Protest against the Trail of Tears

The U.S. government’s forced removal of the Cherokee Nation from Georgia to modern-day Oklahoma has become known as the Trail of Tears. The event is a blemish on U.S. history.  Professor Amy Sturgis reads an extended excerpt from a letter by Ralph Waldo Emerson, who wrote President Martin Van Buren to protest the injustice of the removal. Emerson’s letter, “The Protest against the Removal of the Cherokee Indians from the State of Georgia,” was addressed to President Van Buren on April 23, 1838. In the letter, Emerson writes, “Such a dereliction of all faith and virtue, such a denial of justice, and such deafness to screams for mercy were never heard of in times of peace and in the dealing of a nation with its own allies and wards since the earth was made.”

Emerson was not alone in protesting. The protests of Emerson and many others couldn’t prevent the Trail of Tears: the U.S. government succeeded in forcibly removing the Cherokee people from their homeland in 1838.

4 Comments

  1. juliansfree

    You should read Victor Hugo’s abolitionist letter to the U.S. about John Brown’s trial.

  2. diamond_max

    America is very contradicting. “All men are created equal.” Why treat Indians, Blacks, Asians, etc. any less than what they’re entitled to? History and government are really something. Smh…

  3. Matt Wavle

    Why couldn’t we have Ralph Waldo Emerson as President instead of Martin Van Buren?  Now THAT’s the kind of moral leadership exchange I’d go for.

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