Difference between revisions of "Trail of Tears"

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Some Cherokee leaders signed a relocation treaty in 1833, and in 1836 the Cherokees were given two years to move voluntarily. In 1838, President [[Martin Van Buren]]'s administration forced about 17,000 Cherokee Indian to move to Oklahoma. Between 2,000 and 4,000 died on the trip, mostly the elderly and small children due to disease, malnutrition, and fatigue.  The Trail of Tears became a national historical site in 1987.<ref>The exact number is debated. On the official lists, 13,169 left home and 11,504 arrived in Oklahoma. Russell Thornton et al. ''The Cherokees: A Population History'' (University of Nebraska Press, 1992).</ref>
 
Some Cherokee leaders signed a relocation treaty in 1833, and in 1836 the Cherokees were given two years to move voluntarily. In 1838, President [[Martin Van Buren]]'s administration forced about 17,000 Cherokee Indian to move to Oklahoma. Between 2,000 and 4,000 died on the trip, mostly the elderly and small children due to disease, malnutrition, and fatigue.  The Trail of Tears became a national historical site in 1987.<ref>The exact number is debated. On the official lists, 13,169 left home and 11,504 arrived in Oklahoma. Russell Thornton et al. ''The Cherokees: A Population History'' (University of Nebraska Press, 1992).</ref>
  
Jackson had expressed the opinion that the relocation was a generous offer to the Indians, and that they would be very much better off with the freedom and autonomy of their new territories. Jackson was an advocate of strong military rule that would overwhelm people (like [[John C. Calhoun]]) who disagreed with his liberal policies. Jackson rejected the pleas of the evangelical ministers because he did not feel religious motives should dictate his policies.  He rejected the Supreme Court decision on the matter because he saw the preisdency as the superior interpreter of the Constitution.  Liberal historians have celebrated Jackson's stong presidency.  Robert Remini, Jackson's most fervent defender, admits that the Trail of Tears had horrors that "beggar the imagination," noting the Indians were "American citizens who were denied their basic civil rights as well as their property because of the nation's perceived need and fear."  But Remini goes on to argue it was better for the Indians in the long run because it saved many of the eastern Indian nations from almost certain annihilation.<ref> Robert Remini, ''Andrew Jackson and His Indian Wars'' (2002), pp. viii, 55, 228, 236</ref> 
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Jackson had expressed the opinion that the relocation was a generous offer to the Indians, and that they would be very much better off with the freedom and autonomy of their new territories. There is a popular myth that Jackson defied the US Supreme Court to relocate the Cherokees, but in fact the court never ruled on the matter.
  
 
Private John G. Burnett participated in the forced relocation, and wrote about the great suffering that the Cherokees endured.<ref>http://www.cherokee.org/Culture/128/Page/default.aspx</ref>
 
Private John G. Burnett participated in the forced relocation, and wrote about the great suffering that the Cherokees endured.<ref>http://www.cherokee.org/Culture/128/Page/default.aspx</ref>
 
Evangelical Protestants were horrified at the violent removal and crusaded against Jackson and the Democratic party policy of [[Manifest Destiny]], which threatened to destroy most of the remaining Indians. The Protestants supported the opposition [[Whig Party]], which denounced the removals, and called for a more Christian approach to the Indians, emphasizing the need for morality in public policy, and the use of education and civilizing devices (like teaching Indians how to farm instead of hunt) to save the remaining Indians.<ref> Laurie F. Maffly-Kipp, ''Religion and Society in Frontier California'' (1994) [http://books.google.com/books?id=SJ4PfXvvKzcC&pg=PA17&lpg=PA17&dq=%22trail+of+tears%22+evangelical+protestants&source=web&ots=rGf9bR8YFI&sig=47D5fiFZFhla9XvO-NPIZZbNIoI&hl=en&sa=X&oi=book_result&resnum=10&ct=result#PPA17,M1 online page 17]</ref>
 
 
Conservative scholars Larry Schweikart and Bradley J. Birzer have concluded, "The Trail of Tears is a classic example of mistreatment of Indian tribes by the federal government."  They note that in 20 years more than 100,000 Indians were forcibly moved west. Protestant missionaries had appealed to the Supreme Court--and won--but President Jackson deliberately ignored the decision, remarking that "Justice Marshall has made his decision; now let him enforce it."<ref> Larry Schweikart and Bradley J. Birzer, ''The American West, (2004) p. 233-4. </ref>
 
  
 
==References==
 
==References==

Revision as of 13:44, 7 December 2008

The Trail of Tears is the common name for the removal of Cherokee Indians from Tennessee and Georgia to Indian Territory (later Oklahoma) in compliance with the Indian Removal Act of 1830 as put into place by President Andrew Jackson. Under that Act, the US government negotiated relocation treaties with various Indian tribes, and some of them moved voluntarily and peaceably. Some Indians also stayed and became American citizens.

Some Cherokee leaders signed a relocation treaty in 1833, and in 1836 the Cherokees were given two years to move voluntarily. In 1838, President Martin Van Buren's administration forced about 17,000 Cherokee Indian to move to Oklahoma. Between 2,000 and 4,000 died on the trip, mostly the elderly and small children due to disease, malnutrition, and fatigue. The Trail of Tears became a national historical site in 1987.[1]

Jackson had expressed the opinion that the relocation was a generous offer to the Indians, and that they would be very much better off with the freedom and autonomy of their new territories. There is a popular myth that Jackson defied the US Supreme Court to relocate the Cherokees, but in fact the court never ruled on the matter.

Private John G. Burnett participated in the forced relocation, and wrote about the great suffering that the Cherokees endured.[2]

References

  1. The exact number is debated. On the official lists, 13,169 left home and 11,504 arrived in Oklahoma. Russell Thornton et al. The Cherokees: A Population History (University of Nebraska Press, 1992).
  2. http://www.cherokee.org/Culture/128/Page/default.aspx

See Also