Trail of Tears
Manifest Destiny vs Native American Culture
Imagine being forced out of a place that you and your ancestors had considered home for thousands of years, having promises broken, being forced to act like the people taking your culture away from you, or being forced on to the smallest fractions of land with little resources to go around. For Native American tribes such as the Cherokee, Dakota, Chickasaw, and many others, this was the reality their culture faced, because of the belief of Manifest Destiny. Manifest Destiny was a term essentially used to justify any actions done during the western expansion under the name of God.
Some believe that Manifest Destiny does not justify the treatment of these Native American tribes, while others think that Manifest Destiny justifies the acts of the settlers because it helped to make the United States a very powerful country. Manifest Destiny was an excuse to take land away from areas that already were occupied, therefore, Manifest destiny does not justify the treatment of Native Americans because manipulated Native Americans and broke treaties, they killed thousands of innocent people, and they forced Native Americans to assimilate to the culture of the settlers.
Manifest Destiny was a term used from 1812-1860 and was a belief of United States settlers that they were ‘destined’ to move across North America. The term was also used to rationalize the removal of American Indians from their native homelands(SAAM-Manifest Destiny and Indian removal pdf). In 1803 the United States bought land from France, stemming from the Mississippi River to the Rockey Mountains, also known as the Louisiana Purchase. As the settlers started moving westward, they started to promote some concern of the Natives that were living in the west. To these white settlers, these Indian tribes were standing in the way of progress and America’s Manifest Destiny (SAAM Manifest Destiny and Indian removal pdf). The white settlers also found the Native culture as inferior and believed they had outdated traditions. In 1830, Andrew Jackson inforced the Indian Removal Act which forced Native Americans to migrate away from the land of their ancestors or to assimilate to American culture. In return for the land, the United States gave them small pieces of land, reservations, and agreed to supply them with food and money and clothing for these tribes to survive but these expectations were never met, and thousands of Native Americans started to die. In efforts to remove the Native Americans off their land, the United States fought battles, signed treaties and used force migration. The Trail of Tears is one of the historically forced migrations during the time of Manifest Destiny. The Natives were forcefully removed from their land and were sent to the designated places for the Natives; however the supplies promised were never given to them, so many died from disease as well as starvation, an estimated 100,000 of them died throughout forced migration. (SAAM- Manifest destiny pdf). As for the Natives that tried to assimilate to the culture, their children were sent to boarding schools. The schools attempt to remove and Native cultural traits, even going as far to try to make them look like white settlers. In Minnesota the Dakota war was fought after numerous broken treaties from the United States Government, the people were forced into internment and the aftermath of the war resulted in 300 men being sentence as well as 38 executed which was the largest single execution day in American history. (University of Minnesota- holocaust and genocide studies- Dakota war 1862).
For most of the United States, the settlers and government [were] willing to do almost anything for the sake of Manifest Destiny (Frontier America- Sara McGill). The actions carried out throughout Manifest Destiny, were justified by the fact that God wanted them to, and it was necessary to make America a powerful country and North America democratic, and forcing the Native Americans off their land was for their well being. The belief in God wanting them to move westward was the main component for the justification of their expansion westward. Most settlers believed that God, blessed the growth of the American Nation and even demanded them to actively work on it,(HistoryNet- Manifest Destiny) and that even a spirit would guide them westward. During this time period many people would follow anything that God told them to do in fear of going to hell or sinning. The idea that God supported the removal of Indians and wanted to them to move westward would make people want to do these things. However if God encouraged them to move westward, it could have been achieved without harming thousands of innocent people. The United States also had important reasons on why they would need to expand westward. The United States government wanted these new lands to, strengthen national security, to spread liberty and democracy, to access more trade routes, and to have access to the Pacific Ocean(Vicky Nyoonyoon- Prezi- Manifest Destiny). These all were valid reasons to want to move westward because if the idea of Manifest Destiny never came about, America could have just been the original 13 colonies. The United States also would have suffered more diseases from over crouding in the urban cities which would have resulted in their culture not surviving. However, it does not justify the treatment of Native Americans. There were better ways of going about it rather than killing them or lying to them. The United States in this situation was looking out for the well being of their country and were oblivious to the fact that they killed off a nearly whole culture, which is why the idea of Manifest Destiny comes into play. This term changed the mindset of the settlers but a new mindset does not justify a genocide. The United States also thought that it was for the best interest of the tribes to move off the land because they wouldn’t be able to assimilate into our culture. These beliefs under Manifest Destiny were all used to justify something that they knew was wrong. Had the United States wanted to help the Native Tribes, they would have done more then let most of them die out.
Manifest Destiny was an excuse to take land away from areas that already were occupied, and therefore does not justify the treatment of Native Americans because the United States, manipulated and broke treaties, they killed thousands of innocent people, and they forced Native Americans to assimilate to the culture of the settlers. In efforts to try to get land from the Native Americans, they created treaties where the Natives would give up hunting rights or parts of land in return for cash payment. Many tribes agreed to these cash payments because of the ultimatums were given.
Everything they used to get them to sign treaties, I think was illegal in a lot of ways– browbeating , brainwashing, and then on the other hand telling them ‘If you sign this treaty, you’re not going to ever have to work or hunt again; we’ll take care of you’ ‘Everthing will be provided. Every year you’ll get so much money to buy your needs, your pots and pans, but we’ll also have food coming in every month, or once a year for you. The alternative is ‘Were going to drive you all the way to the Rockey Moutains where you’re going to starve to death and we’ll never have to worry About you again'[…] – Dr. Elden Lawrence- Us-Dakota war (treaties)
These ultimatums that were given almost seemed like it was the obvious choice until they were signed and the food never came, or the money was never given to them. The United States government within the unfulfillment of theses treaties killed hundreds of people, by leaving them starving. They also killed hundreds of people through forced migration. The Cherokee tribe traded with the United States government for new land and From 1838 to 1839 the army rounded up 13,000 Cherokees and forced them to relocate to present-day Oklahoma, about 1,000 miles away. Thousands of Cherokees died from the forced march, which became known as the Trail of Tears (Kathiann Kowalski- False Promises). The Trail of Tears involved thousands of innocent Natives dying from disease and starvation while not being given the necessities to survive throughout the journey. As for the Natives that did not want to move and wanted to assimilate into the culture, they sent children away to boarding schools. At these schools, School Administrators assigned new names to the students. They gave them western style clothing to wear and unfamiliar foods to eat. Long hair which was admired in native families was forbidden at the schools, Teaches and administration punished children for speaking their Native language or for practicing Native traditions or celebrations,( Pauline Bickford- Daune page 1). These schools restricted carrying on cultural traditions from American Indians and forced white settler beliefs on children. The way the settlers and United States government treated these people cannot be justified by a term that promotes westward expansion. The United States may have wanted more land, but they also wanted Native Americans out of the picture because had they just wanted the land, they would have also tried to help the NAtives and give them conditions that they can survive in.
