The Removal of the Cherokee

Powerful Essays
The tragedy of the Cherokee nation has haunted the legacy of Andrew Jackson"'"s Presidency. The events that transpired after the implementation of his Indian policy are indeed heinous and continually pose questions of morality for all generations. Ancient Native American tribes were forced from their ancestral homes in an effort to increase the aggressive expansion of white settlers during the early years of the United States. The most notable removal came after the Indian Removal Act of 1830. The Cherokee, whose journey was known as the '"'Trail of Tears'"', and the four other civilized tribes, Chickasaw, Choctaw, Creek and Seminole, were forced to emigrate to lands west of the Mississippi River, to what is now day Oklahoma, against their will. During the journey westward, over 60,000 Indians were forced from their homelands. Approximately 4000 Cherokee Indians perished during the journey due to famine, disease, and negligence. The Cherokees to traveled a vast distance under force during the arduous winter of 1838-1839.# This is one of the saddest events in American history, yet we must not forget this tragedy.

In order to understand the lack of morality on the part of the United States, the actions taken by the group in favor of removing the Indians and their opponents needs examining. The seeds of the Indian Removal Act of 1830 are rooted in colonial times and continued to grow during the early years of the American republic. To comprehend this momentous tragedy we must first examine the historical background of the Indian '"'problem'"' and seek rationale for the American government"'"s actions. This includes looking at the men who politically justified the expulsion of the Cherokee nation and those who argued against it.

The Cherokee lived along the eastern part of the Tennessee River thriving in the bottomlands from Virginia southward, and built their houses in villages, which were separated by daylong walks. Their houses were made of wood and stone, fields planted, nuts and berries gathered, game cured, and tobacco was smoked. The Cherokees predominantly relied upon hunting as their sole source of food, and lived peacefully with the Creek tribe, with whom they shared hunting grounds. Their hunting grounds extended from the Mississippi River to the Blue Ridge Mountains and from Central Georgia all the way north to Ohio River.

The Cherokee"'"...

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...what everyone wanted; they had become learned in the arts and their magazine The Cherokee Phoenix was popular and appreciated amongst men of all classes. The Cherokee had done what was required of them, yet Emerson felt that the government was entering a new realm of existence, one whereby public sentiment was unimportant, and the lives of men could be discarded upon a whim.

The cries from Americans did not stop President Van Buren from giving General Winfield Scott orders to remove the Cherokees. The Cherokees, despite their grossly horrific predicament, still were proud. They were once a great people, and they maintained that they would remain that way.

The removal of Indians from their lands can never be wiped away from the pages of history. By far the events surrounding The Indian Removal Act of 1830 is one of the darkest episodes of our nation. The men in charge of America during the 1820s and 1830s were expansionists, with no regard for whom they were expanding upon. We can not undo the mistakes of the past, the Cherokee will never be able to regain their lands nor the rightful peace and respect they deserve, not only as men, but as the original American ancestors.
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