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Cherokee Nation Case

Essay by   •  September 16, 2012  •  Research Paper  •  1,236 Words (5 Pages)  •  784 Views

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One of the most heartbreaking periods in the history of the United States was the involuntary removal of the remaining groups of the Cherokee Nation. This journey of gut-wrenching sorrow is otherwise known as The Trail of Tears. The forced departure from tribal lands marked the beginning of the end for the Native American Cherokee tribes. Hundreds of years prior to the first European arriving in North America the Cherokee lived in what was to become the United States of America. The Cherokee had migrated from the Great Lakes region into the southern Appalachians. The Cherokee tribe was an offshoot of the Iroquois nation, which is prevalent in the area surrounding the Great Lakes. The Cherokee were considered a distinct nation within another country at the time of the emergence of the United States after the American Revolution. The Cherokee were dedicated to keeping a harmonious existence with their new European neighbors.

Unfortunately, these new neighbors were more interested in the lands the Cherokee inhabited rather than peaceful cohabitation. The United States government began a very long crusade signified by racist outlooks, military intensity, and broken promises. This movement was aimed at expelling the Cherokee from their territory and resettling them to the lands west of the Mississippi River. The campaign was a result of the burden placed on the United States due to the desire of settlers to seize the treasured fertile lands the Cherokee held.

Removal of Indians actually started in 1830 when President Andrew Jackson was in office. Therefore the idea of Indian removal is mainly associated with his name.

My friends, circumstances render it impossible that you can flourish in the midst of a civilized community. You have but one remedy within your reach, and that is to remove to the west. And the sooner you do this, the sooner you will commence your career of improvement and prosperity.

However, the idea was first purported by President Thomas Jefferson in 1802. In December 1802 and February 1803 Jefferson wrote to the U.S. secretary of war, Henry Dearborn, and to William Henry Harrison, the governor of the Indiana Territory, outlining a secret Indian policy in two separate letters. The ideas proposed in these two letters would be a harbinger for things to come in the next thirty years for the southeastern Native American Tribes.

As a consequence of the Louisiana Purchase millions of square miles of less populated lands were added to the United States west of the Mississippi River. It was proposed by Thomas Jefferson that the Native American tribes of the eastern United States might be enticed to move voluntarily to this new territory. Here he suggested they would be able to live without interference from white settlers and enjoy a peaceful existence. In 1824 a voluntary relocation plan was signed into law. Some Indians did choose to take advantage of this and move west.

The Cherokee had dealt with relocation before this movement. During the wave of settlement of the New World the Cherokee were repeatedly pressed further and further from their original tribal areas. These settlers take more lands from the Cherokee with every ship that arrived in America. Typically these intrusions of settlers were answered with violence from either one or both sides. Often settlers would pillage and burn the Indian houses and other buildings. Much to the Cherokee's dismay they found themselves at the mercy of the United States Government, which gave empty promises of protection. The very people professing to provide them security often treated them cruelly. After the vows of friendship and enumerable broken promises American troops were sent to forcibly remove the Cherokee from their land in 1838. Approximately four thousand Cherokee were setting out on what was to become remembered as one of the ugliest blemishes on United States history, The Trail of Tears. The journey to

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