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Trail of Tears & Indian Removal. Forced Removal of Native Americans Under the Jackson Administration. The Indian Removal Act Native Americans had long lived in settlements stretching from Georgia to Mississippi.

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trail of tears indian removal

Trail of Tears& Indian Removal

Forced Removal of Native Americans Under the Jackson Administration

The Indian Removal Act
  • Native Americans had long lived in settlements stretching from Georgia to Mississippi.
  • Jackson and other political leaders wanted to open land to settlement by American farmers.
  • Congress passed the Indian Removal Act in 1830.
    • It authorized the removal of Native Americans who lived east of the Mississippi River to lands in the west.
Congress then established the Indian Territory.
    • U.S. owned land in Oklahoma set up to protect Native Americans from further conflicts with American settlers
  • Bureau of Indian Affairs
    • Congress created a new government agency to manage the Indians removal to western lands and how they lived there.
Other Native Americans Removed


  • First to be sent to Indian Territory.
  • 7.5 million acres of their land taken by Mississippi.
  • One-fourth died on the way.


  • Resisted but were captured and forced to march to Indian Territory.


  • Negotiated treaty for better supplies, but many died.
Cherokee resistance to removal led to disagreement between Jackson and the Supreme Court.

Cherokee Nation

•Cherokees adopted white culture, had own government and a writing system developed by Sequoya.

•Georgia took their land, and Cherokees sued the state.

Outcome of Worcester v. Georgia
    • Supreme Court ruled in the Cherokees’ favor in Worcester v. Georgia saying that the Cherokee nation was a distinct community within Georgia in which Georgia could not enforce the laws, but President Jackson sided with Georgia and took no action to enforce the ruling. This violated his presidential oath to uphold the laws of the land.
trail of tears
Trail of Tears
  • What was the Trail of Tears?
    • 800 mile forced march of Cherokee's from Georgia to Oklahoma. Almost ¼ of the population died on the march due to the harsh conditions.

This picture, The Trail of Tears, was painted by Robert Lindneux in 1942. It commemorates the suffering of the Cherokee people under forced removal. If any depictions of the "Trail of Tears" were created at the time of the march, they have not survived. Image Credit: The Granger Collection, New York

other native americans resisted removal
Other Native Americans Resisted Removal
  • Chief Black Hawk of the Fox and Sauk fought rather than leave Illinois.
    • He was eventually forced to leave, after running out of food and supplies.
  • Osceola led his followers in the Second Seminole War in Florida.
    • Hundreds of Seminoles, including Osceola were killed, and some 4,000 Seminoles were removed
    • Small groups of Seminole resisted removal, and their descendants live in Florida today.