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Slouching Toward Empire

The tragic fate of the Cherokee tribe is well documented. What is less widely known, and probably less researched, is the fairly rapid destruction of the Creeks—a nation whose territory included most of what is today Alabama and southern Georgia—and the role played by Andrew Jackson in their demise. In a style more readable than that of most historical works, Old Hickory's War tells a story of pride, intrigue, greed, and violence that attended the Creek War of 1813-14 and its aftermath, including Jackson's invasion of Florida in 1818.

After the Louisiana Purchase and the War of 1812, American settlers headed into the old Southwest Territory frontier, where they often came into conflict with Indians. Following Jackson's victory over the Creeks at Horseshoe Bend in March 1814, Old Hickory gained the cession of Creek land—22 million acres of potential prime farmland—with the Treaty of Fort Jackson.

The Creek Indian agent, Benjamin Hawkins, played a key role in the treaty-making, which he thought would be an aid to his program of acculturation of the Creeks to white civilization. He genuinely desired to help the Indians he eared for, but the result proved a disaster for the friendly Allied Creeks, while the hostile Red Stick Creeks, most of whom had fled to Seminole territory, went unscathed. As it is generally conceded that Jackson hated all Indians, there is no surprise in his...

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