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Westward Migration or Trail of Tears 1838

Updated April 22, 2022
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Westward Migration or Trail of Tears 1838 essay

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The Trail of Tears 1838, is known as an act of relocation by government authorities and movement of American Natives from their ancestral homelands, in southern states, to a different, much further location then what they are familiar. The many tribes associated with the Trail of Tears are: Cherokee, Chickasaw, Choctaw, Ponca, Seminole, Winnebago and Ho-Chunk nations. The government officials used many brutal punishments to relocate the natives. An abundance of Natives were not allowed proper time to gather their belongings before journeying on the trail. They had to give up their lands to the whites they had grown crops on and cultivated for decades. They were moved west to many states all around the United States. Many people now believe that this act was a form of Genocide. It became common that while the Natives were moving between the states, many of them caught diseases because new land brings different illnesses the tribes were not immune to. Along with dying from getting sick, many of the Native Americans would die from starvation. These roadblocks caused a large quantity of the natives to not make it to their new destinations. Along the trail, many women, and children were raped. Around 4,000 Native Americans died during this relocation. Before the journey was over 4,000 innocent men, women, and children were stolen from the Cherokee existence and placed in Oklahoma on bare land that would not grow anything. The Trail of Tears was a human rights violation because it violated articles 3, 6 and 9. The Human Rights office explains the articles that were violated, “Article 3: everyone has the right to live and to life in freedom and safety. Article 6: You should be legally protected in the same way as everyone else. Article 9: Nobody has the right to put you in prison and to keep you there.”

On October 27, 1838 Governor Lilburn W. Boggs issued Executive Order #44 stating; “The Mormon’s must be treated as enemies, and must be exterminated or driven from the State”.

This began the Trail of Blood in Missouri 1837. There were countless acts of violence against the Latter day Saints in Missouri. Their Constitutional rights were violated when they were condemned for following in their own religious beliefs. They were beaten, raped, and assaulted. Their leaders being arrested without trial or bail for over six months. By mid-winter 10,000 people were told to leave the state and were not prepared to travel. On their 250 mile journey to Nauvoo, Illinois, many died from exposure and injured along the route. Up to 6,000 Latter day Saints died while travelling to the Rocky Mountains, as most of the areas were getting persecuted. The Human Rights articles that were violated during the Mormon Migration were: Article 16 Marriage and Family: every grown up has the right to marry and have a family if they want to. Article 18 Freedom of Thought: We all have the right to believe in what we want to believe to have a religion or to change it if we want. Article 19 Freedom of Expression: We all have the right to make up our minds, to think what we like, to say what we think, and to share our ideas with other people. Some examples of the government abusing the Mormons were: On September 30, 1838, in Livingston County, 150 armed men rode into DeWitt and demanded that the Mormons leave within 10 days. Elder Hinkle wrote for assistance from Governor Boggs, but unfortunately on October 1, a mob burned the home and stables of Smith Humphrey. Later that day, Carroll County forces sealed off the town.

The Trail of Tears, and the Trail of Blood have many similarities. Some being that both the Native Americans and Latter day Saint Mormons were forced to relocate by government officials with brutal punishment. Throughout the journey to the new destinations, it was common that plethora of people caught deadly illnesses caused by exposure to a new area. Starvation and hypothermia was a common occurrence with the travelers as well.

According to the Webster Dictionary, pioneering means “a person who is among the first to explore or settle a new country or area.” While seeking land and riches in the west, pioneers would either save, borrow or sell whatever land and possessions they had to get the money for travel. According to the article Life as a Pioneer, “Some methods to relocate to the west include: wagons pulled by oxen, steamboat or stagecoach, later railroad lines were constructed out west.” Oregon Trail Center states, “To survive the long journey a family of four would need, 600 pounds of flour, 120 pounds of biscuits, 400 pounds of bacon, 60 pounds of coffee, 4 pounds of tea, 100 pounds of sugar and 200 pounds of lard.” These items were only the bare necessities of food needed to survive the journey.

