The Trails of the Tears was a tragedy that happened in the early 1800s. Thousands of Native Americans were forced to leave their homes by the government. Andrew Jackson was the president at the time, and the Indian Removal Act was created. The act gave him the power to negotiate the removal treaties of Native tribes living in the east of the Mississippi. They had to trade their land in exchange for land in the west. Death and exhaustion are just a few examples of conditions they were in, as they were heading to their new location. Why do you think land is the source of such great conflict and intense emotion? What was at the previous land that wasn’t at the new location. Was this dreadful event sufficient for Americans not to repeat history?
The way the Native Americans was living was engaging and family oriented. It was mostly based on how they used a buffalo for human survival. The Cherokees land was extended from Kentucky to Virginia and down back around to Tennessee. Homes and families continued to grow, hunting their meals, gathered materials and planting crops several acres down. They also hunted deer, rabbits, and buffalo. Every part of the buffalo was used to supply the needs of the Native Americans. The British weren’t the only non-Indians to enter their territory some Spanish explorers and runaway slaves. The widespread disease reached the Indians but they were still powerful. The Settler would trade for their deerskins anything that would make their hunting more efficient.
Fast forwarding to Henry Knox and George Washington working side by side and decided that the Indians couldn’t become civilized and will be part of the American society as citizens. There wasn’t any room for the Natives if they were trying to expand and they needed their land to be able to do that. A development of the national market made changes like grain and livestock farmers spread throughout the Ohio River Valley. The population grew and the land turned into states. The tension was brought because the cotton states had to share the plantation and the Indians were in the way. The pressure of them selling land got worst and the tribal leaders were unwilling to sell. Andrew Jackson simply thought the best thing to do was to take it instead of trying to buy it off from them.
They can keep whatever that was left once the American citizens show them how to use it properly. Andrew made it clear that the army he had the power to force them out. Years have passed until Congress acted, and convince the leaders. Andrew Jackson was elected in 1828 with his support coming from the South. The first tribe to be removed was The Choctaw tribe in 1831. The next year was the Seminole tribe; two years passed then came The Creek tribe; 1837 The Chickasaw tribe were removed, and The Cherokee tribe were removed in 1838. The troops had to gather as many of them and imprison them in stockades. We’ve heard stories of their journey and how their bodies were aching of pain, and how long ago they ran out of food but no one mentions how the parents had to explain to their children that their land wouldn’t be their home anymore or them reading personal journals after surviving.
Children are filled with emotions as they see their family being imprisoned because it wasn’t enough time to explain or they couldn’t understand and could only ask why. families separated and children are left behind confused on where to go. Not even close to their destination a thousand miles would take five to six months. The truth can only come from those were there to experience and want to forget how easy it was to die every step that was taken.
After the Trail of Tears occurred, it made a great impact on the country because so many Native Americans weren’t able to survive. Not only did the Trail of Tears influence a culture but the approach was what affected how the country thinks as a whole. Shortly when the Trail of Tears happened, people began to question whether authority and the way the Government can be greedy enough to remove a civilized culture. The Natives hasn’t done anything for the President to make a quick decision that he won’t be able to go back from. After the trail of Tears occurred, it created a big impact on the country and the Native Americans who couldn’t survive the deadly march. Around the 1830s the United States was known for being a growing country at a rapid pace.
Some Americans supported the Indian Removal Act, so did some Natives. Senator John Forsyth supported the act and said “A race not admitted to be equal to the rest of the community; not governed as completely dependent; treated somewhat like human beings, but not admitted to be freemen; not yet entitled, and probably never will be entitled, to equal civil and political rights.”(pg 15) Without thinking it through it might not be too good to be true. By pushing the Natives outside the country’s boundaries, Natives would be able to come to the culture they once knew and would be able to throw away the white culture they were forced to soak up. This could allow the Indian’s heritage to live on. As the population of America increased, many believed that the Native population was decreasing due to conflicts with the foreigners and other misfortunes. By moving away from the problem, the Native population would be able to develop and successively, save themselves. They didn’t want to relocate at all, but if it meant an end to conflicts between settlers and Natives, they would move.
Moving the Indians to a different space would enable America to expand itself. Another argument that was supportive of this act was that Americans truly claimed Indian land. They thought they might claim this land as a result of it had been viewed as unsettled and not used for farming of any type. This land was thought about extremely valuable to the American settlers as a result of farming meant a make the most of money crops. The government would also profit if the Indian Removal Act was carried out as planned. Before this Act, there was a dialogue regarding that government (the federal or state) had the ability to make laws concerning border disputes. once the act, there would now not be any fears regarding that government command this power, because the federal government was granted this power.
With any act that passes, there will be people who will be against it. One argument made against the act was that the Constitution was what made America and simply going along the act won’t show that. Everyone knows that the Indians had settled on American soil before the first European settlers and even before America was established. Cherokee tribes had an attachment to their ancestral land and the last thing they wanted to do was to pick up and move to a totally different territory. The Tribes signed away their land and ended up getting neglected. Their promises included having the freedom to live without having to worry the Government won’t interfere.
The number of those who died was sugar coated over in history books and aren’t aware of how it all started that some of the truth would start to come out. There may be some relief for native Americans how gold-hungry the government was. Even when the Cherokee/Choctaw people displayed as a non-threat, adopted the ways in which of the settlers, and have become civilized and compliant, Andrew Jackson and his men plan to pursue the trail of Tears and unfairly, and savagely take away the Cherokee people while destroying their people and culture. American dominance is what results in the Indian Removal Act. The reason why Jackson acted the way he did and the actual fact that America was a capitalist powered country at the time, and that they wished the Indians out of the means as a result of ownership gave them that land and manifest destiny proves that it’s theirs instead of the Indians.