Andrew Jackson’s Message to Congress Concerning the Indian Removal Act of 1830

by Tim Bailey
View a copy of Jackson’s Message to Congress
in the Gilder Lehrman Collection by clicking here.
For additional resources click here.

Unit Objective

This unit is part of Gilder Lehrman’s series of Common Core State Standards–based teaching resources. These units were written to enable students to understand, summarize, and analyze original texts of historical significance. Students will demonstrate this knowledge by writing summaries of selections from the original document and, by the end of the unit, articulating their understanding of the complete document by answering questions in an argumentative writing style to fulfill the Common Core State Standards. Through this step-by-step process, students will acquire the skills to analyze any primary or secondary source material.

While the unit is intended to flow over a five-day period, it is possible to present and complete the material within a shorter time frame. For example, in a high school class or advanced middle school group, the first and second lessons can be used to ensure an understanding of the process with all of the activity completed in class on day one. The teacher can then assign lessons three and four as homework. The concluding lesson five could be completed in class on day two.

Lesson 1

Objective

Students will be asked to “read like a detective” and gain a clear understanding of the content of President Jackson’s statement on Indian Removal from his Annual Message of 1830. Through reading and analyzing the original text, the students will know what is explicitly stated, draw logical inferences, and demonstrate these skills by writing a succinct summary and then restating that summary in the student’s own words. In the first lesson this will be facilitated by the teacher and done as a whole-class lesson.

Introduction

Tell the students that they will be learning what President Andrew Jackson said about the Indian Removal Act in his 1830 message to Congress by reading and understanding Jackson’s own words. Resist the temptation to put the statement into too much context. Remember, we are trying to let the students discover what Jackson had to say and then let them develop ideas based solely on his words.

Materials

Procedure

  1. All students are given a copy of Jackson’s statement on Indian Removal and are asked to read it silently to themselves.
  2. The teacher then “share reads” the excerpt with the students. This is done by having the students follow along silently while the teacher begins reading aloud. The teacher models prosody, inflection, and punctuation. The teacher then asks the class to join in with the reading after a few sentences while the teacher continues to read along with the students, still serving as the model for the class. This technique will support struggling readers as well as English Language Learners (ELL).
  3. The teacher explains that the students will be analyzing the first part of the statement today and that they will be learning how to do in-depth analysis for themselves. All students are given a copy of Summary Organizer #1. This contains the first selection from Jackson’s statement on the Indian Removal Act.
  4. The teacher puts a copy of Summary Organizer #1 on display in a format large enough for all of the class to see (an overhead projector, Elmo projector, or similar device). Explain that today the whole class will be going through this process together.
  5. Explain that the objective is to select “Key Words” from the first section and then use those words to create a summary sentence that demonstrates an understanding of what Jackson was saying in the first paragraph.
  6. Guidelines for selecting the Key Words: Key Words are very important contributors to understanding the text. Without them the selection would not make sense. These words are usually nouns or verbs. Don’t pick “connector” words (are, is, the, and, so, etc.). The number of Key Words depends on the length of the original selection. This selection is 155 words so we can pick seven or eight Key Words. The other Key Words rule is that we cannot pick words if we don’t know what they mean. As the class begins selecting Key Words, there will be opportunities to teach students how to use context clues, word analysis, and dictionary skills to discover word meanings
  7. Students will now select seven or eight words from the text that they believe are Key Words and write them in the box to the right of the text on their organizer.
  8. The teacher surveys the class to find out what the most popular choices were. The teacher can either tally this or just survey by a show of hands. Using this vote and some discussion the class should, with guidance from the teacher, decide on seven or eight Key Words. For example, let’s say that the class decides on the following words: announce, benevolent policy (Technically these are two words, but you can allow such things if it makes sense to do so.), removal, Indians, advantages, United States, danger, and savage hunters. Now, no matter which words the students had previously selected, have them write the words agreed upon by the class or chosen by you into the Key Words box in the organizer.
  9. The teacher explains that, using these Key Words, the class will write a sentence that rsummarizes what Jackson was saying. This should be a whole-class discussion-and-negotiation process. For example, “I would like to announce a benevolent policy for the removal of the Indians with advantages for the United States and the savage hunters.” You might find that the class decides they don’t need the some of the words to make it even more streamlined. This is part of the negotiation process. The final negotiated sentence is copied into the organizer in the third section under the original text and Key Words sections.
  10. The teacher explains that students will now restate the summary sentence in their own words, not having to use Jackson’s words. Again, this is a class discussion-and-negotiation process. For example, “I want to talk about a way to move the Indians that’s good for us and them.”
  11. Wrap-up: Discuss vocabulary that the students found confusing or difficult. If you choose, you could have students use the back of their organizers to make a note of these words and their meanings.

