Indian Removal Act

In 1829, settlers found gold on the Cherokee lands in northeastern Georgia, and they wanted government officials to remove the Indians off their land. In 1830, Congress passed the Indian Removal Act, which was signed into law by President Andrew Jackson. The act argued that, "no state could achieve proper culture, civilization, and progress, as long as Indians remained within its boundaries." The bill called for the removal of all Indians in the southeastern United States to the territory west of the Mississippi River. In 1838, the first groups started out on their 1,000-mile trek, which became known as the Trail of Tears because of the horrors faced, such as disease, lack of food, water and bad weather.