trail of tears Essay

Submitted By mariadilling
Words: 1499
Pages: 6

Maria Dilling
American History
15 June 2015
The Trail of Tears The Jacksonian Democracy and President Jackson’s vision on how America should be was what many say was, the most harmful and destructive, to the Native American population and their respective nations. The forced relocation of Native Americans in the early to mid 1800s is what is now known as the Trail of Tears (Editors). This paper will explore the events leading up to the relocation, the relocation itself, and the aftermath, and focusing on the Five Civilized Tribes and especially the Cherokee Tribe. The Native Americans have lived in North America for hundreds of years. In 1540, Hernando de Soto was the first of what was to be many to come into contact with the natives of North America. After that year, the Native Americans would be faced with settlers after their land. They started to adopt some of the foreign customs with time and would participate in trade. Negotiations about treaties with the Cherokees began in 1791 due to issues with settlers not respecting their territory lines (Dunn). Eventually the Cherokee nation was recognized formally as a nation, this did not stop Americans from moving onto their land though and forcing them away. Wars and issues would occur throughout the east because of this. Originally the Cherokee Nation extended from the Ohio River south to, what is today, Atlanta, Georgia, and from Virginia and the Carolinas west to Tenessee, Kentucky, and Alabama to the Illinois River. The amount of land would shrink considerably though after the Revolutionary War. It was not until the 19th century that the forced relocation of the natives would take place. The five tribes that were relocated where the Cherokee, Choctaw, Creek, Chickasaw, and the Seminoles. “The removal of these Indians mostly occurred during the decade of the Indian Removal Act if 1830…The Cherokee removal was named Nunna dual Tsung( Trail Where They Cried)” (Bowes). That is where some think the name “Trail of Tears” originated. A similar phrase was also used to describe the Choctaw’s journey. (Bowes) Before the relocation, the five tribes, known as the Five Civilized Tribes, had their own respective and autonomous nations in the south east of the United States (Editors). By the federal government, they were legally recognized as independent, sovereign nations and were known as Indian Territories. The nations were heavily involved in the economy in the south and had slaves and plantations. The growing US population however caused white settlers to move onto Indian land and force them out. In 1829, gold was found on Cherokee territory, resulting in an invasion of miners hoping to get rich. The land was quickly destroyed and Cherokees were attacked and beaten. The Cherokee pleaded with the US government for help but none was given. The discussion about Indian removal was a big debate in the US and many public figures were on the Native American’s side. Andrew Jackson however became president that same year and was not on the side of the Native Americans. (Margolin) On December 8, 1829, Andrew Jackson proposed the land west of the Mississippi River, be set-aside for Native Americans. Congress had already started a relocation bill and in 1830, they passed the Indian Removal Act. This allowed the President to buy Indian land in the east and exchange it for land further west and outside US borders. (Dunn) For many years the Cherokees and the state of Georgia were in a continuous dispute over the Cherokee territory, this lead to the 1832 Supreme Court Case Worcester v. Georgia. The court decided in favor of the Cherokee tribe and stated that Georgia could not impose its laws on Cherokee tribal lands. The ruling was not imposed or carried out. After the ruling it was said that President Jackson said “ Chief Justice John Marshall has made his decision; let him now enforce it if he can.” Jackson used the situation to propose a removal treaty to Cherokee leaders called the