A trail of Tears: The Indian Removal Act us history/Napp Name: Do Now



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A Trail of Tears: The Indian Removal Act

US History/Napp Name: __________________
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The Indian Removal Act was signed into law by Andrew Jackson on May 28, 1830, authorizing the president to grant unsettled lands west of the Mississippi in exchange for Indian lands within existing state borders. A few tribes went peacefully, but many resisted the relocation policy. During the fall and winter of 1838 and 1839, the Cherokees were forcibly moved west by the United States government. Approximately 4,000 Cherokees died on this forced march, which became known as the ‘Trail of Tears.’


President Andrew Jackson outlined his Indian removal policy in his Second Annual Message to Congress on December 6, 1830. Jackson’s comments on Indian removal begin with the words, ‘It gives me pleasure to announce to Congress that the benevolent [well-meaning and kindly] policy of the Government, steadily pursued for nearly thirty 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 advantages.’”

Questions:

  1. In what year did President Andrew Jackson sign into law the Indian Removal Act? ________________________________________________________________________

  2. What was stated in the Indian Removal Act? ________________________________________________________________________

  3. Discuss two different reactions to the policy among Native American Indians. ________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________

  4. What happened to the Cherokees as a result of the Indian Removal Act? ________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________

  5. Why is this forced march referred to as the “Trail of Tears”? ________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________

  6. Do you think the Native American Indians viewed Jackson’s policy towards Native American Indians as benevolent? Explain your answer. ________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________

  7. How does President Andrew Jackson defend his “benevolent” policy? ________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________

Quote about the “Trail of Tears”:

We are overwhelmed; our hearts are sickened; our utterance is paralyzed, when we reflect on the condition in which we are placed by the audacious practices of unprincipled men…”




~ Memorial from the Cherokee Nation


In 1838 and 1839, as part of Andrew Jackson’s Indian removal policy, the Cherokee nation was forced to give up its lands east of the Mississippi River and to migrate to an area in present-day Oklahoma. The Cherokee people called this journey the ‘Trail of Tears,’ because of its devastating effects. The migrants faced hunger, disease, and exhaustion on the forced march. Over 4,000 out of 15,000 of the Cherokees died.” ~ pbs.org



Questions:

  1. Analyze the map, what does the map reveal about the journey of the Cherokee people. ________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________

  2. Why did the Cherokee people call this journey the ‘Trail of Tears’? ________________________________________________________________________

  3. Should the U.S. government compensate descendants of the Cherokee people who journeyed on this ‘Trail of Tears’ for the terrible suffering their ancestors experienced? Defend your point of view.

________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________

Quotes: Vine Deloria Jr. [Advocate of Native American Indian Rights]

The historical image of the Indians is pretty well set, we are the bad guys who burned the wagon trains and images are the white man’s game.”



Response to the quote: ______________________________________________________________________________

Working with Documents:

Note: “On May 28, 1830, President Andrew Jackson signed the Indian Removal Act, formalizing his administration’s policy of sending to the West Indians living east of the Mississippi River on lands desired by whites. During the next decade, the U.S. government pursued removal of the southeastern tribes through treaties negotiated in an atmosphere of intimidation and coercion. The effort to force Cherokees from their lands in Georgia produced the Treaty of New Echota, signed by a small faction of the Cherokee Nation in 1835.” ~ oswego.edu
Note: “When the Cherokee nation was threatened by the state of Georgia and President Jackson’s 1830 Indian Removal ActThe act empowered the president to negotiate removal treaties with Indian nations. , Chief John Ross embraced the American legal system, ultimately winning his case in the Supreme Court. Ross continued to fight removal even after Jackson ignored the Supreme Court decision and United States government officials accepted a fraudulent treaty signed by an unauthorized group of Cherokees. Faced with no other options, in 1838 he worked with the federal government to plan the forced relocation to Oklahoma. Ross witnessed the ‘Trail of TearsThe 1838 forced removal of the Cherokee Nation from their homeland.’ and suffered the loss of his wife during the tragic move. He would go on to lead the Cherokee nation until his death in 1866.”

