An Authentic American Tragedy

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The Trail of Tears then...

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The Trail of Tears now...
In social studies you have been learning about the history of the United States throughout the years of Andrew Jackson's presidency. One of the events that most prominently marks the Jackson presidency is what historians call the "Trail of Tears."

Using primary documents, we will explore the series of events that led up to the Trail of Tears from the perspectives of those who either influenced or were influenced by the experience.

But, first, let's get an overview of the time, places, and people involved by watching the slide show below.

Related Primary Documents to Explore...

#1 Adapted from “Our Hearts are Sickened" -- A Letter from Chief John Ross of the Cherokee, Georgia, 1836

#2 Major General Winfield Scott's Ultimatum

# 3 Adapted from a Transcript of President Andrew Jackson's Message to Congress On Indian Removal (1830)

#4 Adapted from an 1828 editorial in the newspaper “THE CHEROKEE PHOENIX”

#5 A Soldier Recalls the Trail of Tears


Which of the events, images, ideas, or words from the primary documents you just read really captured your imagination and your heart? Gather your thoughts as notes on a Google Doc you will create. Use these notes to complete the learning task below.

Your Learning Task

After collecting relevant and specific details about the Trail of Tears, you will design a historical marker, or sign to commemorate some aspect of the event.

Your marker must include 1) a crest of some sort, 2) a paragraph with FOUR FACTS detailing specific events, dates, locations, and names associated with the removal of the Cherokee Indians from their land and their forced march west,3) design elements such as the shape, border, and color of the historical marker, and 4) a proposed location for the marker with a rationale (or reason) for that location on the BACK of your sign.

Use this interactive map on the Trail of Tears National Park Website.
Trail of Tears Interactive Map
Or go to the website for more information, images, and ideas.
Trail of Tears National Park

Check out the examples of actual historical markers below, beginning with one located in the state of Georgia commemorating the Trail of Tears. You will notice that some are longer than others.

We would like yours to be on the longer side, with no fewer than 7 thoughtful and thorough sentences, though you certainly may have more.

Check your spelling, grammar, capitalization, sentence structure and punctuation before putting down your final words. Thus, consider writing or typing a rough draft first, or use a pencil before using a marker or pen, and if you have any doubts about your writing, ask a peer or a teacher for proofreading or editing help.

BTW...Ask me about this crest/seal.

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Check out the main Times, Places, and People in this real-life tragedy...

Another really useful resource...
Trail of Tears Resources