The Trail of Tears shouldn't have happened. People at the time knew that it was wrong, that it was illegal, and that it was unconstitutional, but they did it anyway. Historian Amy Sturgis explains why the forced removal of the Cherokee Nation to "Indian Territory" (modern-day Oklahoma) was wrong on both moral and legal grounds. How can the Trail of Tears provide lessons to us today? We can't look aside and ignore the Trail of Tears as an example of something that was just part of the mid-19th century mindset. It is a story about how a group that had power gained at the expense of a minority unable to defend itself. The Trail of Tears set precedents we can only hope to avoid repeating.
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