Michael Charles Montalbano
Advanced Placement United States History
A Brief Summary of the Trail of Tears
Andrew Jackson took over the presidency in a very changing time in America’s history. With new innovations in transportation, such as highways and canals, settlers that were previously against farming western lands began pouring into these lands. An obvious issue Jackson would have to deal with would be how to deal with Indians in the area. Jackson, a highly anti-Indian veteran of the Seminole wars, entered his presidency with a strong agenda. Jackson proposed that the all Indians east of the Mississippi River, including Cherokee and other partially assimilated tribes, should be forced to an area outside the states. Eventually, Jackson’s plans for Indian-Removal would be fulfilled, but not without opposition.
Among congressmen to oppose the Indian-removal act were Daniel Webster, Henry Clay, and Davy Crockett, all believing that it was a shameful attempt at stealing lands from peaceful Indians. Due to the heat Jackson was receiving from the act, the president state that if the Indians swore allegiance to the United States and the state they resided in, they would not be forced to leave their lands. Still, Cherokee Indians refused to surrender their beliefs and tribal allegiance to that of the United States. President Jackson would not tolerate Indians raising their tribal law above the law of the country and so the Indians would be forced to move westward of the Mississippi river. His reasoning for this was that the constitution stated that “No new State shall be formed or erected within the jurisdiction of any other State” and the Indians were violating this text.
John Ross was a wealthy farmer fighting for the cause of the Cherokee Indians. Although the man was only 12.5% Cherokee Indian in blood, his influence caused the man to gain power and eventually become principal chief of Cherokee nation. Ross, formerly brother-in-arms to Andrew Jackson...