“Trail of Tears” – a Deadly Journey

On millions of acres in Georgia, Tennessee, Alabama, North Carolina, and Florida is where over 100,000 Natives American would call home in the early 1830s. Due to white settlers who wanted to harvest cotton where the Natives were settled, the federal government would soon force Native Americans to travel thousands of miles across the Mississippi River. This was a deadly journey known as the Trail of Tears that would put the Natives in a designated “Indian territory”. By the end of the 1830s a small population of Natives would remain in the southeastern part of America.

Why were Indians such a problem in this decade that made the federal government force them out? Well, at this time many settlers still feared the Native Americans if they were to ever have encountered them. This was due to Americans still viewing them as such an unfamiliar group of people. Farmers wanted to grow cotton on the lands that Natives lived on, but didn’t want to run into any trouble with these “alien people”. Earlier in years when settlers encountered Natives they wanted them to turn as “American” as possible. Conform into the Christian religion, as well as speaking English and adapt to the European style of living. Officials knew they had to go something to get this valuable land, especially since Natives were stealing livestock and often times terrorizing the settler’s homes and towns.

The processes of removing the Indians started with the United States Army raiding Indian reservations and then president Andrew Jackson signing the Indian Removal Act. This gave the government authority to trade Native territory for land in the west that they have from the Louisiana Purchase. This law required the government to peacefully negotiate treaties with the Native Americans, but President Jackson ignored this and forced Natives out. Choctaw was the first tribe to be kicked out of their land and forced to walk without food or supplies. The leader of this tribe stated thousands of Indians died along the way making it known as, The Trail of Tears.

Many tribes were conflicted weather they should stay and fight or just simply agree to live for money and land. The Cherokee nation traded the land East of Mississippi for $5 million, this was known as the Treaty of New Echota. After this deal the American government was satisfied, but the Cherokees still thought they have been betrayed. Nation’s principal chief, John Ross, in a letter to the U.S. Senate protesting the treaty. “We are not parties to its covenants; it has not received the sanction of our people.” Over 16,000 Cherokees signed and approved of the petition. By the end of the 1830s only a small portion of the tribe had begun their journey. This caused American troops to force the Natives out. Soliders took their belongings and walked them to the new Indian territory. As a result of this journey over 5,000 Cherokees died.

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"Trail of tears" - a deadly journey. (2021, Mar 17). Retrieved October 7, 2022 , from

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