorized the president of the United States to exchange land west of the Mississippi River for Indian land in the east and appropriated $500,000 to assist tribes in the move west. Three days later the House also passed the Preemption Act of 1830, giving squatters a right of first refusal to purchase land they had occupied prior to its being opened for sale. In a recent paper, Kanazawa (1996) finds that the willingness of squatters to illegally occupy federal lands greatly raised the cost of enforcing property rights and this was a significant factor behind the passage of the first general Preemption Act in 1830. We build on his work to test the hypothesis that Congressmen who favored squatters’ rights would also favor moving Indian tribes out of the old southwest. A logit analysis of the vote on the Removal Act of 1830 shows three statistically significant variables. Democrats, representatives from slaveholding districts, and those who voted for preemption were more likely to vote for removal. Congressmen from slave states were very likely to favor both Acts, which stands in contrast to southern opposition to a homestead act in the late 1850s.