The Trail of Tears: Removal in the South

The Trail of Tears: Removal in the South

by John P. Bowes
     
 
When the United States purchased the Louisiana Territory from France in 1803, President Thomas Jefferson proposed that eastern Indian tribes could be moved west to this new expanse of land. Jefferson's recommendation was in direct response to the demand by white settlers for more land, especially in the southeastern portion of the United States. As a result, Congress

Overview

When the United States purchased the Louisiana Territory from France in 1803, President Thomas Jefferson proposed that eastern Indian tribes could be moved west to this new expanse of land. Jefferson's recommendation was in direct response to the demand by white settlers for more land, especially in the southeastern portion of the United States. As a result, Congress passed the Indian Removal Act of 1830, which set in motion the relocation of thousands of eastern Indians to lands west of the Mississippi River. Among the primary tribes targeted for this large-scale removal was the Cherokee.

Despite proving its sovereign status through two U.S. Supreme Court decisions, the Cherokee Nation could only delay the removal of its people. On December 29, 1835, members of the Cherokee Treaty Party agreed to give up their people's eastern lands in return for land in Indian Territory (present-day Oklahoma), {dollar}5 million, and the cost of transporting their people west. Thus, in June 1838, the first of at least 16 Cherokee detachments were forced to march west on what would become known as the Trail of Tears.

About the Author:
John P. Bowes is assistant professor of history at Eastern Kentucky University

Editorial Reviews

Children's Literature - Judy DaPolito
From the beginning of the European exploration and settlement of North America, clashes over land erupted between Europeans and Native Americans, and many Europeans argued that the Native Americans should be relocated in the western part of the continent. By 1806, Georgia, North Carolina, Tennessee and Alabama had forced the Cherokees to concede territory to settlers. In 1827, the Cherokee Nation ratified its own constitution and proclaimed itself independent, setting off a struggle with the state of Georgia against the state's determination to assert the authority of its laws over those of the Cherokees. The disputes between Georgia and the Cherokees resulted in two Supreme Court cases in which the Cherokee Nation, led by John Ross, tried to resist the state's authority. In 1832, the Court upheld their status as a sovereign nation, but the state of Georgia and President Andrew Jackson both ignored the ruling and those who wanted the Cherokees to move west continued their pressure. In 1833, Ross rejected Jackson's offer of 3 million dollars for the Cherokee lands east of the Mississippi River because he knew that western Cherokees had already been pushed out of the lands given them a few decades before. In 1835, the Treaty of New Echota broke Cherokee law and started the process of removal. Ross and the majority of Cherokees insisted that the signers had no legal right to cede land, but in May1838 the federal government sent General George Winfield Scott to force the removal of those who had not already left for present-day Oklahoma. Between 2,000 and 4,000 died in the federal holding stockades before the journey even began. The approximately 16,000 Cherokees who traveled west inwagons, on horseback and on foot between June 1838 and March 1839 were severely battered by disease and bad weather that caused about 2,000 more to die on the trail. Once the survivors reached Oklahoma, conflicts broke out among three Cherokee groups: those who had been there for decades, those who had come shortly after the Echota Treaty was signed, and those who had been forced to travel what became known as the Trail of Tears. In 1846, the three groups signed a new treaty with the federal government and started the process of a united recovery. The book ends with an overview of the Cherokee Nation from 1889 till today. The well-illustrated text contains detailed sidebars on such topics as the Worcester v. Georgia Supreme Court case, the story of one of the families forced to leave Georgia and information about Wilma Mankiller, the first female chief of the Cherokee Nation. A chronology, a timeline, chapter notes, a bibliography, suggestions for further reading, picture credits and an index follow the text. Reviewer: Judy DaPolito

Product Details

ISBN-13:
9780791093450
Publisher:
Chelsea House Publishers
Publication date:
06/28/2007
Series:
Landmark Events in Native American History Series
Edition description:
1ST
Pages:
128
Product dimensions:
6.60(w) x 9.50(h) x 0.50(d)
Age Range:
14 - 17 Years

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