Jackson's harsh treatment of Indians needed backing from the Constitution, or else he would seem like a tyrant. Jackson thought progress was inevitable and the Indian land was needed to bring civilization to those areas. Twelve million whites were more important than a few thousand savages. The main Indians being persecuted were the Cherokees, Choctaws, Creeks, and the Chickasaws. They lived in the south. Defenders of these tribes said that the policy of white farmers having the right to take the land of the savage was okay as long as they were savage, but these tribes were not savage. They were skilled in the art of white civilization. Many had intermarried with white wives, lived in white man's houses, and had adopted the white man's dress. The Cherokee Nation had built roads, schools, and churches, they had even invented their own written language. Some even owned slaves. They thought that they were protected by rights given to them by treaties with the United States. The state of Georgia refused to recognize any special quality about the Cherokees except that they were red men and the fact that they owned land which the white men wanted. .
In May 1830, President Andrew Jackson signed into law the Indian Removal Act. This act required all tribes east of the Mississippi River to leave their lands and travel to reservations in the Oklahoma Territory on the Great Plains. This was done because of the pressure of white settlers who wanted to take over the lands on which the Indians had lived. The white settlers were already emigrating to the Union, or America. The East Coast was burdened with new settlers and becoming vastly populated. President Andrew Jackson and the government had to find a way to move people to the West to make room. In 1830, a new state law said that the Cherokees would be under the jurisdiction of state rather than federal law. This meant that the Indians now had little, if any, protection against the white settlers that desired their land.