Manifest Destiny was an excuse to take land away from areas that already were occupied, therefore, Manifest destiny does not justify the treatment of Native Americans because, manipulated and broke treaties, they killed thousands of innocent people, and they forced Native Americans to assimilate to the culture of the settlers. The belief of Manifest Destiny may have had a lot to offer the United States, but in no way does it justify the removal of nearly a whole culture. The land taken from the Native Americans could have been obtained without killing off a culture, or lying to them about what was being offered. Being intrested in only the well being of the new settlers doesn’t justify what the United States did to ther cultures that had lived on the land hundreds to thousands of years before the United States came to be.
Americanexperience.si.edu. (2018). Manifest Destiny and Indian Removal. [online] Available at: https://americanexperience.si.edu/wp-content/uploads/2015/02/Manifest-Destiny-and-Indian-Removal.pdf
Bickford-Duane, P. (2015). DESTROYING a Culture. Cobblestone, 36(1), 17. Retrieved from https://search.ebscohost.com/login.aspx?direct=true&db=ulh&AN=100046638&site=ehost-live
The Dakota War of 1862. (n.d.). Retrieved December 16, 2018, from https://cla.umn.edu/chgs/holocaust-genocide-education/resource-guides/us-dakota-war-1862
Dugley, W. G. (n.d.). Manifest Destiny. Retrieved December 16, 2018, from https://www.historynet.com/manifest-destiny
Kowalski, K. M. (2015). False Promises. Cobblestone, 36(1), 2. Retrieved from https://search.ebscohost.com/login.aspx?direct=true&db=ulh&AN=100046632&site=ehost-live
McGill, S. A. (2017). Frontier America. Frontier America, 1. Retrieved from https://search.ebscohost.com/login.aspx?direct=true&db=ulh&AN=17908152&site=ehost-live
Minnesota Historical Society (Ed.). (n.d.). Treaties. Retrieved December 16, 2018, from https://www.usdakotawar.org/history/treaties
Nyoonyoon, V. (2015, April 29). How did America justify Manifest Destiny? Retrieved December 16, 2018, from https://prezi.com/m8mydciydtgq/how-did-america-justify-manifest-destiny/
Manifest Destiny in the 1840s and American Imperialism in the 1890s-1900s
Manifest Destiny in the 1840s and American imperialism in the 1890s-1900s were both expansionist ideologies based on a belief in white, Anglo-Saxon superiority, a faith in American exceptionalism, and a desire to acquire territory for economic and/or strategic purposes.
American imperialism was motivated by four main factors: economic, political, geographic, and cultural.
The well-known phrase Manifest Destiny was coined by a New York journalist, John L. O’Sullivan, in 1844. Sullivan’s meaning behind this word was that the United States had a divinely appointed mission, so obvious as to beyond dispute, to occupy all of North America. Americans, he proclaimed, had a far better title to western lands than could be provided by any international treaty, right of discovery, or long-term settlement. Their right to the continent was provided by the nation’s divinely inspired mission to extend the area of freedom. Other people’s claims, O’Sullivan wrote must give way to our manifest destiny to overspread and to possess the whole of the continent which Province has given us for the development of the great experiment in liberty. Those who stood in the way of expansion- European powers like Great Britain and Spain, Native Americans, Mexicans- were by definition obstacles to the progress of freedom. The idea of manifest destiny expanded the west and provided homes and jobs, however, it also ran the Native Americans out of their land and kept pushing them further and further west until their removal. Due to this, all of the land east of the Mississippi River was in the hands of white men.
The reality of manifest destiny is in the year 1843, the stage was set for the Great Migration. Throughout the 1840s westward expansion started rolling due to an intensification of the old belief that God intended the American nation to reach all the way to the Pacific Ocean. The settlement and economic exploitation of the West promised to prevent the United States from falling down the same path as Europe and becoming a society with fixed social classes and a large group of wage-earning poor. Overtime, as they moved across the Appalachian Mountains, so did the linkage between westward expansion and freedom. As repeated throughout history, American freedom comes at cost of someone else’s, dating back to Europe colonizing early America and early Africa. Just because the Americans aren’t abroad on foreign soil pushing people out of their homes, but are living amongst the citizens they are forcing out doesn’t mean it is not an imperialist land grab.
The road to war began to be paved after Polk realized that acquiring California would prove to be more difficult than expected. He first attempted to dispatch an emissary to Mexico offering to purchase the region, however the Mexican government refused to negotiate. By that spring of 1846, James K. Polk was preparing for military action. That same year in April, American soldiers led by Zachary Taylor, moved into a stretch of land between the Nueces river and the Rio Grande. This land was claimed by both countries on the disputed border between Texas and Mexico; a tactic to successfully provoke Mexican forces and obviously made conflict with Mexico inevitable. When the fighting officially broke out, Polk claimed that the Mexicans had shed blood upon American soil and called for a declaration of war. Soon after The Mexican War took place and was majorly supported by Americans because of the expansionist fervor of manifest destiny. Though Americans chose to support this war due to the potential benefits, anyone with comprehension skills can see right through Polk’s plan; this was a war of greed not vengeance for American lives lost or of divine right/ manifest destiny. Once America defeated Mexico in the first battle and they still refused to negotiate, Polk ordered American forces under Winfield Scott to march inland and occupy the countries capital. Their success resulted in the Treaty of Guadalupe Hidalgo that fixed the border at the Rio Grande and extended the United States to the Pacific coast. The treaty also annexed more than a one-third of Mexico’s total area: Texas and ceded California, present-day New mexico, Arizona, Nevada, and Utah to the United States. In exchange, the United States paid $15 million, a mere price to pay to clean their guilty consciences after forcing a country to give up their land. It was unprecedented and unnecessary to launch a war because a country refused to sell a part of its territory to a neighbor. A well known war critic, Ulysses S. Grant defined the war as one of the most unjust ever waged by a stronger nation against a weaker nation. Circling back to the definition of imperialism from Webster’s dictionary meaning ,to the policy and practice of seeking to dominate the economic or political affairs of underdeveloped areas or weaker countries. Not once during the war was there any talk of this God-given right to expand. It was solely imperialism and greed. Whether it be greed for glory and/or the economic (value) that comes with having more land.
The California Gold Rush provided a renewed passion to the idea of Manifest Destiny. The Gold Rush attracted thousands of people from around the country, and around the world, to make the journey west. The Rush offered people the dream of moving west, staking a claim on your own land, and finding gold. This dream became reality for some, who followed the route west and created a new life through Manifest Destiny. Before the Gold Rush California had a non indian of fewer than 15000 when the Mexican War ended. the non-indian population Rosa 200,000 by 1852 in more than 36,000 8 years later. However, when people started moving there the rate of immigrants increased flooding in from all backgrounds such as: Mexicans, Chileans, Chinese, French, and American Indians. This resulted in California beginning to impose stricter laws, limited the voting, and the right to testify in court to White, excluding Indians, Asian, and the state’s few blacks. In order to control the state’s population, state officials paid millions and bounties to private militias that lost attacks on the states Indians. Resulting in thousands of Indian children being declared orphans or bought and sold as slaves. This brought California Indian population from 15,0000 to around 30,000. The fact that someone could be so heartless and deem these as actions justified by God himself, is hard to fathom.
