Trail Of Tears

Trail Of Tears


Print page

The Trail of Tears was a time when Native American nations in the United States were forced to relocate. This event was part of the larger idea known as “Manifest Destiny”.  It followed the enforcement of the  Indian Removal Act of 1830s. Even though the Supreme Court heard cases from Cherokee natives who were American citizens and ruled that they had a right to their lands, President Andrew Jackson ignored the courts order and forced all Indians to Oklahoma with military action. By the end of the 1830s, almost none of the nations stayed where they were.

In 1830, a group called Five Civilized Tribes,  included the Cherokee, Chickasaw, Choctaw, Muscogee, and Seminole who were living as autonomous nations as well as integrated families with whites and blacks in what would be called the American Deep South. They were the first five tribes that Anglo-European settlers generally considered to be civilized in their own way. Even some of those that chose to assimilate with the American white society had to move to an area west of the Mississippi River. This territory eventually became the state of Oklahoma.

Brief History on the Trail of Tears


The “Trail of Tears” was a phrase originally from a description of the Indian Removal Act. On their way to their new destination, many Native Americans suffered from exposure, disease, and starvation. Many of them died, 2,000-6,0o0 of the 16,543 relocated Cherokees.  This was just a small part of the larger “American Holocaust” of Native Americans that took place throughout the 19th century and especially in the years following the US Civil War when the transcontinental railroad was completed.

English: Elizabeth "Betsy" Brown She...
English: Elizabeth “Betsy” Brown She was a Cherokee Indian and was on the Trail of Tears. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)