Trail of Tears

By: Lindsey


What was the Trail of Tears?

It was the forced march of the Native Americans out of their territories and into reservations, by the Europeans. Many of the Natives signed peace treaties with the government, but they were soon forgotten. Native Americans were forcibly removed from their homes and had to start a new life elsewhere. If they refused, they were usually punished. Thousands of Native Americans died while traveling across the country. Diseases, famine, and starvation, etc. were major issues during this time. Andrew Jackson felt that since he was President that he didn't have to listen to the Supreme Courts suggestions and so he signed the Native American Removal Act that allowed the soldiers to remove the Natives from the land that their ancestors grew up on and the land that provided them with so many things for so long. (

Who Was Involved?

Andrew Jackson, the 7th president of the United States, was against Native Americans having rights. He believed that they should move off their own land to make room for others by force. He signed many acts to help get the Natives off their land, and refused to listen to their pleas for rights. (
The Cherokee Indians had lived on the land for hundreds of years. They had learned to live on the land and how to use it wisely. But when the Europeans came over, they forced the Natives out even when the Natives tried to fight back. The Trail of Tears was a 2,200 mile walk by land and water across the country. (


The Trail of Tears can be connected to the Underground Railroad. Like the Trail of Tears, it was a passage from one place to another. Both helped them get to where they needed to go or were forced to go for their own safety. "The heroism and desperate struggle that many of our people had to endure, under terrible oppression that they were under, should be kept green in the memory of this and coming generations." ~William Still

I think that this quote from African American history, can relate to both situations because both had to endure such terrible situations that it is both horrifying and disgusting that people would do this to the average human being.

Another connection to the Trail of Tears is World War ll. After the bombing of Pearl Harbor, America rounded up all of the Japanese-Americans, who had come to America in search of a new life, and forced them into camps, very much like concentration camps of the Jews. The Americans did this because they thought that there had to be a Japanese spy in America that was telling the Japanese how to really shake up America. "As far as I'm concerned, I was born here, and according to the Constitution that I studied in school, that I had the Bill of Rights that should have backed me up. And until the very minute I got onto the evacuation train, I says, 'It can't be'. I says, 'How can they do that to an American citizen?'" ~Robert Kashiwagi. I think that this is similar to the Trail of Tears because both people were taken from there homes and moved to camps or reserves where they were treated poorly because they didn't know how to live without the knowledge of their surroundings.

Based on the rights of the Native Americans, my last connection is to Civil Rights. I decided to make this connection because both of these people weren't treated with the same respect as others. They were forced to be treated as less than whole people and it created neglect and resentment for both sides of the argument in each situation. "We didn't have any civil rights. It was just a matter of survival, of existing from one day to the next. I remember going to sleep as a girl hearing the Klan ride at night and hearing a lynching, and being afraid the house would burn down." ~Rosa Parks. I think that this quote is a good statement to the connection because many Cherokees felt that they had to be very watchful because on several incidents, the Europeans would try to raid their villages and take them away on a march away from their homes.

I think that these three are very strong connections to the Trail of Tears because they all have something to do with different parts of American history that led to the Trail of Tears.

Connections to the Experiments


Milgrams Experiment was based on how people would react under authority. They had an actor speak into a recorder and they recorded cries for help and yelps. Then, they had the participants meet the actor. They then each got a slip of paper to see who would be the person shocked and who would be the person shocking the other (in other cases who would be the student and who would be the teacher). The "teacher" has a series of questions that he/she has to ask the student "actor". If they get it right, there is no punishment, but if they get it wrong they get shocked, the number of volts rising every time. If the person wants to stop then they have another actor to represent a scientist who tells them to continue as part of the experiment. They then either refuse or continue on. Once they reach the XXX number of volts, the student goes silent making the teacher think that they have either killed the student or made them unconscious. 9 out of the 12 continued until the very end.

The Stanford Prison Experiment was also a test under authority. 72 college students took a test and only 24 were admitted into the experiment because they didn't have any records of drugs, alcoholism, or violence. They were then arrested from their houses and had to wait at a prison while they people part of the experiment set up the Stanford basement to look like a prison. They then flipped a coin to see who would be the prisoners and who would be the guards out of 12 people. The guards got sunglasses, a uniform, and a billy club, while the prisoners got short dresses with no underwear or shorts underneath and stocking caps to put on their heads. They were then stripped naked for any signs of lice or disease that could get the other people in the experiment sick. They then were put into their cells and each day the conditions got worse. They were stripped of their clothing and beds, and were put into closets for bad behavior. Some broke down into nervous rashes and uncontrollable crying. Others starved themselves so they could leave. It got so bad that within 6 days, the experiment was stopped. It showed that everyday people can be changed very quickly by how much power you give them. (both under

I think that the Trail of Tears relates to Milgrams experiment because even when the student cried for help and told them to stop, the teachers continued anyway. Just like when the Cherokees pleaded with Andrew Jackson to stop, he just kept taking more of their land away. "How far will humans will go when an authority figure orders them to hurt another human being?" (Milgram's Question on Moodle) I think that this is a big question because many Native Americans died at European hands when an authority figure told them to.

I also think that the Stanford Prison Experiment could relate to the Trail of Tears because the prisoners were stripped of their clothing, beds, and bathrooms when they didn't do what the guards asked them to. "The Stanford Prison Experiment has become one of psychology's most dramatic illustrations of how good people can be transformed into perpetrators of evil, and healthy people can begin to experience pathological reactions - traceable to situational forces." (Stanford Prison Experiment on Moodle)The Native Americans were stripped of their rights and land because the Europeans wanted to have more room for expansion. They were moved to a reservation where many died because they didn't know how to live off the land.

I think that these connections represent what life was like for the Native Americans living in America and how settlers had a big impact on the Cherokee culture. I hope that many people realize that people make mistakes sometimes. But this was not a mistake. This was part of an American loss in our history. What would life have been like if the Native Americans were still here and how could we have benefited from it?

"I fought through the war between the States, and have seen many men shot, but the Cherokee Removal was the cruelest work I ever knew." ~Georgia soldier who participated in the removal (

I think that this is a good quote because is basically says just how cruel the Cherokees were treated.

Trail of Tears National Historic Trail
Big image
Big image
Big image