Whether or not they had the God-given right to settle in the west, that was exactly what they did. Nothing was able to stop them even massive amounts of death; that is the true misfortune of America’s westward expansion. Another misfortune being the amount of Indian deaths acquired during this conquest. By the 1800s the U.S had created a legacy of broken treaties with the Iroquois, Cherokee, Nez Perces and many other nations. In Century of Dishonor written in the mid 1800s by Helen Hunt, called attention to what Jackson termed the government’s “”shameful record of broken treaties and unfulfilled promises. More specifically, broken promises and treaties issued by the United States government to these tribes, forced removal of tribes to reservations located on unsuitable land for farming or sustaining the Native American way of life ,massacres of the Native American people by whites. After the nullification crisis, Andrew Jackson highlighted his commitment to the sovereignty of the nation. Leading him to follow through with his final act in hopes of resolving centuries worth of conflict between the White Americans and Indians east of the Mississippi river. During the 1820s, Missouri forced its Indian population to leave the state. Jackson’s administration carried out The Indian Removal Act of 1830, providing funds for five civilized tribes, specifically: the Cherokee, Chickasaw, Choctaw, Creek, and Seminole with a total population nearing 60,000 living in North Carolina, Georgia, Florida, Alabama, and Mississippi. James Monroe stated that, the removal of the tribes from the territory which they now inhabit . . . would not only shield them from impending ruin, but promote their welfare and happiness. Experience has clearly demonstrated that in their present state it is impossible to incorporate them in such masses, in any form whatever, into our system. It has also been demonstrated with equal certainty that without a timely anticipation of an provision against the dangers to which they are exposed, under causes which it will be difficult, if not impossible to control, their degradation and extermination will be inevitable. He is basically claiming that they are doing the indians a favor by removing them and make them out to be incapable of coexisting in order to justify taking their land. The Cherokee nation was forced to give up its lands east of the Mississippi River and to migrate to an area in present-day Oklahoma. The Cherokee people called this journey the “”Trail of Tears,”” because of its devastating effects. It seems as if God intended on you having this land then you wouldn’t need to draft an entire document based solely on removing people who were rightfully there. Imperialism on the other hand has a main objective to acquire land, regardless of the cost.
The Louisiana territory, which stretched from the Gulf of Mexico to Canada and from the Mississippi River to the Rocky Mountains. The territories geographical location would give the United States access to the port of New Orleans was only able to be bought because of a loophole in the Constitution. It is also provided a neat solution for Jefferson, in which Indians would not have to choose between assimilation and extermination. The government could relocate Indians further westward, while opening up the vacated lands to white settlement. Jefferson abandoned his conviction that the federal government was limited to powers specifically mentioned in the Constitution, since the document said nothing about buying territory from a foreign power. Jefferson was successful in his $15 million dollar purchase of the territory, resulting in him doubling the size of the United States and ended French presence in North America. There were mixed feelings about this impulsive financial decision. As stated by a federalist, We are to give money, of which we have too little, for land, of which we already have too much. This statement alone shows the clear line crossed between America divine destiny and their greed. It is mentioned that Jefferson acknowledge his actions exceeding those asked of him in the Constitution but validated it by mentioning the benefits justified his transgressions. To sway favor he wrote that farmers are the chosen people of God, insinuating that if America buys land and remains predominantly agricultural the country would always succede.He also offered his own statement after Monroe saying, Jackson offered his own justification for Indian removal in December 1829, claiming that the removal was necessary for the preservation of American Indiansessentially asserting that removal was a humanitarian act for the good of the Indian tribes. [The Indians’] present condition with what they once were, makes a most powerful appeal to our sympathies. Our ancestors found them the uncontrolled possessors of these vast regions. By persuasion and force, they have been made to retire from river to river, and from mountain to mountain; until some of the tribes have become extinct, and others have left but remnants, to preserve, for a while, their once terrible names. This fate surely awaits them, if they remain within the limits of the States, does not admit of a doubt. Humanity and national honor demand that every effort should be made to avert so great a calamity. All in all, If you have to go outside you rights in the constitution and have to justify your actions then it is evident it was a means of imperialism and not Divine right.
Though Oregon had given away all its free land by 1855, more would still continue to migrate to California and Oregon for many years. Hundreds and thousands traveled the Oregon Trail, and though approximately one in ten died from illness and accident, many more remained to settle and farm the land. They believed it was their divine right to do so. Many of the brave and bold from the east traveled its path, with ambition and hope in their hearts. Many would never see the lands they wanted to settle in. In a bid to encourage people onto the Plains advertisements told success stories of those who had claimed land under the terms of the Homestead Act and had become successful. It divided 2.5 million acres of Planes land into sections or homesteads of 160 acres. People could now claim 160 acres of land. The only requirement on their part was that they paid a small charge and built a house or added something to the land such as a house or a well and lived on the land for at least 5 years. The Homestead Act took effect on January 1 1863, the same day as the Emancipation Proclamation, another document implementing the blurred vision of freedom. Congress also took part by making huge grants of money and land for internal improvements, including up to 100 million acres to the Union Pacific and Central Pacific , two companies chartered in 1862 and charged with building a railroad from the Missouri River to the Pacific coast. The point that is failed to look at is how this land was acquired and who originally resided on this land being given away. The idea of God giving men and to be more specific,white Anglo-Saxon men, the right to conquer land for their own or it being the American right to conquer land is hard to fathom. The United States being associated with the term land of the free is hard to fathom when those that don’t agree with the white males are ridiculed and walked over however, it is all justified in the name of God.
In conclusion, this idea of Manifest Destiny and Divine Right is simply a justification for the American peoples subjugation. However, in its natural, non-sugar coated term, all it is just imperialism. A term frowned upon, since it is typically a strategy used on foreign countries abroad in efforts to colonize weaker nations, not typically your own. The self-serving concept of manifest destiny, the belief that the expansion of the United States was divinely ordained, justifiable, and inevitable, was used to rationalize the removal of American Indians from their native homelands. In the minds of white Americans, the Indians were not using the land to its full potential as they reserved large tracts of unspoiled land for hunting, leaving the land uncultivated. If it was not being cultivated, then the land was being wasted. Americans declared that it was their duty, their manifest destiny, which compelled them to seize, settle, and cultivate the land. The United States paved their way by picking on people who didn’t have the means to fight back just as any imperialist would.
Andrew Jackson and the Removal of Native Americans
Many events have shaped the United States. They carved our society, laws, and beliefs. For starters, before Europeans and other peoples set foot on American soil, it was inhabited only by Native Americans, or Indians.
These indigenous people built towns, hunted, and some even farmed. However, when the Spanish, Europeans, and others broadened their horizons into America, the Native Americans were forced to conform to the ways of others, or die. Andrew Jackson’s decision to remove these humble peoples, via the Indian Removal Act, exemplifies that statement. At the age of 13, Andrew Jackson quit school and became a soldier. During the war, he was captured. Jackson went on to become the first president to be a prisoner of war. He was known to have a temper from the time he entered the military and throughout his presidency. During one account it is stated …he engaged in brawls, and in a duel killed a man who cast an unjustified slur on his wife. Although his ambitious nature was a good contributing factor in his time of leadership, it caused him to make quick and biased decisions.
