August 07, 2022 4 min read

The Trail of Tears

The Trail of Tears is one of the darkest moments in American history. It represents the forced removal of Native Americans from their homes from 1830 to 1850. This uprooting and displacement resulted in the deaths of thousands of Native Americans, and it has had a lasting impact on their culture and society as a whole. On this trail, we’ll explore these historical events and the people affected by them. You’ll learn about the causes that led to this uprooting and discover some facts about the Cherokees and other tribes who suffered because of it. 

What was the Trail of Tears?

The Trail of Tears was the forced relocation of Native American tribes across the southern United States. These tribes included the Cherokee, Choctaw, Creek, Chickasaw, and Seminole. President Andrew Jackson ordered the relocation, and the forced migration is the Native American equivalent of the African Slave Trade. The forced migration was named the Trail of Tears because it was one of the most challenging journeys in American history. Many people died along the way, creating numerous social and cultural issues for Native American society. 

The Origins of the Trail of Tears

The Trail of Tears was the forced relocation of Native American tribes from their land in the East to the West. The stated purpose for this relocation was to “civilize” the tribes, but it was also an effort to push the tribes out of the East and open lands for settlers. The tribes affected by this relocation were predominantly Cherokee and Choctaw, but other tribes were also affected. Some factors that led up to the Trail of Tears include The Indian Removal Act of 1830, the rising tide of white immigrants, and a growing sense of racial superiority among white Americans.

Why did Native Americans have to leave?

The Indian Removal Act of 1830 ordered the Native Americans living in the southern United States to relocate to the West. The stated purpose was to open up land in the East for white immigrants. In reality, the act was a way to push the Native Americans out of the East and claim their land. During the 19th century, the population of the East Coast was booming. Many people were flocking there to seek their fortune, and the demand for land was high. As a result, the government wanted to open up sizeable chunks of land for settlers. The only problem was that Native American tribes inhabited it.

Who Was Involved in the Trail of Tears?

The Trail of Tears affected Native American tribes across the southern United States. The largest group of people affected by the Trail of Tears was the Cherokee. They were a large tribe that had already been subjected to forced migration. In 1838, President Martin Van Buren attempted to force the Cherokee to migrate West, but the Supreme Court stopped it. In 1839, the Cherokee were rounded up and pushed into migration, where the Trail of Tears began. The Chickasaw were a smaller tribe affected by the Trail of Tears. Like the Cherokee, the Chickasaw had already been subjected to forced migration. In 1837, the Chickasaw were ordered to migrate West, but they refused and fought back against the government. The military was sent in to enforce the order, and the Trail of Tears was underway.

The Actual Trek: How It Happened

The actual migration of the Native American tribes began in 1838. Although the Cherokees had lifted the order, President Martin Van Buren chose to enforce it again in 1838. He ordered the military to round up the Cherokee and other tribes, forcing them West. The process of rounding up the tribes was brutal and violent, and it resulted in many deaths. The military did not always use force, but they used deceptive tactics to capture the tribes and starve them out. The military also made the trek very difficult for the tribes, forcing them to cover large distances in a short amount of time. There were also cases of white settlers rounding up Native Americans for this migration, as well as Native Americans rounding up other Native Americans for the journey.

The Aftermath of the Trail of Tears

The Trail of Tears resulted in thousands of deaths, many resulting from disease and starvation. Some of the tribes were also attacked by local tribes on the way, resulting in further deaths. While exact numbers are unknown, historians estimate that around 4,000 Native Americans died during the journey. These deaths had a lasting impact on Native American society, as many people died with no surviving family members. This caused a cultural shift in the Native American community, as they formed new alliances based on proximity instead of blood relations. The social impact of the Trail of Tears lingered long after the migrations were complete. It created lasting tensions between Europeans and the Native American tribes and changed the culture of Native America forever.

Final Words

The Trail of Tears is one of the darkest moments in American history. It represents the forced removal of an entire people. This uprooting and displacement resulted in the deaths of thousands of Native Americans, and it has had a lasting impact on their culture and society. During the 19th century, the population of the East Coast was booming. Many people were flocking there to seek their fortune, and the demand for land was high. As a result, the government wanted to open up sizeable chunks of land for settlers. The only problem was that Native American tribes inhabited it. The Indian Removal Act of 1830 ordered the Native Americans living in the southern United States to relocate to the West. The stated purpose was to open up land in the East for white immigrants. In reality, the act was a way for the rising tide of immigrants to push the Native Americans out of the East and claim their land. Let us never forget this tragic series of events and vow to ensure that Native American rights are never impinged again. 


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