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The Cherokee Nation

This paper is an examination of the Trail of Tears, an 800-mile journey that effectively destroyed the Cherokee Nation. The enforced resettlement occurred because white settlers coveted Cherokee lands and believed they had a superior claim. The nearly 4,000 deaths that resulted, perhaps as much as one-fourth of the entire population, stand as a remarkable, shameful illustration of inhumane treatment on a breathtaking scale. The Trail of Tears was a death march, a devastating chapter in the spectacularly successful campaign by European settlers to clear the New World not only of underbrush and other impediments to farming but also of the original inhabitants. Because they were members of an alien race, the Cherokee could not fit into the Europeans' plans, even when the Indians tried. They were doomed for annihilation simply because they were different and in the way of someone else's idea of progress.

In December 1833, President Andrew Jackson made what he believed was a humane plea to Congress:

[The Cherokee] have neither the intelligence, the industry, the moral habits nor the desire of improvement which are essential to any favorable change in their condition. Established in the midst of another and a superior race, and without appreciating the causes of their inferiority or seeking to control them, they must necessarily yield to the force of circumstance and ere long disappear (McLoughlin After 3).

He argued that, for their own good, the Cherokee Indians needed to be forcibly relocated to a place far enough away from the "superior race" of the white settlers who coveted their land to ensure their survival. Perhaps he believed his words. Perhaps he, and the many other white settlers who supported his plan, believed that previous attempts to integrate the Cherokee into the new population had in fact always had the Indians' best interests at heart and had simply failed.

William G. McLoughlin notes that mission...

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The Cherokee Nation. (1969, December 31). In LotsofEssays.com. Retrieved 16:46, December 06, 2021, from https://www.lotsofessays.com/viewpaper/1708208.html