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:

    Why did the Cherokee call their forced move the Trail of Tears?

    A:

    The Trail of Tears refers to the relocation path taken by tens of thousands of Indians when tribes were forcibly removed from their homes. Thousands of Indians died from disease, hunger and abuse during the trip. The Cherokee were the last of five tribes forced to move from their lands.

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    What was the cause of the Battle of Antietam?

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    The Battle of Antietam during the American Civil War was caused by General Robert E. Lee's desire to follow up his victory at the second Battle of Manassas by heading north into Maryland. His intentions were to sever rail links to Washington and seize supplies. When Union Major General George B. McClellan learned of Lee's plan, he moved to intercept him.

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  • Q:

    What did the Indian Removal Act of 1830 do?

    A:

    The Indian Removal Act of 1830 gave the President of the United States the power to trade unsettled land to the Indians for land they inhabited in the same state. Andrew Jackson signed this act into law on May 28, 1830. It led to the famous "Trail of Tears" for the Cherokee nation, which led to the death of 4000 Indians who were removed from their land and forced to go west.

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  • Q:

    What date did the Trail of Tears begin?

    A:

    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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