Lesson 2

Objective

Students will be asked to “read like a detective” and gain a clear understanding of the content of President Jackson’s statement on Indian Removal from his Annual Message of 1830. Through reading and analyzing the original text, the students will know what is explicitly stated, draw logical inferences, and demonstrate these skills by writing a succinct summary and then restating that summary in the student’s own words. In the second lesson the students will work with partners and in small groups.

Introduction

Tell the students that they will be further exploring what Andrew Jackson was writing about in the second selection from his statement on the Indian Removal Act by reading and understanding Jackson’s words and then being able to tell, in their own words, what he wrote. Today they will be working with partners and in small groups.

Materials

Procedure

  1. All students are given the excerpted copy of Jackson’s statement on Indian Removal and are asked to read it silently to themselves.
  2. The students and teacher discuss what they did yesterday and what they decided was the meaning of the first selection.
  3. The teacher then “share reads” the second selection with the students.
  4. The teacher explains that the class will be analyzing the second part of Jackson’s statement on Indian Removal today. All students are given a copy of Summary Organizer #2. This contains the second selection from Jackson’s Annual Message.
  5. The teacher puts a copy of Summary Organizer #2 on display in a format large enough for all of the class to see (an overhead projector, Elmo projector, or similar device). Explain that today they will be going through the same process as yesterday but as partners and small groups.
  6. Explain that the objective is still to select “Key Words” from the second paragraph and then use those words to create a summary sentence that demonstrates an understanding of what Jackson was writing about in that selection.
  7. The guidelines for selecting Key Words are the same as they were yesterday. However, because this paragraph is longer (207 words), they can pick nine to ten Key Words.
  8. Pair the students up and have them negotiate which Key Words to select. After they have decided on their words both students will write them in the Key Words box of the organizer.
  9. The teacher now puts two pairs together. These two pairs go through the same discussion-and-negotiation process to come up with their Key Words. Be strategic in how you make your groups to ensure the most participation by all group members.
  10. The teacher now explains that by using these Key Words the group will build a sentence that summarizes what Andrew Jackson was saying. This is done by the group negotiating with its members on how best to build that sentence. Try to make sure that everyone is contributing to the process. It is very easy for one student to take control of the entire process and for the other students to let them do so. All of the students should write their negotiated sentence into their organizer.
  11. The teacher asks for the groups to share out the summary sentences they have created. This should start a teacher-led discussion that points out the qualities of the various attempts. How successful were the groups at understanding Jackson’s text and were they careful to only use Jackson’s Key Words in doing so?
  12. The teacher explains that now the group will restate their summary sentence in their own words, not having to use Jackson’s words. Again, this is a group discussion-and-negotiation process. After they have decided on a sentence it should be written into their organizer. Again, the teacher should have the groups share out and discuss the clarity and quality of the groups’ attempts.
  13. Wrap-up: Discuss vocabulary that the students found confusing or difficult. If you choose, you could have students use the back of their organizers to make a note of these words and their meanings.

Lesson 3

Objective

Students will be asked to “read like a detective” and gain a clear understanding of the content of President Jackson’s statement on Indian Removal from his Annual Message of 1830. Through reading and analyzing the original text, the students will know what is explicitly stated, draw logical inferences, and demonstrate these skills by writing a succinct summary and then restating that summary in the student’s own words. In this lesson the students will be working individually unless you think that they need another day of additional support from a partner or small group.

Introduction

Tell the students that they will be further exploring what Andrew Jackson was saying in the third selection from his statement on the Indian Removal Act by reading and understanding Jackson’s words and then being able to tell, in their own words, what he wrote. Today they will be working by themselves on their summaries unless you have decided otherwise.

Materials

Procedure

  1. All students are given an excerpted copy of Jackson’s statement on Indian Removal and are asked to read it silently to themselves.
  2. The students and teacher discuss what they did yesterday and what they decided was the meaning of the first and second selections.
  3. The teacher then “share reads” the third selection with the students.
  4. The teacher explains that the class will be analyzing the third selection from Jackson’s statement today. All students are given a copy of Summary Organizer #3. This contains the third selection from the Annual Message.
  5. The teacher puts a copy of Summary Organizer #3 on display in a format large enough for all of the class to see (an overhead projector, Elmo projector, or similar device). Explain that today they will be going through the same process as yesterday, but they will be working by themselves.
  6. Explain that the objective is still to select “Key Words” from the third paragraph and then use those words to create a summary sentence that demonstrates an understanding of what Jackson was writing about in that selection.
  7. The guidelines for selecting these words are the same as they were yesterday. However, because this paragraph is longer (220 words) than either of the first two, they can pick up to ten Key Words.
  8. Have the students decide which Key Words to select. After they have chosen their words they will write them in the Key Words box of the organizer.
  9. The teacher now explains that, using these Key Words, the student will build a sentence that summarizes what Jackson was saying. They should write their summary sentence into their organizer.
  10. The teacher explains that now they will restate the summary sentence in their own words, not having to use Jackson’s words. This should be added to the organizer.
  11. The teacher now asks for students to share out the summary sentences they have created. This should start a teacher-led discussion that points out the qualities of the various attempts. How successful were the students at understanding what Jackson was saying?
  12. Wrap-up: Discuss vocabulary that the students found confusing or difficult. If you choose, you could have students use the back of their organizers to make a note of these words and their meanings.

