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Journey Leading to the Trail of Tears

Used for my Oklahoma history class to teach about steps leading to Cherokee removal from Georgia. There are worksheets to go along with Prezi. email me at vothd@pryor.k12.ok.us if you would like worksheets also

Derek Voth

on 30 August 2017

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Transcript of Journey Leading to the Trail of Tears

Chapter 6 Section 1 and 2
Trail of Tears
Federal Government's Initial Native American Policy
Treaty of New Echota 1835
1778 - Continental Congress: Reaffirms British policy established in 1763(tribes given independent nation status; lands west of the Appalachian mountains are Native American; and government must approve all land purchases)
Step 2-Colonists Want to Spread West
When the state of Georgia began forcibly removing Cherokees from their lands, the tribe appealed to the Supreme Court, asking it to enforce its treaty rights. In the 1832 case of Worcester v. Georgia the Court ruled in the Cherokees’ favor, deciding that the tribe constituted a sovereign nation. Unfortunately, this victory was a hollow one, as
President Jackson refused to enforce the verdict, arguing that the Cherokees were not an independent nation but were merely inhabitants of the state of Georgia. The following excerpt in taken from the Court’s majority opinion, authored by Chief Justice John Marshall.
Worcester v. Georgia, 1832
Treaty signed by a minority party of the Cherokees effectively signed over Cherokee's land in Georgia and results in their removal west of the Mississippi River
Last Assignment
Pretend you are a Cherokee Native American who traveled on the "Trail of Tears". Create journal entries detailing this horrific event from its beginning while living in Georgia to your arrival in present day Oklahoma.

MY FRIENDS: I have long viewed your condition with great interest. For many years I have been acquainted with your people, and under all variety of circumstances, in peace and war Listen to me, therefore, as your fathers have listened, while I communicate to you my sentiments on the critical state of your affairs.

You are now placed in the midst of a white population and you are now subject to the same laws which govern the other citizens of Georgia and Alabama The game has disappeared among you, and you must depend upon agriculture and the mechanic arts for support. How, under these circumstances can you live in the country you now occupy? Your condition must become worse & worse, and you will ultimately disappear, as so many tribes have done before you.

Of all this I warned your people, I then advised them to sell out their possessions East of the Mississippi and to remove to the country west of that river Your farms would have been open and cultivated, comfortable houses would have been erected, the means of subsistence abundant and you would have been governed by your own customs and laws, and removed from the effects of a white population. Where you now are, you are encompassed by evils, moral and physical, & these are fearfully increasing

I have no motive, to deceive you I tell you that you cannot remain where you now are You have but one remedy within your reach. And that is, to remove to the west and join your countrymen, who are already established there. And the sooner you do this, the sooner you can commence your career of improvement and prosperity Why, then, should any honest man among you object to removal? The United States have assigned to you a fertile and extensive country, with a very fine climate adapted to your habits, and with all the other natural advantages which you ought to desire or expect

The choice now is before you As certain as the sun shines to guide you in your path, so certain is it that you cannot drive back the laws of Georgia from among you Look at the condition of the Creeks their young men are committing depredations upon the property of our citizens, and are shedding their blood. This cannot and will not be allowed. Punishment will follow, Your young men will commit the same acts, and the same consequences must ensue Look at your condition as it now is, and then consider what it will be if you follow the advice I give you.
“To the Cherokee Tribe of Indians”
Written by Andrew Jackson in 1835

