What is the historical significance of the "Trail of Tears?"

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pohnpei397 eNotes educator| Certified Educator

The historical significance of the Trail of Tears is that it represents a grave injustice done to Native Americans by the United States government.

In the 1830s, the “Five Civilized Tribes” were living in the Southeastern United States and were generally starting to assimilate into American ways.  They had mostly adopted sedentary farming lifestyles and other aspects of “civilization.”  This ought to have made it possible for them and the whites to live together.

However, the Americans wanted the Indian lands.  Therefore, they forced the tribes to relocate to what is now Oklahoma.  The term “Trail of Tears” is used to refer to the forced journey to what was then called the Indian Territory.

Thus, the Trail of Tears is significant because it is an instance of the US government treating Native Americans in what can be seen as an unjust manner.

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