Lesson 4

Objective

Students will be asked to “read like a detective” and gain a clear understanding of the content of President Jackson’s statement on Indian Removal from his Annual Message of 1830. Through reading and analyzing the original text, the students will know what is explicitly stated, draw logical inferences, and demonstrate these skills by writing a succinct summary and then restating that summary in the student’s own words. In this lesson the students will be working individually.

Introduction

Tell the students that they will be further exploring what Andrew Jackson was writing about in the fourth section of his statement on the Indian Removal Act by reading and understanding Jackson’s words and then being able to tell, in their own words, what he wrote. Today they will be working by themselves on their summaries.

Materials

Procedure

  1. All students are given an excerpted copy of Jackson’s statement on Indian Removal and are asked to read it silently to themselves.
  2. The students and teacher discuss what they did yesterday and what they decided was the meaning of the first, second, and third selections.
  3. The teacher then “share reads” the fourth selection with the students.
  4. The teacher explains that the class will be analyzing the fourth selection from Jackson’s statement on Indian Removal today. All students are given a copy of Summary Organizer #4. This contains the fourth selection from the Annual Message.
  5. The teacher puts a copy of Summary Organizer #4 on display in a format large enough for all of the class to see (an overhead projector, Elmo projector, or similar device). Explain that today they will be going through the same process as yesterday and they will again be working by themselves.
  6. Explain that the objective is still to select “Key Words” from the fourth paragraph and then use those words to create a summary sentence that demonstrates an understanding of what Jackson was saying in this last selection.
  7. The guidelines for selecting Key Words are the same as they were yesterday. Because this selection is fairly long (197 words) they can again select nine to ten Key Words.
  8. Have the students decide which Key Words to select and write them in the Key Words box of the organizer.
  9. The teacher now explains that by using these Key Words they will build a sentence that summarizes what Jackson was saying. The students should write their summary sentences into the organizer.
  10. The teacher explains that now they will restate their summary sentence in their own words, not having to use Jackson’s words. This should be added to their organizer.
  11. The teacher now asks for students to share out the summary sentences that they have created. This should start a teacher-led discussion that points out the qualities of the various attempts. How successful were the students at understanding what Jackson was saying?
  12. Wrap-up: Discuss vocabulary that the students found confusing or difficult. If you choose you could have students use the back of their organizers to make a note of these words and their meanings.

Lesson 5

Objective

This lesson has two objectives. First, the students will synthesize the work of the last four days and demonstrate that they understand what President Jackson was saying about the Indian Removal Act in his Annual Message to Congress in 1830. Second, the teacher will ask questions of the students that require them to make inferences from the text but also require them to support their conclusions with explicit information from the text in a short essay.

Introduction

Tell the students that they will be reviewing what President Jackson was saying about the Indian Removal Act in his Annual Message to Congress in 1830. Second, you will be asking them to write a short argumentative essay about this statement; explain that their conclusions must be backed up by evidence taken directly from the text.

Materials

Procedure

  1. All students are given a copy of Jackson’s statement on Indian Removal and are asked to read it silently to themselves.
  2. The teacher asks the students for their best personal summary of selection one. This is done as a negotiation. The teacher may write this short sentence on the overhead or similar device. The same procedure is used for selections two, three, and four. When they are finished the class should have a summary either written or oral of Jackson’s statement in only a few sentences. This should give the students a way to state the general purpose or purposes of the text.
  3. The teacher can decide to have the students write a short essay now addressing one of the following prompts or do a short lesson on constructing an argumentative essay. If the latter is the case, save the essay writing until the next class period or assign it for homework. Remind the students that any arguments they make must be backed up with words taken directly from Jackson’s statement. The first prompt is designed to be the easiest.

Prompts

  1. What arguments does President Jackson make to support the Indian Removal Act of 1830?
  2. Andrew Jackson argues that this policy will be good for the American Indians. Explain how he makes that argument.
  3. Is the Indian Removal Act of 1830 government-sponsored racism? Use Andrew Jackson’s own words to support your argument.

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Discussion

This is a very good lesson. Some of the sentences are long and challenging, but it is good to stretch the students.


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