As stated before, Jackson’s decision to remove the Native Americans of North America was ignorant and immature in some ways. The Native Americans were humble people. They submitted to other people for years. Very few times did they get involved with war, and when they did it was only to protect themselves and their tribe. Andrew Jackson created the Indian Removal Act during the 1800s and pushed it through several government systems for ratification. One of these systems was Congress. Jackson met with many of the Native American tribes before making his decision. In one document he even referred to the Native Americans as friends and his red children. However, even though Congress voted against the removal of the humble natives Jackson still signed the document to have them removed. In Jackson’s eyes, removing natives was the key to success. He belived them to be infirior to whites. He stated,…under the protection of the Government, and through the influence of good councels, [will cause them] to cast off their savage habits, and become an interesting, civilized, and Christian community. In the letter from the secretary of war it is even mentioned that they would erect new building as soon as possible where the Native American’s homes once were.
In enacting the the Indian Removal Act, Andrew Jackson consequently created the Trail of Tears. This historical event was the march of thousands of Native Americans out of their territory and into a new, government appointed, territory. The Trail of Tears included approxamately 4,000 indian men, women, children, and elders. These people were forced to march several miles with barely any rest. In addition to this, when they did rest, their brief breaks were in shabby makeshift tents. Other indians were put onto boats with similiar, horrid conditions. This tragic historic event has forever marred the United States of America as a very ignorant, gruesome, and harsh occurence. It shall forever provide an example of why differences should be respected and embraced. The Indian Removal Act and the Trail of Tears has contributed to the lesons taught to Americans about equality for all.
Primary Sources United States War Department, 1770?-1843 Sequoyah, Thomas Loraine McKenney, and United States Bureau Of Indian Affairs. Report of the Secretary of War.On Indian affairs. [Washington, 1826] Pdf. https://www.loc.gov/item/08036496/.
“”Alfred Balch to Andrew Jackson, January 8, 1830.”” Alfred Balch to Andrew Jackson. January 8, 1830. In Image 4 of Alfred Balch to Andrew Jackson, January 8, 1830. Accessed November 13, 2018. https://www.loc.gov/resource/maj.01074_0281_0284/?sp=4.
“”Andrew Jackson to John Pitchlynn, August 5, 1830.”” Andrew Jackson to John Pitchlynn. August 5, 1830. In Andrew Jackson to John Pitchlynn, August 5, 1830. Accessed November 12, 2018. https://www.loc.gov/item/maj012027/.
Secondary Sources “”Primary Documents in American History.”” Planning D-Day (April 2003) – Library of Congress Information Bulletin. March 27, 2018. Accessed November 10, 2018. https://guides.loc.gov/indian-removal-act.
“”Indian Removal Timeline.”” Digital History. 2018. Accessed November 15, 2018. https://www.digitalhistory.uh.edu/active_learning/explorations/indian_removal/removal_timeline.cfm.
“”President Andrew Jackson’s Message to Congress ‘On Indian Removal’ (1830).”” Our Documents – Interstate Commerce Act (1887). Accessed November 15, 2018. https://www.ourdocuments.gov/doc.php?flash=false&doc=25.
“”Andrew Jackson.”” The First March From Selma. Accessed November 12, 2018. https://www.americaslibrary.gov/aa/jackson/aa_jackson_subj.html.
“”Andrew Jackson.”” The White House. Accessed November 8, 2018. https://www.whitehouse.gov/about-the-white-house/presidents/andrew-jackson/.
“”Cherokee Trail of Tears.”” About North Georgia. 1994-2018. Accessed November 15, 2018. .
President Andrew Jackson and the Cherokee Nation
Andrew Jackson was a very respected president who during the 2 terms he served was apart of major controversies of how he handled and followed through with the land disputes with the Cherokee Nation and other Native tribes in Georgia. With all of this starting with the United States finding gold in Georgia which ultimately led the U.S to want to recognize it as a state. But the problem with this was that many Native Americans inhabited Georgia but the Cherokee had the largest presence there with 17,000 Tribe members strong.
This would lead to the Indian Removal Act that would be signed by Jackson on May 28th, 1830. These decisions made by Jackson would lead to avery controversial court cases called Cherokee Nation v. Georgia and Worcester v. Georgia.
Midst The court case of Cherokee Nation v. Georgia, the Cherokees sued the state of Georgia because they were being forced out of their land. But the outcome came to the favor of cherokees with Chief Justice John Marshall presenting the majority opinion and decision of the Supreme court. Which was that the Cherokees are not considered a foreign nation within the US and for that reason don’t have to adhere to the rules of the constitution and therefore can’t be pushed out of their land that they rightfully own. This decision showed that The US didn’t have the authority or Jurisdiction to be able to push the cherokee out of Georgia.With the overall outcome stating that The cherokees did have entitlement to the 100 Million acres of land that they inhabited.
The court case Worcester also turned out to be a victory for the cherokee nation. Because it states how the laws that were in Georgia could not pertain to the Cherokees because they weren’t apart of the United States. And they were inside there own lands so it would make sense for them to have to obey the Constitution. These decisions showed how even the supreme court believed that the land was not theirs and Georgia should have stayed under their rightful inhabitants.
Andrew Jackson disagreed with the decisions that Chief Justice john Marshall and essentially ignored them and chose to make the government force the removal of the cherokees from their land called the Trail of Tears. The actions of Andrew Jackson were illegal because they went against the supreme courts chosen decision which was very unconstitutional. The President needs the backing of the supreme court to be able to enact his decision. But still did it either way because Jackson was a very popular president who was people feared to go against. This chosen action by Jackson should have not been able to have been done.
The Trail of tears was the result of the dissimilarity between Jackson and the Supreme Court. Because Jackson stated how he would let the supreme court enact their decision but still abide by his own ruling. Which was the relocation of the 17,000 indians that inhabited Georgia during the time,. That were forced by 7,000 US army soldiers, during the march from Georgia to Oklahoma 4,000 Cherokees lost their lives to Starvation and to the bitter weather conditions. The only person to blame for this atrocity was Jackson due to his foolish actions of enacting his own rules over the Supreme Court’s ruling.
The outcome should have been much more different then how it actually turned out to be. I think President Andrew Jackson should have abided by the Supreme Court’s ruling and understood that The U.S doesn’t have the power under the constitution because the Cherokee Nation is not apart of the U.S so they have the right to the land that they were on first. Jackson should have respected that ruling and allowed the Cherokee nation to stay in the lands that were rightfully theirs. Because by doing that he would have never caused the Trail of tears and retained a good relation with the Native Americans.
The Trail of Tears in U.S. history
The Cherokee are described as a clean people. Cleaner than the settlers and other Indian tribes in the area. They thought water was a holy gift by the Great Spirit, so they went to it often.
Ehle describes the Cherokee being quite matriarchal. Cherokee women had more rights than most European women did. She chose who she wanted to marry, the husband had to build the house, yet the property remained hers. She had the right to choose to kill an unwanted child, if the husband killed a child it would be murder. The birth and upbringing of a well-known Cherokee, The Ridge, is described in the narrative to tell of the ordeals the tribe endured. The biggest struggles before the forced removal for the Cherokee people was attempting to protect their territory and adapting to the cultures of the whites.
