The Trail of Tears

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During the early 1800’s, the United States was expanding. We went from thirteen original colonies, to twenty-four states. With the inevitable thought of expansion throughout the North American territory, there was one thing stopping the United States from completely taking over the entire nation, the Native Americans that currently resided in the westward territories. At the time, the United States as a nation was not exactly racially tolerant. Most people viewed the Native American people as “savages” and were terrified to interact with them. With racial tensions throughout the country being at an all-time high, President Jackson decided to implement a plan to take the land away from the Native Americans.

We wanted that land. Not only for territory expansion, but because of the amount of natural resources and gold that were discovered in those areas. The US government used the Treaty of New Echota to justify being able to relocate the Native American population. This treaty was signed by 100 Cherokee representatives, and it stated that the Native Americans “relinquished all lands east of the Mississippi River in exchange for land in Indian Territory and the promise of money, livestock, various provisions, tools and other benefits.” (Cherokee.org)

President Andrew Jackson worked with the Supreme Court to implement the Indian Removal policy, forcing the Cherokee give up their land east of the Mississippi River, and to move to the region which is now Oklahoma. Forcing an entire group of people to pick up from their home and move across the country without any warning caused one of the most treacherous acts in United States history which is now referred to as The Trail of Tears.

According to CherokeeHistorical.org, “Between May 1838 and March 1839, federal soldiers and state militia rounded up 16,000 Cherokees from Tennessee, Georgia, Alabama, and North Carolina, taking them to stockades, and forcing them to get on boats and then march to Indian territory, present-day Oklahoma. At least 4,000 Cherokees died—one quarter of the population—and many were buried in unmarked graves. This devastating chapter in American history is known as the Trail of Tears.” This journey took a massive toll on the Native Americans. Forcing a group of people to travel across the country against their will, in the middle of winter, without any protection from the cold, or reliable food sources, is considered completely inhumane, and is said to be one of the most despicable acts in United States history.

The Cherokee nation was not given anything they promised in that treaty. They did not receive money, livestock, various provisions, tools, or any other benefits that were written in the Treaty of New Echota. Instead of the things they were promised, they were left with thousands of dead tribe members, and no home to live in. This act of betrayl by the United States left the Native Americans questioning the new nations integrity and ability to be trusted.

In conclusion, The Trail of Tears was one of the most mortifying acts performed by the United States, and has brought centuries of turmoil between the Native American tribes and current US citizens. With all of the racial issues currently happening in our country today, and rumors of immigrants being treated the exact same way that the Native Americans were treated back in the 1800’s, we need to do everything in our power to ensure that history does not repeat itself.


  • Our History, webtest2.cherokee.org/About-The-Nation/History/Trail-of-Tears/A-Brief-History-of-the-Trail-of-Tears.
  • Trail of Tears, www.cherokeehistorical.org/unto-these-hills/trail-of-tears/?tracking=campaign&ad=48605894839&kw=trail of tears&gclid=CjwKCAiAjNjgBRAgEiwAGLlf2s3KmUHMXyKR-GbmwC-Nf8Jr4HDGDhabXTCmVrpaZivCtus-_FhHjBoCVYsQAvD_BwE.
  • History.com, A&E Television Networks, www.history.com/topics/native-american-history/trail-of-tears.


Cite this paper

The Trail of Tears. (2021, Apr 17). Retrieved from https://samploon.com/the-trail-of-tears/

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