Trail of Tears

By: Cali Cunnigham

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How It All Started!

The discovery of the New World by the Europeans explorers, caused endless problems for the Native Americans. The first contact between Southeastern American Indians and the Europeans was the expedition of Hernando De Soto, the expedition took captives for use as a slave labor, while others were abused because Europeans thought of them as savages. Diseases brought by Europeans spread throughout Indian villages decimating Native population. Over the next two centuries more and more Whites arrived and the Native cultures responded to pressures to adopt the foreign ways, leading to the deterioration of their own culture. During the colonial period Indian tribes often became embroiled in European colonial wars, if the Indians were on the losing side, they frequently had to give up parts of their homeland. After the American Revolution Indians faced problems of insatiable desire of white settlers for lands occupies by Indian people inevitably led to the formulation of a general policy of removing unwanted inhabitants. Many political leaders, including Thomas Jefferson believed Indians should be civilized. Many Whites agreed, and missionaries were sent among the tribes.
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Purposes of The Trail of Tears!

As part of President Andrew Jackson's Indian Removal Policy of 1830, the Cherokee Nation was forced to give up its lands east of the Mississippi River and migrate to Indian Territory (present day Oklahoma). The Indian Removal Act was spawned by the rapidly expanding population of new settlers which created tensions with the American Indian Tribes . In 1819 1819 Georgia appealed to the U.S. government to remove the Cherokee from Georgia lands and when the appeal failed, attempts were made to purchase the territory.

When gold was discovered in White County, Georgia in 1828, the state began to push even harder for removal of the Indians. The Georgia legislature soon outlawed the Cherokee government and confiscated tribal lands. When the Cherokee appealed for federal protection, they were rejected by President Andrew Jackson. The Jackson Administration began to put pressure on the Cherokee and other tribes to sign treaties of removal but the Cherokee rejected any proposals. However, when Jackson was reelected in 1832, some of the Cherokee believed that removal was inevitable. A Treaty Party, led by Major John Ridge, believed that it was in the best interest of the Cherokee Nation to get the best possible terms from the U.S. government. Cautiously, Ridge began unauthorized talks with the Jackson administration. The State of Georgia was so sure that the Cherokee would be removed, they began holding lotteries in order to divide up the Cherokee tribal lands among white Georgians. In 1835, Jackson appointed a treaty commissioner by the name of Reverend John F. Schermerhorn who offered to pay the Cherokee Nation 4.5 million dollars to move. In October, 1835, the terms were rejected by the Cherokee Nation. the Treaty of New Echota was agreed to which provided for the Cherokee Nation to cede its lands in exchange for $5,700,000 and new lands in Indian Territory (now Oklahoma.) Though the actions was repudiated by more than nine-tenths of the tribe and was not signed by a single elected tribal official, Congress ratified the treaty on May 23, 1836. As the deadline for voluntary removal on May 23, 1838 approached, President Martin Van Buren appointed General Winfield Scott to lead the forcible removal operation. Commanding some 7,000 troops, Scott arrived in Georgia on May 26th beginning a forcible evacuation at gunpoint. An estimated 15,000 were forced to move over the next 3 weeks. The swift and brutal process drove men, women and children out of their homes, sometimes with only the clothes on their backs. They were then gathered in camps where conditions were terrible. Many of the Cherokee died while waiting in the camps, where food and supplies were limited and disease was rampant.

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The Trail Where They Cried

The Trail Where They Cried.

By: Cali Cunningham

The Trail where they ride.

On a beautiful Summer day,

the doors came knocking down.

Family’s enjoying their meal.

Men working hard in their fields.

Women spinning cloth.

Children playing outside.

Their homes torn apart.

And for what?

One word- Gold.

Our young Nation was selfish.

Thinking only of themselves.

Letting hopes and dreams

of the many families

being torn apart

by one trail.

The Trail where they cried.

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When to soldiers came to my house my father wanted to fight, but my mother told him that the soldiers would kill him if he did, and he surrendered without a fight. They drove us out of our house to join other prisoners in a stockade. After they took us away, my mother begged them to let her go back and get some bedding. So they let her go back and she brought what bedding and aa few cooking utensils she could carry and we left behind all our other household possessions. - Rebecca Neugin - she was only 3 years old when the soldiers- Decades later, she remembered the scene vividly.
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Fast Facts!

1. There were 10 million Native Americans on this continent when the first non-Indians arrived. Over the next 300 years, 90% of all Native American original population was either wipe out by disease, famine, or warfare imported by the whites.

2. During the Trail of Tears 4,000 of the 15,000 Indians died of hunger, disease, cold, and exhaustion.

3. Andrew Jackson was the president of the United States from 1829 to 1837. Martin Van Buren succeeded him, from 1837 to 1841. The Trail of Tears happened between 1838 and 1839, making Van Buren the president during this event, but Andrew Jackson is traditionally held to blame.

4.The Cherokee Natives refer to the Trail of Tears as 'Nunahi-Duna-Dlo-Hilu-I' or 'Trail where they cried'.

5.The Indians were held in concentration-like camps through the summer, then they were then forced to travel over 1,000 miles, under very hard conditions to Indian Territory.

6. when the soldiers were advancing the Cherokees, two children saw the troops coming and ran into the forest to hide because they were frightened. Their mother begged and begged the soldiers to wait until she could find them, to leave, but they refused.

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The Trail of Tears had a big impact on American history, and changed the lives of many Americans forever!
Age of Jackson: Crash Course US History #14



2. WWW.




6. Fremon, David K. The Trail of Tears. New York: New Discovery, 1994. Print.

7. Brill, Marlene Targ. The Trail of Tears: The Cherokee Journey from Home. Brookfield, CT: Millbrook, 1995. Print.

Westward Expansion: Crash Course US History #24