The Cherokee had made the decision to side with the British during the war, a mistake that would eventually come back to haunt them. The British had promised the Cherokee that if they won, they would help remove all the Americans from their land and forbid them from returning to it. As we know the British lost and with that so did the Cherokee Nation. Even though President Jefferson had signed the treaty of Hopewell. White settlers kept encroaching on Cherokee land. Ridge had gone raiding with a lot of the other warriors in his village. He became well respected. He did not get along with a chief named Doublehead, who was always very vicious and was easily bribed by the white men for land. As Ridge grew, he started to adapt the white ways a lot more successfully than some of his brethren. He got married and started a plantation that grew crops, had cattle, and he actually had a few slaves as well. A lot of missionaries tried to come into the village and help civilize the people through the word of God. One such missionary group was called the Moravians. They were Germans. They had promised to build churches and a boarding house and school for the children. After taking several years to build their buildings, they only promised to teach 4 kids. Outraged, the tribe voted and outed the Moravians and put in place the Presbyterians. Reverend Blackburn was in charge of the church and had promised to teach more children and to allow the option of teaching Christianity, but explained it was not a requirement for the children or the families.
The mixed-blood Cherokees were more open to the schooling and to adapting the white ways. Doublehead, a full-blood chief, and also the most ill-mannered was against any civilization, although he did accept money from the whites for land, so he can become rich. Because Doublehead was so amiable to the whites, and they preferred to deal with him, he became the one the President wanted to speak to on behalf of the Cherokee Nation. Ridge and other members of the council did not agree with this. Since it was blood law that if any chief or one Cherokee sold off land without the permission of all of the townspeople and the council the consequence was death. Ridge figured that Doublehead would be best dealt with by assassination since he had broken this blood law. Ridge shot Doublehead in the head. Ridge was then put in a higher place within the Cherokee Council for his actions.
There still was a division though between the tribes. Ridge had become the new person that a lot of the whites dealt with. He was rich, dressed like the white man and had a powerful voice with the Cherokee people. On the other hand, was another young up and comer by the name of John Ross. He was a mixed blood with a white father. He could speak English very well and was raised to learn the customs of both sides. He became chief to the Cherokee Nation. He was also very good friends with Ridge. The mixed bloods seemed to follow the word of both Ross and Ridge, but the full-bloods didn’t trust the word of Ridge. They were weary of his actions because they felt like he had assimilated too much. Ridge had sent off his son to a school in Connecticut. John was his name and he ended up becoming a lawyer and marrying a white woman. John did move back and helped his father with the Council. Georgia was started to pressure the Cherokee to leave, they wanted the land they occupied. There was a discovery of gold in the area as well that brought in many white prospectors to the land. With the work of Ross and the Ridge family, the Cherokee Nation created their own constitution. Modeled after the US Constitution, it created guidelines for that nation and its sovereignty and borders. Georgia was not happy about this decision and the Cherokee Nation and Georgia went to court in the matter. Once the Supreme Court got a hold of the petition, the Justice of the Supreme Court decided in the favor of the Cherokee. So, for the time being, they were able to hold onto their land. Andrew Jackson soon became president.
He was elected and was called the People’s President. One of his top issues was the removal of Indians from the East. The Indian Removal Act was the final bill that the Cherokee were dreading. After many years of smaller treaties and deals made with the white men, it was now the President who made the final decision. They were to be given money and supplies to move west of the Mississippi to relocate. Georgia did not follow the Supreme Court decision and beginning a lottery for the Cherokee land. Ridge, Ross, and a few other chiefs travelled to Washington to meet with Jackson to ask him if he would uphold the Supreme Court decision. He declined. He stated that Georgia will do what it wants. So now the decision had to be made. They could either take the money and the supplies and move of their own freewill, or they will be forced by military means from the land and no promises of the conditions.
The Cherokee split even further on this issue, which the whites capitalized on. Ridge’s family, being highly assimilated and wanted to protect their money and standing, tried to convince all the people of the Cherokee Nation that moving to the west was the best decision. Ridge claimed if they wanted their people to survive, then they needed to go with him and move to the west. Ross, on the other hand, disagreed. Like most full-bloods, the land they occupied was sacred land. It was where they believe the Cherokee people started and have always lived. They believed the Great Spirit had placed the Cherokee there. They would not leave the land without a fight. Jackson, in a final attempt to mitigate the move the Cherokee Nation offered 5 million dollars and the supplies for the people to move. Ridge’s family and a few other chiefs thought in an honorable move they would decide for the Nation and sign this treaty. They would make the decision for the survival of their people and agree to move west. Once the rest of the Nation had heard of this sign treaty by only a few of the leaders, they felt utterly betrayed. Ridge’s family and less than 2,000 of the over 16,000 Cherokee decided to move west. Now it was down to the clock, and Ross (who had stayed) and the rest of the Cherokee had to find a way to negate this betrayal of a treaty.
They got almost every Cherokee to sign a petition that the treaty was not signed in their best interest and they wanted to keep their land. The Court never looked at the petition. It was too late. The troops Jackson had sent arrived, and thousands were ripped from their homes. Because they thought that they would be able to stay on their land, most were not prepared to be moved so suddenly. They were only allowed to carry what they could on their backs. At first, thousands upon thousands were sent to a stokehold. They stayed there for months. Corralled like cattle, they slept on hay or just the near frozen muddy ground. Without proper environmental conditions, sickness and exposure killed several thousand before any travelling even begun. They waited there for over 3 months. When the military finally separated the people into groups almost ?? of the Nation was already gone. Each detachment was then taken west on the trip that was over 800 miles long and would take over 3-4 months. The conditions for travelling were not ideal. Along the way several were lost because supplies ran out. Mothers walked miles and miles with their deceased children in their arms.
The dead lay along the pathways. A winter storm would hit and strand thousands to an open area, nowhere to find coverage. Many would die once again from disease and exposure. But along the path many would sing, the Christian songs they were taught. For miles the line of Cherokee sang as they were forced to their new home in Oklahoma, it would be called the Trail of Tears. Now in Oklahoma, Ridge and his family have already set up their plantation in Honey Creek and started anew in this fresh new land. The Ridge family had started setting up a store and schools for the nation. John Ross was one of the last settlers to arrive. He had wanted to set up a meeting with the already established Cherokees and propose they come up with a new Constitution.
The blood law that stated no Cherokee could sell any land without permission by the whole of the tribe was kept, and they held that Major Ridge and his family and the few others that signed the initial treaty were found guilty. Assassination parties were assigned, and John was the first to be pulled from his home and he was stabbed over and over, then they stomped on his body. Major Ridge was traveling to visit a sick slave when a volley of shots hit him. He was shot 5 times in the head and several in his body. John Ross continued to rally for the Cherokee Nation. He attempted to get more money for the Nation and helped rebuild the community.
Native Americans and the Trail of Tears
Long before Christopher Columbus sailed the ocean blue in 1492 was a time when North America was the unknown except to the natives who were already living there. He called the natives Indians because he thought he had reached India. Fast-forward a couple of hundred years people were trying to get away from England to have religious freedom and came to North America to start their own country and their own rules.
