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Trail of Tears Research Papers

How do you start a Trail of Tears research paper? Our expert writers suggest like this:

In the 18th century and 19th century, America claimed as its “manifest destiny” the right to control the land lying between the Atlantic and Pacific Oceans. Traditionally, American history books told a story of courageous settlers moving westward in search of a better life. What those history books overlooked was the fact that these settlers, backed by the U.S. government, trampled on the rights Native Americans living in these territories. The settlers drove them from their land and pursued policies that led to the deaths of thousands of Native Americans. Your paper should examine one of the most tragic events of the 19th century, the “Trail of Tears.”  

Here is how to set up the research paper on
Trail of Tears by John Ehle:

  1. Summarize the events.
  2. Discuss the impact of misperception, using specific examples of common misperceptions of the era.
  3. Compare and contrast the past and present events, explaining in detail the similarities and differences.
  4. Develop a plan that would have prevented these events from the perspective of an authority figure such as a politician, chief of police or other public official.
  5. Explain why you chose this topic while identifying your personal values and beliefs regarding ethnic groups and minorities.

Trail of TearsThe “Trail of Tears,” and the unjust laws that made it possible, mark one of the darkest acts in American history.

  • The U.S. citizens’ attitudes toward the Cherokee, and all Native Americans, is evidence of their deep prejudice against all non-white people.
  • The American citizens’ attitudes toward the Native Americans are discussed in Trail of Tears.
  • The way the Government treated indigenous people, would be repeated throughout the history of the country as the majority of the American people.
  • The US government, systemically and institutionally oppressed minorities.  

Although the laws now have been righted, minorities continue to struggle against the prejudice that has its roots deep in American history. It still is unclear when the country will overcome these attitudes, and they continue to be one of the great challenges facing the country.

In October of 1838, the mass relocation begins, in which the majority of the thirteen thousand imprisoned Cherokees were forced to walk from their hold camps in Georgia, more than five hundred miles, to their new lands in Oklahoma. The journey itself became far worse than the actual of removal. Of the nearly twenty thousand Cherokee who were forced on the march, more than four thousand died as a result. Poor weather, including being snowed in for weeks in central Mississippi, as well as starvation, disease and injury caused the deaths of men, women and children.

Once the relocation was complete, and the tribe’s members reunited with those who left voluntarily, there several events of retribution. Major Ridge, his son, and their closest ally in the Treaty Party were assassinated shortly after the arrival of the remaining tribesmen. Chief John Ross, who valiantly resisted the forced removal of the Cherokee, lost his wife, Quatie, in the march. And so a country formed fifty years earlier on the premise "...that all men are created equal, and that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable rights, among these the right to life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness.." brutally closed the curtain on a culture that had done no wrong.

This outraged many Americans – though few in the Southern States: among them, Davy Crockett, who lost his political career due to his staunch support of the Cherokee – which would lead to his traveling to Texas, and his eventual death. However there were too few dissenting voices in the American government to stop the relocation of the Cherokee.

Related Research Paper Topics

The Cherokees and the Trail of Tears esearch papers discuss how Americans were unfair, unjust, and downright savage when they pursued the Trail of Tears, which resulted in the deaths and mistreatment of thousands of Indians.

The Indian Removal Act research papers discuss the act signed by Andrew Jackson that forcibly removed the Five Civilized Tribes from their land west of the Mississippi.