This is my birthday, December 11, 1890, I am eighty years old today… Often spending weeks at a time in the solitary wilderness with no companions but my rifle,
hunting knife,…
On these long hunting trips I met and became acquainted with many of the Cherokee Indians, hunting with them by day and sleeping around their camp fires by
night. I learned to speak their language, and they taught me the arts of trailing and building traps and snares…
The removal of Cherokee Indians from their life long homes in the year of 1838 found me a young man in the prime of life and a Private soldier in the American Army…(I) witnessed the execution of the most brutal order in the History of American Warfare. I saw the helpless Cherokees arrested and dragged from their homes, and driven
at the bayonet point… I saw them loaded like cattle or sheep into six hundred and fortyfive wagons and started toward the west.
One can never forget the sadness and solemnity of that morning… Many of these helpless people did not have blankets and many of them had been driven from home
barefooted. On the morning of November the 17th we encountered a terrific sleet and snow
storm with freezing temperatures and from that day until we reached the end of the fateful journey on March the 26th, 1839, the sufferings of the Cherokees were awful. The trail of the exiles was a trail of death. They had to sleep in the wagons and on the ground without fire. And I have known as many as twenty-two of them to die in one night of pneumonia due to ill treatment, cold, and exposure. Among this number was the beautiful
Christian wife of Chief John Ross. This noble hearted woman died a martyr to childhood, giving her only blanket for the protection of a sick child. She rode thinly clad through a blinding sleet and snow storm, developed pneumonia and died in the still hours of a bleak
winter night, with her head resting on Lieutenant Greggs saddle blanket… The long painful journey to the west ended March 26th, 1839, with four-thousand
silent graves reaching from the foothills of the Smoky Mountains to what is known as Indian territory in the West. And covetousness on the part of the white race was the cause of all that the Cherokees had to suffer…. Chief Junaluska was personally acquainted with President Andrew Jackson…
Chief John Ross sent Junaluska as an envoy to plead with President Jackson for protection for his people, but Jackson’s manner was cold and indifferent toward the
rugged son of the forest who had saved his life… The doom of the Cherokee was sealed. Washington, D.C., had decreed that they must be driven West and their lands given to the white man,…
However, murder is murder whether committed by the villain skulking in the dark or by uniformed men stepping to the strains of martial music….
John Burnett’s Story of the Trail of Tears
Written by a private who served during the Cherokee removal in 1890
Rightly considered, the policy of the General Government toward the red man is not only liberal, but generous… Government kindly offers him a new home, and proposes to pay the whole expense of his removal and settlement…

It is, therefore, a duty which this government owes to the new States to extinguish as soon as possible the Indian title to all lands which Congress themselves have included within their limits. When this is done the duties of General Government in relation to the States and the Indians within their limits are at an end

Does Humanity weep at these painful separations from everything, animate and inanimate, with which the young heart has become entwined? Far from it. It is rather a source of joy that our country affords scope where our young population may range unconstrained in body or in mind, developing the power and faculties of man in their highest perfection….
Can it be cruel in this Government when, by events which it cannot control, the Indian is made discontented in his ancient home to purchase his lands, to give him a new and extensive territory, to pay the expense of his removal, and support him a year in his new abode? How many thousands of our own people would gladly embrace the opportunity of removing to the West on such conditions! If the offers made to the Indians were extended to them, they would be hailed with gratitude and joy…
Toward the aborigines of the country no one can indulge a more friendly feeling than myself, or would go further in attempting to reclaim them from their wandering habits and make them a happy prosperous people…

The present policy of the government is but a continuation of the same progressive change by a milder process. The tribes which occupied the countries now constituting the Eastern States were annihilated or have melted away to make room for the whites. The waves of population and civilization are rolling westward, and we now propose to acquire the countries occupied by the red man of the South and West by a fair exchange, and, at the expense of the United States, to send them to a land where their existence may be prolonged and perhaps made perpetual….
Doubtless it will be painful to leave the graves of their fathers; but what do they more than our ancestors did or than our children are now doing? To better their condition in an unknown land our forefathers left all that was dear in earthly objects…

