Wednesday, August 3, 2011


It's unfortunate that it took the death of great character actor G.D. Spradlin to bring two of his historical roles to attention for use in the ASOTV gallery during our salute to the TV Western.

Here's one of them......


'Houston: The Legend Of Texas'

G.D. Spradlin

From Wikipedia:
In 1822 Sam Houston was elected to the US House of Representatives for Tennessee, where he was a staunch supporter of fellow Tennessean and Democrat Andrew Jackson. He was widely considered to be Jackson's political protégé, although their ideas about appropriate treatment of Native Americans differed greatly.

Perhaps the most controversial aspect of Jackson's presidency was his policy regarding American Indians, which involved the ethnic cleansing of several Indian tribes. Jackson was a leading advocate of a policy known as Indian removal. Jackson had been negotiating treaties and removal policies with Indian leaders for years before his election as president. Many tribes and portions of tribes had been removed to Arkansas Territory and further west of the Mississippi River without the suffering of what later became known as the Trail of Tears. Further, many white Americans advocated total extermination of the "savages", particularly those who had experienced frontier wars. Jackson's support of removal policies can be best understood by examination of those prior cases he had personally negotiated, rather than those in post-presidential years. Nevertheless, Jackson is often held responsible for all that took place in the 1830s.

In his December 8, 1829, First Annual Message to Congress, Jackson stated:
This emigration should be voluntary, for it would be as cruel as unjust to compel the aborigines to abandon the graves of their fathers and seek a home in a distant land. But they should be distinctly informed that if they remain within the limits of the States they must be subject to their laws. In return for their obedience as individuals they will without doubt be protected in the enjoyment of those possessions which they have improved by their industry.

Before his election as president, Jackson had been involved with the issue of Indian removal for over ten years. The removal of the Native Americans to the west of the Mississippi River had been a major part of his political agenda in both the 1824 and 1828 presidential elections. After his election he signed the Indian Removal Act into law in 1830. The Act authorized the President to negotiate treaties to buy tribal lands in the east in exchange for lands further west, outside of existing U.S. state borders.

While frequently frowned upon in the North, the Removal Act was popular in the South, where population growth and the discovery of gold on Cherokee land had increased pressure on tribal lands. The state of Georgia became involved in a contentious jurisdictional dispute with the Cherokees, culminating in the 1832 U.S. Supreme Court decision (Worcester v. Georgia), which ruled that Georgia could not impose its laws upon Cherokee tribal lands. Jackson is often quoted (regarding the decision) as having said, "John Marshall has made his decision, now let him enforce it!" Whether he said it is disputed.

In any case, Jackson used the Georgia crisis to pressure Cherokee leaders to sign a removal treaty. A small faction of Cherokees led by John Ridge negotiated the Treaty of New Echota with Jackson's representatives. Ridge was not a recognized leader of the Cherokee Nation, and this document was rejected by most Cherokees as illegitimate. Over 15,000 Cherokees signed a petition in protest of the proposed removal; the list was ignored by the Supreme Court and the U.S. legislature, in part due to delays and timing. The treaty was enforced by Jackson's successor, Van Buren, who ordered 7,000 armed troops to remove the Cherokees. Due to the infighting between political factions, many Cherokees thought their appeals were still being considered until troops arrived. This abrupt and forced removal resulted in the deaths of over 4,000 Cherokees on the "Trail of Tears".

By the 1830s, under constant pressure from settlers, each of the five southern tribes had ceded most of its lands, but sizable self-government groups lived in Georgia, Alabama, Mississippi, and Florida. All of these (except the Seminoles) had moved far in the coexistence with whites, and they resisted suggestions that they should voluntarily remove themselves. Their nonviolent methods earned them the title the Five Civilized Tribes.

More than 45,000 American Indians were relocated to the West during Jackson's administration. A few Cherokees escaped forced relocation, or walked back afterwards, escaping to the high Smoky Mountains along the North Carolina and Tennessee border. Jackson's administration bought about 100 million acres (400,000 km²) of Indian land for about $68 million and 32 million acres (130,000 km²) of western land. Jackson was criticized at the time for his role in these events, and the criticism has grown over the years. U.S. historian Robert Vincent Remini characterizes the Indian Removal era as "one of the unhappiest chapters in American history."

Houston went west and lived again among the Cherokee in the Arkansas Territory, who in October 1829 formally adopted him as a citizen of their nation. Houston's abandonment of his gubernatorial office and his wife all caused a rift with his mentor President Jackson. They were not reconciled for several years.

Houston left for Texas in December 1832 and was immediately swept up in the politics of what was still a territory of the Mexican state of Coahuila-Texas. Historians have speculated that Houston went to Texas at the request of President Jackson to seek U.S. annexation.


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