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Today in history: December 20

In 1836, President Andrew Jackson submitted an Indian treaty to Congress

Dec. 20, 1836: President Andrew Jackson submitted an Indian treaty to Congress. It aimed to remove tribes west of the Missouri from their ancestral homelands so white Americans could resettle on those lands. Jackson's policies towards Indians reflected a broader view that Indians were inferior to whites and stood in the way of progress. Jackson's Indian Removal Act of 1838 resulted in the Cherokee tribe being marched at gunpoint from Georgia to barren lands in Oklahoma. Some 4,000 Cherokee died on this forced march, known today as the "Trail of Tears."

Dec. 20, 1989: President Bush ordered "Operation Just Cause" — an invasion of Panama. He said it was necessary to safeguard U.S. lives, combat drug trafficking and protect the critical Panama Canal. The U.S. invasion — using 28,000 troops and 300 aircraft — resulted in the overthrow of Panamanian dictator Manuel Noriega. 23 Americans were killed and 325 wounded.

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