The Trail of Tears

By: Katie Prock

what was the trail of tears

In the early 1800's, Andrew Jackson had Congress pass a law called the Indian Removal Act. This act required Native Americans to relocate west of the Mississippi River under treaties with the U.S. government. When whites started to invade Native American lands, the Indians saw no choice but to sign the treaties. In 1831 the southeast tribes were moved west. The Cherokee, a tribe from Georgia, wasn't ready to leave their land. They went to the Supreme Court and challenged the act. They wanted to protect their land instead of just giving it to Georgia. The Chief Justice ruled that only the federal government could make laws governing the Cherokee, however, President Jackson ignored the Supreme Court. In 1838, 16,000 Cherokee were taken from their homes and forced to make the harsh journey in the dead of winter. A quarter of the Cherokee died on the journey and many others grew weak and ill. This journey became known as the Trail of Tears.

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what led up to the trail of tears

In the 1800's President Andrew Jackson asked Congress to pass a law that required Native Americans to either try to blend into American society or relocate west of the Mississippi River. The Native Americans didn't want to change their lifestyle and they were not happy about being forced off of the land where their tribes had lived for decades. Many of them refused to move and this made Andrew Jackson very mad. Although many Americans were against moving the Native Americans, Jackson insisted that Congress pass yet another law, the Indian Removal Act. This act stated that the U.S. government had to negotiate treaties that would require Native Americans to move west of the Mississippi.

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effects of the trail of tears

The Trail of Tears effected the Native Americans and the American settlers in many ways. The Native Americans lost their homes because they were forced to move. They also lost family members when they were forced to walk through horribly cold and snowy weather in the middle of winter and many of their people died of illness. The Trail of Tears also effected the Americans, but not in the way that the Native Americans were effected. The American settlers gained land and were able to expand the country more in the south.

My Reaction

I completely disagree with what President Jackson forced Congress to do to the Native Americans. I don't think it was right that the Native Americans were forced to leave their homeland, when they had lived there before the Americans had. It was also horrible of the American soldiers to pick the deadliest time of year to have the Cherokee make the journey because the soldiers knew that many of them would die.