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The Colonization of Roanoke
The establishment of a settlement at Roanoke was motivated by a number of factors. The settlers were searching for the fabled treasures of the new world, particularly gold. The colonization of Roanoke did not live up to the expectations of the settlers.
This is because; they encountered hostility and opposition from the Native inhabitants of the area and also lacked sufficient provisions such as food, artillery, tools and implements. Accordingly, the settlers faced challenges stemming from the lack of basic provisions as well as confrontations with the Native inhabitants of the region. (Bolton and Marshal 110-113)
From the onset, the English attitudes towards the Native Americans were characterized by suspicion, distrust and confrontation. During the establishment of the settlement, the inhabitants of the village of Aquascogoc were accused of stealing a silver cup, for this, the village was burnt to the ground and the tribal chief was also killed. (Ibid) This situation typified the future relationship, which was characterized by the mistreatment of the Native Americans by the Europeans.
The expansion of the United States gave rise to a number of political ethical and social problems. The political problems included the fact that expansion led to settlers moving to remote areas of the country and establishing autonomous settlements. The social problems included the growing debate about the responsibility of the colony towards the mother country. Additionally, the ethical problems associated with national expansion revolved around issues of slavery and the Native Indian population. (Utter 47-48)
The problem of expansion was a serious matter; however, the manner in which the problems were dealt with was inappropriate. Resorting to ratifying the ‘Indian removal act’ as an attempt to counter national expansion was not the best way to deal with the problem, it would have been prudent to attempt to apply more humane solutions
The Trail of Tears
The Supreme Court decision in the case between the Cherokee Nation v Georgia is illustrative of the attitude of the United States Government towards the Native American population. For many years, the Cherokee people inhabited the region of Western Georgia. This is until gold was discovered in the region.
The discovery of the precious metal necessitated the eviction of the people from their ancestral home. However, in the year 1828, the Cherokee had assimilated a number of European customs and they had a well developed system of government. Significantly, when the ‘Indian removal act’ was passed by the United States Congress, the Cherokee challenged the law legally and established an autonomous Cherokee nation.
In the case between the Cherokee Nation and the State of Georgia, the court ruled against subjecting the Cherokee to Georgia law as they did not represent a sovereign state. In 1832, in the case Worcester v. Georgia, the Supreme Court ruled that the Cherokee Nation was sovereign and therefore invalidated the Indian removal laws. Consequently, the Cherokee had to agree to any removal in a treaty which then would have to be ratified by the senate (ngeorgia.com 6) .
These court rulings directly resulted in the Trail of tears. In theory, it would appear that the Cherokee Nation had the alternative of retaining ownership of their land or relinquishing it and being resettled elsewhere.
This was not the case; a very small minority of the Cherokee nation signed a treaty, which was ratified by the Senate which marked the beginning of the Trail of tears. The trail of tears describes the route traversed by the members of the Cherokee Nation characterized by suffering disease and death on the way to Oklahoma, the resettlement area. (ngeorgia.com 11)
In my opinion, Jackson could have dealt with the problem in a different way. The forcible eviction of the Cherokee from Georgia was unnecessary, particularly, the callous nature of their relocation to Oklahoma. A different approach that might have been applied is co-existence.
Bolton, Herbert E and Marshal,Thomas Maitland. The Colonization of North America 1492 to 1783. USA: MacMillan Inc, 2006. 110-113
Ngeorgia.com. The trail of tears. North Georgia, 2006. Retrieved from http://www.aboutnorthgeorgia.com/ang/Cherokee_Trail_of_Tears
Utter, Jack. American Indians: answers to today’s questions. USA: University of Oklahoma Press, 2001. 47-48