Trail of Tears
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When President Andrew Jackson forced the Cherokees out of their home in Georgia, it was one of the most devastating events of the century. He didn't know it, but by passing that law, he murdered over 4,000 Cherokee Indians, and destroyed their way of life forever...

A Forced Removal

In 1830, Congress passed the a law called the Indian Removal Act, allowing President Jackson to order the Cherokee Indians to leave.

The settlers in Georgia kept on taking Native American land because the Cherokee Indians lived on rich farmland. Since the settlers kept on taking their land, the Cherokee Indians were forced to the north-western point of Georgia because they had no where else to go. When gold was discovered here, settlers also claimed this land, leaving the Indians nowhere else to go. President Jackson then forced the Cherokees to leave Georgia by passing the Indian Removal Act in 1830. The Cherokees fought back by having John Ross take their case to the Supreme Court. The judge agreed with the Cherokees and told President Andrew Jackson that he could not force the Cherokees to leave. President Jackson did not listen to the Supreme Court, and went on with kicking the Cherokees out of their homeland.

A Tough Journey

When the Indians were forced from their home, they had to walk hundreds of miles to get to an Indian settlement in what is now Oklahoma. The young, sick, and elderly were able to ride in the 645 wagons. The Indians had to sleep on the ground, with only a thin blanket for shelter. The weather was terrible. There were often blizzards on the mountain path they walked, killing many. The conditions were awful, on the water and land routes. 4,000 Cherokee Indians died of illness, weakness, or weather condition. Life for the Cherokees could never be the same.

A New Territory

After the devastating journey, the Cherokee Indians tried to settle in their new "desert" home. In the new territory, problems developed with the new arrivals, and Cherokees who had already come here. These problems were quickly overcame. The Cherokees  then established their own government, headquartered in Tahlequah. The Cherokees adhered to a constitution, that divided responsibilities among a Principal Chief, a National Council, and some lesser courts.

So you see, Andrew Jackson ordered the Cherokee Indians to leave, on a long and murderous journey, to a dry new territory. This had a huge effect on the Cherokees, it changed their lives and customs forever. The Trail of Tears is remembered for the cruelty towards Native Americans and the murder of thousands.

image courtesy of http://www.pbs.org/wgbh/aia/part4/4h1567b.html 

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