Indian Removal Agent

General Wiley Thompson was a former militia general, a U.S. Congressman who sat on the Military Affairs Committee, and a friend of President Andrew Jackson with whom he shared the same ideals of Indian removal. Wiley Thompson was elected to serve in Congress from 1821 to 1833. In 1834 following his congressional service, he was appointed as Indian Agent in Florida. Under Jackson’s Indian Removal Act, his role as agent was much different than that of prior Indian Agents. In fact, it would be more appropriate to refer to him as an Indian Removal Agent as he was tasked with responsibility for Seminole removal from Florida.


The arrival of General Thompson to Fort King symbolized a change in relations with Native Americans under President Andrew Jackson. The days of negotiation and consideration for Seminole rights were gone. Instead the Seminole were regarded as a hostile force that needed to be relocated or eliminated.

 

General Thompson’s primary role at Fort King was to uphold the terms of the Payne’s Landing Treaty and ensure the removal of the Seminole from Florida. When General Thompson first spoke to the Seminole leaders at Fort King, it was to demand they leave under the terms of the treaty. The Seminole continued to regard this treaty as a deception against their people. Other military officers who witnessed General Thompson’s interactions with the Seminole reported that he was often arrogant and superior in his approach. This behavior resulted in the rapid deterioration of relations with the Seminole, making a volatile situation even more unstable.

 


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