The hard, implacable general believed that the Creeks must pay dearly for their insolence, and he believed that his opinion was all that mattered. Jackson refused to mix words or parse terms, as in his mind, he had won and that was it. “Be it remembered that, prior to the conquest of that part of the Creek nation
hostile to the United States,” the Treaty of Fort Jackson ominously read, “numberless aggressions had been committed against the peace, the property, and the lives of citizens of the United States, and those of the Creek nation in amity with her, at the mouth of Duck river, Fort Mims, and elsewhere.” Put simply, to escape Jackson’s further wrath, the Creeks had to cede 21,086,793 acres in present-day Georgia and Alabama. Jackson did not merely want to punish them; he wanted to eviscerate their ability to challenge the United States in any meaningful way ever again. Beyond reparation for war damages, Jackson
represented the restless white expansionism that helped exacerbate simmering tensions among the Creek people themselves. Whites were impatient with Creek claims and Creek culture and plainly said so. “The acquisition of territory cuts off all direct connection between Spanish agents and the Creek tribe,” one newspaper explained, “and enables our government to connect the white settlements of Georgia and the Mississippi territory.” Ever the democrat,
Andrew Jackson gave most white American southerners what they wanted: access to the lush black soil of the Alabama and Mississippi black belt. After crushing the Redsticks at Horseshoe Bend and humiliating the larger Creek Nation with his harsh “peace” treaty, the “sharp knife,” as most Creeks now bitterly called him, moved south toward Mobile, New Orleans, and his destiny.
In the wide path of death and destruction left behind him, Andrew Jackson cleared the way at last for a sparse frontier to become Alabama. Yet for many of her Creek children, the future seemed to promise only pain and uncertainty.