The Trail Of Tears: The Forced Removal Of Native Americans To The West

Throughout the 1830s, President Andrew Jackson ordered the forced removal of tens of thousands of Native Americans from their homelands east of the Mississippi River. This perilous journey to designated lands in the west, known as the Trail of Tears, was fraught with harsh winters, disease, and cruelty. The name came to encompass the removal of all five tribes that occupied the southeastern United States. All tribes incurred thousands of deaths and all experienced the sorrow of being ousted from their ancestral homelands. Today, many historians view Jackson’s actions as nothing short of ethnic cleansing.

It would be President Andrew Jackson, then, who forced the relocation of the Natives when he signed his Indian Removal Act into law on May 28, 1830.

Jackson had no interest in making deals with the tribes. Instead, Jackson conducted the Removal program in a most brutal fashion. He applied pressure on the tribes by refusing to pay annuities to tribal chiefs. He allowed the southern states to destroy tribal governments, make tribal laws illegal, and deny Native Americans the right to vote or sue in court.

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