The Trail of Tears

In this week’s essay I will be writing about the removal of tens of thousands of Native Americans, who were driven off of their land in the southeastern States of the US. This time in history is also known as the Trail of Tears. What I will be getting into in this essay is: before the removal of the Native Americans, the five tribes of the deep south, the Indian or Native American Removal Act, and The Trail of Tears.

Before the Removal of the Native Americans

 Even before the trail of tears the native Americans were pushed about, even during the time Jamestown was founded in 1607. The colonists thought that they had some entitlement to occupy the new world, so they had no problem pushing the native americans about. By 1776 there were almost no native Americans living on the east coast of the US.

George Washinton when he was elected wanted to end this “cultural war” between the native americans and colonists. Washington suggested to the native americans that they should adopt the European style of life, but that did not really work out of course because the native Americans had a much different culture, and etc. 

During the 19th century americans traveled further westward which pushed back the native americans further. The states of Ohio and Indiana(those areas were given to the native americans) were getting crowded with settlers. The state of Georgia, as early as 1802 began asking to relocate the native americans in the south. 

The Five Tribes of the Deep South

There were five tribes in the south of the US. These tribes were: the Cheroke, Choctaw, Seminole, Creek or Muscogee, and the Chickasaw. Unlike a lot of the native american tribes in the US these five tribes actually tried to adopt the american culture. They were also not at war with the US.

The Indian Removal Act

The Indian Removal Act(signed by Andrew Jackson), actually was supposed to partially give the decision of moving or staying put to the Native Americans; so by law the Native Americans legally were allowed to stay put, but there was much pressure on the five tribes to move to a new area, so most of the five tribes decided to migrate westward.

The Trail of Tears

The Choctaw tribe were the first to agree to move, and in 1831 the entire tribe moved from the now state of Mississippi, to an area past the Arkansas territory. One of the chief’s from this tribe was the first to refer to this move as “the trail of tears and death.” 

The move of the Cherokee tribe in 1838, is a good example of the mistreatment that took place. Most of the people from the tribe disagreed to move westward, but because there was a very small group of people who negotiated a treaty in 1835, the tribe was forced to move after three years of resistance. During the journey about 2,000 to 6,000 Cherokee people died on the journey out of the original 16,000.

The Seminole tribe refused to leave their land, and the Second Seminole War began. The Seminole tribe were pretty successful in battle and defeated the US army quite frequently. The war lasted for seven years, and at that point the tribe had to move or hide in the everglades.

The Creek or Muscogee tribe’s land area was shrinking even before the act, even after several treaties the tribe was left with a very small bit of land in Alabama. The tribe realizing that they did not have a lot of choice, they peacefully agreed to move westward.

The Chickasaw tribe had a rather interesting agreement; the tribe actually agreed to sell their land for three million dollars, instead of just trading for land grants. The tribe moved westward in 1837. Though their deal seemed clear the tribe actually were not paid fully until thirty years after.


In this week’s history essay I wrote about the Trail of Tears or the removal of the native Americans in the deep south of the US.

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