~ pbs.org
The Primary Source: Cherokee letter protesting the Treaty of New Echota; Letter from Chief John Ross, “To the Senate and House of Representatives,” [Red Clay Council Ground, Cherokee Nation, September 28, 1836]
“…By the stipulations of this instrument, we are despoiled of our private possessions, the indefeasible property of individuals. We are stripped of every attribute of freedom and eligibility for legal self-defence. Our property may be plundered before our eyes; violence may be committed on our persons; even our lives may be taken away, and there is none to regard our complaints. We are denationalized; we are disfranchised. We are deprived of membership in the human family! We have neither land nor home, nor resting place that can be called our own. And this is effected by the provisions of a compact which assumes the venerated, the sacred appellation of treaty.


We are overwhelmed! Our hearts are sickened, our utterance is paralized, when we reflect on the condition in which we are placed, by the audacious practices of unprincipled men, who have managed their stratagems with so much dexterity as to impose on the Government of the United States, in the face of our earnest, solemn, and reiterated protestations.



The instrument in question is not the act of our Nation; we are not parties to its covenants; it has not received the sanction of our people. The makers of it sustain no office nor appointment in our Nation, under the designation of Chiefs, Head men, or any other title, by which they hold, or could acquire, authority to assume the reins of Government, and to make bargain and sale of our rights, our possessions, and our common country. And we are constrained solemnly to declare, that we cannot but contemplate the enforcement of the stipulations of this instrument on us, against our consent, as an act of injustice and oppression, which, we are well persuaded, can never knowingly be countenanced by the Government and people of the United States; nor can we believe it to be the design of these honorable and highminded individuals, who stand at the head of the Govt., to bind a whole Nation, by the acts of a few unauthorized individuals. And, therefore, we, the parties to be affected by the result, appeal with confidence to the justice, the magnanimity, the compassion, of your honorable bodies, against the enforcement, on us, of the provisions of a compact, in the formation of which we have had no agency.”


Questions:

  1. What are the main points of Chief John Ross’ letter? ________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________

  2. How does the treatment of the Cherokee violate the ideals of the U.S. Constitution? ________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________

  3. Do you agree with Chief John Ross? Explain your point of view. ________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________



  1. The Indian Removal Act of 1830:

  1. Called for the relocation of all eastern tribes across the Mississippi River.

  2. Led to a mass movement of Native Americans that was called the Trail of Tears.

  3. Led to the movement of the Creek, Choctaw, Chickasaw, Cherokee, and Seminole.

  4. All of the above




  1. The Indian Removal Act was passed because the Indians were

(1) occupying lands wanted by white settlers

(2) a menace to white settlers

(3) occupying public lands

(4) opposed to nullification


  1. In 1830 Congress passed the Indian Removal Act in which Andrew Jackson _____.

(1) Was against individual ownership of land.

  1. Expressed sincere concern for Native Americans’ well-being and for the preservation of their arts.

  2. Called the Native Americans savages, without using the buffering adjective “noble.”

  3. Did not feel that Native Americans could be civilized.




  1. The Cherokees were supported in their unsuccessful battle against removal by

  1. President Jackson.

  2. The Supreme Court.

  3. Congress.

  4. The state of Georgia.

  5. The state of North Carolina.




  1. When the Indian removal was completed,

  1. Every Indian west of the Mississippi River was gone.

  2. Every Indian tribe east of the Mississippi was gone.

  3. The Indians were relocated in reservations much like the tribal lands they left.

  4. The Indians were far enough removed from whites where they would not face further encroachments.

  5. Only elements of the Seminoles and Cherokees remained.




  1. The difference between Jackson's Indian policy and those of previous presidents was that Jackson

  1. Wanted to relocate the Indians to the lands west of the Mississippi.

  2. Demanded a much speedier and thorough removal of all eastern tribes to reservations located west of the Mississippi.

  3. Was the first president to endorse the outright slaughter of several obstinate tribes.

  4. Was the first president to support the Cherokees’ assertion of self-government.

  5. Was the first president to oppose the rights of separate states to assert their jurisdiction over the tribes living within their borders.



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