Daily readings about people, places, and events in American history.
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May 26th
“Their calamities were of ancient date, and they knew them to be irremediable.”
On May 26, 1830, Congress passed the Indian Removal Act, authorizing the removal of American Indians living east of the Mississippi River to western lands. Two days later, President Andrew Jackson signed the act into law. The young French nobleman Alexis de Tocqueville, who toured America writing down everything he observed, described the tragic results of the Indian Removal policy in his classic Democracy in America:

At the end of the year 1831, while I was on the left bank of the Mississippi at a place named Memphis by the Europeans, there arrived a numerous band of Choctaws. . . . These savages had left their country, and were endeavoring to gain the right bank of the Mississippi, where they hoped to find an asylum which had been promised them by the American government. It was then the middle of winter, and the cold was unusually severe; the snow had frozen hard upon the ground, and the river was drifting huge masses of ice. The Indians had their families with them; and they brought in their train the wounded and sick, with children newly born, and old men upon the verge of death. They possessed neither tents nor wagons, but only their arms and some provisions. I saw them embark to pass the mighty river, and never will that solemn spectacle fade from my remembrance. No cry, no sob was heard amongst the assembled crowd; all were silent. Their calamities were of ancient date, and they knew them to be irremediable. The Indians had all stepped into the boat which was to carry them across, but their dogs remained upon the bank. As soon as these animals perceived that their masters were finally leaving the shore, they set up a dismal howl and, plunging all together into the icy waters of the Mississippi, they swam after the boat.
American History Parade
1637
In the Pequot War a force of Puritans and Mohegans attack a Pequot village at Mystic, Connecticut, killing some 600 men, women, and children.

1830
The Indian Removal Act is passed by Congress.

1865
General Edmund Kirby Smith, commander of the Confederate Trans-Mississippi Department, becomes the last Southern general to surrender in the Civil War.

1868
For the second time the Senate fails by one vote to convict President Andrew Johnson in his impeachment trial.

1896
The Customer’s Afternoon Letter publishes the Dow Jones Industrial Average for the first time.
This content is courtesy of The American Patriot's Almanac
© 2008, 2010 by William J. Bennett and John T.E. Cribb
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