Eagerly I pick up a Newspaper from the corner store On the cover an ar
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Eagerly, I pick up a Newspaper from the corner store. On the cover an article reads “INDIAN REMOVAL COMPLETED” Unbidden memories come to mind, and I remember seeing the Indian tribe known as the Cherokee march through my town. I saw weak and fatigued people forced to walk across almost 3 states to their new home that they have never seen before. The combined impact of being physically tortured and starved, and the emotional pain of being uprooted from land they’ve owned for generation, was too much to bear. Recently I read a statement written by Private John G. Burnett of Captain Abraham McClellan's Company. “I saw the helpless Cherokees arrested and dragged from their homes, and driven at the bayonet point into the stockades. And in the chill of a drizzling rain on an October morning I saw them loaded like cattle or sheep into six hundred and forty-five wagons and started toward the west.... On the morning of November the 17th we encountered a terrific sleet and snowstorm with freezing temperatures and from that day until we reached the end of the fateful journey on March the 26th 1839, the sufferings of the Cherokees were awful. The trail of the exiles was a trail of death. They had to sleep in the wagons and on the ground without fire. And I have known as many as twenty-two of them to die in one night of pneumonia due to ill treatment, cold and exposure...” I realize now that I can believe in these horrible images only because I have witnessed them first hand. I remember the time before Andrew Jackson had supported the legislation to remove the Indians.
The common American belief was that Indians were savages and treated them harshly and degraded them. Jackson believed that there was only two ways that Indians could live peacefully and equally among the whites. One way was if the Indians adopted the white ways, by owning and running small farms. The other was removal, which eliminated the problem of having whites and Indians co-exist. Because most Indians didn’t want to adjust to being like whites, Jackson opted for the second option, removal.
The Cherokees were different from most other Indian tribes. After contact with the whites, the Cherokees were partially assimilated into the white culture. They formed a government and a society that was very similar to many “civilized” countries. They built European-style homes, had European-style fields and farms, established a newspaper, and wrote a constitution. But dispute these changes toward American culture, they were still looked on as barbarians by the common white populous. This proves that Jackson’s first option, to have Indians become like whites, was wrong. No matter how much the Cherokee’s became like whites, Americans, including Andrew Jackson, thought that they were still savages, incapable of self-government.
President Jackson carried out his removal plan by authorizing the Indian Removal Act of 1830. This would move Indian tribes including the Chickasaw, Choctaw, Creek and Cherokee west of the Mississippi River to reserved Indian Territory.
As the other Tribes were being removed, The Cherokee were tying to keep their current lands, by adopting white ways. They tried to form a state within north Georgia. But, Georgia wouldn’t recognize the Independent nation. But, in another supreme court case, Worcester v. Georgia, Supreme Court justice John Marshal issued a decision that could of changed the outcome of the Cherokee nation. A Georgia law required all Missionaries to get licenses to go preach in Cherokee country. Two missionaries didn’t do this and were charged. The case went to the Supreme Court and Marshall ruled that the federal government had exclusive jurisdiction within the boundaries of the Cherokee Nation, and that state law had no force within the Cherokee boundaries. President Jackson refused to follow up the court's decision with force and said, "John Marshall has made his decision, now let him enforce it." Even though the Supreme Court of the United States officially recognized The Cherokee Nation, Because he could not enforce the decision, the downfall of the Cherokee nation was orchestrated by Andrew Jackson and the common populous’ attitude toward Indians.
The U.S. Government used the Treaty of New Echota in 1835 to justify the removal of the Cherokee. The treaty was signed by about
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Cherokee Nation, Cherokee, Trail of Tears, Treaty of New Echota, New Echota, Indian removal, Indian Removal Act, John Ross, Cherokee removal
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