"My friends, circumstances render it impossible that you can flourish in the midst of a civilized community. You have but one remedy within your reach, and that is to remove to the west. And the sooner you do this, the sooner you will commence your career of improvement and prosperity." Reflecting upon the relatively short history of the United States, our attention is usually drawn to the events which jar our emotions. The words above spoken by Andrew Jackson reflect one such event that illustrates how cruel man can be to man. The Trail of Tears, for those who know its history, gives one the mental image of a minority of people literally walking to their graves. Over 2500 Cherokee Indians died on this trek alone and many more soon received the same fate due to disease and battle between tribes. The plight of the Cherokee Nation was simple: they wanted to live on what was rightfully theirs, but even the support of the Supreme Court could not stop the doomed fate of the Cherokee Indians. Because of the radical expansionist politics of the time, the Cherokee Indians were deprived of their right to their native lands at the hands of the ever expanding "civilized culture.".
Even before the radical policies of Andrew Jackson were carried out, the Cherokee Indians adopted a culture resembling that of the white culture of the time. Before the invasion of the white missionaries into the Cherokee culture, the Cherokees exhibited what would be considered today as the modern family structure. The Cherokee society was matrilineal oriented where property and material possessions were passed from generation to generation according to the mother's side of the family (120). Moreover, women performed what today is stereotyped as the man's role in the family because they were expected to work on the farm and in the crop fields. However, with the exploration and expansion of the southeast by some early Europeans, the Cherokee Indians increasingly became more dependent upon the European culture.