The Tragedy Of The Trail Of Tears

1565 words - 6 pages

To many the trail of tears has no meaning or relevance in their life, but for some the Trail of Tears has great meaning since many of the native ancestors endured the hardships of this time. In the 1830s, Native Americans occupied many acres of land in Georgia, Tennessee, Alabama, North Carolina, and Florida. The main reason for the Trail of Tears was because the Americans wanted the Indians’ land for themselves so they could raise their cattle, and because of the good soil so they could grow and harvest crops. Their ancestors had lived on and cultivated this land for generations, and by the end of that generation very few Native Americans remained anywhere in the Southeastern United States. Many think that The Trail of Tears was just the “Five Civilized Tribes”, but there were many other smaller tribes involved too. Some tribes agreed to sign, and others were forced into it, but either way it went they all had to leave. Many Native Americans suffered from exposure, disease, and starvation on their way to their destinations, making The Trail of Tears one of the greatest hardships in Native American history.
In 1830, the President of the United States Andrew Jackson issued an order for the removal of the Native Americans, which passed through both houses of Congress. “When Andrew Jackson became president (1829–1837), he decided to build a systematic approach to Indian removal on the basis of these legal precedents.” (William. Pg 5). It gave the president power to negotiate removal treaties with Indian tribes living east of the Mississippi. Under these treaties, the Indians were to give up their lands east of the Mississippi in exchange for lands to the west. “Thomas Jefferson was the original instigator of the idea of removing all Indians to the west of the Mississippi.”(Herman. Preface) The Americans went into the backcountry of the coastal South and began moving toward and into what would later become the states of Alabama and Mississippi. Since Indian tribes living there appeared to be the main obstacle to westward expansion, white settlers petitioned the federal government to remove them. Although Presidents Thomas Jefferson and James Monroe argued that the Indian tribes in the Southeast should exchange their land for lands west of the Mississippi River, they didn’t try to make this happen. “Jefferson’s program for “civilizing” the Indians went forward and, it was successful in the southeast, especially with the five major tribes in the area.” (Herman. Preface). Jefferson thought that you could “civilize” the Indians. He believed that if the Indians could be turned into farmers like their white neighbors they would blend into the American Society like everyone else. While Jackson and other politicians put a very positive and favorable spin on Indian removal in their speeches, the removals were in fact often brutal. There was little the Indians could do to defend themselves. The Native Americans were to be satsified; this was not always done...

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