Realizing the need for more land, the US government wanted to make the move west. Eventually, they were so land hungry they forced five civilized Indian Tribes off their land and moved them to Oklahoma at any cost necessary. Thousands of Native Americans died during the move which is now known as the Trail of Tears.
This all started back in 1803 when the Governor of Tennessee John Sevier wrote a letter to the Cherokee Warriors asking them if it would be ok to build a road through their territory. The road would be paid for and built by the US government, but the road would benefit the Cherokee more then the settlers that were going to be using the road. The settlers informed the Cherokee that the council in Tennessee was waiting for their reply. Then in 1817 Tennessee Governor Joseph McMinn spoke in front of the Tennessee council and in front of the Cherokee Nation about moving the Native Americans east of the Mississippi and civilizing them due to the treaty that was signed in 1817. The treaty gave them the option two options and that was either removal or citizenship. If they chose to move, then they the US would give them land that was like the land that they were currently living on. Which tells me that there was no acreage limit and if they choose to stay where they were they would be forced to move and forced to become US citizens and be granted over 600 acers in land. There were some that made the choice to move on their own, but most of the Cherokee tribe did not want to move.
The Cherokee Chiefs and warriors wrote a letter to Joseph McMinn expressing not wanting to be removed from their land since the grounds were sacred to them because of their family being buried there. They did not like any of the two options that the US government gave them. One of their biggest concerns that the Cherokee expressed to their letter to the US government is if that they agree to move and accept the 640 acers and become US citizens then they know that in the constitution or the treaty that brings them together gives the US the right to take any private property away from someone to use for public use. The Cherokee felt strongly that the land that would be given to them by the US would never really be viewed as private property. The fact that the US government would show in the treaty that they would use force to remove them from the land they were currently on showed them that it really did not matter if the Cherokee owned the land or not.
With help from people who were supposed to be looking out for the best interest of protecting the Native Americans and with representatives who were not authorized to represent the Cherokee Nation helped pass the New Echota Treaty. Chief John Ross visited Washington several times in protest of the treaty it did not work and because of the new treaty the Cherokee Nation was given 2 years to remove themselves off their land in Georgia. After the 2 years was up the majority of the Cherokee Nation still at their reservation in Georgia sat and watch the US military come onto their land and create posts and forts. The removal process had begun. A trail that ran the span of 7 states moved an entire Cherokee Tribe of 16,000 to Tahlequah, Oklahoma. The move that came at a huge price because roughly somewhere between 7 to 10,00 Cherokee’s lost their lives during the trail. The US government did not care about their culture, their wellbeing, or their heritage.
Choctaw Trail of Tears
On the 28th of May 1830, the president at the time, Andrew Jackson, signed into effect a now controversial law. This law was the Indian Removal Act which allowed the removal of Native Americans from their homes to lands west of the Mississippi River. One tribe who was forcefully removed from their homes was the Choctaw Indian peoples of Mississippi, Texas, Louisiana, and Alabama. When the United States government made them leave their homes, they had to give up almost 11 million acres of land.
It was decided that it would be easiest to move the Choctaws in groups of 3 with the first attempt starting on November 1st 1831(Greenwood, 1). The Choctaw Indians were moved from their homes to the plains of modern day Oklahoma but this trip was so harsh that it was later coined the Trail of Tears. They had two weeks to prepare for the journey to come, so many gathered their crops, gathered their belongings, and sell their property so they would be able to get to the ferry points on the 1st (Greenwood, 4). They were told not to bring their livestock because they would be provided with livestock once they got to the promised, Choctaw Nation in the West (Greenwood, 4).
One plan was if the Indians wanted, they could walk and they would be provided with ten dollars’ worth of gold, a brand new rifle, and three months’ worth of rifle ammunition and gun powder(Greenwood, 5).. Also, along the way, they would have a guide and would be provided with food (Greenwood, 5). Approximately 300 of them saw this plan as a great idea, but the weather became unbearable (Greenwood, 5). The plan for everyone else was to be moved by wagon from the Memphis area to their destination (Greenwood, 2). This didn’t go as planned. A horrific rain storm came in when they planned to leave (Greenwood, 7). Instead, the people in charge of being sure everyone left decided that they should move by steamboat (Greenwood, 8). The problem with that plan became apparent; the U.S. government had cancelled their order to buy more steamboats (Greenwood, 8). After waiting for more, they were able to round up two passenger boats, and three cargo boats (Greenwood, 8). This wasn’t nearly enough for the sheer amount of people they needed to move. To make matters worse, before they were able to set sail, one of the larger ships caught fire and wasn’t able to leave harbor (Greenwood, 9).
Another major problem was the cold. As a result of waiting until November to start the removal, and the need to wait for the boats, the crew was not able to start the journey until around middle of the month (Greenwood, 11). A blizzard struck, and froze over parts of the river and this made it impassable for the remaining large ship, and it made the journey difficult for the others (Greenwood, 12 & 14). A military post just outside of Mississippi only had about sixty tents to lend to the more than 2000 natives who at this point were forced to walk (Greenwood, 12). Also, many of the Indians were wearing very little clothing and most of the children were wearing none at all (Greenwood, 12). They were lacking provisions, cold, and hungry and they were only 60 miles away from where they started (Greenwood, 11). One option for the natives was to buy food from those who called the area their home, but seeing the rising demand for food, raised the prices by as much as four times as much as standard prices (Greenwood, 19). The freezing weather remained for six days straight and it took eight for more government provided wagons to arrive. Many of the soldiers and the Choctaws froze to death or died of Pneumonia (Greenwood, 14)
The lack of transportation only allowed for the very young children and very sick to ride in the wagons, and everyone else had to walk (Greenwood, 12). Finally, after five months and over two hundred miles, everyone who survived the passage in the 1st removal was at their new home (Greenwood, 22). Only about two-thirds of them made it (Greenwood, 22).
Just before the 2nd removal began, an outbreak of cholera hit Vicksburg, and the citizens of the town trying to get away from the outbreak spread the disease to the Indians waiting to leave (Greenwood, 23). No records were kept of how many of the Choctaw died in the outbreak because when they died, they were put in a pile and their bodies were burned in order to control the spreading of the disease (Greenwood, 24). Many of the same problems that the first envoy faced were faced by those in the second, and approximately 3000 of them made it to their destination (Greenwood, 28)
In the 3rd removal, the crew learned from their mistakes, and didn’t have to worry as much about the sheer numbers so the journey went much more smoothly than the first (Greenwood, 29). Only about 1,000 Choctaw Indians left from Vicksburg and almost all of them made it safely to their new home (Greenwood, 29).
Finally, after three years of relocation, numerous deaths, and an immeasurable amount of pain and suffering, the United States got what it wanted and the entire native Choctaw Indian tribe was out of its original home and into a foreign land. Today, almost 85,000 Choctaw Indians live in Oklahoma.