Brigham Young organized a Vanguard company to trail west to the Rocky Mountains, gather information about trail conditions, including water sources and native tribes and ultimately select essential gathering point in the Great Basin. Brigham Young consulted with members of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles to select leaders for a journey. The migration was financed partly through the churches tithing. The Trek West states, “Others came from the Perpetual Emigration Fund providing by the church through its members for the journey west. The fund was replenished by repayment of loans or donations from members.” Lds.org says, “On Tuesday October 7, a rescue party with 16 supply wagons met at Big Mountain. Leader George D Grant chose Robert T Burton and William H Kimball as his assistants. They were experienced leaders of the local militia of which all men were members. The others who volunteered were experienced frontiersmen or were minutemen, a group of strong, fearless young men attached to each local militia. Within a few days, the rescue party grew in wagons and men as additional teamsters, eager to help, caught up with the group. On October 21, the rescue wagons brought relief and hope when they reached the Willie Company at Sixth Crossing of the Sweetwater River in Wyoming.” Mormons had three techniques they followed in settling new areas: plat, grid, and farm village. The plat was organized farming surrounding the community center. The grid was important in laying out the city’s roads, transportation, and residencies. You can still see the grid in Salt Lake City, Utah today. The farm village was like the city with the plats and grid, but a little less distinct.

Governor Lilburn W Boggs and Brigham Young journeyed the Oregon Trail at the same time. The men had no intentions of going at the same time because they were split between the Platt River. He was associated with the Donner-Reed party that was traveling to California.

Boggs started out as a clerk, then progressed in politics becoming state senator from 1842 to 1846. He lost the campaigns to W Russell but became incharge of the group when Russel resigned on June 18. Boggs and other immigrants, after voting, took the customary route by way of fort hall, instead, of Hastings cutoff. Dr. Marriott explains, “Reeds punishment for shooting was that he got expelled from the group then proceeded to travel ahead of them crossing the summit just as the snow began to fall. Reed knew his friends and family were going to be snowed in, so he hustled down the mountain heading towards Sutter’s Fort to find volunteers to rescue. Boggs was staying with the senator who gave them $500 to fund the rescue of the refugees. Later $1,500 was raised by others, then 23 men with provisions went with Reed to make a rescue attempt.”

Works Cited

  1. “Lesson 15: The Church in Northern Missouri, 1836-38.” Doctrine and Covenants 8, 2 Oct. 2018, www.lds.org/manual/church-history-in-the-fulness-of-times-teacher-manual/lesson-15?lang=eng.
  2. Marriott, Laurel. Lilburn W Boggs: Evil Vilain or Pragmatic Politician.
  3. Paul, Daniel. ‘Trail Of Tears’. Danielnpaul.Com, 2018, http://www.danielnpaul.com/TrailOfTears-AmericanGenocide.html. Accessed 2 Oct 2018.
  4. ‘Pioneer Facts, Information & Worksheets | PDF Classroom Worksheet.’ KidsKonnect. N.p., 08 Sept. 2017. Web. 02 Oct. 2018.
  5. “Pioneer.” Merriam-Webster, Merriam-Webster, www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/pioneer.
  6. “Stand up for Human Rights.” Artículo De La Declaración Universal De Los Derechos Humanos | Defiende Hoy Los Derechos De Los Demás | UN Human Rights Office, 2 Oct. 2018, www.standup4humanrights.org/en/article.html.
  7. ‘The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints.’ Doctrine and Covenants 8. N.p., n.d. Web. 02 Oct. 2018.
  8. “The Trek.” Brigham Young, 2 Oct. 2018, history.lds.org/article/pioneer-story-the-convert-immigrants-?lang=eng.
  9. ‘Welcome to the CampSilos Home Page.’ Be a Historian – Immigration; CampSilos: The Grout Museum Excursion. N.p., n.d. Web. 02 Oct. 2018.
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