Andrew Jackson Strongarms Creeks to Sign the Treaty of Fort Jackson 9 August 1814
After the tough battles at Emuckfau/Emuckfaw and Enitachopco Creeks and the near total devastation of the Red Stick Creeks at Horseshoe Bend, Jackson ordered all of the Creeks to report to Fort Jackson on 1 August 1814 to discuss terms of a comprehensive treaty. Jackson was a new Major Genral in the U.S. Army due to the resignation of William Henry Harrison, the hero of Tippecanoe, and was in no mood for compromise and stood firm with all of the Creeks, including the US frendly White Sticks. He took his new rank seriously and was intent on using his new power with his heroic reputation to get what he wanted (and what the thought the US needed).
What was to become the Treaty of Fort Jackson made several major demands, including;
- Surrender the prophets (leaders) of the Red Sticks
- The US would have free navigation of the waterways in the Creek areas
- The US would have the right to build roads in the Creek areas
- The US would control all trade in the Creek areas
- The US could build military and trading centers in the Creek areas
- The Creeks must cede over half of Creek held land to make good for the costs associated with the war
That last point was the one that caused the most consternation as it it applied to all Creeks, not just the troublemakers. Jackson wanted the majority of the existing Creek lands, including a strip that would separate the Creeks from the Spanish Florida tribes and was adamant in his demand. Old allies' concerns were cast aside by Old Hickory in the name of national defense. Jackson wanted to break the communications link between the northern and southern tribes and severely weaken the influence of foreign powers from the Gulf of Mexico inland, namely the British and their occasional alliances with the Creeks.
Benjamin Hawkins, a civilian advisor at the talks, tried to help the Creeks bend Jackson with well reasoned pleas that they had been strong allies of the Americans against the Red Sticks and, although they had once sided with the British, they would promise not to do so again in the future. They had brought up this point, because they knew that it was this threat of foreign intervention and its threat to block access to the Gulf that was causing the pragmatic Jackson to demand total severance from the temptation. No, General Jackson would have total capitulation or the resisting Creeks would be banned from the area altogether.
Hawkins pleaded with Washington to apply pressure on Jackson to relent a little, but Washington had a man who wanted what they wanted, even if he was the type to forego diplomatic niceties of compromise. Finally, the old warrior, Selocta, who had fought with Jackson during the hard times in eastern Alabama asked for just the area west of the Coosa River as a concession. One can almost feel the chill in the air today when thinking of the old soldier saying "no" to one of his comrades-in-arms one final time.
Jackson's only slip of will (if it can be even be called that) was that he would allow the Creeks who disagreed with the Treaty to go to the Florida panhandle. The Creeks had little choice. The Treaty was signed on 9 August 1814.
Check out the "Figure 8" ride starting at Fort Jackson Park and taking a big chunk of the historical Creek homeland in eastern Alabama. Go outside of Summer, unless you like sweating like a whiskey salesman in a Woman's Christian Temperance Union hall. Jackson's Way by John Buchanon
Jackson's Way by John Buchanon