Trail of Tears. Grade 4 Social Studies Online. Blueprint Skill: Era 4 - Expansion and Reform (1801-1861) . Read and interpret a passage about the Trail of Tears. Cherokee culture….
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Before contact, Cherokee culture had developed and thrived for almost 1,000 years in the southeastern United States--the lower Appalachian states of Georgia, Tennessee, North and South Carolina, and parts of Kentucky and Alabama.
After contact, the Cherokees acquired many aspects of the white neighbors with whom many had intermarried. Soon they had shaped a government and a society that matched the most "civilized" of the time.
President Jackson quickly signed the bill into law. The Cherokees attempted to fight removal legally by challenging the removal laws in the Supreme Court and by establishing an independent Cherokee Nation.
In 1832, the U.S. Supreme Court ruled in favor of the Cherokee on the issue in Worcester v. Georgia. In this case Chief Justice John Marshall ruled that the Cherokee Nation was sovereign, making the removal laws invalid. The Cherokee would have to agree to removal in a treaty. The treaty then would have to be ratified by the Senate.
Ratification of the treaty by the United States Senate sealed the fate of the Cherokee. Among the few who spoke out against the ratification were Daniel Webster and Henry Clay, but it passed by a single vote.
In one of the saddest episodes of our brief history, men, women, and children were taken from their land, herded into makeshift forts with minimal facilities and food, then forced to march a thousand miles.
John Ross made an urgent appeal to Scott, requesting that the general let his people lead the tribe west. General Scott agreed. Ross organized the Cherokee into smaller groups and let them move separately through the wilderness so they could forage for food.
Although the parties under Ross left in early fall and arrived in Oklahoma during the brutal winter of 1838-39, he significantly reduced the loss of life among his people. About 4000 Cherokee died as a result of the removal.
Those who were able to hide in the mountains of North Carolina or who had agreed to exchange Cherokee citizenship for U.S. citizenship later emerged as the Eastern Band of Cherokee Indians of Cherokee, N.C. The descendants of the survivors of the Trail of Tears comprise today's Cherokee Nation with membership of more than 165,000.