Q:

What was the cause of the Trail of Tears?

A:

Quick Answer

The Trail of Tears was caused by the authorization and enforcement of the Indian Removal Act of 1830. This initiative, passed by President Andrew Jackson, forced over 20,000 Native Americans out of their ancestral lands in North Georgia. The vast majority of these Native Americans were from the Cherokee Nation.

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What was the cause of the Trail of Tears?
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Full Answer

President Andrew Jackson passed the Indian Removal Act of 1830 for two reasons. The first reason was the economic value of the land. By relocating the Native Americans from North Georgia, the government was able to sell the land to American settlers and speculators. There is also evidence that the land was rich in gold, which only increased economic interest in the area. The second reason that Andrew Jackson passed the Indian Removal Act was the recommendation of President James Monroe. In his last address to Congress in 1825, Monroe emphasized the benefits of passing the legislation.

When the Cherokees refused to leave their homeland, the federal government forcefully removed them. They were relocated to Oklahoma, but suffered an estimated 4,000 casualties along the way. The Cherokees attempted to protest the Indian Removal Act by filing judicial action against the state of Georgia. The case reached the Supreme Court, and John Marshall ruled in favor of the Cherokee Nation. Marshall stated that the U.S. government had no claim to the Cherokee lands. President Jackson, however, refused to enforce the decision.

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Related Questions

  • Q:

    Where did the Cherokees live before the Trail of Tears?

    A:

    Before being relocated on the Trail of Tears, the Cherokee Native Americans occupied a large area of the southern United States that included the present day states of Georgia, Tennessee, North Carolina and South Carolina. The Cherokee also occupied the present day states of Kentucky, Alabama, Virginia and West Virginia.

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  • Q:

    What is the significance of the Trail of Tears?

    A:

    The Trail of Tears remains one of the worst human rights disasters to befall Native American peoples in United States history. Between 1838 and 1839, 15,000 Cherokees were taken from their ancestral homes in Georgia and placed on a forced march, finally ending up in the future state of Oklahoma. According to PBS, more than 4,000 of their number ultimately perished en route, due to the horrid conditions.

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  • Q:

    What year was the Trail of Tears?

    A:

    The Trail of Tears took place towards the start of the 1830s with President Andrew Jackson in office. Almost 125,000 Native Americans were forced, by the United States federal government, to move from Georgia, Tennessee, Alabama, North Carolina and Florida and make the long march to new land west of the Mississippi River.

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  • Q:

    What date did the Trail of Tears begin?

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    The Trail of Tears began in the summer of 1838, when General Winfield Scott, on orders from President Martin Van Buren, forcibly escorted approximately 15,000 Cherokee from their lands east of the Mississippi to Oklahoma. The Cherokee named this journey the "Trail of Tears."

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