It gives me pleasure to announce to Congress that the benevolent policy of the Government, steadily pursued for nearly 30 years, in relation to the removal of the Indians beyond the white settlements is approaching to a happy consummation. Two important tribes have accepted the provision made for their removal at the last session of Congress, and it is believed that their example will induce the remaining tribes also to seek the same obvious advantage…
It will separate the Indians from immediate contact with settlements of whites;…under the protection of the Government and through the influence of good counsels, to cast off their savage habits and become an interesting, civilized, and Christian community…
Written in 1830
Andrew Jackson’s Second State of the Union Address
Weather and disease claimed about 4,000 Cherokee on the “Trail of Tears”
1838-16,000 Cherokee's round up by federal troops and forced from homeland in Georgia to travel to their new home in Missouri Territory
By the time European adventurers arrived in the 15th century B.C.E, scholars estimate that more than 50 million people were already living in the Americas. Of these, some 10 million lived in the area that would become the United States.
source: http://www.history.com/topics/native-american-cultures
Today We Will Examine The Path that Led the United States to the Removal of Native Americans from their Homeland
Examine the Map:
This map illustrates when states were added to the United States.
Elected President in 1828
Andrew Jackson
Native American Early Population
1st -describe your life in Georgia pre 1830
2nd-The supreme court case Georgia vs Worcester just occurred, describe your reaction.
3rd-give details of being forced on Trail of Tears and describe what you see, hear, etc
4th-descibe new life in Oklahoma and how your tribe is getting along
Here is a picture created by Max Standley over the Trail of Tears in 1995. (There are no primary source pictures or painting that we know about the Trail of Tears from 1838)
Clink on the link below for more information about the Treaty of New Echota. http://www.gpb.org/georgiastories/story/visit_to_new_echota
Chief John Ross and most Cherokee refused to leave and did not accept the treaty
The 1st Step
A Growing Nation
Louisiana Purchase 1803
Outcome 1790-1820
The United States, as it began to grow, began changing its policy towards Native Americans.

Let us now look at the events which helped our nation grow.
1787 Northwest Ordinance
territories could apply for statehood when they had 60,000 people
Established the precedent by which the federal government would be sovereign and expand westward across North America with the admission of new states
Bought from France, this acquisition doubled the size of the United States for less than 4 cents an acre.
Size-stretched from the Mississippi River to the Rocky Mountains and from Canada to New Orleans.
10 New States entered or were formed
The area of the United States (including territories) was 2,308, 633 sq. km. in 1780 and grew to 4,461,754 sq. km. in 1810
population increased from 3.9 million to 9.6 million, increasing at a rate of more than 30% per decade
Several states which were added from 1800-1819 have been flagged. Using a state map, name these 6 states.
Many settlers begin to desire the opportunity to move west.
2.Cheap Land
1. Idea of "Manifest Destiny"
lure of (3).timber, (4). gold, (5). silver and (6). grazing lands motivated many to endure the hardships of the region. http://www.u-s-history.com/pages/h276.html
Reasons for Westward Movement
Cheap Land
Gold, Silver, Timber
Manifest destiny
The people of the United States felt it was their mission to extend the "boundaries of freedom" to others by imparting their idealism and beliefs to those who were capable of self-government.
Frontier land was inexpensive or, in some cases, free.
1796-Land cost $2 per acre of credit
1820 Land price reduced to $1.25 an acre
The west was an unexplored land with new and unused resources available.

