The Trail of Tears

By: Katie Lederhaus

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What was the Trail of Tears?

The Trail of Tears was the journey the Native American tribes took when they were forced off their land by the U.S. government and moved to territories in what is present day Oklahoma. The Native Americans were forced to make this journey during the fall and winter months, so much suffering was had from the cold. There were about 16,000 Cherokee Tribe members on this journey and about 4,000 of them died from growing weak and ill because of the cold. Below are the routes the Native American tribes took.
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What Led up to the Trail of Tears?

In the early 1800s, Native Americans were viewed by white people as obstacles to progress. The Americans wanted to move onto the Native Americans' land in the southeast, especially after gold was found there. To avoid conflict over land, some Americans wanted the Native Americans to assimilate into American culture and some wanted them to move out west to Indian Territory because they thought they were uncivilized. The Native Americans didn't want to give up their culture or the lands they had lived on for a long time. Andrew Jackson believed the government could control where the Native Americans would live. The Indian Removal Act was passed in 1830. This act stated that the government had to make treaties with the Native American Tribes requiring them to move west. The tribes couldn't think of anything else to do but sign the treaties. However, there was one tribe that resisted. This tribe was the Cherokee tribe. They went to the Supreme Court to try to keep their land from being taken. John Marshall, the Chief Justice, granted their wish, but Andrew Jackson ignored this and sent troops to force the Cherokee tribe off their land.
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My Reaction

I think it's terrible that the Native Americans were forced to leave the land their tribes had lived on long before Americans did. It's not fair! They were there first, so they should be able to stay there. I also think Andrew Jackson is the worst dude ever for making them relocate during the winter season to cause the most suffering. I mean, these people are already sacrificing so much and now 25% of them are going to die because of the cold and getting sick. That's just horrible. The supreme court was going to let the Cherokee tribe stay, but oh no. Andrew Jackson just ignores that and sends troops to force them out. Can he even do that?? I personally think he just did that so he wouldn't have to negotiate with the other tribes too, which is pretty lazy of him.