The Trail of Tears: An Account of the Cherokee Journey

Essay by Dreamfire2003Junior High, 8th gradeA+, April 2003

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"My original convictions ... that those tribes can not exist surrounded by our settlements and in continual contact with our citizens is certain. They have neither the intelligence, the industry, the moral habits, nor the desire of improvement, which are essential to any favorable change in their condition. Established in the midst of another and a superior race, and without appreciating the causes of their inferiority or seeking to control them, they must necessarily yield to the force of circumstances and ere long disappear." -- Andrew Jackson

It all started with the want of European Americans for one thing: land. Settlers wanted more land to farm on and to set up towns in. However, the Cherokee, whom had inhabited the land for many generations, didn't look like they intended to move. Although trade between the Cherokee and the Europeans had lasted since the Colonial times, the United States wanted more.

They began to pressure the Cherokee into selling their lands, and by 1819, 90 percent of the Cherokee's land had been given to the United States. But the Unites States still wasn't satisfied.

In 1830, the Indian Removal Act was passed. On the same year, gold was discovered in Cherokee lands... the odds of the Cherokee keeping their lands didn't look good.

The Cherokee were banned from conducting tribal business, contracting, challenging whites in court, and mining the gold found on their own lands. Georgia began holding lotteries for Cherokee land. And in this way, the effects of the Indian Removal Act began to show.

The only political victory the Cherokee achieved during this time was the challenging of Georgia in the Supreme Court. In Georgia, the bans were lifted. When President Andrew Jackson heard of the Court's decision, he said, "Chief Justice John Marshall has made his decision;...