Best example. Gold found in Georgia in 1827 resulted in the removal of the Cherokee's from their homeland (we will examine this more later-on).
Western Movement Continued...
The government was conflicted on how to deal with the Native Americans. Some said that they should "assimilate" or adopt the ways of the colonists
When Andrew Jackson became the 7th president, he adopted the idea that the best way to deal with the Native American population was for them to move.
In the way of settlers movement west were the Native American. Many white settlers along with the United States government shared the view that these indiginous people were "savages"
Others believed that the best way to deal with the Indians was for them to move farther to the west, Away from the colonists
Painting by John Gast in 1872 over the idea of Mainfest Destiny
Thus began the United States government policy of Indian Removal
Here you can see Andrew Jackson's policy in dealing with the Native Americans
As you can see from early in the text, many Native American groups had already made treaties, or agreements with the U.S. government and had moved west by 1830. Some tribes though, tried to keep their lands by adopted European practices.
These 5 tribes were known as “civilized tribes” because many had adopted the ways of the European-Americans in the hopes of being accepted by the white settlers
Examples of Cherokees attempting to Assimiliate into European culture
Cherokee's attempt to Assimilate
Excerpts from The Cherokee Constitution of 1827
Other attempts to assimilate
Main Focus
Sequoyah invented Cherokee syllabary – an alphabet based on syllables of the Cherokee language
This alphabet led to the creation of the Cherokee Phoenix, a newspaper
Modeling themselves after the American government, the Cherokee nation developed their own constitution
We the Representatives of the people of the Cherokee Nation, in Convention assembled in order to establish justice, ensure tranquility, promote our common welfare, and secure to ourselves and our posterity the blessings of liberty, acknowledging with humility and gratitude the goodness of the sovereign ruler of the Universe affording us an opportunity so favorable to the design and imploring his aid and direction in its accomplishments do ordain and establish this Constitution for the Government of the Cherokee Nation.Religion, Morality, and knowledge being necessary to good government and the preservation of liberty and the happiness of mankind schools and the means of education, shall forever, be encouraged in this nation. All Laws in force in this nation at the passing of this constitution shall so continue until altered or repealed by the Legislature except when they are temporary in which case they shall expire at the times respectively limited for their duration if not continued by acts of the Legislature.
Describe 5 details shared with us about the Trail of Tears. How did you react to what was written?
Here is a personal account of a soldier on the trail of tears
Compare the Cherokee's constitution to that of the United States. What are several differences and similarities to the two documents?
What does Jackson promise the Cherokees if they move to a new
land as he suggested they do?

The lifestyle changed from nomadic hunting and subsistence farming to raising livestock and operating large farms. Some with larger plantations bought black slaves and built large mansions. Tribal government became more centralized, and some tribes opened their own stores and trading posts.
Established a capital at New Echota, Georgia. The capital included a council house, supreme court building, a building for a printing press, and a public square.
The Cherokee's attempted to fight movement west but white settlers increased their push on the federal government, especially after gold was found in Georgia in 1828.
From the commencement of our government, congress has passed acts to regulate trade and intercourse with the Indians; which treat them as nations, respect their rights, and manifest a firm purpose to afford that protection which treaties stipulate. All these acts, and especially that of 1802, which is still in force, manifestly consider the several Indian nations as distinct political communities, having territorial boundaries, within which their authority is exclusive, and having a right to all the lands within those boundaries, which is not only acknowledged, but guarantied by the United States . . . .
The Cherokee nation, then, is a distinct community, occupying its own territory, with boundaries accurately described, in which the laws of Georgia can have no force, and which the citizens of Georgia have no right to enter, but with the assent of the Cherokees themselves, or in conformity with treaties, and with the acts of congress. The whole intercourse between the United States and this nation, is, by our constitution and laws, vested in the government of the United States.
In 1828, the state of Georgia passed a series of laws stripping local Cherokee Indians of their rights. The laws also authorized Cherokee removal from lands sought after by the state. In defense, the Cherokee cited treaties that they had negotiated, as an independent "nation," with the United States, guaranteeing the Cherokee nation both the land and independence. After failed negotiations with President Andrew Jackson and Congress, the Cherokee, under the leadership of John Ross, sought an injunction ("order to stop") at the Supreme Court against Georgia to prevent its carrying out these laws.
Cherokee Attempts Fail
Andrew Jackson-"John Marshall has made his decision, now let him enforce it."
Chief Justice Marshall- I rule in favor of the Indians and I order the President to protect the Indians
Here is a picture of how Native Americans changed their appearance to assimilate (sometimes this was done by force and sometimes voluntarily)
The Cherokee's attempted to fight movement west by taking their case to the courts in the famous case Worcester vs Georgia
Use this link to help!!
Thinking Critically
Who enforces decisions made by the supreme court?
The Cherokee's were devastated by this ruling, but not as much as when members of their own tribe signed away the Cherokee's land rights in the Treaty of New Echota
The Treaty of New Echota effectively gave away Cherokee land. Their home in Georgia was now officially the property of Georgia. Many Cherokee moved grudgingly to their new home in Indian territory. Others stayed behind
Jackson attempted to get the last of the Cherokee to move willingly to their new homeland, but for those that stayed, unwilling to go, force was going to be needed.
Step #1
Full transcript