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“In the 1830s the American government decided that they wanted the land in which the Native Americans owned. This caused the Americans to push out many Native Americans, primarily the Cherokee Indians, to leave their homes, and walk over 1000 miles to there new settlement that was provided to them by the Americans. This long journey is called the Trail of Tears. In this paper, I will explain to you the batlles and hardships that they had to overcome.
The Americans thought the Native Americans were trouble and decided that they should basically treat them like they weren’t human beings, but property they could control. The people in the Western United States were very much afraid of the Indians, which caused much hatred towards them (History.com). This caused a dilemma in the United States because the Americans wanted them out of their land, but the land was rightfully their’s. The American’s then tried to force the Indians to speak English and become Christians, so they could appeal to the white settlers who lived near them (History.com). This was a big deal, the Americans basically told the Indians to throw away all their traditions and beliefs just because they said so. There were a total of 5 tribes that went through this process, they were; the Choctaw, Chickasaw, Seminole, Creek, and Cherokee. They became known as the “Five Civilized Tribes” (History.com).
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The civilization of the tribes still was not enough for the Americans, they wanted nothing to do with them, they wanted them as far away as possible. Andrew Jackson was the president at this time, and he was well-known for his battles in Georgia and Alabama, in which he fought the Creeks (History.com). As you can tell President Jackson had a major issue with the Indians, which was extremely bad for all the Native Americans. In 1830 Andrew Jackson signed the “Indian Removal Act” which was a document that stated that the “Five Civilized Tribes” had to leave their homeland and move west of the Mississippi River (War Paths). The Indians were heartbroken by this because most of there land had been in their tribes and families for many years.
After the Removal Act was signed some of the tribes were displeased and took a stand against it. The Cherokees in west Georgia took legal action to try and stop the removal from being enforced, so they went to the Supreme Court, in which where a man by the name of John Marshal agreed with them and said they could stay. This angered the president so he ignored the ruling and went in with the removal anyway (US History). If the president had listened to the court and stayed away the terrible events to come would not have happened, but they did. In 1838 President Martin Van Buren ordered General Winfield Scott to enforce the removal on to the Cherokee, 7,000 troops were sent into the Cherokee land and they disarmed the Cherokees, woman and children were dragged out of their homes, and they were sent off without anything besides the clothes they had on, no food, no blankets, nothing. The farms that had been in the tribe for many generations were auctioned off to white settlers (War Paths). Can you imagine something as terrible as this happening to you and your family? It makes me sick that our ancestors did this.
After the Cherokees were driven out they were forced to walk all the way to their new reservation, which was around 1,000 miles away and the preparation for the trip was very lack-luster. The Cherokee had around 600 wagons, 5,000 horses, and a few over 100 oxen, little clothing, along with shoes, were not provided. The removal began in November 1838, so they had to walk in the terribly cold winter weather (War Paths). The weather made the trip so much harder and caused more deaths. Along with the weather, the death counts were increased significantly through disease and infection. The main sicknesses were; smallpox, malaria, measles, cholera, whooping cough, influenza, and pneumonia. These diseases today aren’t that big of a deal, but back then, there was no cure for any of it. All of this caused the deaths of about 4,000 Cherokees (War Paths).
When the Cherokees got to there new land they were in for a big surprise. The Cherokees were promised the land but it didn’t hold up, for it was sold off to white settlers (War Paths). In 1893 Henry L. Dawes negotiated land with the Cherokees, he stated that if they got rid of their tribal government that they were then entitled to land (War Paths). The Americans basically took away what was promised and sucker punched them and they were like “ Hey if u want your land you can’t have a government!”.
As you can see, the Americans really gave the Indians a hard time and basically tortured them. We forced them to walk a extremely long distance in the cold, which caused many of them to die, on top of the ones that died from sickness. The gist of it is, that the early Americans were terrible human beings.”
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