I was born for a storm, and a calm does not suit me.
In the 1780s, as the new U.S. government prepared to govern the estimated 2,500,000 citizens and slaves living in its thirteen states, independent Indian nations held large tracts of land between the Mississippi River and the Appalachian Mountains.
From George Washington's administration on, the United States struggled to develop a policy to deal with the problems that arose as the American population grew and settlers and farmers moved west encroaching upon the large territories Indian tribes had lived on and claimed for generations. Initially the government promoted a program to 'civilize' the Indians by culturally and economically transforming them into U.S. citizens and encouraging them to give up their tribal affiliations and land. Thomas Jefferson warned that the Indian nations would eventually be surrounded by American settlers and would "in time either incorporate with us as citizens of the United States, or remove beyond the Mississippi River." As president, Jefferson was the first to ask Indian nations to voluntarily move west of the Mississippi River where they would remain independent nations with their own culture and governments.
Before 1812, few treaties with the Indians resulted in their removal. Instead the U.S. government, fearing Indian nations would ally with the European powers still present in North America, tried to purchase land from Indians in ways that did not make them hostile. However, when the price of cotton rapidly increased after the War of 1812, the southern states wanted more land to produce cotton for England's newly industrialized textile factories. Though General Andrew Jackson had secured over 23 million acres of land for the United States from the Creeks, Cherokees, and Choctaws in the years following the Creek War (1813 - 1814), large tribes still claimed southern land and were unwilling to move.