- Greenwood, Len. (March, 1995) Trail of Tears from Mississippi Walked by Our Ancestors. Chahta Anumpa Aiikhvna School of Choctaw Language. Retrieved from www.choctawschool.com/home-side-menu/history/trail-of-tears-from-mississippi-walked-by-our-ancestors.aspx.
What is the Trail of Tears and what happened?
- 1 Thesis Statement
- 2 Context
- 3 Main Events
- 4 Short Term Impact
- 5 Long Term Impact
- 6 Rising Action
Under the Indian Removal Act in 1830, the federal government forced the Cherokee Indians out of their homeland via a route that would become known as the “Trail of Tears.” This tragic trail “The Trail of Tears” took place in our very home, Illinois.
The Cherokee Nation was huge, expanding over several states including the state Georgia which around 20,000 Cherokees lived here. The name ‘Tciloki’ is creek, meaning people who speak differently, this is where the name Cherokee came from. They had first made contact with the Spanish Settlers who introduced the Cherokee to guns, alcohol, and new diseases. From 1760 – 1762 the Cherokee people, fought the British, led by Chief Oconostota, because of their unfair trade policies and horrific treatment. They seized one British fort but the British ended up defeating them in the end. They made a peace treaty which forced them to give up a huge majority of their land. Fighting the foreigners and the diseases caused a dramatic decrease in the Cherokee population during that colonial period.”
Around the early 1830s, nearly 125,000 Native Americans lived on millions of acres of land in Georgia, Florida, Tennessee, Alabama, and North Carolina. Their ancestors had occupied and lived there for generations. After a while, southeastern white people came to their land and tried to take it. To get the Cherokee off of their property they created the Removal Act. The Removal Act would make them leave their land by force and soldiers would force them on the 1,000-mile trail called the Trail of Tears. Later on, in late 1939 they finally got through the path and began to make new homes and continue their culture. Although, they were still very furious about having to give up their land to southeastern white people. Overall, tragedy was the result of the Trail of Tears, especially for those who had to march to Oklahoma. The Indian Removal Act is the catalyst that ends up killing one-quarter of the Cherokee Indians which would be 4,000 out of 16,000 Cherokees that marched.
Short Term Impact
The Indian Americans were shocked and furious. The Trail of Tears refers to the suffering of Native Americans affected by the Indian Removal Act. It is approximated that the five tribes lost 1 in 4 of their population to the cold, exhaustion and the starvation during the move west. Over time when they arrived at their destination, they grew their population back including their culture.
Long Term Impact
The tribes that were on the Trail of Tears were described as the “Civilized Tribes” because they had agreed to live peacefully alongside the European settlers, and had adopted and slowly accepted the settler’s culture. Afterword the government forcibly removed them leading to a lack of trust between the tribes and the United States, including the laws, from the Dawes Act which led to the massive acquisition of native lands by European speculators, and I assure you this can still be argued, that this alienation is still felt today.
In President Andrew Jackson’s first inaugural address in 1829, he emphasized his desire “to observe toward the Indian tribe within our limits and liberal policy, and to give humane and considerable attention to their rights and their wants which is consistent with the habits of our Government and the feeling of our people.” Andrew Jackson fourteen months later then prompted Congress to pass the Removal Act. The Removal Act would force Native; Americans to leave the United States and settle west of the Mississippi River in the Indian Territory. Most of the tribes would band together as an independent nation and challenge the legislation in the U.S. courts. In 1832 the Supreme Court ruled in favor of them, and some tribes still signed the treaties giving federal governments the legal authorities to assist them in the Indian Territory.
The deadline for the Removal Act was 1838 and thousands of federal soldiers, and Georgia volunteers entered the territory and forcibly relocated the Cherokees.
The Trail of Tears the most regretted event for Americans
Ever since Christopher Columbus sailed the ocean and landed in the Bahamas in 1492, Europeans have taken over Indian land. They continuously intruded, destroyed and stole from the Indians. It was obvious that eventually, a conflict would arise from these doings.
After a long time of tension and rebellions against the colonists, the proclamation line of 1763 banned the settlements west of the Appalachian Mountains, forcing American and European colonists to keep their distance from the Indians. Sadly, for the Cherokee Indians, more genocide, destruction, and intrusion on the land was yet to come. The Trail of Tears or The Indian Removal Act, was put into place by the Congress and was signed by the President, Andrew Jackson on May 28th, 1830. It must be assumed that the Native Americans were never really human in the eyes of the American people; they were just constantly in the way and always someone to win a battle against if need be.
In 1823, the decision in Johnson v. McIntosh proclaimed that the Indians were not owners of their land and that they only had the right to occupy the land. However, the Cherokees were already expecting this. The evidence in the Supreme Court case, heard by Chief Justice John Marshall, was all negative towards the Indians. Marshall said that before European colonization Native Americans were nomads, not permanent farmers. To say that the Indians had no real connection to the land they occupied was extremely inaccurate ethically and historically. Unfortunately for the Indians, the Discovery Doctrine came into the Supreme Court case, stating that Indians do not own land. This viewpoint dealt them a massive blow to their court trial, making it almost impossible for them to win.
During the duration of the court trial, the Indians made many attempts to appeal the ruling of the Supreme Court, but one splinter of the Cherokee tribe agreed to give up their lands. In response to this, John Ross, the principal chief elected by the Cherokee nation, enacted a passive resistance movement. Ross was greeted by the federal soldiers that were present to vigorously remove the natives from their lands. Andrew Jackson’s successor, President Martin Van Buren, ordered these federal soldiers to remove the Indians. This army captured over 18,000 men, women and children bringing them west, where they would be forced to live.
The federal government tried negotiating a treaty with Chief John Ross, but during this process, the Treaty Party laid a deal upon John Ridge they knew he wouldn’t accept. Ross was afraid of getting beat by the Treaty Party, so he told Jackson that the Cherokees would surrender their land for $20 million. Knowing that the federal government would never pay that much for the land, Ross just avoided the issue. Ross recommended that the Senate come up with an offer themselves since Jackson rejected him. When the Senate named the price as $5 million, Ross took this offer immediately. Ross knew the land that the government wanted was far more expensive than the Cherokees had asked for. Moreover, the government of the United States arranged the incredibly fraudulent Treaty of New Echota with the Treaty Party.
This superficial Treaty Party was led by a Cherokee tribe leader named Major Ridge. He had told the government that he represented the Cherokee nation, but he only spoke for a small group of them. The Treaty of New Echota stated that the Cherokee Indians would give up their land in northern Georgia to the federal government, for five million dollars in compensation. This sent Chief John Ross into a rage. He was furious and tried to reason with the Senate that the Treaty Party did not represent the Cherokees at all. The Senate ignored Ross, and the Party was ratified by a single vote, starting the aggressive removal of indigenous people from Georgia.
The Cherokee Indians were forced into the boats to travel from their homes in Tennessee, Alabama, Georgia, and North Carolina to Oklahoma where they eventually awaited their destiny. On their long journey, tribes were forced into small forts where they had to make do with limited resources. The Indians were given little food, sometimes having to share between numerous people. On the trail, battles of hunger and disease were present. Due to thousands of Native Americans being forced from their homes to move west with little food or water, it was no surprise that a large amount of people were infected with typhus and smallpox. Sanitation was not something that was taken seriously, so those pathogens spread like wildfire. It was almost impossible to forage for food when the Native Americans were only taken through trails that would hinder their search in the wilderness for berries or fruits. The Cherokee and other tribes were confined to large groups, with very little space. Later, chief John Ross urged General Winfield Scott to split up these large groups and allow the people to wander off the path and into areas where scavenging was feasible.
