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The Trail of Tears
By Tammy Scarbrough
1 The European settlers had been steadily setting up towns, cities, and homesteads since the 1600s. As the years went by, more and more Europeans came to the United States. The land became increasingly crowded. Native Americans were pushed further and further across the continent. Many Cherokees had settled into the Appalachian Mountains of Georgia and the Carolinas by the 1800s. Finally, that land also became desirable to the early settlers. By 1802 President Thomas Jefferson supported the idea of removing all Indians from that area.
2 President Andrew Jackson signed the Indian Removal Act in 1832. This act was quite controversial. Two famous lawyers of that day, Daniel Webster and Henry Clay, took the question to the courts. They actually won the court case, and it was decided that Indians could hold title to the land. Many elected officials worked very hard to try to remove Native Americans from the land even though the court had decided in the Indians' favor. Finally in 1835, a reluctant council of Cherokees signed the Treaty of New Echota. This was a document causing them to give up all rights to any land east of the Mississippi River. In return, they were to receive money, tools, livestock, and general supplies. This treaty became the basis for the "Trail of Tears."
3 Many Cherokees were gathered and held in camps. Others were placed in stockades built for animals. As many as 3,000 Cherokees were sent to different boats and moved to other areas. More than 14,000 were kept in prison-like camps until the middle of the winter of 1838-1839. Then, in the coldest part of winter, they were forced to march 1,200 miles from Georgia to Oklahoma. They were not prepared for this tough and difficult journey. The number of .....
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