The cases of eight U. S. Presidents dying while in office might be due to the Indian Removal Act of 1830 backed by President Andrew Jackson and a Seminole Indian curse.
The legacy of President Andrew Jackson, who served from 1828 to 1836, may have been the untimely deaths of eight United States Presidents while they served in office. The theory stems from the proposed curse placed by Florida Seminole Chief Osceola. It was believed Osceola entered into an “eternal” oath of war and destruction upon the U.S. government and its future Presidents.
The Curse of a Year Ending in “0”
In retaliation for mayhem suffered by the direct orders of President Andrew Jackson, the Seminole medicine men decreed that each president elected in a year ending with “0” would die in office, be assassinated or injured in some way. History has shown that since 1840, eight U. S. Presidents who were elected in a year beginning with a “0” died sometime while in office. The only exception has come in recent years with President George W. Bush, who was elected in the year 2000. He survived his full presidency.
The Indian Removal Act
There had always been the so called “Indian problem” in American history, especially when white settlers moved in on Indian homelands and forced the Indians out. With the 1828 Presidential election, Andrew Jackson decided he would take action to settle the “Indian problem”. He wanted sixty thousands Indians from the southeast section of the country moved pass the Mississippi River. This was an idea considered by previous U. S. Presidents; however, it was only Jackson who took action this time.
The native people involved were the Cherokee, Creek, Choctaw, Chickasaw and Seminole tribes. Jackson believed it was in their best interest to relocate to avoid any future annihilation as white settlers expanded in the southeast. It was May 1830 when the Indian Removed Act passed Congress and President Jackson signed it into law.
The tribes of the southeast would be moved to unsettled territory west of the Mississippi River and give up their homelands. Many Americans especially in the northern states were disgusted by such a proposal of moving the Indians from their native lands. The biggest supporters were in the southeast since they would now have additional lands.
What was thought by Jackson as a fairly easy transfer of location became a major and deadly ordeal. Over 4,000 Cherokees were forcibly moved west between 1838 and 1839 in what became known as ‘The Trial of Tears” due to the enormous numbers of Cherokees who died along the way.
Jackson’s experience with the Indians dated back to the First Seminole War in 1817 to 1818 in which Jackson was ordered by President Monroe to settle Spanish, Indian and run-away slave problems in Florida.
The Second Seminole War in Florida came about as the Seminoles resisted the forced move after the Indian Removal act was in progress. From 1835 to 1842 during the Second Seminole War, there were countless deaths suffered by the Seminoles in various battles across the region. Seminole Chief Coacoochee and Osceola did not sign any treaty document and persuaded the rest of the members to return to the Everglades and continue the fight.
Finally a Third Seminole War was 1855 to 1858. All the wars and its battles were from one end of the state of Florida to another. At the end of the third war in 1858 there were only about 100 Seminoles remaining and they were in hiding deep in the Everglades. All the other captured Indians had been sent west.
An End to the Seminole Curse?
Did the Seminoles place a curse of death on many of the United States’ presidents? After over 160 years, might a possible curse have been lifted or dissipated since President George W. Bush’s election in 2000 and his ability to survive through two full terms? No definite answers to be learned yet. Time will tell after the presidential election in 2020 and how that individual fairs against the possible legendary Seminole curse.
Historical Events Surrounding Several U. S. Presidents
- Elected In 1840, William Henry Harrison died 1841
- Elected in 1848, Zachary Taylor, was involved in the Second Seminole Wars in 1837 and defeated the Seminoles in a major battle, he died on July 9, 1850
- Elected in 1860, Abraham Lincoln died 1865
- Elected in 1880, James A. Garfield died in 1881
- Elected In 1900, President William McKinley died 1901
- Elected in 1920, Warren G. Harding took died in 1923
- Elected In 1940 for a 3rd term, Franklin Delano Roosevelt died in 1945
- Elected In 1960, John F. Kennedy died in 1963
- Elected in 1980, Ronald Reagan did have a major assassination attempt in 1981, was severely wounded but did survive his two terms as President.
- The Presidential Book of Lists: From Most to Least, Elected to Rejected, Worst to Cursed-Fascinating Facts about Our Chief Executives, by Ian Strock, Random House, Inc., 2008.