Andrew Jackson signs the Indian Removal Act

The Removal Act paved the way for the reluctant—and often forcible—emigration of tens of thousands of American Indians to the West.

The first removal treaty signed after the Removal Act was the Treaty of Dancing Rabbit Creek on September 27, 1830, in which Choctaws in Mississippi ceded land east of the river in exchange for payment and land in the West. Choctaw chief (thought to be Thomas Harkins or Nitikechi) quoted to the Arkansas Gazette that the 1831 Choctaw removal was a "trail of tears and death."

The Treaty of New Echota (signed in 1835) resulted in the removal of the Cherokee on the Trail of Tears. The Seminoles did not leave peacefully as did other tribes; along with fugitive slaves they resisted the removal. The Second Seminole War lasted from 1835 to 1842 and resulted in the forced removal of Seminoles, only a small number to remain, and around 3,000 were killed amongst American soldiers and Seminoles.

The Indian Removal Act, part of a United States government policy known as Indian removal, was signed into law by President Andrew Jackson (D) on May 26, 1830.

Andrew Jackson (March 15, 1767 – June 8, 1845) was the seventh President of the United States (1829–1837). He was military governor of Florida (1821), commander of the American forces at the Battle of New Orleans (1815), and eponym of the era of Jacksonian democracy. A polarizing figure who dominated American politics in the 1820s and 1830s, his political ambition combined with widening political participation, shaping the modern Democratic Party. His legacy is now seen as mixed, as a protector of popular democracy and individual liberty, checkered by his support for Indian removal and slavery. Renowned for his toughness, he was nicknamed “Old Hickory”. As he based his career in developing Tennessee, Jackson was the first president primarily associated with the American frontier. His portrait appears on the U.S. twenty-dollar bill.