The Impact Of Westward Expansion On The Cherokee Nation

1661 words - 7 pages

The Impact of Westward Expansion on The Cherokee Nation

Josh Powers
U.S. History 1 Period 5
Mr. Jacobson

At the time Andrew Jackson was president, there was a fast growing population and a desire for more land. Because of this, expansion was inevitable. To the west, many native Indian tribes were settled. Andrew Jackson spent a good deal of his presidency dealing with the removal of the Indians in western land. Throughout the 1800’s, westward expansion harmed the natives, was an invasion of their land, which led to war and tension between the natives and America, specifically the Cherokee Nation.

Natives were forcefully removed from their land in the 1800’s by America. In the 1820’s and 30’s Georgia issued a campaign to remove the Cherokees from their land. The Cherokee Indians were one of the largest tribes in America at the time. Originally the Cherokee’s were settled near the great lakes, but overtime they moved to the eastern portion of North America. After being threatened by American expansion, Cherokee leaders re-organized their government and adopted a constitution written by a convention, led by Chief John Ross (Cherokee Removal). In 1828 gold was discovered in their land. This made the Cherokee’s land even more desirable. During the spring and winter of 1838- 1839, 20,000 Cherokees were removed and began their journey to Oklahoma. Even if natives wished to assimilate into America, by law they were neither citizens nor could they hold property in the state they were in. Principal Chief, John Ross and Major Ridge were leaders of the Cherokee Nation. The Eastern band of Cherokee Indians lost many due to smallpox. It was a year later that a Treaty was signed for cession of Cherokee land in Texas. A small number of Cherokee Indians assimilated into Florida, in order to avoid pressure from American expansion. In the trail of tears 4,000 Cherokees died. In December of 1835 a majority of the Cherokee political party signed the Treaty of New Echota without authorization from Ross or the Cherokee government. After this, some Cherokees avoided the Americans by moving further north. When the Cherokee Indians were threatened for their land they did all they could to keep it. Strategies were established such as, fighting for their land or giving some land up in hope to keep part of it. Cherokees knew that fighting had a very low probability of success, this is why Ross attempted to give up some land. His hopes did not turn out well, and all of the land was eventually taken. After this the Cherokees hope become weak, as did their strength. They were being ruled by the Americans. Finally the decision was made, the Cherokee would move west, as the U.S. ordered(Miller Center).

By the 1820’s, westward expansion had pushed the frontier across the Mississippi into Iowa, Missouri, Arkansas, and into eastern Texas. This meant that Cherokees were getting moved further into western territory. The Cherokee Indians had been...

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