Trail Of Tears Essay

Arguments over land, restrictions, and laws were common between the Cherokee nation and the government of the United States. The events that transpired after Andrew Jacksons Presidency and the Indian policies he put in place have caused Americans to question morality. In an article by Tim Garrison it suggest that the removal of the Cherokees was a product of the demand for arable land during the rampant growth of agriculture, the discovery of gold, and racial prejudice that many whites possessed towards the Cherokees (Garrison).

The tragedy of removing the Cherokee Indians and forcing them out of their ancestral land to soon become part of the trail of tears was a dishonorable act made by the United States government. The Cherokee weren’t the only Native Americans to be forced out of their land, but they were the most devastated. The Cherokee were unlike any other tribe; when they spoke it would be one at a time and always listen to each other. At first when the European settlers came to America they were referred to as “ugly whites”.

Which, for the events that took place is a very acceptable name given to them. The U. S government began to negotiate with Cherokees in 1791. The beginning of the end for the Cherokees started with the signing of the Indian Removal Act on May 28 1830. President Andrew Jackson signed this act into law; it authorized him to grant unsettled lands west of the Mississippi in exchange for the Indians land. “What we do not give the white man, he will take away until our whole Nation is gone from this earth” (Canoe).

Canoe, Cherokee war leader, explained to his people that the U. S government wouldn’t leave their people alone until they complied to the government’s wishes. In return Cherokee tribe member Aitooweyah said, “The great mass of the people think only of the love we have to our land… to let it go it will be like throwing away our mother that gave… us birth” (Aitooweyah). At first a few of the tribes went peacefully, but the rest refused to leave their homes. The United States government forcefully moved the Cherokees west during the winter. The march became known as the Trail of Tears.

As a matter of fact, the Trail of Tears was one of the most horrendous events in the lives of the Cherokee Nation Tribe. “While some detachments traveled by water route Others were not so lucky. On their journey they suffered severely from diseases such as: influenza, sore throat, pleurisy, measles, diarrhea, fevers, toothache, and among young men, gonorrhea (Thornton). ” Children were at much higher risks for disease.

Although, once they reached their new land the problems didn’t seem to end. A lot of the Native Americans were still displeased with the signing of the Treaty of New Echota. The conditions of the treaty were that, the Cherokee would receive land west of the Mississippi River and fifteen million dollars for their current land. Most the Cherokee people did not want this deal. In fact, only a small amount of Native Americans from the tribe signed it, but it was enough that the treaty was ratified. The three Indians responsible for signing the Treaty of Echota were killed for treason. ” Martin Luther King said, “Our nation was born in genocide when it embraced the doctrine that the original American, the Indian, was an inferior race”(King).

Stanley,Max (Trail of Tears) In addition, the Trail of Tears is now a symbol in history that signifies the carelessness American policy makers had towards the Native Americans. “They first Believed that around 4,000 Indians died on the trail of tears, but it’s now predicted that around ten thousand died on the trail (McLoughlin). ” “The Cherokee nation refers to the Trail of Tears as “The Place They Cried”. ” The first year after their removal was the hardest. Since they were used to growing crops by the water, they tried to do the same in their new territory.

They tried planting along the Arkansas River, but it continuously flooded washing out their first crops. Removing the Cherokees from their original home was disgraceful choice made by the United States government. Forcing the Cherokees out of their rightful land just so they could use it for resources they didn’t currently have access to was tragic. Historian Richard White said Schmidt 4 “The Cherokee are probably the most tragic instance of what could have succeeded in American Indian policy and didn’t. All these things that

Americans would proudly see as the hallmarks of civilization are going to the west by Indian people. They do everything they were asked to do except one thing. What the Cherokees ultimately are, they may be Christian, they may be literate, they may have a government like ours, but ultimately they are Indian. And in the end, being Indian is what kills them. (White)” The way we treated the Native Americans is in direct contrast with our own Constitution (Lee). The United States will have to forever live with the weight of knowing how awful the treatment of the Cherokee Nation, and can only hope to learn from its mistakes.