Thankfully for John Ross, he was able to save some of his people, and cut down the mortality rate for a short period. As the Cherokee Indians and many other tribes advanced along the trail, winter came. The winter of 1838 through 1839 was one of the most brutal winters the people had ever seen. The materials given to the Indians were insufficient. The water was hard to come by and their clothing was limited.
The winter of 1838, is when the Cherokee Indians began their thousand-mile journey. After arriving at their designated city by boat, they were forced to travel by foot on the long, treacherous journey; some without shoes or moccasins. This migration began in the last Eastern capital of the Cherokee Nation Red Clay, Tennessee. As soon as the long and tiring journey began, many complications arose. Disease infected almost everyone forcing the tribes to travel longer distances to avoid any cities. Finally, after crossing the Tennessee and Kentucky rivers, they arrived at the Ohio River. There, the hunger-plagued Indians were charged a dollar a head to cross the river. Native Americans were very unwelcome at this time. They were charged twelve cents at Berry’s Ferry, to cross the river after all the other customers had been helped across the river. The Cherokee and other natives who were not murdered by locals were forced to take refuge under Mantle Rock, where many would wait until their death, just to cross the river. The Cherokees then filed a lawsuit against the United States, alleging that they were forced to pay thirty-five dollars a person just to bury their relatives.
Eliza Whitmire was a five-year old girl who was forced to travel with her parents on the trail during the time. She recalls only children, elderly, or the injured Indians being able to ride on the wagons that carried bedding, while all other would walk alongside the wagon. The expedition was made during the cold winter, when many Indians who were unprepared, were subjected to snow and sleet. Unfortunately, this caused many to die from frostbite or other related illnesses. Whitmire also said that those who experience the forced removal, or had parents who experienced it, would never forgot.
By December of 1838, Chief John Ross was leading the last group of natives to Oklahoma the way he believed was best. This group was perhaps the most important, because they held all the important documents, records, and laws of the Cherokee nation. It took almost three months to cross sixty miles on land between the Ohio and Illinois river, due to them getting trapped east of the Mississippi river. After recovering many casualties, the trail through southern Illinois is where the Cherokee nation suffered most. Many Indians were also lost in this area. Their journey took longer than expected because the Cherokee were very weary of water travel, and they would not travel very fast in places they were not comfortable.
The Cherokee Indians eventually arrived at their relocated destination in Oklahoma. Their forced relocation caused them to not trust the federal government, forever making them feel alienated from the rest of the country- a country where they once peacefully lived.
The duration of the Trail of Tears produced a large amount of turmoil, which eventually led to the assassination of Major Ridge and John Ridge. This justifies that the Native Americans were not accepted in the place they lived in. The Cherokees who lived in single homes instead of with the rest of their tribe however, were an exception. The federal government thought these select Cherokees were less daring, and less of a nuisance than those who lived in the larger groups. In particular, a small group of about 400 Cherokees lived in North Carolina, in the Great Smoky mountains which were owned by a white man named William Holland Thomas. As a young boy, Thomas was adopted by the Cherokee Indians. This was superb for the Indians who lived on his land since they were not subjected to the removal or the same amount of disrespect the rest of the Cherokees were forced to go through.
According to many first-hand accounts and history textbooks, the Trail of Tears was one of the most regretted events in American history. In 1987, the United States Congress designated the Trail of Tears Historic Trail, in an attempt to correct their wrong doings. This trail stretched over 2,000 miles, and nine states. As of today, the Cherokee Indians are the largest Native American tribe. It is incredibly significant and important to emphasize how much improvement they have experienced over the years. Knowing the facts read in the previous pages, the Cherokee Indians and other Native American tribes were not supposed to thrive again, even IF they made it past this treacherous trail.
Over 4,000 Cherokees died from many different reasons but they all had a huge impact in the lives of the Indians. The Cherokee Indians called this journey the Trail of Tears in order to sum up the pain and suffering caused by this traumatic event.
A massacre The Trail of Tears
The Cherokee tribe is a very unique tribe because despite all the events they went through because of foreigners, they were able to stay united and maintained major parts of their culture. The people in the native american tribe usually had high cheekbones, brownish and reddish skin tone, dark hair, and last but not least a bent nose. Their ability to adapt has let them survive until the 21st century.
The Trail of Tears, was the act of a relocation of the american indian tribe the Cherokee Indians. They were being moved from the southeast to Indian Territory. The Cherokee tribe was very big at one point, they would control the whole east coast at their peak. By the time of the independence the cherokee had immensely shrunken down. The Cherokee tribe called this event Nunna daul Tsuny which translates to Trail where we cried. They suffered from mistreatment from soldiers, inadequate or no food, diseases, the loss of their homes, and weather.
The trail of tears was perhaps a product of the westward expansion. Andrew Jackson’s indian removal process, forced the Cherokee tribe to leave their land near the mississippi river to travel by foot all the way to present day Oklahoma. Before westward expansion, the native american people were seen as second-class citizens, meaning that they are not equal to the white people. Because they are seen as second-class citizens the settlers thought that they were better than them and that it justifies they’re inhumane treatment towards them. The status of the native american was seen as if they are inferior to the whites and because of that the whites also thought that since they are inferior to us we can steal their land, kill them, change their culture, and use their resources and land to our benefit. Throughout the trail of tears that lasted around 2 months, the native americans were being mistreated, did not have anything to eat or drink, a lot of them got infected with diseases like smallpox, malaria, measles, cholera, whooping cough, influenza, pneumonia. Around 4,000 cherokee tribe members died through the trail of tears, the young, elderly, and weak were the first ones to die, not many were able to make it out alive.
The Cherokee tribe was forced to immigrate to new land. A lot of their people died, unjustly and with no reasons. The Dawes act forced the native americans to leave their religion, language, homes, and they culture. The native americans were forced to follow the religion, educational system, culture of the white people. The cherokee tribe went to the supreme court to present their case. The supreme court’s response was that since they were a nation they could not do anything against the laws passed in the state of Georgia which were implying to relocate them. John Ross spoke to by far most of the Cherokee and had their total help. With settlers moving into the Cherokee land, Ross comprehended that creating an arrangement for the land with the United States was his best choice, since he was in danger of losing the land to Georgia. In mid 1835 he needed to deed a segment of the land to the United States for a measure of cash to be dictated by Congress, with whatever remains of the property deeded to the Cherokee proprietors. The staying point on the Ross bargain was the necessity that the United States and the territory of Georgia perceive Cherokee citizenship, including the privilege to cast a ballot and hold political office. Neither Georgia or the United States could consent this.
Today the Eastern Band (North Carolina) includes about 11,000 people, while the Cherokee Nation in Oklahoma claims more than 10,000 people. The Cherokee people as a whole were known for being noble,