The Cherokee Native Americans had to move to the west of the Mississippi River from where ever they were. They had to move from their original homes because they were “in the way” of the growing states. Document H2 is a graphic of where the Native Americans started and trail they took to Oklahoma. All of the Native American tribes were originally in one of the growing states. It was a problem for them to be in the states because they were not under the United States leadership, they were not officially apart of the United States, and they were in the way.
They were relocated because they could not be civilized Americans, according to Andrew Jackson. He said, “My friends, circumstances render it impossible that you can and flourish in the midst of a civilized community”(Document G). Jackson was the President of the United States at the time. He believed that they could not be civilized and could not live the way Americans did. A very popular president, President James Monroe, unfortunately agreed with him.
He said in a message to Congress in 1825, “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”(Document G). Americans wanted to use the land for farming and make American grow. Trying to incorporate all of the millions of Native Americans into United States would be nearly impossible to do quickly. It could be done over time, but as Monroe pointed out, in such masses it would be hard to incorporate them into the system quickly. Native Americans cherished their land.
They lived in harmony with it. Document B is a letter from Aitooweyah to John Ross, she says, ‘We, the great mass of the people think only of the love we have to our land for… we do love the land where we were brought up. ” This is the land of their inheritance. Their whole lives have been here. They do not wish to fight with the Americans and were thinking of what was best for the people. A bystander agreed, he said, “… driven by brutal power from all they loved and cherished in the land of their fathers to gratify the cravings of avarice”(Document F).
A bystander that was not a Native American could see that the people adored their land. He could also see that they were being removed from their precious homes for a greedy purpose. From the chart it states that nobody owns the land according to the Native Americans. The Native Americans thought that the Earth was sacred and it was put there by the Great Spirit. They took care of the land and cherished it. They were taken from their beautiful homes and were sent to west of the Mississippi River.
Andrew Jackson also states,”… nd the sooner you do this, the sooner you will commence your career of improvement and prosperity”(Document A). They were at the mercy of Andrew Jackson who was trying to enlarge the United States. Jackson believed, or what he said he believed, was that they would prosper in the land that he “gave” them. Also, in document H, the graphic shows where the ended up. Their long miserable journey was on the territory of other tribes. It’s probably caused some havoc among the tribes because they were being forced into someone else’s territory.
All of the Native Americans we harshly transported west of the Mississippi River to Oklahoma and part of what was soon to be Kansas. The removal of the Native Americans was not a hostile process. To begin President Monroe said, “… provisions 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”(Document G). Monroe knows that the removal of the Native Americans will be absolutely horrendous and unforgiving processes, but Jackson did it anyway.
Private John Burnett said, “I saw helpless Cherokees arrested and dragged from their homes, and driven at the bayonet point into the stockade”(Document C). The Cherokees were surprised. They had no warning and were violently taken from their homes then dragged to a new land by force. An observer documented that a respected chief named Snake led the way to the new land riding his favorite Pony(Document F). Even the leaders could do anything about the removal. In 1942 Robert Lund painted a painting called the Trail of Tears. The painting is a grim image of the harsh conditions the Native Americans were traveling in.
The picture shows the somber expressions of the Native Americans and the conditions they were traveling in. Aitooweyah said in the same letter to John Ross, “We will never let our hold to this land go… to let it go it will be like throwing [it] away… (Document B)” Most of the Cherokee had the same opinion, so as they were leaving their precious land they were thinking they were throwing it away. James Monney interviewed survivors of the Trial of Tears. He wrote, “Families at dinner were startled by the sudden gleam of bayonets in the doorway…
Men were seized in their fields or going along the road, women were ten from their spinning wheels and children from their play. (Document E)” The Native Americans were in shock about the entire move. This affected their mood as they walked. All of their possessions were stolen or burned. They had no time to pack or prepare. As they trudged along the trail the were upset, sad and felt hopeless because there was nothing they could do about anything they owned. An observed noted, the silence the Cherokees were in. There were no words to describe the devastation and heartache they felt.