The Trail Of Tears In the 1830s, the Native Americans were forced out of their land because of Jackson’s Indian Removal Act. They were forced to march a unforgiving, harsh trail to a designated territory. This journey was sad and torturing to the Native Americans. Although these factors were not a physical trail, the Removal Act, conditions, journey, suffering, deaths, and battles WERE the Trail of Tears.
White Americans always resented Native Americans due to many factors. Many tribes were thought to be uncivilized and “alien” by people. Due to this, many Americans did not want to be encountered at all by Native Americans. George Washington’s solution was to “civilize” them by changing them to Christianity and learn English. Although tribes became more bearable to the Americans, they still wanted their land. President Andrew Jackson created the Indian Removal Act. President Jackson already had history with Indians when he was in the army and ran into rebellious natives. This act would force 100,00 Indians out of their territory.
Indians lost their cotton farms and farmers who gained their land already had an easy profit and steady farm due to this new land. The tribes affected by this act were the Cherokees, Creeks, Chickasaws, Choctaws, and Seminoles. It was required for Jackson to negotiate peaceful treaties to remove the Native Americans, but he sent troops to capture them.
The trail to the “Indian Country” was called the Trail where they cried originally and had 5,054 miles that spread across Alabama, Arizona, Illinois, Kentucky, Missouri, North Carolina, Oklahoma, Tennessee, and Georgia. Many of the tribes had different reactions and solutions to being removed, but although some protested in the end, they were forced to be removed. Most tribes signed removal agreements. The Choctaw tribe signed the Treaty of Dancing Rabbit Creek which granted the US the ability to remove them and gain their land. The government did not provide anything but guards while they were relocated. The Choctaw people were not prepared to make a journey in the harsh winters.
3,500 people of the 15,000 did not survive the trail. One tribe that put a good fight against removal were the Seminoles. Chief Osceola led his tribe to defend their home territory by using guerilla tactics. 2,000 US soldiers were killed in the Seminole War. The war costed the federal government $40 to 60 million. After the Seminole leader was captured, the tribe peacefully agreed to migration.
The Cherokees were supposed to receive 5 million for their land although many disagreed with removal. John Ross created a petition against removal and was signed by 16,000 Cherokees, but it was ignored. They also had to journey through the harsh winters on the Trail of Tears. 4,000 of the 15,000 Cherokees died due to sickness and starvation.Many routes, sites, and graveyards still exist in the present day.
In 1987, the US made the Trail of Tears into a National Historic Trail in remembrance for everyone who suffered. It is still stretched over the Nine states and throughout the routes there are exhibits of camps or other places involving the Trail of Tears. There is also a bike ride called “The Remember The Removal Ride” in honor of the Native Americans who died. The trail of tears is a symbol of how much suffering the Natives had to go through.
The Native Americans were strong although they lost in every way that they tried to protest removal. It is important to remember this event and mistake that the US government made to fully honor those who could not survive the trail where they cried.