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The Cherokee Removal

The Cherokee Removal

The Cherokee Removal With the establishment and the settling of the new formed united States, white settlers were consistently encroaching on Indian lands. In order to keep the peace between the settlers and the native tribes, the united States adopted treaties protecting Indian lands from squatters. Presidents such as George Washington and Thomas Jefferson believed the Indians could be “civilized” by adopting farming and giving up their nomad existence. The Cherokee proved that they could easily become civilized, yet there were those who still demented their removal from their ancestry lands.

If it were not for the inauguration of President Andrew Jackson and the passing of the Indian Removal Act of 1830, the Cherokee people could have easily integrated into American society. The Cherokee people incorporated many of the Anglo-American ways in order to become excelled and assimilate Into American society. They converted from a hunter and gathering society into an agrarian society by clearing parcels of land for farming. Farming became their primary meaner of food. John Ridge, a prominent Cherokee, stated, “… Here Is not to my knowledge a solitary Cherokee to be found that depends upon the chase for subsistence and every head of a family has his house & farm” (Trail of Tears). A few of the wealthier Cherokee, usually half-breeds, owned larger tracks of land. Some even owned slaves In which to raise cotton to be sold at market for a profit. In addition to becoming farmers, the Cherokee people structured their own way of governing. The Cherokee formed a system of government structured similar to that of the united States government.

There were legislative. Judicial and executive branches that establish laws, which were written in English ND enforced by a court of Justice, sheriffs, marshals, and constables within each district (Trail of Tears). The Cherokee people even adopted their own constitution and declared themselves a “sovereign and independent nation” (The Removal Cases). In addition to adopting a constitution, they also adopted Christianity. Any superstitions of the past where dissipated by the embracing of the Christian faith.

Churches were established and “[t]he influence of Religion on the life of the Indians is powerful & lasting. ” (Trail of Tears). In addition to adopting a constitution and embracing the Christian faith, education became an Important aspect of the Cherokees life. Education of the tribe was on the up rise. John Ridge stated in this letter to Albert Gallatin that, “There are about 13 schools established by missionaries in the Nation and may contain 250 students. … Besides this, some of our most respectable people have their children educated at academies in adjoining states” (Trail of Tears).

For the tribe members who did not know the English language, a written Cherokee language was Invented so they may be educated also. To further educate tribe members, the Cherokee nation acquired a printing press and established their own newspaper. In addition to the newspaper, a society was established called the ” “Moral & Literary Society of the Cherokee Nation” (Trail of Tears). With all the opportunities for education, the Cherokee people had become civilized and were integrating into American society, yet there were still those who wanted them removed.

With the Cherokee Nation, more and more Georgia citizens were demanding the Cherokees removal. Many believed the Indians were unable to become civilized. Senator Lewis Sacs of Michigan stated before Congress that, “Existing for two centuries in contact with a civilized people, they have resisted, and successfully too, every effort to meliorate their situation, or to introduce among them the most common arts of life… There must then be an inherent difficulty, arising from the institutions, character, and condition of the Indians themselves” (Trail of Tears).

When questioned about the civilized Cherokees his response was, “And we have as little doubt, that this change of opinion and condition is confined, in a great measure, to some of the half-breeds and heir immediate connections. These are not sufficiently numerous to affect our general proposition… ” (Trail of Tears). Yet, the Cherokee proved they were civilized with the incorporation of farms, schools, churches, and a constitution. Georgia looked to the U. S. Constitution and President Andrew Jackson for a meaner to remove the Cherokee from their land.

Departing from earlier views of how to handle the Indians, Andrew Jackson, who was raised on the frontier with a dislike for Indians (Borer 253), was more than willing to help Georgia in its cause to remove the Cherokee. He viewed Georgia as a sovereign state within the United States and according to the U. S. Constitution; no other sovereign nation could exist within its boundaries. He advised the Cherokee to disassemble their government and “emigrate beyond the Mississippi or submit to the laws of those States [in which they resided]” (Trail of Tears).

Jackson believed that is would be in the best interest of the United States and the Indians to relocate west of the Mississippi. In his Annual Message to Congress on December 8, 1829, he states: Surrounded by the whites with their arts of civilization, which by estranging the resources of the savage doom him to weakness and decay, the fate of the Meghan, the Narragansett, and the Delaware is fast over-taking the Choctaw, the Cherokee, and the Creek.

That this fate surely awaits them if they remain within the limits of the States does not admit of a doubt. Humanity and national honor demand that every effort should be made to avert so great a calamity. It is too late to inquire whether it was Just in the United States to include them and their territory within the bounds of new States, whose limits they could control. (Trail of Tears) In order to move the Cherokee from their home lands, President Jackson ensured that passed the Indian Removal Act of 1830. This Act entitled the U. S. Overspent “to exchange public lands in the West for Indian territories in the East and appropriated $500,000 to cover the expenses of removal” (Borer 254). Even though the Cherokee were a civilized people, under the Removal Act, the Cherokee Nation had no choice but to disband. The Cherokee were forced by federal troops to migrate west between October 1838 and March 1839 to the Oklahoma territory. This exodus became one of the most horrific Journeys in American history. An estimated 4,000 Cherokee perished on what became to be known as the “Trail of Tears” (Anderson, Wetware, Bell ).

Our nation, which fought for the right of freedom from tyranny, stripped civilized human beings from their homes and forced them into oppression all on the premises it would be in the best interest for the Indians to relocate so as not to become extinct. In actuality, the true reason forcing the Cherokee off their home lands was the greed for the land the tribe, was comment as saying, “We are stripped of every attribute of freedom and eligibility for legal self-defense. We are denationalization; we are disfranchised. We are deprived of membership in the human family! Trail of Tears) A people that could have become a prosperous and productive part of society were now forced into poverty. In spite of all the Cherokee people have been through, the North Carolina band has contributed greatly to today’s society. The Eastern band of the Cherokee has contributed to the economy of the Western North Carolina Great Smoky Mountains by teaching their culture through museums, story telling and craft sells. With the opening of the Hurrah Casino, tourism has increased considerably which contribute to the economy of not only the tribe but also the surrounding counties.

In addition to generating income for the area, the casino has also decreased the Joblessness rate not only for the Cherokee, but for non-Lillian people as while. In 2008, out of the 1,900 casino employees, only 360 were tribal members (Regional Report). The Cherokee have proven that they are a very productive part of society and removal is a horrific blemish on the history of the United States that was unnecessary.

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